Fighting Back


One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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216 Responses

  1. NewDealer says:

    And here I will step into controversy:

    All of these things are generally good but one issue I have is that it generally seems to treat all men as being one-stop away from would-be rapists and that we are all lowest common denominator type of men (i.e. all men are bro-dude fratboys in open or in secret.)

    “Teach young men to see women’s humanity, instead of seeing them as sexual objects there for male pleasure.”

    There men who think like this. There are men who teach this attitude to their children and exude it to their friends but I think it is a mistake to think that this kind of retrograde brutish sexism is inherent in all men from a young age. The way she explains it feels like hammering young men that they should feel bad for any sort of sexual thought. This presumes a direct quote instead of a paraphrase on your part. I suspect that most men are fully capable of thinking about a sexual fantasy without acting on it. Isn’t possible to see someone’s humanity and also have sexual thoughts about the same person? Something about the inherent negative assumption in men makes me feel uncomfortable. This kind of blanket condemnation is wrong for any group of people.

    “Teach young men how to express healthy masculinity”

    I fully agree with this but I suspect we are going to have a lot of debates about what healthy masculinity means. I do dislike that a lot men seem to find the lowest common denominator way of expressing their masculinity and feel that certain things like an interest in the arts or being bookish are not masculine. I also suspect that there are a lot of socio-economic-cultural factors that go into defining masculinity. I was a theatre kid/lit mag kid in high school (and into adulthood). I also grew up in a community that stressed academic excellence over athletics. I was far from the most popular kid in high school but no one ever claimed I was less than fully masculine for like art and books over sports. I suspect that if I grew up in a different community on a variety of factors, my high school life would have been hell and filled with homophobic insults and such. Keep in mind that I was in high school in 1994-1998, this was long before it was common for gay people to come out in middle or high school.

    “Teach young men to believe women who come forward and not to blame the victim”

    This is where my lawyer-liberal and pro-criminal defendant rights come in. This is a very tricky question. My Constitutional Rights/Pro-Criminal Defense side believes in the basic creeds of “innocent until proven guilty”, “an accusation is not necessarily evidence”, an “indictment is not a conviction.” I also believe that all people accused of crimes deserve fair trials and this involves: adequate representation by counsel and an impartial trier of fact who will hear all evidence fairly for both the victim and defendant. This goes for all crimes, there is no exception for crimes and people we consider icky. It might have to go doubly so for people accused of icky crimes in the court of public opinion. Courts and Juries need to be able to make unpopular decisions if the evidence says that the unpopular decision is the legally correct one.

    This is not to say that all rape accusations are wrong. Overwhelmingly they are true sadly. However there have been notorious cases of people wrongfully accused of rape like the Scotsboro Boys and more recently The Central Park 5 (both cases had horrible racist elements as well). Wrongful convictions hurt everyone: They hurt the person who spent years or decades in jail for a crime they did not commit, they hurt the victim of a crime because their attacker went free and they might have to suffer an ordeal of another trial. The legal system is also hurt because a wrongful arrest and conviction damages the reputation of police, prosecutors, and courts.

    Criminal defense rights exist for a reason. They prevent mob justice which is a truly ugly thing and hopefully allow the truth to prevail and good justice to be served to both the defendant and a victim. I sincerely think it is possible to have a justice system that is “fair” to both defendants and victims of crime but a blanket belief in an accusation/indictment is not necessarily going to achieve that balance.

    This is not to say that I think women make up rapes. I think the victim’s of rape and all other violent crime deserve all the compassion, support, and empathy in the world and whatever psychological, medical, and material help they need to recover. However due process and fair trial rights also need to be preserved.

    “Teach young men about bystander intervention”

    I absolutely agree with this.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

      I, too, am not entirely comfortable with the first part of #4. I don’t take this as a blanket condemnation of men the same way that you seem to. Rather, it’s an area where a lot of men have shortcomings and male culture (to the extent that there is such a thing) is perhaps not sufficiently calling it out.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Will Truman says:

        Maybe. I tend to think of stuff like that with my lawyer brain on.

        Now I think I see where you and Ms. Maxwell are coming from. If a female friend of mine ever told me she was rapped. Of course I would believe her. I would never question or doubt her on the subject. This I swear with every fiber of my being.

        I loathe the treatment that Ms. Maxwell received on-line from demented and sadistic bullies when she came forward with her story.

        Crime especially crimes like rape are an extremely vexing part of the criminal justice system. They rightfully inspire a lot of rage and emotion. Rape is a horrible crime, I think after murder it is the worse thing you can do to another human being. Yet a good justice system does not give into mob justice even when horrible crimes occur.

        Whenever I heard about people being freed after wrongful convictions and years in prison, I always wonder how their jurors felt. How would it feel to know you got the evidence wrong and caused another human being to spend 30-40 years behind bars? Especially if it was a capital case and the person was on death row?

        Again I think this is a very tricky issue and I should probably just keep my mouth shut on it because there is good way to say that even people accused (and probably guilty)* of very horrible crimes like rape and murder have rights that need to be defended.

        *I do think that rape probably has the lowest levels of wrongful accusations. Note a wrongful accusation is not a false accusation. A wrongful accusation is where a crime occurs but the police arrest and indict the wrong person.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

        Regarding #4, I don’t know that the argument is that you just automatically declare someone guilty on the spot. In fact, I think it has more to do with culture and social norms than the legal system. I think the closest way I can think of to illustrate the way I read #4 is this:

        If someone tells you that someone broke into their house and stole their computer, it is doubtful that you’d assume they were full of shit and even if they weren’t they probably deserved to have the computer stolen. You’d think it was really, really terrible.

        If they caught a suspect and that person talked about how they really wanted that computer, and noted that it was visible in the window and tempted them, you wouldn’t demand the thief be let free and the home owner be ostracized.

        That’s the way I read #4.Report

        • dand in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          Whit if a person only knows the accused but not the accuser? I that where it becomes more problematic. If a friend of mine was accused of stealing a computer and said he was innocent I’d believe him unless his history led me to believe otherwise.Report

          • Rod Engelsman in reply to dand says:

            This, to me, is why the whole notion of character witnesses is so worthless. If you can’t find someone to say something nice about you, you’re pretty pathetic indeed. And regardless of how people characterize you, none of that speaks specifically to questions of guilt or innocence in a particular accusation.

            Besides, people have secret lives. When I was managing a Radio Shack in Connecticut, the manager of the flagship store in our district–the one at the big mall that did about ten times the business of any of our other stores–got nailed for embezzling around a $100K over the course of a couple months. He was found out in the course of a routine quarterly inventory when gobs and gobs of stuff that was supposed to be there wasn’t. Turns out he was processing fake returns and pocketing the cash. Why? To feed a gambling habit he had developed at the then relatively new Foxwoods Casino.

            The point here is that prior to these revelations you could have lined up witnesses around the block to attest to his character. That buddy of yours that seems to have so many “conquests” could actually be a serial date rapist. Pretty fair likelihood of it, actually. It’s just the nature of the beast that hardly any of the women, for any number of reasons, are very unlikely to lodge an accusation, and it’s a side of the man that you just aren’t going to have a window into.Report

            • NewDealer in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

              Generally speaking character evidence is inadmissible in criminal trials until the defendant “opens the door”.

              The criminal Defendant is the first person with the right to put on character evidence. However once he or she chooses to do so, the prosecution has a right to rebut the evidence.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

              This is why I’m always curious when they interview the neighbors of serial killers or serial pedophiles and the like. They’re reactions are always, “I never would have suspected.” Well, yea, because if you HAD suspected, I hope to god you would have done something about it. So either you were wrong about the individual, completely understandable given that people prone to such behaviors are often very good at hiding them, or you did have a sense there was something off but are refusing to acknowledge it because it reflects poorly on you.

              I had a school principal growing up who was accused of pedophilia a few years after I graduated. I had a good relationship with him (he was my MS principal for two years and then transitioned to my high school when I did, so he was in my life for 6 years) and never had reason to suspect anything was off with the guy. My sister similarly knew him but was a bit older. When the trial came to pass, she was in law school and had signed up to be a character witness, figuring her relationship with him and newfound standing in the community would serve his interests. She wasn’t chosen, but I questioned her on this. Her response: “I don’t know if he did or didn’t do it. But he was always fair and kind and appropriate with me.” My response: “And what does that have to do with the case?”

              He was ultimately acquitted in a case that somewhat divided the town. A few years later, he was caught on audio tape being inappropriate with another student and ultimately served jail time. There was little doubt at that point about his behavior. My sister made no attempts to serve as a character witness.Report

            • trumwill mobile in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

              Sometimes, though, you hear about someone and you’renot the least bit ssurprised.Report

          • Tod Kelly in reply to dand says:

            YEs, but you’d probably think the same thing about someone being accused of breaking and entering, yes?Report

    • Kazzy in reply to NewDealer says:


      I don’t think you’re necessarily stepping into controversy. I think there is lots of room for discussion about how exactly to approach male culture with regards to rape prevention and I think your points are valid ones. As I understood Maxwell’s point, it is not necessarily that all men harbor the feelings/views/ideas that she hopes to change or that it is something inherent to men, but rather that our culture has a way of socializing these feelings/views/ideas into us AND/OR fails to take the steps she outlines, calling for a more concerted effort to do so.

      Regarding the presumption of innocence, you make a good point, especially given just how damaging a false rape accusation can be to the alleged. A more charitable interpretation might be that we view rape claims in the same way we view other crime claims, no more or less valid. When someone shows up at the police station to report a robbery, they aren’t usually met with, “Were you *REALLY* robbed? Are you sure you didn’t tell the person they could ahve all your stuff?”Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Kazzy says:

        I agree fully with the second paragraph. The police should not express doubt when someone says that they were the victim of a crime, any crime. Nor should the friends or family of the victim.Report

        • Will H. in reply to NewDealer says:

          I disagree with that.
          The police should gather all available evidence, whether it supports their case or not.
          All too often, it’s the police enacting a policy of ignoring available evidence, giving strong presumption to the assuredness of the complainant, that has innocent people behind bars for 30 – 40 years.
          Rape is no different than any other crime in that regard. All available evidence should be gathered.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Will H. says:

            Where did you read in either ND’s or my comments that the cops should ignore evidence?Report

            • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

              Maybe what I take as “expressing doubt” garners a greater territory than what you would allow.
              But the cops really aren’t interested in investigation per se.
              They’re only interested in building a case.
              And the more they can build a case without investigating, so much the better for them.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Kazzy says:

        My evidence professor was a public defender before turning to academics. She told the class that when she interviewed for the position (this was in the 1970s), the big make it to break it question was “Could you defend a person accused of rape?”

        I don’t remember the context of the story basically I don’t remember if she was asked this because she was a woman or whether the Public Defender used this as their ultimate question to see who was really cut out for the job. I also heard stories about draft boards in the Vietnam era basically asking the Nazi question. If a person said that they would seek a conscientious objector status even against the Nazis, they were true believers. If they could make a Nazi exception, they were not true conscientious objectors or something like that.Report

    • zic in reply to NewDealer says:

      Something about the inherent negative assumption in men makes me feel uncomfortable. This kind of blanket condemnation is wrong for any group of people.

      I fully agree.

      I know it’s wrong because this sort of blanket condemnation has been heaped on women who have been raped — she brought it on herself — for a long time.

      Still, one wrong doesn’t justify the other, and in calling good men to responsibility, we should not cast blame upon them.

      But the risk of grouping all men will always be there when we discuss the behavior of individuals in terms of a group. That risk should not prevent the conversation.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to zic says:


        • Kazzy in reply to NewDealer says:

          I think the fact that we’re having this conversation is a huge step. Haggling over the best ways to address male culture is far better than arguing whether we should even bother to address it or just wish rape upon women who suggest doing so.

          The question is, how do we broaden this conversation beyond our little circle here?Report

          • NewDealer in reply to Kazzy says:

            Now that is a question.

            The defining masculinity one is especially hard for me because I am rather confident in my masculinity despite (or because of) the fact that many of my interests are not often seen as male by the broader society.

            I care more for art, reading, and theatre than sports and video games. I haven’t owned a video game system in years. I might get a little lonely when I hear more bro-dudey guys talk about video games or movies like Tropic Thunder but at no point do I think that they are more masculine like me. I see the hyper-masculine guys as being a bit like cartoons and they are going the way of the dodo.

            I identify as a guy and see myself as masculine. It is almost a tautology for me.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to NewDealer says:

              Notions of masculinity and felinity, to be perfectly honest, have always escaped me. It is why I grapple with the notion of being transgender… not because I don’t accept or support people identifying in whatever way feels natural to them… but because I think the ideal would be to reach a point where we don’t associate our interests, world views, passions, feelings, or anything else with our gender because we wholly accept them as being natural to any and all genders. I’ll fully cop to the idea that this might be the result of me not fully understanding what it means to be transgender, which is why I tend not to press the issue and instead focus on support and acceptance. And for fear of derailing the thread, that’s all I’m going to say on transgenderism now.

              Anyway, my point is, that becomes a difficult question for me. I understand Maxwell’s point to be a pivot away from the idea that masculinity is best expressed through sexual conquest or the pursuit thereof. Clearly, you do not feel urge; our gender and consequently our society would be well served if more men felt as you did.Report

              • NewDealer in reply to Kazzy says:

                Being transgender seems to also be about biology and physicality. As far as I can tell, transgendered people believe they were born with the wrong set of chromosomes/biology. It is not so much that they have feminine or masculine interests but wish they had different bodies. So a transgendered person born male wishes she had XX chromosomes and female sexual organs. A transgendered person born female wishes she had XY chromosomes and male sexual organs/features like an ability to grow facial hair.

                This is why medicine developed surgeries and hormones therapies to help the transgendered person.Report

              • Fnord in reply to NewDealer says:

                That’s my impression as well. I understand it’s almost like an amputee with phantom limb issues: their brain has a map of their body that doesn’t match the body they have.Report

              • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:


          • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

            I think it’s presumptuous to think that we initiated the conversation rather than joining in on a wide ongoing arc that has carried through quite a substantial period of time.
            The real question is: Are we just as full of sh!t as the others? Or are they more full of sh!t than we are? And what’s the bottom line on that anyway?Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Will H. says:

              I thin it’s presumptuous that you think we think we initiated the conversation. Hell, this whole exchange here is in response to a piece written by Maxwell. You seem to be needlessly looking for hairs to split, an increasingly common tactic I’m seeing from folks on the right here, the presumption being that if you poke enough pin holes in the dam, the whole thing is compromised.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                I don’t even know Maxwell, and I really don’t care so much about her one way or the other.
                I was just pointing out how old the new is.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Will H. says:

                So men have been discussing and altering their culture to address sexual violence for some time now? Man, we must just be really shitty at it then…Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy says:

                Well, the thing is, the kind of people who go around committing rapes tend not to care much about what people like us think. It’s almost as though they had minds of their own.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                If we just had a test for “good person who can be taught” vs. “bad person who will never learn”, how much simpler life would be.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                I think the research that Fnord links to below shows that many of the people committing rapes are unaware that they are committing rape and very well might change their behavior if they realized the full scope of what they were doing.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Think of cigarrettes or driving your kids around with no car seat or seatbelt as an analogy.

                In both cases everyone should have known that it is wrong to do X regardless of a campaign to change “cultural
                awareness” or whatever you want to call it. And the more the culture is changed, the less you see smoking or driving your kids around without seatbelts being tolerated (without peer pressure). People have had a reason not to smoke or take their kids safety seriously, but it required intense cultural pressure to make a difference in behavior in general.

                Sadly, lots of rapists aren’t devious and cruel masterminds or compassionless psychopaths. Many are just macho dudes who act unthinkingly and with great immorality in an otherwise morally unremarkable life. The goal is to change male culture so as to prevent those kinds of rapes, which are really quite common and preventable.

                We should equate anyone who slept with a girl without making sure he had her consent, obtained while she wasn’t intoxicated to the point of confusion, as disgustingly gross and immoral in the same way that we think of child molesters as disgustingly bad. We need a cultural incentive like that, not necessarily just (or at all) changed legal incentives. (Of course, the shame should aimed at the act, not the person, to allude to a previous thread.)

                Molesting children and molesting adults is wrong for all of the same reasons, even if the former is worse in some small degree, the way that torturing children is worse in degree than torturing innocent 20 somethings.

                We all know that things aren’t the way that they should be. Macho culture valorates men who “totally banged that totally drunk chick, who was all like no, no, no until she quieted down.” And even when this behavior isn’t valorated, it is defended in subtle ways: “Oh, he was drunk, too, so it wasn’t that bad.” By analogy, imagine if a molester molested a child while drunk. That would hardly change our feelings about the morality of the act.

                Indeed, the fact that rape is sometimes fueled by alcohol is all the more reason to engrain, deep down in the lizard-brain, into men that rape is gross and you are like a child molestor if you don’t obtain explicit consent from a person with their full faculties.Report

              • Mopey Duns in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                If both parties are drunk, how are we to know who initiated the sexual encounter?

                Serious question. I know the assumption that I would make, but I am not sure it is obviously correct.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Brandon Berg says:


                With any crime there is the separate epistemic question of how do we know who committed the crime, e.g. how do we know who threw the first punch.

                When a man has sex with a woman without obtaining her consent while in a state that she can give consent, that is a crime as gross as child molestation, for all the same reasons, and we should think of the two the same, even if there is the epistemic question of how do we know about such and such,

                We’ll discuss what we know about guilt in each case, just as we do with murder and child molestation and othe heinous acts like the ones committed by men in the grips of macho culture.Report

              • Mopey Duns in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Shaz, this doesn’t actually answer my question. Forget the unconscious woman; that is obviously rape, and heinous.

                I am talking about a case where both parties are conscious, but drunk (not to the point of automatism, either). Why is the assumption automatically that the man initiated the sexual encounter?Report

              • Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                a Few reasons…
                1) if it’s the man saying that he was raped, then I’m giving HIM the benefit of the doubt on who started it.
                2) Physiological — if the guy isn’t at knifepoint, some part of him probably wanted to impregnate her.
                3) Cultural — unless one can show that the woman had some reason to be “manhunting”, one figures it was the guy doing it.

                I’m QUITE willing to concede that both people in an encounter can be the victim in non-consensual sex. Ya can’t prosecute anyone at that point, because… duh? (unless it’s a 3rd party).

                As drink tends to lead to less volition and capability of consent, a different metric is “who’s drunker?”Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                I sort of agree with Kim.

                Let me be clearer.

                It is often unclear who is guilty of a sex crime or an assault. When children accuse an adult of rape, it is unclear whether they are telling the truth (child accusations of sex crimes are more likely to be false than adult women, IIRC) and in some cases there is very little evidence to go on. So it is with rape of adult women, all too often.

                I grant that there will be some cases where a man was a rapist according to the definition that I have given and it would be impossible to prove him guilty in a court of law. But that is irrelevant for the discussion at hand.

                This discussion is about how do we convince men that having sex with someone that they have not gotten explicit consent from, while that person is sure to be capable of making sound decisions, is as immoral and gross as molesting a child. Because it pretty much is that immoral, but male culture doesn’t see it that way.

                Do you think:

                a.) These acts of so-called “date rape” aren’t immoral in the way that child molestation is immoral


                b.) There is no part of our culture (male, macho culture) that suggests to men that such acts of “date rape” aren’t so bad and are maybe morally okay.


                The legal issue about questions of guilt and evidence are for another forum.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Here maybe is a different way of making a similar point. Sometimes drunkeness is no defense, morally and it shouldn’t be with rape either.

                Our culture tells a guy that if he wakes and remembers a drunken evening where he drove a car and got in an accident where he may have harmed a woman physically, for life, is something he shoild look back at with great regret and internal pain, forever.

                Our (male) culture tells a guy that if he wakes and remembers a drunken evening where he had sex with a woman who may or may not have consented, who he may have harmed psychologically, (and physically), for life, (though awareness of this is avoided in male culture) is something he shoul look back at and laugh about with his buddies.


              • Shazbot5 in reply to Kazzy says:

                Re: the pinhole poking.

                Agreed 100 percent.

                Maybe the lefties here are doing it too, as often, but I’m not so sure.

                Picking nits in someone else’s position or argument, especially in the details of exactly how it is stated, when it is clear how it can be revised to avoid some problem is just wrong. And the fact that you can endlessly pick nits until the other side gives up is not an intellectual victory, nor should it be considered a goodway to scrutinize which position is correct. All you’ve done is make the conversation too irritating.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                It’s highly likely that this is a tactic both/all sides are guilty of. I’ve noticed it here with a few particular commenters who hail from the right. Maybe that is because this site has, on the whole, turned leftward and it is more likely to appear from the “underdog” or what have you, I really don’t know. It’s just frustrating to deal with because I think there is room for open, honest discussion here that isn’t an echo chamber, as ND and Will have contributed above.Report

    • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

      I think you’re othering the “brutish sexism” too much. After all, more rapes happen with the academic track high schoolers than the jocks.Report

  2. zic says:

    It is worth it to both go read the Ebony article and to at least peruse the links within it.

    There’s a lot of concern on #4 here; I just want to flush out what the article says:
    The vast majority of women do not report their rapes to the police and many more only tell one or two people in confidence. That is a result of our proclivity towards victim blaming. What were you wearing? How much did you drink? Why were you there in the first place? When we hear about a rape case in the news or when we hear about one in our own lives, the first reaction should be to believe and support the accuser. There is a misleading perception that many or most rape claims are false. That is simply untrue. When a victim comes forward, they are committing an act of extreme bravery, and we owe it to them, to support (leaving the criminal investigation to law enforcement) them and place blame directly and solely on the perpetrator. In Steubenville, for example, there is photographic proof of the young women being dragged around, and yet the high school coaches and so-called “adults” still questioned whether the victim was lying or implied she asked for it. No one asks or wants to be raped.

    And to add: anecdotally, I know many women who have been raped. And I know one woman who’s reported that rape. She regretted it. Women rarely find justice for rape within the criminal justice system (though it finally seems to be changing) unless it was what some in the GOP call a ‘forceful rape, a stranger jumping out of the bushes sort of rape. I’ve actively heard groups of women advising other women not to report because of the trauma so induced; the re-victimization. And I’ll point out that across the nation, there are thousands upon thousands of untested rape kits, some on the brink of expiring.

    What that means bears some thought. You’ve been raped. You go to the police, and we know you’ve got to go right after, you can’t cleanse yourself. (Most women’s first reaction is to want to shower, to wash it away. That was mine, too.) You sit there in the station, maybe the hospital, until they can get you in. Where the re-violate you for evidence. For as long as two hours. Swabs, photos, etc. This, after you’ve just been violated.

    So they collect all the evidence in the rape kit. But it does no good without testing, without DNA testing. And that’s expensive. So they don’t bother;or they make you, the person who’s just been raped, pay for it.

    Yeah, I can totally dig wanting to make sure someone isn’t wrongfully convicted. But fears of wrongful conviction do balance problems of rape and the criminal justice system; they complicate it.

    One of the things on my list would have been to make sure 100% of rape kits are tested as soon as possible; that all efforts are made to get serial rapists off the streets. Guys can do that; they have some political heft, and they can use that heft to demand what may well be their best defense against a wrongful accusation: process the rape kits, and do it right away.Report

    • zic in reply to zic says:

      EDIT: But fears of wrongful conviction do NOT balance problems of rape and the criminal justice system; they complicate it.

      I left the NOT out of the sentence, please forgive the oversight, and I’m really grateful I caught it.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to zic says:

      We need all sorts of procedural and substantive reform for all forensic evidence. Bad forensic evidence procedures hurts both victims and defendants.

      San Francisco had a huge scandal with DNA mixups and poor forensic evidence procedures. Twice in the same year!

    • Will Truman in reply to zic says:

      I am completely on board with the second part of #4, which is not to blame the victim. It doesn’t matter how she was dressed, what she was doing in his room, and so on. If she was forced upon, that’s one of the most serious crimes there is. No second-guessing.

      The first part… I have difficulty arguing that because rapes go unreported, we should automatically believe that every accusation is true. It’s not a matter of one balancing out the other or failing to. It’s a matter of assuming truth when at least sometimes (even if rarely) it is false.

      I’m completely with you on the evidence-gathering part. When rapes occur, we need to do everything we can to establish that they did and provide leads to who might have done it.Report

      • Oh, and police should absolutely investigate the hell out of any accusation that is made, and (almost) never from an inherently skeptical point of view. When prosecutors go forward, and juries convict, are more complicated questions. But police should never be dismissive without real reason (ie evidence of some sort) not to be.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        When I read “believe”, I don’t necessarily take it as “accept it as indisputable truth” but more so as “erase any thoughts that the woman is lying until there is real reason to think so”.Report

      • Will H. in reply to Will Truman says:

        I have difficulty arguing that because rapes go unreported, we should automatically believe that every accusation is true.

        I believe false accusations have a higher reporting rate.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Will H. says:

          What does that even mean? False accusations outpace real accusations? False accusations occur more frequently than we believe? Whatever it is you mean, what evidence do you have to support this belief?Report

          • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

            I’m not sure the meaning of it.
            But it stands to reason.

            How many false accusations do you suppose go unreported?Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Will H. says:

              Why is that relvant? We’re talking about male culture, not female culture.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                Why would it be irrelevant?

                It’s really an issue of the manner in which police work is conducted, and not of rape itself.
                Where rape comes into play is the fact that the police investigate it.

                Two cases come to mind; one from Illinois and the other from Indiana.

                The one in Illinois (in Cole County, I believe; the Mattoon area) had to do with a fellow who was accused of improper sexual contact with a child. The state police investigated, and determined that there had been someone coaching this child to make these accusations. The officer investigating that then retired.
                Two or three years later, there were more complaints from another child associated with the person determined to have been coaching the first child as to what to say. The sheriff’s office investigated that one. Then man was tried and convicted.
                I saw it as a dismissal of a section 1983 action, post-release. The man was claiming that the sheriff had an obligation to verify the claims with the prior investigation of the state police. The court found no such obligation.

                The one in Indiana has to do with a child death; in the Ft. Wayne area, I believe. The house had burned, and the investigators determined that an accelerant had been used.
                The mother was convicted and spent something like 14 years behind bars. She was released after inconsistencies with the methodology of the determination of accelerant use had come to light. It probably never would have happened were it not for the fact that it was the State’s own documents which were used in exonerating her.

                But when you hear of people being wrongfully convicted, or being released from prison due to DNA evidence or something, there are many more behind that one that are still waiting.

                The fact that rape is an unpalatable crime does not alter the fact that persons are wrongfully convicted on a routine basis in this country.

                Now, in all this wringing of hands with concern for rape victims (a very legitimate concern, I should say), there should be no negation of concern for the wrongfully imprisoned.
                The one does not cancel out the other.

                If it’s really a dialogue on attitudes toward rape, then consider carefully the attitudes toward victims in two groups: a) the rape victims, and b) the wrongfully accused.
                Because things just don’t happen in a vacuum.

                But is this really more telling in our attitudes toward rape, or in our attitudes toward the wrongfully imprisoned?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Will H. says:

                See, here’s the thing…

                Maxwell, and myself, and many others, want to talk about problems within male culture that make rape and sexual violence against women more likely to happen. We’d ideally like to address these problems so that there will be less rape and less sexual violence against women. One way to do that is to shift the mindset with which we view rape accusations. This is important for several reasons: 1) rape claims are viewed differently than any other criminal claim I am aware of; 2) this view makes it less likely that true victims come forward; 3) this view makes it more likely that rapists go unpunished are free to rape again; 4) this view further ingrains in male culture the problematic mindsets that lead to more rapes and violence against women.

                Now, a shift in how we view rape claims should be balanced against the rights of the accused, a real issue our criminal justice system is struggling with on a number of fronts. And that is what *YOU* want to talk about. Which is fine. It is an important topic.

                But your insistence that we pivot from the larger issue of sexual violence against women to discuss the potential that addressing that issue might cause elsewhere is exactly the problem with so many of these conversations… they neglect the needs and rights of the many, many victims of rape to focus on some other group.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                Not exactly.
                First, let me state that I don’t know what went on with Maxwell, and I never watched the show that started all of this (I haven’t owned a television for about 3 years); and that I really don’t care enough to spend my available time educating myself about these things.
                But, I have seen what went on after the tv show, and it was horrible. From that, Maxwell then tries to turn it into an opportunity to make a positive contribution, which is to be commended. She’s demonstrated real character, and in doing so has overcome her detractors in the best possible manner.

                That said, the issue arose of the “skepticism” on the part of police in receiving such reports.
                And I believe that, generally, more skepticism of thought would be of benefit. If we’ve never had this discussion before, critical thinking isn’t really that high on the list of police skills.

                Now, rape is notably different; and the primary difference I see is the use of forensics, which present their own sort of issues. Those issues are the old ones of establishing and following procedures. In dealing with people, you’re always going to have jackasses (Schilling could prove that to you statistically; I’m sure there’s a formula).

                And there have been little signs of a fruitful conversation sprouting up. Fnord’s recount of the Vancouver program. Another commenter’s observation of division into subsets.

                To phrase it another way, healing me of leprosy isn’t going to do you (or me) much good.
                I’m not a leper.

                Or, you might say that ethics training benefits the ethically inclined.
                What then to those without such an inclination?

                Like the scene of little Alex reading the Bible in A Clockwork Orange, leading the viewer to believe that he has reformed through finding religion, only to see that he imagines himself as the Roman soldier beating the Christ on the road to Calvary.

                If a person is hell-bent on gaming the system, then such training only offers instruction in how to game the system with greater efficacy.

                I think it’s best to first define the scope to where the issues are relevant.
                Defining the matter as one of gender is simply too broad to be legitimate.
                And likely, defining the scope simply as “rape” is likewise overly broad.

                The natural inference is that there isn’t one solution, but two or more.
                There’s an area where effective action is possible, and there’s an area where it’s not.
                It is fully appropriate that there should be different responses to these.Report

              • Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Will H. says:

                You don’t klnow much about the circumstances of the OP and “I really don’t care enough to spend my available time educating myself about these things.” but you’re going to sanctimoniously blather away anyway?

                Thanks for letting us know we can ignore all your posts on this topic.

                Don’t bother to reply — I don’t care enough to read it.Report

            • zic in reply to Will H. says:


              False accusation is horrible, no matter if done through legal channels or social channels. Think of the generations of women also ruined by it; reputations smashed because someone said they made themselves sexually available.

              But it is a different problem, one we need to consider in parallel to rape; but not reason to fail discussing the role of men, the culture of men, in preventing rape.Report

              • Will H. in reply to zic says:

                I don’t really think it’s so much a gender issue as one of how we perceive sexual relations.
                That stated, it’s still the existing framework.
                If part of the solution is to construct a completely different framework, then it’s not likely to be a workable solution.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Will H. says:

                Well, if that’s the case. Why, exactly, is construct a different framework unlikely to work? Because it will be hard? Because it will demand change of the privileged?Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                My thoughts are more along the lines that changes in people involve changes in persons; and that persons are typically resistant to change.
                From that view, altering the framework is a workable solution only if you accept that generational change is a necessary element.Report

  3. Rod Engelsman says:

    Actually, I’m most ambivalent about #1, “legal consent.” What does that entail, exactly? This seems complicated to me and can, and has historically, cut both ways.

    For instance, until fairly recently (like sometime in the ’70s or ’80s, IIRC), a marriage certificate was considered “legal consent” and therefore it was legally impossible for a man to rape his wife.

    On the other hand, does legal consent in a dating situation require an explicit request and response? How many times do people actually do that? Do you do that? Isn’t “consent” in such situations more likely to be defined negatively, as in, “she didn’t say no”? Since I would assume that such an explicit request/response would normally be verbal, how do you prove something like that one way or the other after the fact?

    To be clear, I’m not questioning the basic premise that consensual sex requires consent (Duh), I’m just unclear on how practical or realistic it is to expect a legally provable consent and what that would look like. How do you get out of the he said/she said dilemma?Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

      While the notion of consent can be tricky, simply shifting attitudes from assumed consent to assumed nonconsent, thereby it’s not, “She didn’t say no,” to, “She didn’t say yes,” would be a step. I presume I would teach my hypothetical son that if he isn’t sure or otherwise has to ask, “What is consent?” then he doesn’t have it.Report

      • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Kazzy says:

        Yeah, Jack’s definitely getting the, “Yes means yes. Nothing else means yes, or maybe.” talk.Report

        • Will H. in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          By the time he’s old enough, you might need to sign a consent form in front of a notary for the consent to be effective.
          Then again, there could be an app for that.Report

          • Mopey Duns in reply to Will H. says:

            Ironically, signing a contract on sex can never be binding, because both parties can always withdraw consent without repercussions.

            Otherwise you could demand an injunction for specific performance. And I don’t think anyone would like that much.Report

      • Rod Engelsman in reply to Kazzy says:

        Granted that it’s been quite a long time since I played the seduction game with someone new, but I seem to remember that much, most actually, of the communication was non-verbal. And while I don’t disagree that it would be better all around if such communication were more explicit and unambiguous, I’m skeptical as to how much we can really expect the human mating dance to shift in that direction.

        It feels a lot like the advice that goes something like, “Before having intercourse, sit down with your prospective partner and have a frank discussion about STD’s and your sexual histories and always use a condom.” Yeah, right.Report

        • A Teacher in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

          I remember one college about 10 years ago passed some campus policy that said that for sexual relations consent had to be obtained at every stage of undressing or intimate touching and had to be actively consented to else it be treated by campus police as an assault.Report

          • NewDealer in reply to A Teacher says:

            I believe that was Antioch College and it was over ten years ago. That happened around the time I was in middle school, so early-90s.


          • Rod Engelsman in reply to A Teacher says:

            By that standard I don’t believe I’ve ever had sex that they wouldn’t have classed as assault, including the lord-only-knows how many times I’ve had sex with my wife of 28 years.

            And that’s just fishin’ ridiculous.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

              Here’s the thing…

              On the face of it, I agree. If the goal is to ensure that sex is an enjoyable, intimate experience for both parties, imposing arduous restrictions on its natural progress for consenting adults defeats that.

              However, if such policies shift the mindset, that is a good thing. And if they make guys stand up and say, “That’s ridiculous!” and that’s followed by a chorus of women saying, “More ridiculous than rape!” and it gives some of those men pause… that is a good thing, too.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                The cultural awareness liberals are talking about doesn’t have to assume explicit verbal consent as a standard. I think that’s a mistake, in fact. It should be based on the awareness that compelling another to have sex, or coercively doing so, is tremendously uncool. It’s about self-respect, and respecting others, and only secondarily about the law.Report

              • Rod Engelsman in reply to Kazzy says:

                I think there’s something larger going on here that maybe you don’t want to talk about because you’ve already stated this post is specifically about changing male culture. But communication is a two-way street and if we’re going to teach our young men to respect the signals women are sending–and I agree with that premise!–then it seems that we also need to teach our young women to send unambiguous signals.

                If we want yes to mean yes and no to mean no and then to hold young men legally accountable for heeding those messages (combine #1 and #4 in your OP), then I think we need to teach our young women not to send ambiguous messages where no sometimes means maybe and maybe really means “yes, but I don’t want to just come out and say it.”

                The verdict came in on the rape trial of those h.s. football players in Ohio. Guilty, and sentenced to one and two years, respectively. Good. I hope they and their compatriots learned their lesson and I hope that they can eventually come out of this as productive citizens. I think there’s a good chance they’re not actually congenital sexual predators. But I also hope that young women will learn something from this episode, too. Like maybe it’s not a good idea to go to a party with a bunch of guys and get shit-faced.

                I want to make clear that I’m not blaming the victim here. BUT, if you were to drive a nice, new car to a bad area of town, park it, and leave it sitting there unlocked with the keys in the ignition, and then it gets stolen… are you the victim of a crime? Yes, of course. Are you also a fucking idiot? Yes, of course. Is there a sense in which you brought the trouble on yourself? Yes, there really is.

                The reason I’m straying into un-PC territory here is that I worry about the messages we’re sending our young women. Does dressing provocatively excuse a rape? No. Does having too much to drink excuse a rape? No. Does going to a guy’s place to “check out his etchings” or whatever excuse a rape? No. None of that excuses the crime of rape. And in a perfect world such actions wouldn’t ever lead to the crime of rape. But we don’t live in a perfect world and those actions are all D.U.M.B.

                What I worry about is that by emphasizing the truth that dumb actions on the part of women don’t excuse the crime of rape by men, we’re infantilizing women. We’re treating them like children who bear no responsibility for the consequences of their stupidity. We’re telling them they can leave their doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition and when the inevitable happens we’re going to dry their tears and comfort them in their time of loss.

                I’m the father of two daughters and I have no intention of failing them in that regard.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

                There was a recent rape case in the news — handed down the sentence in the last few days. The girl was unconcious — and none of the guys there apparently thought having sex with her was rape.

                She was passed out. Now, maybe it’s infantlizing to women because we’re “emphasizing how stupid they were” when they got raped, but when it appears there are men who don’t understand that lack of conciousness is, in fact, going to make it rape?

                I don’t think talking down to women is the problem. We’re apparently not talking down to men enough because they can’t even handle “How not to Rape for Dummies”. (Chapter 2: If she’s passed out, it’s rape. See Appendix F: Whatever you just said that started with “But” is a justification for rape. Thank you for playing).

                I am…quite some time from my young and stupid years, but I can very keenly recall a few things. First and foremost: A lot of women were sending very unambiguous “no” signals (everything short of talking to the man in question like he was a moron who didn’t speak the language) and the men didn’t get it.

                Or rather, they didn’t want to get it. To them, a “no” meant she was playing “hard to get”.

                Bluntly put, even in enlightend America there is a presumption on the part of young men that they are often owed sex. That saying “yes” is the default, that saying “no” is something to work around.

                And it’s to women’s credit — or perhaps it’s another “stupid” thing they do — that so often they simply don’t want to believe a man could be that flipping stupid.

                Which is why the vast, vast bulk of rapes aren’t strangers jumping out of bushes. They’re “regular guys” who didn’t take no for an answer.

                And to this day they don’t think they’re rapists.

                So let’s put aside worries about infantalizing women aside — because as it stands, most rapists don’t actually think they’re raping a woman. Which means, given they’re violating the law and commiting a grave moral error — that they’re the ones that apparently aren’t having it broken down into small enough words yet.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Morat20 says:

                Here’s the problem with that:
                I think most of what you stated there could be re-phrased as:
                “Immaturity in relationship dynamics”

                There is an awful lot of that around, yes.
                And it looks like it’s always going to be there.

                Maybe there is a way to establish more wide-scale realistic expectations; or to address the underlying issues somehow.
                But from where I sit, that one seems hopeless.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

                In a not-so-inconsequential way, that re-states my issues with #2:
                Teach young men to see women’s humanity, instead of seeing them as sexual objects there for male pleasure

                I was having a conversation this weekend with a friend (female) in Miss.
                For some reason, I was going on about how I’d always been attracted to intelligent women. In third grade, Mrs. S’s class, there were three really “smart” kids; self, J, & C, the smart girl. J wasn’t really so much my friend, though we were on good terms; I had other friends that were cooler. But C won my heart, and I had a crush on her. Sher was the smart girl in the class.
                A lot of men feel intimidated by intelligent women; and the predominant culture in Miss. supports that. But she said that she didn’t feel bad about that, because it saved her from the attentions of so many that she didn’t want anything to do with anyway.

                More to the point:
                Why is it that so many men feel intimidated by intelligent women?

                I don’t think it’s the women at all.
                I think it’s more about the way that those men view themselves.
                And because of this self-image, they are restricted to viewing women in certain terms.

                So, to my way of thinking, trying to address the symptom (this view of women) without addressing the disease (this self-image that leads to that view) fails on a number of levels.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Will H. says:

                Will H,

                If I understand you correctly, it now seems as if you are advocating for a broader conversation, which contains the points Maxwell has outlined as well as others. If so, I wouldn’t disagree with that at all. Maxwell’s list is not exhaustive. It is the steps she advocates, but surely is not the only way. Her main emphasis is that we need to stop telling women what to do and start telling me what to do (or not do).Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                Not exactly.
                I’m arguing for a more narrow discussion of more limited scope, and one focused on on things realistically attainable.
                Identifying exactly what the problem is is a big step one in my book.

                Should women alter their behaviors? Probably.
                Should men alter their behaviors? Most likely.
                When you leave one of those two out, things get skewed.

                There’s been a lot of discussion about intoxication and informed consent upthread.
                I have a bit of an issue with that– It doesn’t seem to comport with our current system of law. We would have to alter things on a very fundamental level, and I tend to be opposed to such things generally.

                Case in point:
                The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
                My understanding of this (and it may well be some other treaty):
                We had a war, then we had a treaty. We sent our ambassador down to sign, and the Mexicans got him drunk on tequila. He awoke the next day with a hangover, and they switched the papers on him. When they found out later, it didn’t seem like enough to fight another war over.

                It’s a standard of our system that intoxication is no defense; at best, a mitigating factor.
                Mitigation of risks is also a standard of tort law.

                I understand that rape is a serious matter, but I don’t see wiping out our system of law as a viable solution.

                Case in point:
                DWI laws.
                This should never have been able to constitute a separate offense.
                Our system of law provides that such a thing should constitute an aggravating factor in sentencing.
                Yet to achieve some “desirable goal,” there was an awful lot of violence done to out Fourth Amendment. And when that was not really necessary in the first place.

                It was bad enough that it happened the once. I don’t care to see that happen again.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                What behaviors must women alter?

                Here is where we get back to the initial problem: The behavior that women engage in that people argue they should change… those behaviors violate the rights of exactly zero people. Conversely, the behaviors that men engage in that people argue they should change… those behaviors violate or serve to violate the rights of many, many people, namely victims of sexual violence.

                Do you see now why it is problematic to insist that this is simply a two way street?

                Women are being told, “Don’t dress that way.”
                Men are being told, “Don’t rape.”
                And somehow we see the former as a more legitimate shift than the latter. That really boggles the mind, ultimately.

                I understand your point that we are seeking a very large paradigm shift, but it is because the current paradigm is so F’ed up that such a large shift is necessary.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                That’s where we go off in the weeds.
                Dressing one way or another isn’t a legitimate risky behavior.
                It’s not like men are bulls and charge everything colored red.
                (Whereas wearing red and walking through a field with a bull is a legitimately risky behavior.)

                Back to the principle that identifying the problem is step one of the solution:
                To mitigate risks, the risks must first be identified.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                And the issues of rights falls a bit short, in that the matter is not phrased correctly.

                A person has an obligation to mitigate risks.
                That’s a standard of tort law.
                Failure to mitigate risks results in reduction of damages.

                There’s a particular term for it, which eludes me at the moment.
                But as far as rights go, there is a right of reasonable reliance.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                At some threshold, we do hold people responsible for their own actions. This is a two-way street. Men are held responsible for fathering children. We’d like sexual consent to be a cut and dried thing, with clear distinctions. It just isn’t and any attempt to simplify consent is doomed to failure. Consider the differing laws on age of consent and consanguinity laws between states.

                At what point of intoxication can we say someone is no longer giving informed consent to sex, or that giving such consent might be impaired by being intoxicated? Is it possible, however unpleasant I may sound in bringing it up, that there’s a level of intoxication beyond which a man would trespass beyond a limit he wouldn’t if he were sober, on a similarly intoxicated woman’s right to consent?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                A woman has a right to dress as she chooses.
                A man does not have a right to rape.

                So if we’re going to focus on whose behavior we should address, I’d rather focus on the behavior to which people do not have a right.

                Now, if a woman CHOOSES to dress differently with an eye towards mitigating her risk, she also has that right. But she should not be encouraged or demanded to sacrifice the freedom to choose because of the tendency of others to exploit that choice. Especially given that I have not seen any evidence that a shift in such behaviors by women actually does mitigate their risk.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                The fallacy here is that of loaded language; i.e. an appeal to emotion.
                You’re still stuck on clothing, as if clothing constituted a legitimate risk.
                While that may be the case in certain circumstances (such as where fire-resistant materials are required), this is not the case with rape.

                Forgo the fallacies, and apply reason.

                Consider the statute of frauds.

                As far as I can tell, the issue with intoxication is the same for men & women; namely, under what circumstances did the person become intoxicated.
                Just as drunkenness is not a successful defense for shoplifting, neither is it so for rape.
                And likewise, willful intoxication confers no liability on another person.
                The standard is reasonable diligence, iirc.
                Buyer’s remorse and blackouts don’t make a person a rapist.

                Another historical example:
                The Yellow Rose of Texas.
                This refers to a prostitute.
                General Santayana had a thing for the ladies, and he was known to prefer blondes. So they sent a hooker into his camp to seduce him. It worked. The ambush came, and caught the general with his pants down.

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


                Alcohol is indeed a complicating factor, one that is very difficult to account for. It is why, personally, I think that acquaintance rapes or other types that arise from intoxication are of a different type and kind than violent sexual attacks and require a different approach to preventing and response when they do happen.

                I also want to apologize for my initial shortness with you on this thread. I read your initial replies as taking the subject less-than-seriously, which ran completely counter to the very sober type of conversation I sought. You’ve clearly demonstrated yourself to be seriously and critically engaging the topic, even if it is currently leading you and I to different conclusions. Mea culpa.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                All that’s fine and good as far as it goes, Kazzy. But we’ve put women in prison for seemingly consensual sex with minor children.

                Women should be at liberty to dress in any way they choose. I’ll tell you something about the Playboy Mansion. Women drunkenly cavort in various states of undress because they feel safe enough to do so. Hefner provides excellent security and quickly ejects anyone who gets out of line and those people don’t come back. Ever. That’s how Hef manages his little flesh circus. And he pays those women, while they suit his purposes. They come and go in his life like a kaleidoscope and every year there’s a fresh crop of nubile young things all-too-willing to appear in his circus. Who’s taking advantage of whom in that situation? Hef says the Playboy Mansion is run by and for women.

                Let’s not have too much pulpit thumping on this subject. Women who get drunk and pass out in the company of drunken men should know they’re not in the Playboy Mansion, where a security detail will protect them. If men are not excused from the crime of rape for being drunk while they rape these equally drunk women, if women are not excused from the charge of statutory rape for having sex with children below the age of consent, however willing those children might seem, it’s not as simple as Choice. Hef saves those women from making choices by paying for first rate security who are not allowed to fraternise with the girls. That being the case, is there any possible case for saying women are responsible for the situations in which they put themselves?Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                A flat tire can have several causes: over-inflation, a puncture such as a screw or nail, banding that popped, etc.
                They all result in a flat tire. It looks the same on the side of the road.
                But these are very different causes. Prevention requires a different set of actions.

                As I noted before, I believe the topic of ‘rape’ is overly broad to be useful.
                There’s simply too much involved.
                It might look the same at the end, but the road traveled has a very different terrain.

                And I probably was a bit flippant initially, until it became clear to me that I was misunderstood. I really don’t care if you hate me or not, but I want to make sure that you’re hating the right person, and that the reasons are clear and valid.
                Apologies are unnecessary, but I appreciate the spirit in which it was given. Thank you.Report

              • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

                Alcohol is a complicated issue to talk about, because when when people talk about the role of alcohol in sexual assault, they mean a lot of different things. Do some people want to treat “buyer’s remorse and blackouts” where the sex was (at the time) consented to by the intoxicated participant as sexual assaults? There are probably some people who advocate that position (and, even more problematically, there are probably people who would make gendered judgements about responsibility when both parties are drunk).

                But that’s not the only role alcohol plays in sexual assault situations. I’m not sure it’s even the primary one. And hence it’s not the only role alcohol plays in rape prevention advice aimed at potential victims (and, in turn, in the blaming of actual victims).

                The “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign I mention below featured alcohol in the context of a woman passed out drunk. That’s not a buyer’s remorse situation. The study I linked to in that post about self-reporting of rapists has a question related to intoxication, which is:

                Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did no[sic] want to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual advances (e.g., removing their clothes)?

                Again, that doesn’t sound like it would be interpreted to mean someone consenting at the moment then having buyer’s remorse once they sobered up. That sounds like someone who wasn’t consent at the time, but too intoxicated to resist physically.

                Some who’s unconscious doesn’t (and physically can’t) consent to sex. Even if they’re unconscious because of voluntary intoxication. Some who’s not giving consent is not giving consent, even if they’re too intoxicated to take action to back up that lack of consent. We can agree on that, right?

                I’m not entirely clear on what you’re saying.

                I hope you’re not saying that when an awake and ambulatory person, intoxicated though they may be, has sex with someone who is passed out from intoxication, the unconscious person is equally responsible for the sex.

                I sincerely hope you’re not comparing someone passing out from intoxication, even in an environment without a security detail, to someone having sex with minor children, even ones that are nominally consenting.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                I said “equally drunk” not “passed out”. Nobody’s forcing these women to chug all that booze and make these bad choices. The issue of consent is blurred by booze and drugs.

                Got drunk and made a bad choice you don’t remember? Girl, if you were driving home that drunk, you’d be in jail. Society doesn’t give you a break for being too drunk to make a good decision about whether or not you should climb in your little Jetta and endangering other people as you weave your way home. The bartender who served you all those drinks, he won’t get a break when the dram shop insurance kicks in.

                So you might understand my cynicism about drunk women accusing equally drunk men of rape. At some point, we are responsible for our actions, men and women.Report

              • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

                So basically the same thing Will was saying about buyer’s remorse?

                I was confused by the reference to “women who get drunk and pass out” in the previous sentence as a possible antecedent of “these.” Sorry for the mix up.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                I guess I’m just annoyed with the Men Are Pigs argument. A woman can drink herself into oblivion, get completely wasted and pass out on someone’s carpet and nobody ever gets to say “You are doing a stupid thing.”

                Nobody. Men need to reform, men need a paradigm shift, that much is true. No matter how enlightened a man might be, he’d better face the music and hang his head and sheepishly laugh and agree to any stupid, one-sided statement about men. If such a thing was ever said about a women, there’d be no end of it.

                When the word on the street says only men do stupid things, we need a paradigm shift all right.Report

              • zic in reply to Kazzy says:

                BlaiseP, Nobody says anything?

                Yeah, right. Women are told not to do that all the time. That if they do that and get raped, it’s their fault.

                I’m not condoning getting so drunk; but it’s a different problem, one that reeks of developing/fully blown alcoholism.

                It compounds the problem; but to suggest nobody says anything is just silly. Women have been slut-shamed for all sorts of behaviors for generations. They’re taught to say no; that to say yes equals being dirty. They’re also marketed sexy on a daily basis, a pretty big conflicting set of messages. And they’re sexy is used to sell everything from beer to cars to airplane seats.

                But there’s very little discussion about men’s piggish behavior that’s not classed as ‘nagging feminists.’

                Here, on this blog, there are many fine mine who I respect greatly. Well educated, thoughtful caring men. Respectful men. And look how difficult it is to get a simple discussion happening on ‘how do we change the culture of men?’ When I first proposed that it was important discussion, it was met with some skepticism. Look how often this post veers back to women’s behavior, not men’s.

                Yes, some women behave badly. We should work at that. But there’s already a vast history of that discussion. The literature on how to discuss men’s behavior is a little thinner. Vastly thinner.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                Does anyone here, by a show of hands, not think that it’s stupid to get so drunk that you pass out in public?

                Does doing something stupid in any way justify rape?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                “A woman can drink herself into oblivion, get completely wasted and pass out on someone’s carpet and nobody ever gets to say “You are doing a stupid thing.””

                Are you sure about that? Women receive much more criticism for their drunk antics than men do. And, as it pertains to the topic at hand, the criticism is often sexually charged even if their actions don’t justify it. A girl gets drunk and dances and is labeled a “drunk slut”. Yet that same language or the male equivalent thereof (Is there even a male equivalent of slut? If not, that is telling…) is rarely invoked.

                If anyone, male or female, gets drunk and pukes on the floor, they are deserving of criticism for irresponsible and destructive behavior. They do not deserve to be raped or blamed for any sexual violence they may incur in such a state or have their sexual morals called into question because they had the temerity to be young and dumb.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                Well, I can’t speak for everywhere. I just don’t see anything about the choices women make. Nobody’s condoning rape. But nobody’s saying women do stupid things, either. Men have to learn respect for women. For all the cheap talk about Equality around here, there’s very little about respect for boys in all this and none around here. And absolutely none from you.

                Slut-shaming is a very bad thing, very bad indeed. Let me tell you something which happened to me yesterday. A very drunk woman came up to me, a woman who’s come on to me before. Friend of the landlady. She asked if I wanted to see her boobs. I politely declined. She said, scornfully, “What kind of man are you?” and showed me her boobs anyway.

                Any feedback on that little encounter? Care to make a statement about the culture of women which thinks that’s a fun little thing to do? You want to change the culture of “Men”, whoever those creatures might be. But woe betide me if I talk about the fundamentally disrespectful nature of such a conflation. We are not all alike and I will not be told about “Women” as if they were another such conflation.Report

              • zic in reply to Kazzy says:

                BlaiseP, google ‘rape prevention.’

                You’ll find a ton of advice for women, telling them how to behave, how to dress, what to carry.

                You also find there’s little advice in the way of advising men how to behave. The “Don’t be that guy” campaign being a rare exception. And it produced a 10% drop in rapes.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                I never see anyone telling young people, male or female, that drinking themselves into unconsciousness is stupid. Nowhere are such admonitions to be found, on the internets or off!Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Wikihow has this:
                But nothing for men.

                I did find a few websites aimed at men and I hope against hope that they are serious and not satirical.
                Even if they are serious, it seems telling that they are essentially spin-offs of actual advice offered to women. Rather than actually addressing male culture, they seemed primarily aimed at acknowledging the role men play in rape. A good thing, mind you, but shows how the movement to address the male role is still very much in its infancy relative to the female role.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                Google doth make geniuses of us all. When I see a post around here from a woman, with something about how boys deserve some respect, how boys are pushed into gender roles, how boys’ emotions are ruthlessly suppressed, decrying the relentless assault pushing them into conformity with society’s expectations, there will be two moons in the sky.

                Men start out as little tiny boys. We’ve got all sorts of fine, uplifting prose around here for everyone but heterosexual boys, burdened with Testosterone, the Molecule of Rage. Nobody gives a shit about these boys or their problems. But they’re the ones who need to do all the changing. Women want change from men, expecting men to provide the excellent examples for those boys. I contend women have an entirely necessary role to play in that process, too, as good men should in the lives of girls. And we shall not advance one inch as a society until women and men realise that fact.Report

              • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

                ha. blaise, zic was making the point over on the “damsel in distress” thread that we need to teach our boys better.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                A pretty common theme in today’s feminism is how men are pushed into gender roles. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the starting premise of Maxwell’s approach to preventing rape is that men are socialized into those roles, so they can be socialized out of them.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yes, yes. I saw that. But being a man is more than just swapping out nurturing roles with women. I nurtured my babies. I carried them on my back. I did the housework and put my wife through six years of college and earned all the money, too.

                As Kazzy observes, Mens’ Consciousness as a movement is in its infancy. Women have proven remarkably unhelpful in defining what they want from men and have amply demonstrated their ignorance of how to raise boys, assisted and abetted by the court system and child welfare which routinely assigns custody of children to women.

                Until that injustice in law is corrected, we shall have generation after generation of Morlock Men who never had a worthy male example to model themselves upon in their lives.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’m just not sure who you’re arguing against at this point, Blaise.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                That argument comes with some presumptions, of which not all are sufficiently founded.
                While I can attempt to qualify it sufficiently in attempt to make it into a true statement, it hardly seems worth the effort.
                Better to define terms and define the scope beforehand.

                There is not one system of law since the dawn of time which holds murder to be fully legal.
                And yet we still have murderers.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                Perhaps, one day, I will live to see a woman write ” Teach young women to see men’s humanity” I do not expect to live so long.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                Blaise, how do you think women generally see men?Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                What do I argue against? The fatuous nonsense about how men need to do all the changing. These little Steubenville bastards, the glory of their pestilential little burg, they’re going to Juvie and rightly so.

                But for all this unctuous twaddle from the likes of Zerlina Maxwell not one voice was raised about how all those kids got the booze, who bought it for them, how they were left unsupervised, why all those girls were hanging around the football players — after all, when girls objectify boys, that’s no problem — where were their mommas to say “you know, there was this woman named Dorothy Parker who wrote a little poem, went like this:

                “I like to have a martini,
                Two at the very most.
                After three I’m under the table,
                after four I’m under my host.”

                Where were the other girls who were at that booze-fuelled party? Why didn’t they stand up for this poor girl? When the infamous videos started flying around the school, it wasn’t just boys sending them. These kids were all under age and absolutely nobody else has been indicted.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                How do you think women generally see men? Well, Chris, I do not speak for women. I speak for men and boys, being the Hetero Sorta Dude who raised both boys and girls, the sort of man who brusquely informed his daughters of the dangers of getting drunk at parties where young men were likely to be in attendance. The sort of man who with equal brusqueness informed his son of how peer pressure could warp his budding obsession with the girls around him.

                What I find particularly rankling in all this jive is women telling men how they ought to behave around women — and reserving none of their cant for how girls ought to behave in the presence of men. Self-respect begins with self-control.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

                Self-respect begins with self-control.
                That’s a thing I’ve been wondering about too.

                How true can it be that it is actually male culture which so needs the dramatic paradigm shift when we have things of the sort of pin-up calendars and Vegas showgirls?
                Now regardless of who the predominant consumers of such items might be, what manner of messaging is this?
                How often is it that women gladly play to the sort of stereotype that Maxwell is speaking out against?

                The issue came up upthread, and I decided not to comment on it; but to be more clear:
                Exactly why is it that women seem to be drawn to men predisposed toward immaturity in relationships?

                There was a song from so many years ago that said:
                There wouldn’t be any good ol’ boys if it weren’t for the good ol’ girls
                Isn’t there some kernel of truth in that?Report

              • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

                Google might make a genius of anyone, Blaise, but only if you’ve got the wit to use it.

                Hell, I didn’t even make it that hard for you. I posted a link in this very discussion to a study suggesting more than 90% of (male on female) rapes are committed by less than 5% of men. It ain’t a “generation of Morlock Men” that’s the problem.

                You think women might need to do some changing, Blaise? I posted a story about a woman who raped a man (well, a girl who raped a boy, as all too often these stories are about boys and girls rather than men and women). A story which, incidentally, zic saw fit to engage with and you didn’t. So yeah, Blaise, I get that women might need to change, too.

                Of course, speaking as a man who posted a story of a girl raping a boy, maybe I disagree about exactly what sort of change everybody needs. Gosh, maybe that poor boy would have been better off if his mother who informed him of the dangers of getting drunk at parties where young women were likely to be in attendance. Maybe his father should have told him that self-respect begins with self-control, and if he didn’t have enough self-control and self-respect not to cuddle with girls, one might rape him.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                Exactly why is it that women seem to be drawn to men predisposed toward immaturity in relationships?

                Why not let’s just quit talking about Men and Women as if everyone with the requisite genitalia conforms to stereotype? If we must talk about the sort of women who are drawn to immature men, we might ask what examples of men and women they saw as they were coming up. We might well ask why young women go in search of rich old men or why some women cling to their abusive husbands. Why are more women graduating from college? Why are some women so goddamn mean to each other? There are no good answers in the aggregate for these questions.

                French makes a rigid distinction between All and Some. Les femmes, des femmes. I wish we were so particular in English. It’s irritating to talk about Men and Women in general.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                Gosh, maybe that poor boy would have been better off if his mother who informed him of the dangers of getting drunk at parties where young women were likely to be in attendance.

                That’s why I had the parties at my house, where I could keep an eye on things. I had to pour out a bottle of booze one time for a party my middle daughter had thrown. See, I’m not an idiot. When the parents would drop their kids off at the party, they’d ruefully shake their heads and say “Wow, lotta kids to look after.” I’d say “Where would you rather they have a party and blow off steam? Break into some abandoned property and get into trouble?”

                It’s an enormous house and everyone had a great time. I’d rent a sound system so they weren’t blowing out my speakers. I’d warn the neighbours and keep an eye on the trees in the back to keep the little bastards from doing drugs out there. I’d warn the PD that I was having a party, so they’d be on the qui vive if I had to throw out a troublemaker or two. I’d keep older kids from trying to crash the parties.

                I gave all those kids a viable alternative to going to wild-ass parties where bad things routinely happened. They grew up healthy and happy and gainfully employed.

                I’m not going to be lectured about what Daddies and Mommies should say to Boys and Girls, not by you anyway. I’ve been there and done that and some of those kids came over to my house in tears, knowing my home was a safe place to run to when shit got bad with their parents. And I’d call up their parents and let them know where their kids were. It does take a village to raise a child.Report

              • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

                Good, so let’s provide an environment where kids are supervised. A good step. You do have something to contribute after all. I wish you’d mentioned it before someone called you on the “how girls ought to behave” shit.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                Then lay off begged questions such as Does doing something stupid in any way justify rape?

                Stupid parents let their stupid boys and girls go to parties and get drunk. Where they get stupider. With other stupid boys and girls. Who all get so stupid they end up goosing a passed out girl and hauling her around in a car, presumably driven drunk, and making videos passing them around to each other. They were all accessories to this crime, beginning with the parents. There are laws declaring parents criminally negligent. I can think of at least six separate crimes committed here.

                Your attempt to dissect “stupidity” away from this discussion is duly noted and duly dismissed. The stupidity started with the negligent parents and the negligent adults who bought all that booze for those kids.

                One of those boys might as well have his face branded: he’s going to be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life. Yeah, I did tell my daughters they might get raped if they go to a booze party. You got a problem with that? Spare me the bald-faced hypocrisy. I told my sons and my daughters stupid is contagious and it happens in groups.Report

              • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yeah, it’s all stupid people getting stupid drunk and doing stupid things. That’s your story and you’re sticking to it.

                Repeat rapists, less than 5% of men, account for more than 90% of rapes. Stupid people doing stupid things. Especially those men who with 9 or more assaults each, 0.6% of the population accounting for 45% of assaults, they must be real party animals.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                That goes nowhere with me. We don’t know how many rapes go unreported: I’ve seen horrible statistics on non-consensual encounters. The statistics on rape are bad enough without getting all pissy about me observing this isn’t just about men. It’s about an entire society where a bunch of do-gooders run around in little circles and tell the rest of us how this is a man’s problem. It’s an entire society’s problem when we won’t educate children and raise them with respectful examples of how men and women could and should set boundaries on sexual encounters.

                You want to make this about some small proportion of men committing these crimes? According to the numbers I’ve seen, one in four women has endured a non-consensual sexual encounter and is likely higher. Don’t tell me that’s just five percent of the population. In Steubenville, absolutely everyone at that party was complicit in these crimes. That’s 100 fucking percent. Anonymous had to put the names out there herself before anything was done about it. That’s not a Five Percent Problem with a Five Percent Solution.Report

              • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

                It’s based on self-reported data for undetected rapes, not from the criminal justice system (not that data from those rapists who ARE caught says anything different about repeat offenses).

                76 repeat rapists in a sample of 1882 men. Committing an average of 5.8 assaults apiece. 439 assaults, very close to one for every 4 members of the study population.

                Here’s the link again:

                Once you move beyond the view that it’s just stupid people doing stupid things, you might see the damage a small subset of people willing to repeatedly prey on others can do.

                Which is why it’s so rich to hear you lecture me on how all of society is complicit in this. Not that I disagree that society is abetting the predators. But you’re part of the problem. With your “Testosterone, the Molecule of Rage” and your “dangers of getting drunk at parties ” and your “how girls ought to behave in the presence of men.” You’re giving the predators cover, hiding them in the mass of stupid people doing getting stupid drunk. Hiding assaults among the many stupid things that happen at booze parties. Letting people look at predators and think “there but for the grace of god go I” instead of “odds are this guy has attacked or will attack multiple other people.”Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                The Steubenville case very clearly reveals the complicity of everyone involved. Where do you suppose those rapists learned their tradecraft? How are they getting away with all these rapes?

                The very fact that women aren’t reporting these rapes when they happen, a very serious problem indeed, ought to show the need for women to teach girls how to act around men, especially abusive and predatory men. Who taught them to not report these crimes? Who created the aura of shame and guilt?

                Who excreted these lawyers who are willing to call an underage girl a liar? How do these assholes sit down at the Thanksgiving table and look at their own mothers and sisters and wives and daughters? You’re completely blind to the obvious: unless and until women do report these crimes, unless and until this culture no longer tolerates hoisting rape videos up to the Net and from phone to phone — let us have none of this nonsense about how this is a problem confined to serial rapists.Report

              • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

                Who created that aura of shame and guilt?

                How about the guy who, when rape comes up, complains that “nobody’s saying women do stupid things” and “how girls ought to behave in the presence of men”? As if predatory men rape woman because their victim’s behavior was somehow wrong, that she did something stupid.

                Say people get raped because they do stupid things, and, surprise surprise, people are ashamed to report rape. Whoever could have predicted that people might be ashamed of doing things society calls stupid?

                Who created that aura of shame and guilt? Look in the mirror!Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

                I created that aura of shame and guilt? Draconian old Dad? I told my sons and daughters enough self-respect to stay away from illegal alcohol and drug parties.

                I treated my children like adults because that was the deal I’d cut with them. I said “Five hundred years ago, at thirteen, when you physically matured, you’d be treated like adults. This society has lost its mind. It will not treat you like an adult until you’re variously — of the age of consent — eighteen — or 21. It’s stupid. In this house, you act like an adult because that’s what you are, physically.” When they didn’t measure up to adult standards, I had to show them how an adult would act in that situation. They matured so fast everyone around them remarked on it. I furnished them a lovely home, where they could invite all their friends and do pretty much anything they wanted, as long as it was legal. They were the envy of the high school. When two boys started taking unwanted liberties with a girl at a party in my home, they were immediately ejected and taken to the police station.

                If you ever have kids, Fnord, the first and only goal is to get them operating on their own power and internal guidance systems.

                My girls were beautiful and powerful, leaders not followers, very much the children of my body. They did not live in fear. They didn’t have to sneak out to have fun. I taught them to drink responsibly, how to have sex responsibly — and they had a lot of it: their boyfriends and my son’s girlfriends came and went in the house and I never went in their rooms. They acted like adults because I treated them like adults. There were always condoms under the sink and both girls went on birth control pretty much as soon as they were capable of getting pregnant.

                The very idea, that you’re going to lecture me on this subject is just ridiculous. When you’ve raised three kids and been friends with all their friends, then we can compare notes.Report

              • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’d got no reason to think you’re anything but an excellent father, Blaise.

                But that’s not how things work. You said it yourself: all of society is complicit. Except in extraordinary circumstances, it’s not one person, even one as important as a parent, that makes victims feel shame and allows predators to get off.

                Which brings us back to this thread, and the million other little interactions like it that do make up society. It’s not just your daughters. It’s every other woman who hears people say that women get raped because they did something stupid. It’s saying that rape is just another stupid thing that happens when your drunk, and making everybody who’s ever done something stupid while drunk feel sympathy for predators, and allowing every predator to convince himself that he’s no different from everybody else. It’s every message that rape is a thing that happens because people at parties get drunk, instead of because a predator (frequently a predator who’s done it before and will do it again) chooses to do it.Report

              • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

                You have 5% or less who are repeat rapists. Then you have the hordes of drunk teens/young adults who do non-consensual things… a few times. And Then Grow Up.

                Both are a problem, but they require different solutions.

                Both you and Blaise are right.

                Blaise, thank you for asking “why aren’t their parents going to jail” Because, yeah, people fucked up bigtime here.Report

              • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

                zic’s solutions — peer pressure, work for the vast majority of “casual rapists”

                I have other solutions for the 5%.
                1) Don’t wear victimware
                2) Learn enough about your own sexuality/arousal that you don’t freeze up under pressure
                3) Have enough self-confidence that saying no to sex is not a relationship ender (nor should teens really worry if they don’t have a relationship).
                4) Have friends. Stay in the group. Yes, this means going to the bathroom together.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Will H. says:

                @ Will H.:

                Why is it that so many men feel intimidated by intelligent women?

                I don’t think it’s the women at all.
                I think it’s more about the way that those men view themselves.
                And because of this self-image, they are restricted to viewing women in certain terms.

                So, to my way of thinking, trying to address the symptom (this view of women) without addressing the disease (this self-image that leads to that view) fails on a number of levels.

                I don’t know if this is at all what you mean, but I was looking at this the other day:


                Scroll down to the bottom of the page, to where they have the exclusive art/posters attendees can get.

                I don’t want to discuss the stylized, anatomically-and-gravitationally-impossible nubile comics women in these pictures. That’s a common conversation, had around here most recently in re: Lara Croft.

                What I found far more interesting is the “men” in these pictures. Except of course they are NOT men, however stylized. They are, in one case, tiny (and presumably physically-weak) Leprechauns (and it’s maybe no coincidence that the women in these panels are boozin’ it up), and in the other, a hideous, portly monster. Bad hair. Bad teeth. Bad skin. Powerful, yet ugly & terrifying (but not to the aforementioned nubiles).

                I’m not saying it’s good that the men drawing/consuming these pics view women the way I infer they might (at least in their fantasy worlds – I am not trying to say there is no distinction for them); but if there is any “truth”, at all, to be inferred from the way they appear to be viewing *men/themselves* in these pictures, that implication is far more disturbing to me.

                And again, I am not suggesting people can’t distinguish between fantasy & reality, and I have no inherent problem with pulpy cheesecake sci-fi art (some of it I quite like!). Just thought it was interesting.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Glyph says:

                I thought that was interesting too, but I’m still trying to figure out how everything fits.Report

              • Fnord in reply to Will H. says:

                How true can it be that it is actually male culture which so needs the dramatic paradigm shift when we have things of the sort of pin-up calendars and Vegas showgirls?
                Now regardless of who the predominant consumers of such items might be, what manner of messaging is this?
                How often is it that women gladly play to the sort of stereotype that Maxwell is speaking out against?

                It’s novel to see someone ascribe pinup calendars and Vegas showgirls and porn to female culture.

                I’m somewhat skeptical of the “economic coercion” arguments, but when it comes to deciding who’s the driver of a particular cultural trend, I do think there might be some value at looking at the person paying big money rather than the person choosing to take the money rather than work at Walmart.Report

              • Fnord in reply to Fnord says:

                Well, that reply ended up in the wrong place. Oops.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Fnord says:

                I didn’t mention porn, and there’s a reason for that.
                It has to do with traveling in the same direction for a shorter distance.
                The direction is the same. For the time being, the distance is arbitrary.

                But it still misses the argument.
                There’s nothing novel about it.

                To what extent are (some) women willing to play up to the stereotypes set forth by Maxwell, and why?
                It’s not about economic benefit.
                There are plenty of women willing to pose for a pin-up calendar for a charity fund-raiser; say for a fire department, which is really a governmental entity and not a charity.
                But why?
                And why is this not seen as a legitimate issue?Report

              • zic in reply to Fnord says:

                There are plenty of women willing to pose for a pin-up calendar for a charity fund-raiser; say for a fire department, which is really a governmental entity and not a charity.
                But why?
                And why is this not seen as a legitimate issue?

                Women, those crazy feminist nags everyone loves to hate on, have been complaining about this. For decades.

                But you know what, they’re wrong. You’re wrong, too. That’s saying women are not supposed to be sexy; women are not supposed to be sexual, they need to go put a burqa on, cover up, not provide temptation.


                There is not one damned thing wrong with being sexy, attractive, hot, or desirable. There is nothing wrong with feeling good about that. There is nothing wrong with enjoying sex. There is nothing wrong with women clearly saying ‘yes’ to sex.

                What is wrong is the weird double world; the hard sell to be sexy and the slut-shame for being sexy.

                But that conversation is still about controlling women and women’s behavior. It buys right in to the notion of men unable to control themselves when they see a woman the desire.

                Both men and women need to be responsible for themselves.

                If you want to talk about the need responsibility, fine, just make sure you include some men’s responsibilities or I’ll come right back at you. Because I was raped, and I did not ask for it, it was done to me.

                I was no pin-up girl. I clearly said no. And I still got raped.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Fnord says:

                . . . and why is it that the need to feel sexy, desirable, or attractive is equated to easily with exhibitionism, which is arguably a legitimate disorder?

                Which is sort of what I was getting at.

                More pointedly:
                Seeing as how the normalization of pathology in one gender is a legitimate social goal, then to what extent might pathologizing behaviors arguably ‘normal’ in the opposing gender then be a legitimate social goal?Report

              • Kim in reply to Fnord says:

                according to some conservatives, normalizing “date rape” is a societal goal to avoid demographic armageddon.Report

              • zic in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

                Rod, you just stepped right back into the status quo.

                You put the burden back on women; where they go, how they dress, what they imbibe, if they flirt.

                Sorry, but you know, we heard all that shit before. Really.

                I think you’re a better person then this; and perhaps your fear of reading social signals causes a sense of panic. But as I woman, I tell you this: it’s not that difficult. If you only take time to ask, . And you knowing and speaking like men have a burden of responsibility to bear here will help your daughters to learn to choose better men; men who don’t place all that responsibility on the women’s shoulders. Men who, instead of saying, “I want,” ask, “What do you want?”Report

              • Mopey Duns in reply to zic says:

                Zic, do you think there is any difference at all between suggesting to women that certain behaviours are unwise (given the prevailing culture), and accusing them of ‘asking for it’?

                I don’t know if you have any daughters, but if you were advising them, or a young female friend of yours about to go out on the town for the first time, would you offer them any advice? If so, what?Report

              • zic in reply to Mopey Duns says:

                Mopey Duns,

                I think much of the rape-prevention training we do to women get’s used against them; it highlights the appropriate victims to would-be rapists, it offers the defenses of why it wasn’t ‘rape.’

                During the recent debate over the Violance Against Women Act (VAWA), one of the big discussions was the problem of jurisdiction of rape cases on tribal lands; there was none, no assigned legal jurisdiction for bringing rape cases to trial. And guess what? The numbers of rapes were astronomical.

                So I don’t think it’s about teaching women how to be safe; we hear that message all the time. Constantly. It’s that rapists look for the acceptable victims, and the dont’s that we teach women are the do’s for someone looking for a victim. There’s an unintended consequence that needs serious examination, or else the numbers or rapes on reservations (not by tribal members, by outsiders going to the reservations to commit rape) wouldn’t have been so much higher then the norm.Report

              • Mopey Duns in reply to Mopey Duns says:

                With respect, I don’t think rapists need help in spotting their victims. Unless you have evidence to the contrary, of course, to show that anti-rape training is actively treated as a checklist by rapists.

                Also, you didn’t answer my question(s).Report

              • zic in reply to Mopey Duns says:

                Mopey Duns, I didn’t answer your question because I’ve answered it repeatedly. For months.

                I taught both my sons how to seek active consent. I also taught them to see the signs of women in danger, and to intervene. I know they’ve done that; even to the point of calling me, and asking me to help bring someone out of a dangerous situation.

                There’s nothing wrong with teaching women how to keep themselves safe. But that’s not going to prevent rape, and all to often, it turns into blaming rape victims because the didn’t do all these things 100% perfectly.

                That’s the problem. Turning it back to a discussion of what women do is a way of avoiding what men do, how men can change the culture that leads to so many rapes.

                To put it bluntly, it’s failing to take responsibility and passing the buck.Report

              • Kim in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

                fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
                Certain men deliberately remove women’s ability to revoke consent. And that’s bloody well /legal/, if they don’t use drugs to do it. (because “everyone knows” if she doesn’t say no then the guy’s got wiggle room. After all, she was alone with him!)

                How, seriously, do you expect to teach your daughters how to deal with situations where they are suddenly aroused to the point that they’re unable to speak? Where a man has deliberately done this to them, in order to rape them?

                [I do have actual suggestions, if you’re interested. But you do need to know the lay of the fucking land first]Report

              • Mopey Duns in reply to Kim says:

                Kim, I would really like to hear you elaborate on this, because it sounds like you are getting at something important and interesting.

                It sounds like you are going after an important distinction between arousal and consent which is not always explicit.Report

              • Kim in reply to Mopey Duns says:

                There are many strategies a man can use to get a woman to an aroused enough state to have sex with her. In fact, sometimes a woman can be mostly conscious (not drug induced, anyway), and not realize a guy is having sex with her (maybe just think he’s touching her, maybe consciously avoiding thinking about it…).

                Just because a woman looks like she wants it, doesn’t mean she actually does.

                And, to give the boys a “bro-tip” — unless she’s explicitly saying she wants something with consequences… assume that’ll be rape come tommorrow morning.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Mopey Duns says:

                This is one of the more daft arguments I’ve heard you come up with.
                It’s really counter-productive.

                What other instances are there where a person is simply not responsible whatsoever for matters concerning their biology?

                Say if a woman got something in her eye and slammed into a schoolbus killing 30 kids?

                What if it was a man that said, “Dammit, I’m so aroused I am simply not responsible for my actions at this point!” What then?

                Even assuming that everything you said was true, isn’t restraining someone from the ability to get up and walk the hell out false imprisonment?
                Don’t we have a tort for that?

                Too often, people who feel strongly are unable to reason adeptly.
                While I realize that this is not necessarily the case, dialogue with you all-too-often reinforces that concept.

                Would it be acceptable were you to stay within the bounds of reason that other people might consider to be ‘normal?’Report

              • Mopey Duns in reply to Mopey Duns says:

                Kim, that sounds more like seduction than rape. It is a distinction that we have lost, but it is hard not to agree with Will on this point. Even legally speaking no court would see what you are describing as a sexual assault. I thought you were going in a different direction with your distinction earlier.Report

              • Kim in reply to Mopey Duns says:

                to deliberately and maliciously put a person, who you have GOOD REASON to suspect would withhold consent, into a position where they CANNOT withhold consent, is RAPE. Whether by words or by drugs.Report

              • Kim in reply to Mopey Duns says:

                Heart Attacks. Epileptic seizures.
                Both of which are easily triggerable by video games.
                (note: the one that triggers heart attacks has been removed from the market. You’re welcome).Report

              • Will H. in reply to Mopey Duns says:

                So you want to put arousal in the same category as a cardiac event or an epileptic seizure?
                It doesn’t fit.
                The latter two are abnormalities, somewhat similar to your reasoning.Report

              • Kim in reply to Mopey Duns says:

                What’s an orgasm if not an epileptic seizure accompanied by some nice, natural painkillers? (awesome migraine cure!)

                Reaching a state of arousal to the point where you are incapable of speech is pretty fucking extreme.

                I’m not, by the way, advocating that women shouldn’t be trained in how to avoid boys like this, and in how to know who they are, and I do firmly believe that women ought to become used to what arousal does to the brain’s normal functioning.

                With training, it’s a hell of a lot easier to override instincts.

                (and, just because I’m terming this rape, in the strongest means possible, doesn’t mean I think we can actually make it illegal. For these types of guys, forcing them to pay child support would be enough to curtail them somewhat… )Report

              • trumwill mobile in reply to Kazzy says:

                Thing is, I don’t think most women really want that standard, either.

                I do think Stillwater is on to something.Report

    • A Teacher in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

      Part if the problem is that we condition our girls to be the deniers of sex. Men are told to want and young women are told to not want it. A boy who does not want sex is a prude, gay (which is still seen as an insult to many teens), or naive. A girl who does want sex is a slut, a whore, or manipulative.

      I have no fishing idea what I’m going to do when whee K is not whee a y more because I want her to have a healthy sex life as an adult but I don’t want to have a teen mom living in my house either. And until there is 100% reliable birth control besides abstinence that is going to be a risk of any sexual activity.Report

      • Will H. in reply to A Teacher says:

        I’m not so sure about this.
        Women definitely screw. That’s a fact.
        Some of them are pretty good at it. Others could use more practice.Report

        • A Teacher in reply to Will H. says:

          I’m not saying that they don’t have sex, I’m saying that society tells them they’re not allowed to want to have sex. At least in my experience from the dating scene, guys were encouraged to go for it, girls were encouraged to wait and deny. If a girl said “I’m totally going to get some tonight” she was admonished.

          A guy was high-fived.Report

          • Will H. in reply to A Teacher says:

            Yeah, I get what you’re saying.
            But more pragmatically, it has nothing to do with libido.
            It’s more about discretion.
            Discretion is a thing ingrained into females at an early age.
            Doesn’t address desire.Report

      • Kim in reply to A Teacher says:

        Teach her how to masturbate? Possibly teach her how to do mutual masturbation?

        Blowing off steam (ahem!) is a decent way to prevent “consequences”. It’s more reliable than the alternative, statistically speaking.Report

        • Will H. in reply to Kim says:

          Isn’t that back to the idea that rape is all about sexual attraction?
          Is it really a matter of normal, healthy desire?

          To what extent does inducement constitute force?
          So if my boss tells me, “Be here by 7,” and I say, “No, I need to rub one out,” then he’s set me up for rape?

          Have you ever thought about the implications of what you’re saying?Report

          • Kim in reply to Will H. says:

            No, Rape is not about normal, healthy desire. It’s often about desire perverted — by desperate people, trying to get something they really want by breaking the rules.

            Someone can rape someone else and not even know it. Desperation and frustration are allies, and people can boil over. It’s not a good thing when it happens.Report

          • Kim in reply to Will H. says:

            Most normal, adjusted folks don’t even think about rape. They get enough sex normally that it’s just not a factor. This is not to say that rape is primarily about desire.Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to Kim says:

              Rape, as I understand it, has almost nothing to do with desire and everything to do with domination and humiliation. That it takes on sexual overtones is entirely a process of shaming the victim.Report

              • Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Some people are all about the domination and humiliation. That’s not everyone who rapes, though.
                Certain folks are just desperate, and fucking stupid.

                Kid brother gets molested by his big sister, he decides to do what his instincts are telling him he should do to his horny sis? That’s not about domination and humiliation. Hell, he may not have enough sex ed to know what he’s doing, other than “it feels right”.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Only in some cases is it about dominance. Sometimes it is a macho dude who feels sexual desire who fails to get explicit consent.Report

              • Will H. in reply to BlaiseP says:

                That is my understanding as well; or something very similar.

                K. here is forwarding an argument from the Middle Ages used mostly to prostitution.
                Still being used for that purpose as well.

                Seems to run counter with Items 1 – 5 of what Maxwell was saying at any rate.Report

              • Kim in reply to Will H. says:

                … Okay, I’m confused, what argument am I using anyhow?

                You can profile a person for likelihood of being a rapist, and I was speaking towards that. Not advocating that these guys would be “better if they got more sex” or something like that. In fact, folks like Chris-chan are just… incapable… of getting consensual sex (possibly even prostitution, in that guy’s case).Report

          • A Teacher in reply to Will H. says:

            I think where Kim is going here is the idea that if someone goes out to a party/ club/ the bar in an already arroused and “I need to get this tension out” state of mind that they’re more likely to make risky choices that could start down a road towards a dangerous situation.

            So perhaps if a woman is feeling “itchy” she’s more likely to agree to go home with a guy she doesn’t know very well, which could then turn to something bad, than she would if she were feeling generally satisfied on her own.

            Is that the measure of it?Report

            • Kim in reply to A Teacher says:

              No. It’s that if you’re suddenly put into a state which you’ve got no preparation for, ever, and it’s a state where your instincts are telling you to shut up and let this guy rape you — you ain’t got no defenses.

              And, good lord, you can’t even prosecute the bastard afterward! Because, since you didn’t say anything, it wasn’t legally rape.

              It’s a really hard concept for guys to get — that a girl can be fuckable, and yet never have been highly aroused before in her life.

              Some guys take advantage of that.

              In America, often we say “Just be a good girl, don’t have fun, don’t get aroused” (my mom yelled at me for looking at p0rn — granted I was in the dining room, but…). And that leaves girls defenseless against certain types of predators.Report

    • Fnord in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

      The questions you raise can be difficult ones. But we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, here.

      First, I think there’s an awful lot that can be done without even dealing with these questions. Consider Vancouver’s “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign.

      That, I think, is a pretty clear example of what can be done with the idea of “Teach young men about legal consent.” But it’s not about answer the most difficult of those questions (after all, it is an advertising campaign, and you can’t deal with the hard questions in soundbites). When it says “Just Because She Isn’t Saying No…Doesn’t Mean She’s Saying Yes” it’s paired with a picture of a woman who is passed out drunk. Not having sex with people while they’re unconscious is not really what you’re talking about as an ambiguous case, right? And evidence apparently shows that it’s a success at significantly reducing sexual assaults (although it was rolled along with other anti-sexual assault techniques on the part of the Vancouver police).

      Indeed, many, even most, acquaintance rapes don’t seem to be about miscommunication caused by not waiting for an explicit yes. With a hat-tip to Yes Means Yes’s excellent article Meet the Predators, I direct you to the study “Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists”

      The study asks 1882 men about behavior that amounts to rape or attempted rape, without actually asking using the word. Under-reporting is an obvious problem with something like this, but among them they admit to 483 rapes or attempted rapes (which isn’t wildly inconsistent with figures like the 1-in-6 rate at which women self-report being victims of rape). Out of the 1882 men, 76 repeat offenders (just over 4% of the sample) account for more than 90% of the assaults (439 out 483), at an average rate of nearly 6 each. In fact, 219 of the 483 assaults were committed by just the 11 men in the highest category the study tracked, 9 or more assaults.

      This isn’t a pattern that suggests random, one-off communications problems. It suggests that a small subset of men systematically ignoring consent commit many if not most rapes.

      I do think there’s value in addressing issues of affirmative consent and clear communication for everybody, even though it can be hard and ambiguous (more on that later, probably). But we can’t let the difficulty of addressing the ambiguities paralyze us when there are so many cases that really aren’t ambiguous.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Fnord says:

        Fantastic contribution, Fnord. Thank you.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Fnord says:

        The power law thing is very problematic as it is in all cases where it is applicable.Report

      • Mopey Duns in reply to Fnord says:

        This tracks with my understanding of the pattern for most crime. A relatively small percentage of the population is responsible for the majority of the misery.Report

      • Shazbot5 in reply to Fnord says:

        I think there is a chance that a small awareness campaign could reduce the rate by say, 10 percent, by attacking the fringes, but a larger campaign could effect some of the men who are repeat offenders by taking away, from some substantial percentage of them, their ability to say to themselves that they aren’t acting badly or shamefully, i.e. that they are just sexually aggressive,

        A larger campaign won’t effect the true psychopaths, who may have no compassion or empathy, nor will it eliminate all rapes, but it could remove some of the serial date-rapists from the pool, some of whom may be otherwise morally normal people.Report

      • Shazbot5 in reply to Fnord says:


        Are you suggesting that this data that a few men are responsible for many of the rapes implies (or suggests) that cultural influence suggesting to men that certain forms of “date rape” aren’t really rape, is not a primary cause of the overall rape rate? Are you suggesting that the primary problem is that some people have an innate (maybe biological) urge to rape that is not heavily influenced or influencable by cultural pressure?

        If so, I think I strongly disagree. The evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that a few otherwise ordinary morally decent men who are strongly influenced by, let’s call it “macho culture,” are likely to regularly engage in acts of rape that they then justify as not particularly immoral.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Shazbot5 says:


          As I understand the study, a major takeaway is that the behaviors described were not labeled as “rape” to the interviewees, but fit a broader definition of rape or sexual violence. If the vast majority of rapes were committed by a small subset of men, then that tells me that these men regularly engage in a type of behavior that constitutes rape but which they do not believe to be rape.

          I don’t think that takes male culture of the hook because it is “only” a small subset of men doing this, because no doubt there are other men who know what these men do, support them in their efforts and/or remain silent about them.Report

          • Shazbot5 in reply to Kazzy says:

            Yeah, that was my take away, too, Kazzy. Plus, this small subset of men might be especially prone to the influence of male , macho culture (or whatever you want to call it.)

            But I got the impression that Fnord thought the data couldn’t fit your interpretation. Fnord can correct me if I’m wrong. Just wanted to be clear.Report

    • Kim in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

      Some men deliberately silence women during sex. Take actions that lead to a woman being unable to say no. They know that they’re doing it, and that they’re unlikely to get prosecuted for it (they also choose their victims well).

      Standards definitely ought to be different during relationships (particularly long term ones) — but those are more or less “get blanket permission beforehand” or “talk out what signs we wanna use.”Report

  4. Fnord says:

    I said above that there’s quite a lot that can be done on addresses stuff that is clear-cut, without addressing some of the harder ambiguous questions about communication and culture. Nevertheless, I do think trying to address the hard questions, trying to improve ourselves, and trying to resolve the ambiguities is important. I think it’s generally best to use statistics and broad studies to think about hard problems like this, as I did in my last post. But, in this case, the best thing way I can add to the discussion is by telling a story about a woman I know.

    And, while I don’t usually give these here, TRIGGER WARNING for explicit description of sexual assault.

    This is also, in part, prompted by Kazzy saying above “We’re talking about male culture, not female culture.” Which is unfairly taking him out of context (sorry about that), but it did help move my thinking in that direction. Because this isn’t a story about a rape victim.

    This is a story about a rapist.

    I call her a rapist because rape is what I think her actions were, although as far as I know her victim never described his experience as rape (which is something we should be familiar with among female victims, too). And, especially since I know her but not her victim, there’s always the risk that my sympathy towards her or her ability to shape the story changes things. Describing it bluntly like helps curb that tendency, although I urge you all to keep that in mind reading my post in addition to the usual caveats of a second hand story. Although, to her credit, she recognizes what she did was wrong and changed her behavior, and indeed the only reason I know this story is because it came up when she was checking in and apologizing that she hadn’t been as careful with consent as she now tries to be.

    In her senior year of high school, she was hanging out with a classmate after a party. She’d been sexually active for a while at that point (I don’t know about him). They’d both had some alcohol, but they weren’t passed out drunk. They weren’t in a relationship (though the were friends), but at that point they were mutually cuddling and otherwise acting intimate.

    Except then they reached the point were he stopped initiating and participating. He didn’t say “no” or “stop”, nor did he try to resist or leave. His just sort-of stayed still while she escalated. But she didn’t think about that; everything she’d always heard from culture was that boys always wanted sex, so of course he wanted this. So she performed oral sex on him, he got an erection, and she had intercourse with him, while he sat there. Afterwards, she didn’t think too much about it.

    The next week, he confronted her. As I said, he didn’t use the word rape. But he was, she said, visibly upset as he told her that he hadn’t wanted what happened but that he hadn’t known how to stop her. That he felt betrayed by her doing it to him.

    I don’t know exactly what happened afterwards. I do know that she never got in trouble with either the law or school authorities. I get the impression that, at minimum, they didn’t keep in touch when they went to college, and that she’s at least a little afraid to contact him, both because she doesn’t know if it will hurt him again and because she’s afraid to find out what he thinks of her now.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Fnord says:


      Thank you for sharing this story and for the help you offered your friend to change.

      FWIW, I do think that conversations about sexual violence too rarely ignore male victims, both of male and female actors. I have found myself in situations with women where I wasn’t comfortable with how things were progressing but they progressed anyway. I do think there is generally a difference because of the power differential that tends to exist between men and women… in all of the cases, if I *really* wanted it to stop, there is no doubt that I could have stopped it. This is often not the case for women. But, while your story rightly points out that there are broader issues to discuss, I think the cultural issues that lead to situations like the one you described are different than the ones that lead to female rape victims. Not wholly unrelated… just different.

      So if we’re going to talk about how we can prevent sexual violence against women, we need to talk about THIS set of issues. If we’re going to talk about how we can prevent sexual violence against men at the hands of women, we need to talk about THAT set of issues. If we’re going to talk about how we can prevent sexual violence against men at the hands of men, that is YET ANOTHER sex of issues. And if there exists sexual violence against women at the hands of women (I don’t know that I’ve ever heard stories of such but I’m sure they happen), I imagine a FOURTH set of issues arising. So, if we want to address sexual violence on the whole, we do need to talk about more than just male culture. But that is a big hill to climb… and as a male, I’m limited in how I can affect change in female culture. As for now, I will focus my efforts on changing male culture, because it seems to be the most pressing issue AND is the one over which I have the most control.

      And now, a story of my own, with it’s own TRIGGER WARNING

      In high school, I attended a house party at a friend’s. The beer was flowing. I met a girl, she was into me and I was into her… we went out on the back deck and started to hook up a bit. As I remember it, we were equally interested in things proceeding as they did and compliant in the actions happening. We broke it off, went inside, had a few more drinks, and reconciled later on. We were both drunker at this point, but her moreso than I. I asked if she wanted to go upstairs and fool around more and she said no. I pressed and she relented. We went upstairs and fooled around some more (no penetration or attempted penetration, oral or vaginal) before we were both too sloppy and ended up just lying on the bed. Her friends came up as they were getting ready to go and she took off. As I came down the stairs, one of my friends called out, “Damn, man, you just raped that girl.” There was a blend of jest and seriousness, though I can’t tell you how much of each. At the time, I didn’t think I raped the girl. I mean, we didn’t even have sex! We were two horny drunk 17-year-olds doing what horny drunk 17-year-olds did. As I reflected on it in the days after, I realized that regardless of what we called it, my actions weren’t cool and were not how I should handle myself. From that point forward, my behavior was improved; not perfect, but improved and ever improving. And it was largely because one guy had the balls to say something. I’m not sure I would have thought twice about that night had my friend not called me out as he did.

      So, yea, this shit is much trickier than we often realize. But, thankfully, attitudes CAN be changed if we, men, are willing to change them and hold ourselves and each other accountable.Report

      • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

        Despite my comment about you female culture, it wasn’t just bringing male victims into it, too. I suppose that was part of it. And, reading over it again, I can see how I gave that impression. But really, that’s just the story I have to tell. I mentioned her impressions about thinking “boys always wanted sex” because she mentioned them to me when she told the story. Statistically I probably know a male rapist, but they haven’t shared their story with me.

        I was hoping, at least, to convey some universal ideas that are valid for men who have sex with women as well as women who have sex with men (and, indeed, men who have sex with men and women who have sex with women and people with non-conforming genders).

        Part of it was, yeah, she made assumptions about his consent because “men always want sex.” But it’s also about getting explicit consent instead of making assumptions about it, whatever the reason you have to make that assumption. It’s about how victims sometimes freeze rather than resist or say no. It’s about separating physiological arousal from consent, which I know comes up for female victims, too.Report

        • zic in reply to Fnord says:

          She also questioned the assumption. Questioned her own actions after he confronted her with the lack of consent.

          I wish more women felt safe to point out questionable consent. I wish more men questioned that they had consent after the fact; seriously thought about it. I see very little evidence that they are do; that they are encouraged to that introspection.Report

      • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

        Also, a few asides.

        Thank you…for the help you offered your friend to change.

        I don’t want to take credit where it’s not due, here. This was already a ways in her past when I met her, and while I don’t know exactly what she went through in the aftermath of what she did, she was already being more careful about getting consent. The context of the story when she heard it was “and so this is why I’m careful about getting consent” with a side of “I’ve harmed someone in the past and part of making amends for that is being honest about that with people, because even if I think I’m careful enough to avoid harming them in the future, that’s not entirely my decision to make.”

        And if there exists sexual violence against women at the hands of women (I don’t know that I’ve ever heard stories of such but I’m sure they happen)

        While prison rape raises yet another set of issues compared to the non-institutionalized population, I’ll note that female prisoners report significantly higher levels of inmate-on-inmate sexual violence than male prisoners (and inmate-on-inmate violence is usually same-sex, for logistical reasons).Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Fnord says:

          I think the way in which we casually joke about inmate-on-inmate sexual violence shows just how far we have to go. As vile we might consider the actions of pedophiles or murderers and such people themselves, wishing rape upon them with comments such as “He’ll get his in the showers” show far too cavalier an attitude towards rape in general and male-on-male sexual violence specifically.

          I was unaware that such instances are even higher in female prisons. I’m curious why it seems to garner such little ink.Report

          • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

            I was unaware that such instances are even higher in female prisons. I’m curious why it seems to garner such little ink.

            Part of it is that because the prison population is so disproportionately male, the raw number of cases with male victims is higher if the rate of victimization among females is higher. And, indeed, people frequently don’t think about female prisoners at all when they think about the prison system.

            Part of it is that the standard narrative of rape erases female perpetrators.

            I think that part of, cynical as this is to think, is that it’s a lot harder to joke about. Joking about female victims of sexual violence, even prisoners, is different from joking about male victims. Further, as nasty as it is to joke about pedophiles “getting get his in the showers”, it sure beats joking about someone in prison for drug possession. And, indeed, it does turn out that men in prison for sexual violence are more frequent victims (after you correct for age, race, etc). But that’s men; the pattern for women is absent or at least less clear statistically. Without the jokes, vile as they are, there’s a certain amount of out of sight, out of mind.

            If you’re interested in this, the Bureau of Justice Statistics issues several different reports under the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
            I’ve been referencing the National Former Prisoner Survey.

        • Fnord in reply to Fnord says:

          That’s supposed to be “The context of the story when she TOLD it was…” not “The context of the story when she heard it was…”Report

  5. Tod Kelly says:

    I don’t know if anyone yet has mentioned this newly released study from the UK, but it seems quite relevant:

    • zic in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      That is highly disturbing.

      What’s amazing, though, is how rare the false charges seem to be, and the complex situations where they do occur.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to zic says:

        Yes, that was the big takeaway for me as well.

        I don’t want to take anything away from the real anxiety many men feel about the specter of false accusations, but I have to confess a lot of this reminds me of the reasons white people both there and here argued against dismantling apartheid in South Africa back in the day: The fear that if you gave blacks the right to vote and be elected to office, they’d just make laws that punished white people – so better to keep things status quo. Otherwise you’d risk injustice.Report

        • zic in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          I believe similar fears of retribution were common in the Antebellum South, as well.

          Give them equal rights, and they’ll punish us for the wrongs we did.

          It seems to be more revealing of an understanding that ‘this behavior was wrong and I knew it,’ then fear of injustice.Report

  6. Rod Engelsman says:

    At the risk of being forever labeled a hopeless troglodyte for not parroting the politically correct noises and only the politically correct noises, let me clarify what I’m trying to get after here and why this whole thing is bothering me.

    While I’m sympathetic and supportive to the view that we need to find ways to teach our young men not to be rapists, I have to reject the notion that this is exclusively a matter of changing “male culture” and that the responsibility for making these changes falls squarely in the laps of people like myself.

    Consider the following story from NPR:Two Steubenville Girls Arrested After Allegedly Threatening Rape Victim

    The 16-year-old girl raped by two Ohio high school football players in a crime that has attracted wide attention has also been the victim of online harassment, the state’s top prosecutor said late Monday.

    Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that two Steubenville, Ohio, girls have been arrested and charged with threatening the other girl. Cleveland’s Plain Dealer writes that the alleged harassers are 15- and 16-years-old, and:

    “The 16-year-old is charged with one misdemeanor count of aggravated menacing for threatening the life of the victim on Twitter. The 15-year-old is charged with one misdemeanor count of menacing for threatening bodily harm to the victim on Facebook.”

    “Let me be clear,” DeWine says in a statement on his official website. “Threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you, and we will arrest you.”

    Now let me be clear: I am not “that guy.” I never was “that guy.” I’ve never supported, aided, cheered on, or celebrated “that guy.” If any of my friends were “that guy,” I certainly wasn’t aware of it. So whatever chunk of “male culture” exists that needs to change I’m apparently not part of it.

    A simple fact of date rape that never seems to get any air: The very first prerequisite to being a victim of date rape is to date “that guy.” For a guy to be a serial date-rapist he needs, first of all, to be a serial “datist.” For whatever reason it appears to me that women are preferentially dating men who turn out to be “that guy.” The reason for that is something I guess you’ll just have to sort out for yourselves. I don’t have the answer. What I DO know is that during the period in my life when I was wading in the dating pool I was a second or third string draft pick while “that guy” was first in line.

    Frankly, now thirty years later, after being basically invisible or “just a friend” when it came to dating, it’s more than a little bit galling to have a wagging finger shoved in my face and told that it’s my responsibility to change the “male culture.” ORLY?? The culture that I had no part in creating? The culture that the estrogen-Americans celebrate and worship as evidenced by who you choose to date, mate, and breed with? The culture that’s been the bane of my existence since I hit puberty? THAT culture?

    You know when I first was told that winners don’t take “no” for an answer? High school? Nope. College? Nope. It had nothing to do with sex or women. Try sales training at a Hyundai dealership in Naperville, IL. And then sales training at Radio Shack in Groton, CT. And sales training at A-1 Toyota in New Haven, CT. The message was clear; winners don’t take “no” for an answer.

    It’s not “male culture;” it’s American culture. Winners don’t just accept losing sometimes and go on. Defeat is not an option. When you hear “no” it’s just a request for more information. And the winners, the guys who don’t take no for an answer, are celebrated and lionized and richly rewarded. Money, fame, respect, and lots and lots of “tang.”

    So, yeah. Guys need to be taught that No Means No. But not by me, because I’m not the one that’s been giving them the opposite message.Report

    • DRS in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

      Rape is not sex, it’s not scoring or getting lucky or being the alpha male. Rape is violence directed (mostly) at women. I kind of thought everyone was up to speed on that front.Report

      • Rod Engelsman in reply to DRS says:

        The problem here is that “rape” is being so broadly defined that it includes every sex act that isn’t preceded by a signed and notarized consent form in triplicate and then treated as if it’s all exactly the same as being accosted by a stranger at knife-point.

        Besides, I’m talking about the culture here, the culture that we’re told needs to be changed. Well it does need to be changed. But women have at least as big a role in changing that culture than guys like me. What the fuck can I do about it? I’m not the one rewarding that culture nearly as much as you girls are. You love your hi-T guys; the athletes and the successful businessmen and, generally, Charlie Sheen’s WINNERS!!!.

        You’re right that it’s not about “getting” lucky. Ask any successful businesman, athlete, or whatever. It’s about making your own luck. It’s about not accepting No for an answer. Why would you imagine that attitude would stop at the bedroom door?Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

          Ease down a bit, Rod. You’re projecting.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            I wonder if he’s projecting or simply expressing the obvious: when women objectify men and walk past the nice guys, going in search of Mr. Goodbar only to find that sullen good-lookin’ guy won’t take No for an answer.

            Women do want it both ways. Yes, sex is more of a commitment for women. There’s no accounting for taste: I’ve seen some studies that women know within fifteen seconds whether or not they’ll ever have sex with a guy. There’s no point in dragging out the inevitable: if she’s not going to sleep with him, why go on encouraging him?

            There is no point to being a Nice Guy, beyond your own self-respect. Being a nice guy has absolutely nothing to do with what women want from men sexually. Oh, sure, I suppose it’s nicer if he is a Nice Guy. Doesn’t change who she’s going to sleep with though. That’s no criticism of women, it’s just a simple statement of fact.Report

        • DRS in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

          What the fuck can I do about it?

          Nothing until you turn off the self-pity. (Note to “boys”: us “girls” really don’t like whiners – it makes our ovaries shudder.) But just as a start you might want to stop assuming all “girls” are alike and respond to men like a pack of lemmings.Report

          • Rod Engelsman in reply to DRS says:

            Could you possibly work any harder at missing the point? Seriously, what a clueless response.

            Oh, looky, here’s another one, right on schedule: Another Football Player Accused Of Rape, Another Community Blaming The Victim

            The point I was trying to make, and that you pointedly elide in favor of falsely accusing me of whining and self-pity, is that blaming this problem on “male culture” is seriously misguided. There is no such thing as a coherent, monolithic male culture, identifiably separate from just “the Culture” in general, that celebrates or excuses this kind of thing. Rather, it seems we have a culture (encompassing both male and female) that lionizes certain high-status persons to the point that an 18-year old can rape a 13-year old girl and that girl gets harassing tweets from other girls. If girls are doing that shit, how can anyone seriously say this is exclusively a problem with “male culture” that us guys need to correct?

            Up above, Morat20 March 17, 2013 at 10:40 pm, remarked,

            Bluntly put, even in enlightend America there is a presumption on the part of young men that they are often owed sex. That saying “yes” is the default, that saying “no” is something to work around.

            So where does that attitude come from? Is that just something that springs forth spontaneously from the Y-chromosome? And is it something that, as Morat20 implies, all men feel, implicating male culture in general?

            Well, according to the study linked by Fnord above,

            The study asks 1882 men about behavior that amounts to rape or attempted rape, without actually asking using the word. Under-reporting is an obvious problem with something like this, but among them they admit to 483 rapes or attempted rapes (which isn’t wildly inconsistent with figures like the 1-in-6 rate at which women self-report being victims of rape). Out of the 1882 men, 76 repeat offenders (just over 4% of the sample) account for more than 90% of the assaults (439 out 483), at an average rate of nearly 6 each. In fact, 219 of the 483 assaults were committed by just the 11 men in the highest category the study tracked, 9 or more assaults.

            This isn’t a pattern that suggests random, one-off communications problems. It suggests that a small subset of men systematically ignoring consent commit many if not most rapes.

            The answer would seem to be a definite, No. It’s only a small subset of men who are the problem. So who are these men? Unfortunately, the study Fnord linked doesn’t delve into the socioeconomic characteristics of the assailants, so I can only speculate. But the anecdotal evidence that I’m seeing and that I remember from lo so many years ago (remember, I was “the only a friend” that heard a few tales of woe), leads me to believe that at least part of the problem is reinforcement from lack of consequences over many years. Reinforcement provided at least as much by the women in their lives as other men, as evidenced by the two recent news stories I’ve provided.

            Teach men not to rape? Fine. Wonderful. I’m certainly not against the idea, but I harbor skepticism as to how effective it could hope to be. So a public relations campaign apparently effected a 10% reduction in sexual assaults. More of that? Yes, please. Ten percent ain’t nothin’, especially if you’re one of the lucky women who gets spared that awful trama. But that still leaves 90% to go and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that that 90% represents the actions of that small, hard-core group doing most of the damage. And I’m skeptical that group is amenable to a public relations campaign.

            And I emphasized “apparently” in the preceding paragraph for a reason. One PR campaign in one city proves… almost nothing really. All we really know is that a PR campaign was waged and there was a subsequent drop in sexual assaults of 10%. It’s an anecdote. It needs to be repeated in other places and then maybe you could at least demonstrate a correlation. In the end, I suspect it will be marginally successful at plucking the low-hanging fruit but little more.

            So I should tell other men not to have sex with unconscious women? Ooookay. Nineteen out of twenty will say, “Well, Yeah. Duh.” and the last will say, “Sure. [Whatever…]” and keep on doing what he’s doing. You’re assuming they’re amenable to persuasion when, in reality, you’re likely dealing with borderline psychopaths.

            I wish I had a better answer. I really, really, do.Report

        • Kim in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

          women don’t want alphas. most women don’t.

          What women do want? awesome conversation, funny, witty, and confident.

          Women who go for atheletes and alphas are generally going for fame, “feeling awesome even though I’m not”Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Kim says:

            Women do want alphas. That’s demonstrable. You just want a more subtle version of alpha. You betrayed that alpha-seeking when you added the adjective “confident”.Report

            • bookdragon in reply to BlaiseP says:

              confident =!= alpha

              Seriously, how can you make that mistake? Do you like simpering, insecure women? No? Does that mean you’re alpha-seeking when it comes to women?

              Honestly. I am drawn to guys who are secure in themselves. In many ways, that means NOT alphas – the pushy win-at-all-costs-Must-Prove-I’m-Best guy is someone I’d walk right away from (and probably knee if he followed me).Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to bookdragon says:

                Confident does equal alpha, all seven days of the week, even in women. Show me a simpering woman and I will show you a deceitful woman. I have raised two daughters. I am not fooled by simpering. I have seen insecure women, plenty of them. Their lack of confidence is often misconstrued as aloofness.

                For crissakes, no man wants a rag doll for a wife, not even the most misogynistic old reprobate.Report

              • Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Pigs are perfectly confident. That’s how they manage to screw girls who don’t want them. They pretend to be alphas, but… honey, a pig is not an alpha.
                (I’m using Asian typology here, in case you needed the reference)Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kim says:

                That’s pretty much the size of it. The question remains, how much do the screw-ees not want them and what mitigating factors are thrown into the pans of the balances?

                Really, it doesn’t matter if he’s a pig, what matters comes down to many other recondite factors, many of which have to do with money and power and a good suit, not good looks.Report

              • Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Pigs don’t tend to have good looks, or good suits, or money or power.
                If it was so, then women would actually seek them out.

                Pigs get to breed because they’re good at bringing on sudden arousal on a woman’s part, and taking advantage of girls who don’t know what to do other than what they’re instincts are telling them to do.

                Here’s a good way to tell an alpha from a not-an-alpha:

                Alphas like orgies. They like doing it in public, and letting everyone watch.

                Betas do it alone, under the covers, in private or semi-private situations.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Honey, we’re talking about pigs who get laid with alpha sows, the good lookin’ confident sows. Alpha sows get turned on by money and power. They reserve their charms for the more successful boars. And the success of those boars is usually measured in female terms, may I add, a problem you haven’t quite addressed. Else how would nature furnish us with the male birds of paradise, hanging upside down from trees in New Guinea, their wings spread, all a-screech?

                Trust me, honey. It’s all about the nice suit but mostly it’s about the money. Evolutionary pressure produces results. They all come runnin’ just as fast as they can / cause every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.Report

              • Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I shall repeat what I said upthread:
                A pig gets laid by getting a girl so aroused that she does not have the means to express withholding of consent.

                The woman is being raped, Blaise, she is not consenting. When she goes off alone with this guy, if you asked her, she would say, “there’s no way I’d let him fuck me.” — and you’d have an undercurrent of “he wouldn’t dare try.”

                Those alpha sows you’re talking about? They’re dumb little shits, who are busy breeding themselves out of the genepool. See, alpha males judge females rather shallowly (generally by their physical features) [kitsunes being an exception, as they are in many things].

                And nowadays women can use makeup to appear stellar. So your half-wit girls learn how to play at being pretty. And they get cheating sons-o-bitches as husbands (not that betas don’t cheat! haha)Report

              • Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Do you describe yourself as a beta or an alpha, sir?

                Do realize that these are appleations boys get before they get money and power. It’s based on how women respond to them.

                Betas whine, betas plead, betas get women to say yes. (most) Alphas simply expect it.Report

            • Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

              … Okay. Have it your way. Women are after men who are confident, and whose personalities are more than 50% female (lesbians too).

              If you want to call someone whose personality is mostly female an alpha, well, be my fucking guest.

              … because when I describe a kitsune, I do expect you of all people to know what I’m talking about.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kim says:

                I do happen to know what a kitsune is. Unlike you, I can use it in a Japanese sentence. As for anything to do with fucking, well, have you raised any kids? Got any opinions on that subject? Care to compare notes on how to raise a confident daughter?Report

        • Kim in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

          You ever catch a boy/man in the bushes with a girl who doesn’t look like she’s enjoying herself?
          You stop it.

          You ever see a man who’s been drinking with a girl (making sure she drinks more), going to take her home? You go with, if you can.

          Guys ought to employ the buddy system more.

          ((yes, girls ougth to be TAUGHT how to avoid bastards. It’s a different issue. But nobody ever seeks out a rat to have sex with. Hell, half the time the girl doesn’t even realize she’s having sex while it’s going on.))Report

      • Patrick Cahalan in reply to DRS says:

        I have a problem with this degree of black and white. Because many things I would consider rape are not violent; they’re coercive (like the case in question in Steubenville), and abusive, and terrible, but they’re a case of objectifying women and using them as objects, not a case of aggression-venting like violent rape (where the sex act is part of a severe physical assault).

        In those cases, you’re usually talking about acting out rage.

        I’m not going to even attempt to quantify these from a victim’s standpoint. I’m not qualified to opine on whether or not one is worse or not; but they do seem to me to be different.

        Calling them both just a case of violence seems to be wrong; even the ways to approach the problems are different. Zerlina Maxwell’s suggestions might help curb objectification cases of rape, but they’re probably not going to do much to stop people (mostly men) with rage issues with the opposite sex.Report

        • DRS in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          I’m not sure why men telling their sons and their own buddies that sticking their dicks into women who are unwilling or even unconscious is not funny, manly or cool is seen as so uphill a battle that it’s not worth even attempting. What part of “don’t be a douche” is so hard? Is there really no room for the message that “what kind of a loser would wait until a girl’s passed out before dropping trou?” Seems pretty basic to me.Report

  7. DRS says:

    Want to know what some people are doing about fighting rape? Check these out:

    These are a few links on the ad campaign sponsored by the Vancouver City Police department and others:

    Note: the Globe and Mail offers only a few free views of its content before the firewall goes up, so make every view count.Report