Canadians, Men’s Rights and our Problems with Rape

Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.

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127 Responses

  1. DRS says:

    Well, let the record show that the Edmonton Police condemned the MRE posters:

    The Edmonton police say their campaign was meant to encourage victims of sexual assault to come forward. “To demean these crimes goes against that and to belittle them goes against that,” says acting Insp. Sean Armstrong. Police say about one per cent of sexual assaults they investigate are found to have been fabricated.


  2. Kazzy says:

    Is it possible that the phrasing of the questions might have elicited more positive responses?

    I don’t know the stats, but if you asked me if a woman was more likely to get raped or become the victim of sexual assault if she was walking home alone and/or was drunk, I would think, “Hmmm… probably.” Now, I don’t think for a second that that means these women are responsible for their attacks or bear any of the blame. But there are no doubt certain actions that might raise or lessen one’s chances of becoming a victim. If you never leave your house, you are probably less likely to be raped than someone who does. If you travel 24/7 with a team of eunich body guards, you have probably lowered your risk of rape.

    I wonder if respondents read “provoke or encourage” as “raise the likelihood”. And even if all those things don’t actually raise the likelihood, I’m sure a number of people genuinely believe that they might.

    And, of course even if there were actions that impacted a woman’s likelihood of being raped, that doesn’t put any burden on her to reduce the risk… the task of avoiding rape falls squarely on the shoulders of would-be rapists.

    All that being said, the poll results are much less interesting to me than the campaign, which is disgusting and should be loudly denounced and rejected. The fact that the spokesman seems to be using a pseudonym is telling.Report

    • Veronica Dire in reply to Kazzy says:

      Given that date rape is WAAAY more common that stranger-in-the-bushes rape, I suspect a girl walking home alone is safer than if she walks home with her date.Report

      • Good point. That might be why 9% responded yes to “walking home alone” while 16% responded yes to “inviting a man home”.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Veronica Dire says:

        Good point, Veronica. I assumed not walking home alone meant walking with friends she could trust. There is still the potential for mixed signals (“I thought we were leaving the ‘friend zone’!”) but I assume that, in general, traveling in groups is safer than traveling alone, for both men and women. There is a certain safety in numbers.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to Kazzy says:

          Safety in general, sure – from being hit by a drunk driver and lying unnoticed at the side of the road, from being attacked by a dog, from robbery. Maybe not from rape.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to dragonfrog says:

            It’d be easy for me to say, “Well, my female friends clearly have nothing to worry about when they’re with me.”

            But I bet a lot of guys think that before doing something they ought not.Report

            • Fnord in reply to Kazzy says:

              But I bet a lot of guys think that before doing something they ought not.

              I’m not so sure about that. As I pointed out last time we discussed rape, there are indeed a big chunk of men who will (anonymously) answer yes to questions like “have you ever had intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?” or “have you ever had sex with someone too intoxicated to resist your advances?”. And most men who admit to having done so, admit to having done so multiple times.

              It’s not, I suspect, a matter of guys who sincerely think that their female friends have nothing to fear from getting drunk (etc) around them until “doing something they ought not”. That’s precisely why it’s a problem that people think that being drunk invites rape; that’s part of the thought process that leads to having no problem with “[having] sex with someone too intoxicated to resist your advances” (and admitting it to researchers). That was the intent of the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign: to break the impression that being passed out drunk/inviting someone home/etc is, all by itself, an invitation to sex.

              This is not to say that it’s not easier to say “I know my female friends have nothing to fear from me” than “I know I have nothing to fear from my male friends”, though.Report

    • Jonathan McLeod in reply to Kazzy says:


      I agree. As I wrote, I think when an activist group commissions this sort of poll, there’s a decent chance that they’ll be looking for some sort of result. But these numbers are way out of whack. 1/5 of respondents? That’s a lot.

      And the fact that people can think “increased risk” could mean “encouraged or provoked” demonstrates how flawed people’s thinking about rape can be. It may be subtle and unintentional, but if we’re sloppy in our thought (as demonstrated by being sloppy with our language) we’re giving some cover to the real misogynists and rape apologists out there.

      Personally, I think the poll is the bigger story. A rogue group of jerks putting up offensive posters is bad, but isolated. 1/5 of Canadians suggesting that getting drunk provokes or encourages rape demonstrates a deeper more ingrained problem.Report

      • In addition to what Kazzy said, I don’t know that I’d call 1/5 of any poll to be a lot. Surely you’re aware of the internet tradition known as the 27% crazification factor?

      • Kazzy in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        Yea, I probably overstated it when I said the poll was “much less interesting”. I guess what I meant is that the poll results didn’t surprise me, given both the potential for confusion around the language and the fact that even if there was no confusion, 20% of people thinking such things is actually encouraging, as I’d venture to guess more people hold such abhorrent views. Then again, maybe Canada is just (yet again) better than us Americans.Report

      • zic in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        1/5 of Canadians suggesting that getting drunk provokes or encourages rape demonstrates a deeper more ingrained problem.

        I’m confused. I would agree, getting drunk does provoke or encourage rape, particularly date rape, from what I understand and what I’ve witnessed of this evil world. This seems an admission of understanding that this is what happens, I don’t see admitting this as condoning the rape. It’s like construing a poll where people say driving drunk leads to auto accidents as approving drunk driving. Does the poll suggest that, since women who engage in these behaviors run greater risk of being raped that the rape isn’t rape, which is always a crime?Report

        • Jonathan McLeod in reply to zic says:

          You don’t see any victim-blaming in saying that a women “provoked” or “encourage” sexual assault? That’s a little more than an assessment of risk.Report

          • zic in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

            I think we’re at some strange point of parsing risk assessment vs. criminal action.

            Saying that something is more likely to happen under certain situations doesn’t mean someone guilty of those situations brought it upon themselves. It’s more likely I’ll get run over if I cross the road should not translate into my never crossing the road.

            You can leave your car or house unlocked, and have someone enter and take things. But you’re leaving them unlocked didn’t grant them permission to do so, and they’re still guilty of crime.

            I don’t find it worthwhile to have things unable to be said because it’s ‘victim blaming.’ Part of learning to be responsible is learning to recognize dangerous situations, learning the things you can do to minimize harm, particularly when you’re in a risky situation.

            If we follow the path of suggesting that recognizing certain activities increase danger, so equal victim blaming, then we fail to discuss how to best protect oneself while engaging in risky behavior. Rock climbing is risky; yet I’d never tell someone who wanted to rock climb not to climb, I’d tell them how to learn to do it to minimize danger.Report

            • Jonathan McLeod in reply to zic says:

              I still think you’re making a leap from “provoke or encourage” to “risk assessment”. Sure, maybe that’s what some of the respondents did, as well, but that doesn’t make them right.

              And, again, it just works to normalize the opinions of people who actually think women provoke or encourage sexual assault.Report

              • zic in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

                Again, if someone comes into your home and takes things while you’re out for a walk without locking the doors, you’ve still not done anything wrong. There is no law against leaving your door unlocked. There is a law against stealing.

                But leaving your door unlocked does increase the risk of someone entering your home and taking things. So you’ve acted in a way that’s increased you likelihood of being a victim, but you are not to blame for being a victim.

                The opinions of people who think women provoke sexual assault are just that, opinions. Thankfully, over time, the social understanding of sexual assault has been changing, and fewer and fewer people still hold those opinions. Remember, within my lifetime, it was considered impossible for a husband to rape his wife.

                I don’t mean to be stubborn about this, but I have been date raped while intoxicated. I think it’s important to teach young people about the things that increase the potential of such things in their lives; both men and women. But it still means you’ve run into a bad character, not that you’ve brought it upon yourself. Not doing proper risk assessment, failing to inform people of the physical dangers they’re more likely to encounter in certain situations is irresponsible.Report

              • A Teacher in reply to zic says:

                Thank you for making this point Zic.

                One thing that I feel has been very hard for me to broach as a man in particular has been the idea of “what can you do minimize risk?” without seeming like I’m taking part in victim blaming or slut shaming. Somewhere in all this dialogue we just don’t seem to want to talk about risk assessment at all….Report

              • Kazzy in reply to A Teacher says:

                A Teacher,

                I’ve gotten into hot water attempting to discuss this very issue, because there is such a fine line, razor thin, between evaluating risk assessment and victim blaming.

                I think part of this is the disconnect between the world as it is and the world as we wish it to be.

                The reality is, there are things that women can do that will lower their risk of sexual assault. They probably can’t ever get it to zero, but the might be able to tick it down ever so much. But doing so involves enduring a burden, one which they shouldn’t have to endure… but such is the world we currently inhabit. Ideally, we’d reach a point where men would just stop raping, stop sexual assaulting, and women wouldn’t have to think twice about how they carried themselves vis a vis their risk factor. But we ain’t there yet.

                As I said elsewhere on this thread, there is a difference between saying, “It is safer to do X,” and saying, “You should/should have done X.” I think we conflate those two, assume they mean the same thing, and say them in place of each other…. but they are really quite different. The former is if done properly) an objective analysis of risk. The latter is assigning responsibility.

                We see this throughout society, albeit with typically lower consequences. Should blacks have to drive slower in wealthy neighborhoods? No, but they’re probably wise to if they want to avoid unnecessary hassle from the police. Should I have to cut my hair before a job interview? No, but doing so gives me a better shot at getting hiring. Should I have to lock my doors? No, but doing so makes it much easier to get robbed.Report

              • Bill in reply to Kazzy says:

                Its about time these issues are being brought to the light, and its even more surprising that some men are actually being allowed to voice their thoughts and concerns.
                Without Great Women we (men) would have no hope of ever knowing the true value of being a man; that of priceless value of female friendship, lover, companion, co-worker, sister, Not to mention our boo boo healers which are the MOMS. Becoming a husband, father, which for men like myself had been a lifelong dream. (side note, I humbly confess to being divorced, and also the major cause of it)
                To the Point- WRONG is Wrong, and not even God could help you if one of my daughters were ever violated. They are, and hard for me (being a lifelong man) to say, at their prime in life and living (in my opinion) with little girl minds, and very WORLDLY behaviors. Those behaviors and or attitudes are, again in my opinion, not so different than boys/men, who want to look the best, be popular and MOST importantly be acknowledged and looked at, liked, even talked about- in a nice way.
                Not much changes as we get older, both men and women still want to be noticed and admired. This is where your so-called dressing a certain way and or acting a certain way, either as your sober self or enhanced due to an exciting time out trying to have FUN.
                Woman Should NOT NEED to be protected from abuse anywhere or anytime, from their own friends, family and especially from a physical assault, however mild or severe- that goes with word slinging as well. But sometimes they do need protection, NOT only from the Higher end of the “HORRIBLE SCALE”, which seems to be the issue of rape/sexual assault, They also need protection from themselves and possibly their attitudes and behaviors when it has to do with men. (Before some of you women start to pounce on me, let it be said that boys and Immature (mentally) men need learn a heck of a lot more self control and most of all HOW to become a man.)
                This is a much LARGER ISSUE than what is being talked about today- which seems to only address the worst outcome. The violation of a woman’s body, which is a trauma no person should ever need endure.
                People, we all should have a right to our thoughts and feelings, as well as to be able to speak of them. Could be that instead of ATTITUDES and feelings being our motivation, maybe
                we should actually makes some attempts towards change, towards hearing from past victims as well as assailants, talk with some young people as well as young people that are supposed to be grown up today and see what ACTIONS WE ALL can take to broaden our awareness and if need be modify our lifestyles a little if by doing so we may be able to set NEW EXAMPLES for the up and coming boys and girls who are the next set our society who will be watching YOU as the example to follow. BE a REAL Man- the kind you want your own sister and daughters to marry.
                Ladies- YOU ALSO, are setting the example for your little sisters and young neighborhood girls to follow, Are you being the lady/woman who you might want your own son to or brother to get stuck with as a wife or are you the selfless type who is able to/ at certain times, able to adjust your own wants/ desires in order to make a needed difference in another’s life.
                Great Woman and Great men are educated (mostly by those around them) and learn how to be that way, Sad to say, I had always thought I was this terrific guy, until I actually looked closely into the mirror and started to meet other men who seemed to be like the man I wanted to be. It is a shocking and Humbling Moment when you find out you are not as great as you thought you were. :).
                Please continue on both sides of this, and do not let this VERY important life changing issue/s become just a byline in yesterdays news.

              • A Teacher in reply to Kazzy says:

                I also just read an article via a facebook friend that basically says “As a woman I don’t play hard to get”. I think the idea of “no means maybe” is equally ignored and equally problematic. We teach our boys that “no means no” and we teach our girls “don’t you ~dare~ say yes”. So what’s a boy or girl to do now?

                In fact I recall our little boy, age 4, playing last summer in the backyard with the neighbor girl, age 5. And she would say, emphatically, “Don’t you dare splash me or I’ll scream!”. And then she would pose with her back to them, arms out, and eyes squinted tight and wait. Our boy would look, shrug and go back to driving his boat in the little pool. She would repeat her warning. And again. And again. Finally, our son did indeed splash her end she did indeed scream and giggle like a wee little banshee.

                And then she looked at him and said “I told you! Now don’t you dare do it again or I’ll scream again!” And then struck her pose. And waited.

                There’s something off here that we darest not speak of it seems…Report

              • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yeah, the whole telling girls never ever to say yes is vile.
                Kids ought to learn how to have fun together. That it doesn’t necessarily need to be intercourse.Report

      • DRS in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        I think the fact that the polling company is Angus Reid indicates that the methodology was sound and the questions as unbiased (which isn’t the same as well-written, of course) as possible. It’s a well-respected firm, a leader in the public opinion sector.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Kazzy says:

      I wonder if respondents read “provoke or encourage” as “raise the likelihood”.

      The CBC link suggests there may have been a significant element of that.Report

    • Roger in reply to Kazzy says:

      I agree with Kazzy. There is extensive research (Kahneman) on how people answer complex or confusing questions, especially when there are moral dimensions. They replace the complex question which they cannot answer with a simpler one that they can.

      Some people are answering the simpler question of whether a woman’s actions can increase the likelihood of being raped. It is not a big leap to substituted provoke/encourage with “actions increasing the likelihood that a reasonable lady should try to avoid.”

      People substitute questions they want to answer with ones they can’t.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Roger says:

        Whenever I get a random phone poll, I just imagine they are asking me, “Do you want fries with that?” Given that I always want fries with that, I’m probably skewing the data.Report

      • Jonathan McLeod in reply to Roger says:

        Regarding confusing “provoke or encourage” with “increase the likelihood”, 9% answered yes to walking home. 19% answered yes to being drunk. That says to me there are at least 10% of those who answered yes to being drunk who sufficiently understood the question to be criticized.

        (Also, as I noted above, our un-critical thinking towards these sorts of things helps give the truly bad people cover.)Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

          I think we they really wanted to ferret out the bad people, they should have structured the questions thusly:

          “Do women bear any responsibility for being raped?”
          “What if they’re drunk?”
          “What if they walk home alone?”
          “What if they wear a short skirt?”

          I’d be pretty unwilling to give anyone the benefit of the doubt if they answer in the affirmative.Report

          • Roger in reply to Kazzy says:

            I again agree with Kazzy.Report

            • Johanna in reply to Roger says:

              Poor Kazzy. If we keep doing this he’ll never get into Whole Foods again.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Johanna says:

                Heh… perhaps what is causing all this agreement is my move out to the sticks, a good 35 minutes from the nearest Whole Foods. The locals are getting to me!Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                I think it’s possible that you and I might define “the sticks” differently. (To be clear, meant entirely playfully.)Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                Just maybe.Report

              • greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

                the sticks = 35 minutes from the nearest whole foods……chortle…lolReport

              • Kazzy in reply to greginak says:

                Do you know how far I am from the nearest Thai restaurant?!?!Report

              • greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

                36 minutes?Report

              • zic in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy, what you’re describing as ‘the sticks’ is the ‘burbs.

                The sticks are not 35 min. from a Whole Foods, you have to go through a parallel-universe portal to get to Whole Foods or a Thai restaurant, and it may take two portals to get to an Indian, Moroccan, or Ethopian restaurant, plus a purge before you go back to the sticks to get the exotic spices out of your system lest you be rejected as a space alien or not a real American.

                In the sticks you eat Moose, maybe some wild rice, but not that Asian rice. Fish, best if it’s fried in cornmeal. Caribou and elk are good. Potatoes are expected. Vegetables include peas, corn, and string beans, well cooked, none of this crunchy stuff. Salad has jello in it. Onions are okay, but only if the wife sneaks them in without the menfolk knowing. Cole slaw is acceptable raw, but most of that other raw stuff cannot be chewed. etc. etc. etc. Gravy should always be served with chicken. And BBQ ? GRILLING.Report

              • zic in reply to Kazzy says:

                Interesting, I inserted the not-equal sign and it was translated into a ?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


                I’ve spoken often of how our use of the terms urban/suburban/rural/etc. are often relative.

                I grew up in a town that for all intents and purposes was an extension of New York City. But we weren’t Manhattan. Manhattan is the city. We were a town, albeit a town of 40K with several commercial zones, but a town nonetheless. So we called ourselves the suburbs. Perhaps using an example closer to your home, imagine Newton or Brookline relative to Boston. So I consider my hometown to be the ‘burbs, when in reality, most of America would call it urban, if not a city in its own right.

                Now, I live about 50 minutes past there, a solid hour just to get into Manhattan. This FEELS like the sticks. There are farms… people hunt… I can’t get Chinese delivered at 2am. THE HORRORS!

                But I get that, objectively speaking, I am in the suburbs. Where I grew up was urban. And I’ve got a ways to go before I hit the real rural areas. It just doesn’t feel that way to me.

                I remember flying across the country on a daytime flight once. We hit western PA and I looked out the window and thought, “Wow… this is the middle of nowhere.” Then we hit the heartland and I thought, “Wow… now we’re REALLY in the middle of nowhere.” Than we hit the desserts of the southwest and I thought, “Holy shit, it looks like the moon down there!” I get that there are degrees, but perception is reality.

                Conversely, there are people out there who think a city can have but 100K people in it, who look at where I live now and would say, “Too noisy, too much!” when I’m saying, “Too quiet, too little!” It’s relative, to a degree. But, yea, it gets a whole lot stickier than where I am. I get that.Report

          • Jonathan McLeod in reply to Kazzy says:

            That might have been a better wording; however, that’s also leading people to the “right” answer, which isn’t necessarily candid.

            There’s a real problem with people who might think, “Women aren’t blamed for being raped, but…” (fill in “she shouldn’t have worn that”, “she shouldn’t have walked there”, “she shouldn’t have drank”, etc.). Those people would probably answer “no” to all your questions.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

              I got into this with Marge Twain years back on her blog over an episode of “Tough Love”, of all things. I think phrasing has a lot to do with it.

              It is one thing to say, “That woman probably wouldn’t have been raped had she not gone to the party.”
              It is another to say, “She shouldn’t have gone to the party.”

              But I think a lot of people think those are one in the same or might say the latter when they really mean the former.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Kazzy says:

      I agree with Kazzy.

      I had to look up the definition of provoke. Google defines it as (1) stimulate or give rise to blah blah blah, (2) stimulate or incite blah blah blah. You can almost hear both senses of the word. “Give rise to” sounds passive, “incite” sounds active. If I were asked questions like these, I could see myself saying that getting drunk and wearing a short skirt in a bar provokes sexual assualt, but I could also see myself punching someone who said that getting drunk and wearing a short skirt in a bar provokes sexual assault.Report

  3. Stillwater says:

    OK, Kazzy, it’s my turn to be a bad liberal …

    19 per cent of respondents said that if a woman is drunk, that can encourage or provoke sexual assault. Why think there is any normative content in that claim? It seems to me the belief that a woman’s being drunk can “cause or encourage” sexual assault could be merely descriptive without any victim blaming going on at all. If sexual assault is correlated with opportunism on the part of the predator, then a woman’s being drunk in the presence of such a predator increases the likelihood of being assaulted. That conditional, independently of it’s truth, is merely descriptive.

    In other words, it seems to me I could coherently hold the following two beliefs:

    1. Sexual assault is always wrong, and
    2. Being drunk around a sexual predator can cause or provoke sexual assault.Report

    • Kim in reply to Stillwater says:

      I think the “provoke” leads one more towards “asking for it”. Provoke is like saying “wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t…”

      …. i also think this might demonstrate exactly how little most people understand about sexual predation. Not understanding might be a good thing though!Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

      Hmmmm… I think you think I wrote this, but it was JML who did. And I actually pretty much stated something similar up above, at least in terms of how the poll respondents may have been interpreting the question.


      • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

        I knew you didn’t write it, Kazzy.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

          My apologies.

          Okay, then I’m a little confused. It feels like we’re saying the same thing… that people who abhor rape might reasonably answer those questions in the affirmative; they are not necessarily rape-cheering monsters. But I could be missing something. Can you enlighten me?Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

            {{{quickly scrolls thru comments}}}

            You wrote that people might have understood the question as “raise the likelihood” that an assault will result. That’s pretty much what I’m saying too.

            And I apologize for implying that you surrendered you’re “bad liberal” status. I didn’t realize you were first into the thread. You’re a better bad liberal than I am!Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

              Heh… I am more than happy to share the role. I think we need more “bad liberals”… and by that I mean people who are willing to challenge the majority.

              Of course, none of this should be construed as a criticism of JML, an eminently upstanding gentleman.Report

          • Jim Heffman in reply to Kazzy says:

            “I could be missing something. Can you enlighten me?”

            There are people whose response to “her behavior might have been risky” is an immediate “THAT IS VICTIM-BLAMING. YOU ARE SAYING IT’S HER FAULT SHE GOT RAPED.”Report

    • DRS in reply to Stillwater says:

      Only if a sexual predator is wearing a “I’m A Sexual Predator” t-shirt so that people can tell he is one.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    I think that we should start teaching people that there should be assumption of no consent rather than an assumption of consent and the assumption of no consent only disappears with explicit verbal manifestations of consent. As in “lets have sex” or “I want you to (insert sex act here) the sh*t out of me” or something like that. Its going to kill a lot of seduction and romance but its going to lead to a safer society.

    The other thing is that people need to really invest in sex bots and that sex bots need to be made freely available for public safety reasons. If people could bleep sex bots, we might have fewer rapes and other sexual crimes. The ideal is fewer sex crimes because of better people but we have to deal with people as they are not as we want them to be.Report

    • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Yes. The idea of verbal consent, before and during acts, is a wholesome one.

      I will say that one ought to be able to negotiate, on a case by case basis, what consent means — prior to starting “making out.” [so if the girl says, “I’m going to let you take control, and if I don’t gouge your eyes out, you did good.” that’s just fine and dandy — so long as this occurs while everyone’s capable of giving informed consent.]

      And also, that within a relationship, one can create customs of what consent means.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

        Even setting aside legal ramifications, I tend to have a low tolerance for ambiguity in such matters. And I tend to be on the more conservative side on how much liberty I am willing to take with the assumption of consent (I’ve been asked, more than once, why I didn’t do something – the opposite has not really occurred). I’d love to say “Hey, we need to talk this out and figure out what is and is not on the able.”

        My experience is that such a tactic is not usually met productively. It’d be great if such an outlook was not perceived as weak timidity or unromantic. Maybe if the law changed, the culture would change behind it, but I don’t think it’s the case right now.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

          “My experience is that such a tactic is not usually met productively.”

          I think it depends on how we define “productively”.

          You are probably less likely to reach third base with this approach, but probably more likely to have a long-lasting relationship. If the latter is your goal, it seems a highly productive approach.Report

          • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

            There also ought to be room for “oh, everything’s on the table, potentially. but there’s a 99% chance you aren’t scoring tonight.”Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

            That’s not really what I mean. In fact, such conversations would have probably gotten me to third base more often than I did, because my threshold for moving forward tends to be relatively high. I had more false negatives than false positives.

            What I mean, basically, is that such things seem to dull chemistry rather than enhance it. I become that guy who wants to establish everything beforehand. Which I am that guy, to be honest, but it’s not really an attractive feature. It seems to signal an unwillingness to “go with the flow” and “see where things take us”…

            Entirely possible that I was just doing it wrong, but my general preference of wanting to talk everything out just seems to be more perceived as a bug rather than a feature. And any attempts to nail down “Is this going to the next physical level” seems to be indicative of that.

            (Not with Clancy, though, which is one of the things I like about her. Our coupling did involve a “leap of faith kiss”, but we’re both the kind of people who otherwise very much would have preferred talk-it-out.)

            This comment should also not be construed that it should be left up to the woman alone to verbally specify the limits. From a moral standpoint, if not a legal one, it is the obligation to be on the lookout for any perceived discomfort and address that immediately before something happens that everybody regrets.

            In short, an express verbal consent requirement is something that is desirable in theory (especially to someone like me) but in practice, in my observation, doesn’t work out so well. Which, again, I wish were not the case.Report

            • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

              “go with the flow” and “see where things take us”
              … seem to be the kinds of things that can actually lead to rape (particularly with the inexperienced).

              Figuring out “what means no” and “I know this might look like no, but I’m having fun… some girls don’t particularly like eye contact during sex? each to their own. but it’s better to say upfront.”

              I can see a girl feeling “put on the spot” by being asked to define “how far to go” before she’s figured it out. Maybe a bigger focus on “what means no” might help.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

                At the very least, those phrases are conducive to misunderstandings with potentially horrible consequences. To me, puritanical guy that I am, sex ought to always be a BFD. It’s insane that anybody has sex without having firmly established and planned it ahead of time. But we have the culture we have and not the one that Trumwill would prefer.Report

            • NewDealer in reply to Will Truman says:

              I’ve wondered the same thing considering that I now make it a practice to ask women if I can kiss them before I do. Sometimes it does seem to “dull chemistry” as you say.

              But it certainly does give me a clear yes when it happens. Yet sometimes I wonder if chemistry is dulled after the fact…

              Dating sucks….Report

            • James Vonder Haar in reply to Will Truman says:

              I’ll note that this seems to be culturally conditioned, not necessarily inherent to human nature. Explicit negotiation and verbal consent are normal in some communities of sexual minorities, BDSMers standing out most in this regard. It makes sense why they’d need it: kinksters don’t really have a ready social script at hand, and the diversity of what people like prevents any convenient dinner -> Make Out -> Sex standard progression self-defeating. They’ve gotta talk it out because you can’t assume what precise kind of pervert anyone is. To my mind, the mainstream could learn a bit from the way they do things.Report

        • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

          I am certain that said with enough innuendo (and not the dickish variety)… 😉Report

        • zic in reply to Will Truman says:

          There’s a realms of mythology to women being ‘swept off their feet.’ God knows women themselves are the greatest consumer of that myth in the form of the romance novel; the formula typically being one of sexual titillation combined with finding one’s soul mate. He sweeps her off her feet, overpowers her naturally ingrained restraints, and they eventually live happily ever after.

          Excuse me while I go gag. The romance novel, in reality, strikes me more as a form of soft porn, an aphrodisiac to arouse, and somewhere in that formula is the suggestion that arousal somehow overcomes consent (FP post on the topic as I write.) This all roots in the notion that sex is something men must get and women should withhold.

          Consent — real, actual, willing consent stemming from actual liking and wanting, is a beautiful thing. It’s not really confusing if you step away from the tired old roles where boys get lucky and girls get shamed. If seeking consent means dulling things, it’s falling into those models, and both folk should probably walk away.

          Kim speaks to these things frequently. She often gets belittled for it; and probably shouldn’t. Arousal does not equal consent.Report

          • Kim in reply to zic says:

            Of course romance novels are porn.
            I don’t see why anyone pretends otherwise.

            Titillation sometimes, temptation more often.

            Nothing wrong with a bit of dross in one’s life,
            so long as one doesn’t pretend it’s the be all and end all of everything.Report

          • Kim in reply to zic says:

            Women do like being swept off their feet.
            Sometimes that’s good and consensual fun, too.

            I think there would be fewer lesbians without
            the somewhat ingrained, somewhat cultural concept.Report

            • zic in reply to Kim says:

              No doubt about it, Kim.

              But I think there’s some validity to the notion that it serves as a method for overwhelming consent that they would otherwise not feel entitled to give.

              Better they can give it with joy.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

              I have no idea what your last two sentences mean. If homosexuality comes from biology than the percentage of homosexuals should constant regardless of the sexual culture.Report

              • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Not really. Lesbians in Olde Europe were often Old Maids.
                Unwanted and unwed.

                I know a guy who’s had quite good success with sleeping with lesbians.
                The girls had quite a bit of fun during (and after) the experience.

                [note: this is not to promulgate the disgusting myth that lesbians are just hetero girls who need to be shown a good time.]Report

              • NewDealer in reply to Kim says:

                Is there any one person or type of person that you don’t know?Report

              • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

                Oh, scads! But, hell, when you know an author, you hear a TON of stories! (I sometimes swear he knows absolutely everyone. It’s not true of course. He’s got next to no contacts in the sports world.).Report

              • zic in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Lee, I think Kim’s suggesting that sexual attraction isn’t necessarily binary; it’s a spectrum, and most of the gay/straight perceptions we have of sexuality are socialized; that in reality we’re quite capable of enjoying a range of experiences.

                I believe that the extremes of the spectrum — totally hetero, totally homo, hide the fact that most people fall somewhere in the middle, and are capable of enjoying both, probably with inclination one direction or the other. It’s individual chemistry that counts; the way someone looks, smells, etc.Report

              • Kim in reply to zic says:

                That, certainly. And the guy I was mentioning, well, he often gets mistaken for being gay (even while on dates with women!)Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to zic says:

            Romance novels are only soft porn? They might be text based rather than visually based but the porn part is really explicit.

            I’m not really a fan of “women getting swept off their feet” fantasy, mainly for reasons of self-interest. There is no way I can fulfill those fantasies anymore than most women could fulfill the the porn-filled fantasies of men. I’m short, hairy to the point where clean-shaven is an oxy moron, and stocky. Definitely not the romance hero type.Report

            • zic in reply to LeeEsq says:

              Lee, I wouldn’t say, “only soft porn,” but definitely partly soft porn.

              And your reasons for disliking the hero image are 100% valid; rather like most women being unable to live up to the marketing and movie images of ‘beautiful woman’ they’re constantly exposed to.

              With romance novels (movies & TV, too) I have to wonder if things go a bit deeper, based on my crazy notion that we use story to help us deal with situations we might face in real life. Is the popularity of the romance novel based on its function helping women learn to accept their own powerful sexual urges, or its function of making the non-consent of arousal acceptable, or both? I don’t pretend to know.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to zic says:

                I’d argue that its the former. Romance novels were one of the few openly sexually explicit media aimed at women for a long time. It was also one of the only sexually explicit media that was considered acceptable for women to read. This gave them the function of telling women that its fine to be sexual as opposed to the prevelant “good girls don’t” message that existed up till the mid-1960s. It told women that you can enjoy sex to and you to have a right to dream about being with a tall, dark, and handsome man.Report

              • zic in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Thank you for that, it’s nice to see the bright side in the dark and dank world of telling women they’re bad if the like it.Report

    • KatherineMW in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I think that’s going rather too far. If someone’s in the middle of kissing you and removing your clothes, presuming they’re willing to have sex unless they verbally or physically indicate otherwise seems rational.Report

  5. BlaiseP says:

    At some point, we’ll get around to clarifying what’s implied by Provoking. Encourage implies will: I can encourage you when you’re feeling down, say.

    But provoking is another story: inadvertent provocation isn’t meant to incite, though it does. Women don’t wear shorts in Hausa culture: it’s obscene, they’d sooner expose a female breast than the thigh.

    Let’s stipulate to incitement. That’s not up for discussion: everyone ought to condemn a statement such as Women who drink are not responsible for their actions. The problem arises with assessing how people behave when they’re drunk; they do behave irresponsibly. They do all sorts of stupid things. That’s why we have laws against drunk driving, public intoxication, dram shop laws and the like: society can’t tolerate irresponsibility when drunk people becomes a danger to others — and themselves.

    Where are men supposed to draw the line, anyway? I don’t sleep with just anyone. And yes, I do ask for explicit consent before sex — but not always. Sometimes it’s just happened. And yes, sometimes it’s happened when I’m drunk and I’ve lived to regret those incidents.

    I’ve never been accused of date rape. I have been accused of statutory rape. A pile of money and several months later, I was declared innocent of all charges. Nowhere along the line here has anyone brought up anything along the lines of what happens to men when accusations of this sort are made. I suppose the same is true of women, they could be falsely charged.

    Am I completely out of line to observe drunk women behave irresponsibly? That they might sleep with men they otherwise wouldn’t when they’re drunk? That the possibility exists that she might regret the incident and accuse those men of rape? I’m not proposing to make that possibility the default case: I have lived through a rape allegation. My story is hardly unique.Report

    • Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

      It’s hard to be out of line when talking about reality.
      Particularly when you’re not putting percentages in the mix.

      Ideally, people obtain informed consent — which happens well before when people get stupid drunk.

      This ideal ought to be taught, and acted upon by civilized people of both genders.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Kim says:

        Well, sure. But it doesn’t answer the question. What shall we say of consent when it’s given by an intoxicated person? Is it truly consent? These days, I’m surprised more people don’t keep a copy of some consent document containing these clauses: being of sound mind and disposing memory and not acting under duress or undue influence, and fully understanding the nature and extent of Gettin’ Nekkid Wichu, do hereby make, publish, and declare…

        … and making their partners sign it.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Kim says:

        And even if there was such a contract, even if it were signed and notarised and otherwise wrapped in all the legalese anyone could apply to it — would it be enforceable? Maybe it would look like a porn contract.

        It’s all fine to complain about other people’s judgements upon the victims of rape. What of the victims of rape allegations?Report

        • Kazzy in reply to BlaiseP says:

          “What of the victims of rape allegations?”

          Write a post on it. We can talk about one without talking about the other or implying the other isn’t a real issue.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

            No. This is the post. There is no talking about one and not talking about the other. What did I say about Respectful Relationships, what was it, yesterday? Respect is a commutative property: what is true for one member of the relationship is equally true of the other, that respect is not a one-way proposition.

            Gettin’ really sick of this sort of dissection. We’re talking about Informed Consent. Perhaps drunk people don’t give informed consent. Were I to hire a decent lawyer, I could perhaps get out of a contract I signed while drunk. But it would be a pretty big fight — and fights like that cost money. Lots of it. Meanwhile, let’s all hold our uncalloused little hands in a big old Robert Bly circle and sing manly songs about how manly we are — and avoid the questions that nasty BlaiseP raises about what good for geese and what’s good for ganders. Write a separate post, my ass. No I will not.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to BlaiseP says:

              You’re wrong. They’re different conversations. Doctors don’t have conversations about the best practices for treating gun shot victims while also talking about reducing gun violence.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to BlaiseP says:

              “Write a separate post, my ass. No I will not.”

              Fine, then don’t get huffy when people want to talk about what this post is about and not get derailed with another conversation focused on your experiences.Report

  6. KatherineMW says:

    Ugh. This is why the Men’s Rights Movement is about opposing women’s rights and safety, not about anything relating to actual men’s rights (e.g., stuff that’s discussed in the posts here on lack of respect for stay-at-home dads and men in non-traditionally-male occupations).

    I think the “Don’t Be THAT Guy” campaign is a great strategy – it’s a means of highlighting all-too-common behaviours and pointing out that they’re not acceptable – and is exactly what feminism needs at the moment. We’re at the point where government’s done most of what it can with regards to equality; the main struggle now is changing social attitudes, and the posters are a good method of doing that.

    So assholes trying to subvert them by putting up posters saying women are to blame for being raped, or that women who report rape are lying, is disgusting and demoralizing.

    I’m usually big on free speech on university campuses, but I think something that’s as openly misogynist as these posters is worth considering banning from campus.Report

  7. Keith Beacham says:

    That you cannot see that the “Don’t be that Guy” campaign is superfluous at best and insultingly generalizing of men at worst, is evidence a myopia that you would do good to cure yourself of.Report

    • Jonathan McLeod in reply to Keith Beacham says:

      That’s your focus in all of this? Seriously?Report

      • Keith Beacham in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        That’s exactly how I felt about your post.Report

        • Jonathan McLeod in reply to Keith Beacham says:

          Yeah, I’m against rape apologists, and I’m fine with attempts at fighting sexual assault. And I really have no problem with that.

          The ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ was targeting a significant issue, a significant problem in our society. Mocking that campaign for some concern about the faux-pandemic of false rape claims is contemptible.Report

          • Keith Beacham in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

            If you think being against rape and “rape apologists” makes you unique among men you are delusional beyond rational discussion. I don’t think you know what being a rape apologists means. The participants in the poll merely believe that women can be agents in their own safety. If sexual assault is a random occurrence this belief is flawed. As a man there are certain places I go and behaviors I choose to engage in or not based on my perception of personal safety. Is this an example of illusion of control? Perhaps, but what it is not is a justification for some one to violate my person. I imagine you perform similar personal safety assessments.
            Attempts to deter sexual assault are fine and well, but it can be done without portraying men as monsters who have uncontrollable urges to rape. The poster is offensive to men and ironically prevent no sexual assaults. The people who commit such crimes are sociopaths and I suspect they won’t be moved by posters.Report

            • greginak in reply to Keith Beacham says:

              Rapists are not sociopaths, you are using that word in a sloppy and inaccurate manner. Rapists often blame their victims, they often present their urges as uncontronable and don’t take responsiblity for their actions. This kind of add aims directly at the beliefs rapist often have. It is trying to focus the thoughts of guys who might have some of those false beliefs and get them thinking. Lord knows i’ve heard man joking about “she was asking for it” or talk about how they couldn’t resist their urges. It is up to the rest of us to push back on that.Report

              • Keith Beacham in reply to greginak says:

                Rapist are sociopaths. I don’t wish to argue semantics here. Locker room talk is not rape.
                Rape is a crime that not only lands perpetrators in jail but also brands them with the stigma of sex offender status for the rest of their lives. What more should we do? There are more men who would sacrifice their own life in the service of protecting women (even strangers) than men who rape. Women are safer in modern western societies than they have ever been in recorded history. What more can be done?Report

              • greginak in reply to Keith Beacham says:

                Good don’t argue semantics and stop using the word sociopath wrong. “Locker room” talk is often how men (and women) are socialized. If you hear all your buddies talk about how cool it was to screw a woman who was drunk and uncounsious that spreads values. What more could be done??? Huh , we could try to keep reducing the incidence of rape…..Pretty easy answer acutally. You are correct that most men would sacrifice themselves to save a women. Good for them. Men should defend those who can’t defend themselves. That has never changed. Most men won’t have the chance to fight a rapist to defend a woman. But we can teach other men that some behaviors and the attitudes that lead to those behaviors are wrong.Report

              • Keith Beacham in reply to greginak says:

                I will use the word as I see fit.
                “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.”

                “we could try to keep reducing the incidence of rape”

                You may do as you please but I see far greater incidences of other injustices that deserve my attention.Report

              • greginak in reply to Keith Beacham says:

                Feel free to use the word wrong. Sociopathy is more about a deep and long lasting inability to understand other peoples emotions. They are deeply amoral and only think about their own base needs. Using words like sociopathy wrong just serves to picture rapist as some slobbering monster that hides in caves. If you know men, you know someone who has commited a rape. It might not be a stranger rape, but more likly a date rape. The rapist i’ve known were in most ways decent people. The one who i worked with the longest was riddled by guilt over what he had done. Sociopaths don’t feel guilty.Report

              • Keith Beacham in reply to greginak says:

                ” If you know men, you know someone who has commited a rape.”

                This is the most foolish thing I’ve heard in a while. If you are a man (and I have my doubts) you have been brainwashed into self loathing and I feel for you.Report

              • greginak in reply to Keith Beacham says:

                Doubting other peoples manhood for saying things you disagree with doesn’t speak well of your vision of manhood. Same thing with self-loathing, if you think i hate myself because you think i said something foolish than you can’t handle different viewpoints or discussion..

                zmen do commit rape, that isn’t really at issue is it. If you take a sample of men there is obviously a chance, even a small one, that one of those men will have commited a rape. If you take a large enought sample than it is virtually certain part of that sample will be a man who has commited a rape. It’s more about sample size and percentages then anything else.Report

              • aleb in reply to greginak says:

                I think I know what you’re saying, and I certainly don’t agree with Keith, but I think the statement “If you know men, you know someone who has commited a rape” would be difficult for a logician to accept as true. A statistician might not argue with you, though.Report

              • Keith Beacham in reply to greginak says:

                Excuse my snarky comment. Obsessing about protecting women against sexual assault within a modern western context shows a lack of understanding of threat levels women faced historically. There simply are bigger fish to fry with respect to social justice. The small number of men who rape should be punished. Generalizing rape as prominent feature of male sexuality shows a stunning ignorance of our natural inclination to defend and protect women. Our inclination to do this is so strong that we often end up sacrificing our selves in the process. The posters in question are insulting that you cannot understand that is an example of this inclination.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Keith Beacham says:


                Let’s look at some facts.

                First, 8% of men acknowledge engaging in behavior that qualifies as rape or attempted rape. Yet 84% of them do not believe their actions constitute rape or attempted rape.

                Two big takeaways from this:

                1.) If you know 9 or more men, than the odds of one of them having committed rape or attempted rape is greater than 50%. If you know 27 or more men, than the odds of one of them having committed rape is greater than 90%.

                2.) Their is an issue with male culture if 84% of men can commit rape or attempted rape and don’t realize it. If a guy think thats sleeping with a girl who is drunk-on-the-verge-of-passing-out is a-okay, than he thinks rape is a-okay. Guess what? A lot of guys think this is okay. It is on men to expunge that thought from our ranks.

                Second, who the hell are you to say how big a deal rape is? Estimate peg the number of women who have been raped or attempted to be raped at 20-25% of the female population. That is a huge percentage. Given that rape is a crime that is not just physically damaging, but can be mentally or emotionally damaging, with many victims feeling like they cannot be made whole, it is one of the most pressing issues that currently faces American society.Report

              • Keith Beacham in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy you are wrong.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Keith Beacham says:

                Wow. That is a REALLY compelling argument. Hmmm… almost makes me want to throw out all the facts and figures I just offered. I mean, someone on the internet told me I was wrong. What do I need numbers for?Report

              • Keith Beacham in reply to Kazzy says:

                Someone on the internet likely gave you those bullshit statistics.Report

              • Just Me in reply to Kazzy says:

                Aren’t the odds that each man has a 9% chance of being a rapist?Report

            • Jonathan McLeod in reply to Keith Beacham says:

              If you claim – as some poll respondents did and as Men’s Rights Edmonton apparently does – that women “encourage or provoke” rape by the way they dress or how much they drink, you’re a rape apologists.

              This wasn’t about safety or risk assessment (sadly because of the switch over to the new site layout, we’ve lost a lot of comments on this post, many of which were about this particular topic).

              If people want to fight against false rape allegations, fine, I have no problem with that. False rape allegations are horrible. But to do it by taking a jab at an anti-sexual assault campaign is perhaps not the most tasteful way to go about it.

              Also, I don’t see how the ‘Don’t Be THAT Guy’ campaign is a smear against all men. It’s clearly saying that there are some nasty guys out there (the “THAT GUYS”s that they refer to), and people should try not to be that kind of nasty guy. I don’t know why you’ve read so much into it and internalized it so.Report

              • Keith Beacham in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

                “I could go on, but surely it’s clear that posters asking men not to be that guy, you know the rapist guy, will be just as effective as posters asking black guys not to be thieves. And why are these posters not effective?

                MOST MEN AREN’T RAPISTS





                And the ones that DO? They don’t give a fuck about your stupid posters. They’re risking their lives and freedom and their livelihoods. A police officer with a gun might stop them. Some jackass poster won’t.

                What the posters accomplish is to teach men they are natural-born rapists. And to teach women to fear and mistrust men. To hate them.
                All men.

                It’s a hate campaign. There is no other word for it.”
                – Janet BloomfieldReport

              • Kazzy in reply to Keith Beacham says:


                Is it possible someone engages in a behavior that is harmful but does not realize it is harmful?Report

              • Keith Beacham in reply to Kazzy says:

                Have you ever raped anybody by accident? You fellas have be so thoroughly indoctrinated in feminist dogma that you don’t even realize the utter absurdity of your own opinions of yourselves as men. You don’t even hear yourselves. Because if you heard the same biased assumptions about any other group of people you would recognize how demeaning and offensive it is.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Keith Beacham says:


                You didn’t answer the question.

                Let me ask another one:

                Do you think sleeping with a girl who is too drunk to form a coherent sentence is rape?Report

              • Keith Beacham in reply to Kazzy says:

                Sex acts without the consent of both parties is wrong. The use of force and or coercion to extract sex from an unwilling participant is rape. A woman who gets drunk and drives and hits a pedestrian is responsible for her actions. A girl who gets drunk and goes home with that guy (likely drunk also) and has sex does not constitute a prima facie case of rape. There is no reason to dumb down rape the definition is clear. If she is in such a state (passed out) and is unable to consent yes that is rape.Report

              • Mark Thompson in reply to Keith Beacham says:

                Mr. Beacham: If, in the midst of making out in a dorm room, a woman says “stop” but does not put up any other physical resistance, and the man goes on to have sex with her, is the man a sociopath? Will he necessarily believe he has committed rape? And has he legally committed rape?

                The answer to the last question is indubitably “yes,” for what it’s worth, and not because of “feminist dogma,” but because having intercourse with someone against their will has always been “rape.”Report

              • Jonathan McLeod in reply to Keith Beacham says:

                If it read, ‘Don’t Be That Person’, would you be ok with that? (This isn’t meant as snark, but an honest question.)Report

              • Keith Beacham in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:


    • Elliott Mason in reply to Keith Beacham says:

      Actually, an acquaintance of mine was deely moved by the Don’t Be That Guy posters … because he hadn’t realized he was a rapist. He remembered a particular encounter several years ago as “We partied, we went home, we had sex, she freaked out, she didn’t want to talk to me anymore” … because he’d raped her and she didn’t know how to raise it with him/confront him, so she left that end of the friend-group entirely.

      There are guys out there committing what is, by definition, rape, but who do not realize they’re defining their actions differently. College survey after college survey proves that if you phrase things weasel-wordy instead of using the blatant words ‘rape’ and ‘assault’, the same exact ACTIONS can be described as consensual by the college-age guys being surveyed.

      They need to learn what rape is. And how not to do it. My friend is proof.Report

      • Keith Beacham in reply to Elliott Mason says:

        “because he hadn’t realized he was a rapist”
        Do you have any idea how idiotic this construction is?
        Regret does not define rape. That two people get drunk and have sex does not constitute rape. Rape is the forced or cohered sex act.Report

        • Elliott Mason in reply to Keith Beacham says:

          Yes. And he didn’t realize that him arguing her around to having sex with him after she’d said no (and she was drunk), was rape. It didn’t look like rape to him, because his internal vision of rape was the cartoonish, primary-colors scrawled bad-guy version you see on television. However, what he did was legally rape. He just didn’t know it was.Report