Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Being pathetic doesn't mean you're not also a rapist.

This post is dedicated to someone that I removed from my LJ friends list because he alluded to bringing home drunk girls as a symptom of his own loneliness and the bleakness of his romantic life.

Rapists Who Don't Think They're Rapists (Or, as I would subtitle it: Why women are right not to trust men. Even friends.)

Thomas looks at a study of 1882 college students who were asked four questions to determine if they had ever raped (or attempted to rape) anyone:
1) Have you ever attempted unsuccessfully to have intercourse with an adult by force or threat of force?
2) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone who did not want you to because they were too intoxicated to resist?
3) Have you ever had intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?
4) Have you ever had oral intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?
Questions like these are bound to lead to underreporting—what guy is going to admit to forcing a girl to give him head? As it turns out, a lot of guys will admit to this, 120 to be exact: That’s six percent of the survey’s respondents who copped to either rape or attempted rape.
An excellent comment directed at men was made in Thomas MacAulay Millar's entry (linked in the above article) Meet the Predators.
I’m directing this to men who inhabit het-identified social spaces, and I’m not really limiting it more than that. Women are already doing what they can to prevent rape; brokering a peace with the fear is part of their lives that we can never fully understand. We’re the ones who are not doing our jobs.

Here’s what we need to do. We need to spot the rapists, and we need to shut down the social structures that give them a license to operate. They are in the population, among us. They have an average of six victims, women that they know, and therefore likely some women you know. They use force sometimes, but mostly they use intoxicants. They don’t accidentally end up in a room with a woman too drunk or high to consent or resist; they plan on getting there and that’s where they end up.

Listen. The women you know will tell you when the men they thought they could trust assaulted them; if and only if they know you won’t stonewall, deny, blame or judge. Let them tell you that they got drunk, and woke up with your buddy on top of them. Listen. Don’t defend that guy. That guy is more likely than not a recidivist. He has probably done it before. He will probably do it again.

Change the culture. To rape again and again, these men need silence. They need to know that the right combination of factors — alcohol and sex shame, mostly — will keep their victims quiet. Otherwise, they would be identified earlier and have a harder time finding victims. The women in your life need to be able to talk frankly about sexual assault. They need to be able to tell you, and they need to know that they can tell you, and not be stonewalled, denied, blamed or judged.

Listen. The men in your lives will tell you what they do. As long as the R word doesn’t get attached, rapists do self-report. The guy who says he sees a woman too drunk to know where she is as an opportunity is not joking. He’s telling you how he sees it. (...)

We are not going to pull six or ten or twelve million men out of the U.S. population over any short period, so if we are going to put a dent in the prevalence of rape, we need to change the environment that the rapist operates in. Choose not to be part of a rape-supportive environment. Rape jokes are not jokes. Woman-hating jokes are not jokes. These guys are telling you what they think. When you laugh along to get their approval, you give them yours.
I repeat: This post is dedicated to someone that I removed from my LJ friends list because he alluded to bringing home drunk girls as a symptom of his own loneliness and the bleakness of his romantic life.
I would chat them up, desperately trying to come across as smooth and attractive, and if they were drunk enough, maybe I might get a kind word or a kiss for my efforts. On the extremely rare events that I would bring one home, it was meaningless physical copulation, followed by hours and days of emotional hand-wringing. More often, I would spend all my money and energy in a fruitless attempt to have some sort of human contact, and at the end of the night I would still come home alone. It was a waste of time.
Because the period in his life in which rape was the only way he could get laid was so terrible for him. The consciousness that he was (and likely always will be) a rapist who doesn't see himself that way made me uncomfortable enough that I couldn't read his LJ about anything else, but... not uncomfortable enough to comment and tell him that he raped those women. I knew it would cause drama to use the "R word," and that made me a coward.

To you. I'm sorry to all the women whose rapes caused you such hand-wringing that I helped create the environment of silence that you operate in. I don't care if you or your friends get pissed at me for flaming or causing drama by mentioning this in a public entry. I don't care if you're uncomfortable that the fact that you're a rapist makes me uncomfortable. Anybody whose immediate reaction is to defend this should be fucking ashamed of themselves, and should comment only to let me know that I need to defriend them (if I haven't already).

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