Quick Hit: Drinking and Rape


Check out this amazing piece by The Lovely Jaclyn Friedman at Women’s eNews, “Drinking and Rape: Let’s Wise Up About It.”

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104 Comments

  1. mirm
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Yes, yes, and yes. I think one reason why even feminists resist the self-defense idea is it still asks the woman to make changes rather than the man. Having said that, I very much prefer Friedman’s ideas 1. Hold men responsible 2. Give women appropriate information about drinking and safety, and 3. Teach self-defense–IN THAT ORDER. Hold men accountable first.

  2. roymacIII
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Definitely.
    The only part I question is: Similarly, we should be teaching men that the best way to avoid becoming a rapist is to seek positive consent, as opposed to just leaving it up to a woman to say ‘no.’
    I don’t know. I don’t like the idea that people have to “teach men to avoid becoming rapists,” because it sounds almost like men accidentally become rapists, because they’re not sure that what they’re doing is rape, and I’m not sure what that would look like. Are there men who really don’t realize that they’re raping a woman?
    I guess I just don’t feel like it’s holding men accountable enough if someone has to teach them not to rape. Nobody should have to be taught not to rape anymore than they should have to be taught not to murder, torture, or some other gross physical violation.
    I think that it’s absolutely most important to hold men responsible for rape, and to make it clear that it’s not going to be tolerated anymore.
    “Boys will be boys” isn’t going to cut it anymore.
    “Well, she didn’t say no” isn’t going to cut it anymore.
    I sort of feel like most rapists must already know that what they’re doing is wrong, but they don’t care. It’s time to hold them responsible and make them care.
    That’s my gut feeling, anyway.

  3. EG
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I think they know what they’re doing is wrong, but the way I interpret this “education” is that it takes away their plausible deniability: “Well, she didn’t say not” is no longer a viable rationalization if you’re explicitly told that that’s not good enough. In some ways it’s a “You’re not fooling anyone” kind of education, rather than the kind where you actually teach someone something they didn’t know.

  4. Posted February 28, 2007 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I think we should teach everyone to get positive consent (and now I wish I’d said it that way, since the way I wrote it just re-inscribes the fallacy about men always being the ones who want to go “further” sexually, and women always being in charge of putting on the brakes when necessary.)
    I just think we should be teaching healthy sexual communication/negotiation as part of sex ed. I know, it’s a pipe dream. But I do think it would prevent some rapes. I honestly do think some sexual assault happens in the fuzzy area where men/boys are taught to “score” and women/girls freeze up and can’t manage to say what they actually want and the guy thinks if she’s not saying “no,” it must be fine, and therefore he should go for it, because, well, that’s what “men” do. This happens especially when there’s alcohol clouding his and/or her judgement.
    As for self-defense, I get so impatient with the argument that it somehow blames or puts responsibility on the “victim.” How I wish we lived in a world where nobody raped or assaulted anyone and so no one needed to know how to fight! But none of us live in that world, and while we’re working toward it there are some very practical things we can do to keep ourselves safer. (btw, I advocate self-defense training for men, too.) Check out http://www.impactboston.com for more info (they also have chapters around the country. And no, I don’t work for them. But I really believe in what they teach.)

  5. mirm
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I think our culture gives mixed messages and we *do* need to educate boys better. Our culture on the surface teaches that rape is wrong. Then it encourages boys (and later men) to believe that girls are on the planet for male sexual pleasure. End that underlying message and we make a dent in rape.

  6. Thomas
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I think the key to changing the rape culture is to change the view of sexuality from a commodity model to a performance model.
    What I mean by a commodity model is the view that sex is something women have and men get; what Amanda Marcotte refers to as the “pussy oversoul” that women are guardians of and that men make applications for access to. Sex is like a ticket; women have them and men try to get them. Women may give them away or may trade them for something valuable, but it’s a transaction in a good.
    The commodity model is shared in common by both the libertines and the prudes of a patriarchy. To the libertine, guys want to maximize their take of tickets. The prudes want women to keep the tickets to buy something really important: the spouse; provider, protector, etc.
    That whole model is wrong. Under that model, consent is not an affiramtive partnership. Instead, if someone tries to take a ticket and the owner doesn’t object, then the ticket is free for the taking. Under this way of thinking, consent is the absence of “no.” It is therefore economically rational to someone with this commodity concept of sex that it can be taken; rape is a property crime in that view. In the past, the crime was against the male owner of women (let’s not sugar-coat it; until very recently women were in a legal way very much male property and still are in many places and ways). Even among more enlightened folks, if one takes a commodity view of sex, rape is still basically a property crime against the victim.
    The better model is the performance model, where sex is a performance, and partnered sex is a collaboration between the partners; like dance or music.
    Under a performance model, consent is not the absence of “no.” Consent is affirmative participation. Who picks up a guitar and jams with a bassist who just stands there? Who dances with a partner who is just standing there and staring? In the absence of affirmative participation, there is no collaboration; forcing participation by coersion is not a property crime, but a crime of violence like kidnapping.
    Under this model, looking for affirmative participation is built into the conception. If our boys learn this from their pre-adolescence, then the idea that consent is affirmative rather than the absence of objection will be ingrained.
    The performance model has the added feature that it eliminates slut-baiting. A commodity is finite; if women give or trade away their tickets, they have lost something of value, and the relevant question is what they got in exchange. If sex is a performance, then the question is how well it worked out. There’s no finite commodity to run out of, and nobody gets called a slut for jamming with too many musicians.

  7. Posted February 28, 2007 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Thomas! I could not love this model any more if I tried! Thanks for explaining it so well and thoroughly. Should I credit it to you if I reference it?

  8. Thomas
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    If you reference me, most of the folks in the feminist blogosphere will know who you’re talking about; I’ve got a long-running presence here, and at Feministe, Faux Real Tho, Pandagon, Alas and other feminist blogs. I have been making the sex=music comparison since I was an undergrad, but what I wrote above is really the product of a private email exchange with Amanda, and the term “pussy oversoul,” which made the difference between the commodity and performance models so clear to me, is hers from a discussion two years ago at Alas.
    Who says the feminist blogosphere doesn’t produce theory?
    Jaclyn, I thought the article was great. I have children of both sexes. While changing sex ed to fit our worldview is a long term project, many of us will raise children. If we have the courage to ignore the larger culture and tell our children what we know is right, then we can make that change. It starts with not being ashamed.

  9. Posted February 28, 2007 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    roymac, I think the “boys will be boys” rationale built into our underlying subconcious notions about sexuality is PRECISELY what leads so many men to become rapists. Sadly, it does not take a total monster to be a rapist (at least, where “monster” means someone borderline sociopathic way-off-the-median person). We do live in what I would call a “culture of rape.” A lot of men I’ve talked to find this threatening and take offense, as though I’ve just called them a rapist. So it’s tough to find the right words to phrase what I’m trying to say. I’m NOT saying all men are evil bastards. I AM saying we live in a culture where men are ENCOURAGED to rape or almost-rape women. We live in a culture that makes it extremely easy to rationalize rape. And this is why getting the word out to boys and men is so important. Absolutely, there are plenty of decent, respectable guys out there who would never dream of having sex with a woman who wasn’t clearly, full-on, one hundred percent willing and able to consent. But the number of rapes we still have tells us there are also PLENTY of guys out there who either don’t get it, or refuse to get it. Yeah, we’ll never be able to stop the legitimate sociopaths. But maybe we can stop the guys who just haven’t thought about it enough to realize how damaging cultural myths about sexuality really are.
    I think getting the message out to PEOPLE (as Jaclyn notes) that consent means AFFIRMATIVE consent is a huge step in the right direction. So is putting the impetus on potential RAPISTS to stop rape. If we alter the message we send as a society, I absolutely believe rapes will drop off. Part of preventing rape involves making it less acceptable. And right now, it’s way too acceptable. Telling guys “watch your drinking, you don’t want to turn into a rapist” is a positive step. Indeed, I hear men complain a LOT about “false accusations” of rape (I doubt there are very many that are ACTUALLY false). Seems to me that’s the perfect segue to “well, then protect yourself from being accused of rape. Don’t get drunk, don’t get her drunk, and get affirmative consent.” Any guy who would balk at that, isn’t concerned about FAKE accusations.

  10. Posted February 28, 2007 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Thomas, wow. I don’t know what else to do but to just sit here and offer metaphysical applause. That was an awesome comment.

  11. Thomas
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    LF, I think you’re absolutely right that sociopaths are not common enough to account for the sickening prevalence of sexual assault. The rest must be men who are normal for this culture, employing strategies and models that allow them to deny to themselves that their conduct is rape. Sadly, there is no shortage of those. It is so bad that even women who have been raped have trouble identifying what was done to them as rape. They know better than anyone that what happened to them is not what they wanted to happen, but the cultural narratives define “rape” so narrowly that they won’t apply it to their experience. If women who have been raped are in denial about what it was, obviously it is easy for men who have sex with women who are drunk, or terrified, or stunned at the moment of penetration and just freeze for two minutes of misery until he rolls off, to pretend nothing untoward happened. Both men and women tell themselves that this is “bad sex.” It isn’t. Bad sex is when the parties both want it to happen, but the chemistry doesn’t work and it just fizzles (I’ve been there). When a woman feels she is not is a position to stop a man from putting his penis in her, that’s rape.
    I think it is most important to change the way men see sex, but it is also important to change the way women see sex. I think the commodity, “milk/cow” thinking and the cultural narratives about men as pursuers and men as guardians inflict on women a hesitation and shame about desire that keeps them from saying, “yes.” How can we tell men to look for affirmative consent without empowering women to make affirmative decisions about how and when to act on their own desires? A sexual model built on the presence of “yes” requires that we give women permission to say, “yes.” That’s more than a story about rape prevention; that’s about fixing the whole patriarchally infected model of sexuality, and also about preventing rape.
    Of course, these two things are mutually reinforcing. Rape is the lynching of patriarchy, and between that, the cultural trope of sluthood, and disease and unwanted pregnancy, there is a system of very real threats that operate to prevent women from exercising sexual agency.

  12. the_becca
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Thomas — awesome.
    “Are there men who really don’t realize that they’re raping a woman?”
    Yes, absolutely. There are plenty of guys who think that it isn’t rape unless the victim is screaming bloody murder and clawing at her attacker.

  13. EG
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Oh, yes, much love for Thomas!
    Also much love for the phrase “Pussy Overloard.” I’m picturing Darth Vader, only female. Like, Darth Vader as played by Lucy Lawless.

  14. roymacIII
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Law Fairy: I’m not about to take offense to the notion that we live in a rape culture. In fact, that’s exactly what I’m getting at- we live in a society that currently gives, for example, college men a pass on certain kinds of rape. I’m suggesting that efforts to teach men not to rape don’t hold men accountable enough. I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction, for sure.
    I’m NOT saying all men are evil bastards. I AM saying we live in a culture where men are ENCOURAGED to rape or almost-rape women. We live in a culture that makes it extremely easy to rationalize rape.
    I agree with you 100%, but I guess I’m not as convinced that these guys are unaware that they’re doing something wrong in most cases. I agree that they rationalize it away, but I guess I’m having a hard time thinking that a guy who sets out looking for a drunk woman with the intent of having sex with her doesn’t realize that he’s taking advantage of her. He may not call it rape, but I still feel like he must know that the situation is wrong, he just doesn’t care.
    It’s like Thomas says: “The rest must be men who are normal for this culture, employing strategies and models that allow them to deny to themselves that their conduct is rape.”
    I know that I’m taking his comment a little differently than he intends it, but that’s closer to how I feel- there might be a few men who really don’t realize that they’ve done anything wrong, but I feel like most of them know there’s something off about what they’re doing- they know they’re manipulating, coercing, or forcing to some degree. They also know that we live in a society that encourages that to some extent, and that the penalty for their behavior is going to be non-existant in most cases.
    Then again: It is so bad that even women who have been raped have trouble identifying what was done to them as rape.
    This is also true, so… I don’t know.
    While I parse this out, I have to second the “Thomas — awesome” and “Jaclyn, I thought the article was great.” comments.

  15. Posted February 28, 2007 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Roy, I think I see what you’re getting at.
    Could part of the problem also be that, while many of these men “get” that what they’re doing is wrong, they don’t understand *what* about it is wrong? Like, they might think it’s wrong because of puritanical notions about “taking advantage” (the “wrong” being that the girl has sex at all) that have nothing to do with the sexual autonomy concerns underlying anti-rape activism (the wrong being that she has sex against her will). Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I think that the simple act of telling men and boys “be careful about your drinking, it might make you a rapist” forces them to confront the REAL problem. Right now they don’t see it as RAPE. And pretty much everyone will agree that ACTUAL rape (“actual” here meaning that it is acknowledged by “society” to be “rape”) is a horrible horrible wrong. Pointing fingers in the faces of these men and boys and saying, “LOOK. This is RAPE” is importantly different from letting them think it’s just “taking advantage” with the risk of getting a “false accusation” thrown at you.
    But, as you say — nothing here is a hundred percent solution. I just hope that this could be a big ol’ step in the right direction.

  16. roymacIII
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    LF:
    Re: “many of these men “get” that what they’re doing is wrong, they don’t understand *what* about it is wrong?”
    That could be it. I definitely think that there’s this gap between what men are taught is rape and what is actually rape. As you say, there’s “ACTUAL rape” which nobody doubts is wrong, but then there’s what is actually rape, and these guys dismiss/excuse/rationalize as “taking advantage of.”
    I think… Maybe you’ve got it exactly right- maybe part of the problem is that they really just don’t think of it as rape. That’s more generous than I’d have been, but that makes sense.
    If that’s the case, then maybe it is about teaching them “Hey! This right here? This is Rape” in order to get them to realize that it is about autonomy?
    That could be.

  17. EG
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    God, now I’m imagining the title of such a class (I know you all are talking about a more global shift in perception when you say “education,” but I can’t help thinking of an actual course):
    Remedial Acting Like a Thoughtful Person
    How Not to be Scum
    Women: They’re Human Beings Too
    Now, at the Learning Annex.

  18. Convexexile
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Great article, Jaclyn, and great comments, everyone. I was just talking to a guy friend about rape, and he asked what I defined rape as, and I said, “If one of the participants does not want to have sex, but is forced to/coerced to, it’s rape.”
    And he was like, “REALLY? That’s RAPE?’
    He really didn’t get that rape isn’t always bludgeoning someone or holding a knife to his/her throat. It’s simply sex that is not mutually consensual. So yeah, I do think many (not all) guys need someone to take them by the shoulders and say, “That there? That’s rape, and it’s not okay.”

  19. Mina
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    “There are plenty of guys who think that it isn’t rape unless the victim is screaming bloody murder and clawing at her attacker.”
    …and some who think it isn’t rape even if she is (“but her family said I could!”).
    “He really didn’t get that rape isn’t always bludgeoning someone or holding a knife to his/her throat. It’s simply sex that is not mutually consensual. So yeah, I do think many (not all) guys need someone to take them by the shoulders and say, ‘That there? That’s rape, and it’s not okay.’”
    Maybe some women do too (for example, the ones who’d defend their sons for raping unconscious people)?

  20. Posted February 28, 2007 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Maybe some women do too (for example, the ones who’d defend their sons for raping unconscious people)?
    Mina, actually, just the other day I was talking about rape with a female friend — a specific rape, what we would colloquially (disgustingly) call a “date rape.” Almost immediately upon hearing the part of the story that made it clear there was a pre-existing relationship between The Evil One and the victim, the friend expressed doubt that it was a real rape.
    I didn’t tell her this because I didn’t see the point, but her expressing doubt like that (even though I eventually convinced her that yes, it was in fact a rape) really pissed me off.

  21. Jeff
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Every time I’ve tried to point out than *any* non-consensual sex is rape, I’ve been accused of slighting “real” victims of rape (never by anyone claiming to be a victim, though – usually, it’s other men concern-trolling).
    Now, by that logic, the writers of Arsenic and Old Lace were doing a disservice to “real” murder victims by equating the killing of old men with arsenic-laced elderberry wine with more violent murders.

  22. EG
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Well, obviously, Jeff! Those old men walked into that house of their own free will! The drank that elderberry wine of their own free will! If they’d just kept their legs–I mean, their mouths shut, they wouldn’t have been killed. They totally led those old women on.
    I think that part of what’s frightening about laying out the definition of rape like that (and I hasten to add that I agree with the definition) is that it means some women who had never thought of themselves in that light before have to then think to themselves that they have been raped. And that’s a hard thing to come face to face with.
    Of course, that’s women, not stupid concern trolls. I’ve never met a woman who had been the victim of a stranger rape who thought that acquaintance rape wasn’t a big deal–it’s not the kind of thing one wants to be able to one-up, really.

  23. Convexexile
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    I think a lot of women have a hard time coming face to face with having been raped because of the stupid, pervasive notion that women bring it on themselves. Perhaps, it’s easier to convince yourself it didn’t happen, or that it doesn’t matter, than to be told by society that you “had it coming, you drunken slut”.
    It’s the same as the anti-abortion people saying, “you made your choice when you chose to have sex, now you have to live with the consequences”. As in, the choice to have sex=the choice to be pregnant and give birth, and the choice to drink=the choice to be raped.

  24. donna darko
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    OT: this is the first time since reading feministing I can’t keep up with reading posts, comments and commenting myself.
    feministing, you beat me!

  25. Genny
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Okay, I work ‘security’ in the dorms of a fairly well known, middle sized University. Here is what most boys believe:
    1. Girls who are out drinking in short skirts and little tops want to have sex
    2. If a girl turns you down the first time, but will still let you buy her drinks, she doesn’t mean it
    3. Most drunk girls want to get laid as much as drunk boys do
    4. Girls like to play hard to get, you have to push a little so they’ll give in
    5. If you’re sober and she’s drunk, it’s still up to her to say no and finally…
    6. Girls who accuse guys of date rape just “can’t remember” what really happened or are “lying cunts”
    These are real attitudes held by men in the 18-25 age group. Not all of them, but enough that I’ve heard all of these statements in one way or another multiple times over the last two semesters that I’ve worked here. It’s because of lines like the one in “40 Year Old Virgin” where Andy (the virgin) is advised to “tackle drunk bitches” to shed his virginity. It’s the idea, in television and movies, that girls only drink to “loosen up” so that they can go after what they really want. That if a guy gets a girl drinks, she owes him something. That the only girls who call date rape are the ones who regret their consensual sex the next day. It’s frightening, and we really do need to educate boys about the dynamics of sex and why these attitudes are wrong. The suggestions mentioned in the other comments are all great places to start.

  26. Posted March 1, 2007 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    An interesting article. Some of the steps revolve around changes in the attitudes of men. However, empowered women have control over their own actions and only their own actions, so I’d like to offer further suggestions on how women can proactively encourage and inspire the necessary changes among men.
    Just as men should be held responsible for their actions when they rape someone, men should also be held responsible for their actions when they don’t. Men who moderate their drinking are often less popular in environments where date rape occurs. This calls for a shift in values among women.
    Also, positive consent is an excellent idea. However, society deeply implants the idea of being swept romantically away in the minds of many women. Speaking from a male perspective, it’s extremely frustrating the number of times I’ve heard (from women):
    you have to read the signals
    you have to read the signals
    you have to read the signals
    so I’ll say it right here. There are no universal signals, and as much as many women want to hope men are mind readers, we aren’t. Women can encourage men to seek positive consent by changing their idea of romance to include it.

  27. EG
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    Gee, what a revolutionary idea, Ed. Women should alter their behavior in order to encourage men to behave well? Where have I heard that before?
    Oh, right. Everywhere for the past two hundred years.
    Women are not boxes of tasty treats. We’re not required to provide a reward of pussy whenever a man achieves that sublime angelic behavior of not raping one of us.
    You’re worried about “reading signals”? Here’s an idea: ask the woman you’re with what she wants to do.

  28. Posted March 1, 2007 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    You know EG, you’re right.
    Women should just sit back asking men to give them what they want.
    Women have the right to harems of rebellious drunken bad-boys who become perfect gentlemen on command.
    Women don’t need to be conscious of how their actions influence the behavior of those around them. It’s not like they have free will or anything.
    Thanks for clearing that up.

  29. Posted March 1, 2007 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Women don’t need to be conscious of how their actions influence the behavior of those around them. It’s not like they have free will or anything.
    Wow. How could I possibly explain to you, if you don’t already see, how stupid those two sentences are together?

  30. roymacIII
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Ed:
    Are you seriously comparing the desire to have men not rape women with “harems of rebellious drunken bad-boys who become perfect gentlemen on command.”
    I mean… seriously?
    Just as men should be held responsible for their actions when they rape someone, men should also be held responsible for their actions when they don’t. Men who moderate their drinking are often less popular in environments where date rape occurs. This calls for a shift in values among women.
    1. No, it doesn’t. It calls for men to stop thinking that just because they’re moderating their drinking they’re entitled to something (read: sex).
    2. What does that have to do with preventing rape, anyway?
    3. And, really, this is the most important one- You don’t get credit for acting like a decent human being and not raping a woman. You don’t. Not raping someone isn’t something you deserve a fucking gold star for, it’s minimally decent human behavior. If the best you can say is “well, I didn’t get drunk and rape anyone today” then you’ve set the bar too low. Way too low.
    Women should just sit back asking men to give them what they want.
    Again, no.
    No.
    No.
    No.
    This isn’t about asking men for anything. It’s about expecting men not to rape women. That’s not a favor that’s being requested. It’s not a special request.
    Again, it’s minimally decent human behavior. You don’t get to be snarky and sarcastic about women expecting you to treat them like people and not rape them.

  31. Scarlet
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    Spot on, RoymacIII! Why are women expected to be responsible for other people’s (i.e. men’s) behaviour? Every person is responsible for their own behaviour. Period. You get drunk and throw up all over yourself? Your responsibility. You get drunk and rape someone? YOUR responsibility. You get drunk and get raped? NOT YOUR responsibility. The victim is not the one who’s committing the crime, the rapist is. And what is it about men complaining they can’t “read the signals” and need it spelled out to them? We had the same kind of argument at Pandagon about strangers ordering women to smile in the street and not understanding why it is unappropriate. Gee, if you don’t GET that someone who tries to get away from you, ignores you or is just plain unconscious does NOT consent to being shagged, then YOU have a problem. I can’t believe feminists are the only ones who expect men to behave like civilized human beings instead of Neanderthals.

  32. donna darko
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    Ed, the number one cause of rape is men.

  33. Weetz
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    This was a wonderful article, and it really got me thinking. I realized how important the basic parenting my parents gave me and my little brother is over-all. In our family, “no” or “stop” were magic words that made the other person cease immediately. Want mom to stop tickling you? Just say no, and she would stop right then. Don’t feel like cuddling? Say stop and you were respected. My parents enforced an environment that taught us basic human respect from day one. And I can’t thank them enough for that. I think this is a wonderful parenting method that, in the end, also helped to ensure that my little brother never became a rapist.
    However, it also left me completely unequipped to deal with the very real circumstance of someone ignoring the word “no.” Which is why I really appreciate this article on another level – like the author, I had no idea what to do when my wants were ignored. I’ve told very few people about my rape, and was very hurt when some said “Well, that’s not so bad.” when they learned I didn’t fight back. We absolutely need to acknowledge that our society not only encourages men to rape, but also doesn’t empower women to fight back, and wrongly blames victims when we don’t act in the way society defines victim behaviour as.

  34. Mina
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    “Men who moderate their drinking are often less popular in environments where date rape occurs. This calls for a shift in values among women.”
    No, it calls for a shift in values among some people who moderate their drinking. For example, a man who stays sober or just gets tipsy will have better luck romantically if he values the women who already value sober men and tipsy men (that’s why I said “some people” – some others don’t need to make the shift because they’re already here :) ) instead of totally ignoring us and throwing himself at those other women who throw themselves at the drunkards.
    It’s a lot like the way “nice guys” don’t finish last when they are nice to “nice girls” in the first place instead of being jerks to “nice girls” while chasing the “bimbos” who chase the “jerks.”
    “There are no universal signals, and as much as many women want to hope men are mind readers, we aren’t.”
    Nobody’s talking about mind reading here except you. We’re just about treating everyone, *including* women, as people who have human rights. Having a hard time learning social skills does not justify becoming a sociopath.
    “Women are not boxes of tasty treats. We’re not required to provide a reward of pussy whenever a man achieves that sublime angelic behavior of not raping one of us.”
    Nor are we a math formula. We’re not *all* required to provide a reward of pussy whenever a man achives that behavior that would make *one* or *some* of us want to have sex.
    “You’re worried about ‘reading signals’? Here’s an idea: ask the woman you’re with what she wants to do.”
    I bet some people might complain about even *that* being too difficult and confusing…
    “And, really, this is the most important one- You don’t get credit for acting like a decent human being and not raping a woman. You don’t. Not raping someone isn’t something you deserve a fucking gold star for, it’s minimally decent human behavior.”
    Hey, does this remind anyone else of that Chris Rock routine?
    “N—-s always want credit for some shit they’re supposed to do. They’ll brag about stuff a normal man just does. They’ll say something like: ‘Yeah, well I take care of my kids.’ You’re supposed to, you dumb motherfucker. ‘I ain’t never been to jail.’ Whaddya want? A cookie? You’re not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!”
    “Gee, if you don’t GET that someone who tries to get away from you, ignores you or is just plain unconscious does NOT consent to being shagged, then YOU have a problem.”
    Unfortunately, some people with that attitude know there’s something off but then just take pride in it (“without special people like me, the neurotypicals would have lots of self-esteem and still live in caves!!!”) instead of trying to correct the problem and learn to behave.

  35. Posted March 1, 2007 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Many things I read here are a little bit of a cultural shock to me. Here in Europe people seem to have a different attitude about alcohol.
    @The Law Fairy:
    “Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I think that the simple act of telling men and boys “be careful about your drinking, it might make you a rapist” forces them to confront the REAL problem.”
    That basically assumes that every man could be a rapist, given enough alcohol. I find that to be extremely insulting. I have been very drunk and I´ve seen many, many people who were extremely drunk. None of them turned rapist because of the alcohol.
    @Thomas:
    “I think the key to changing the rape culture is to change the view of sexuality from a commodity model to a performance model.”
    I don’t think the problem is treating sex as a commodity, it is treating sex as a commodity women are not interest in intrinsically. Nobody who realizes that, would think that a woman that is completely passed out is somehow agreeing to sex.
    @roymacIII:
    “I agree with you 100%, but I guess I’m not as convinced that these guys are unaware that they’re doing something wrong in most cases. I agree that they rationalize it away, but I guess I’m having a hard time thinking that a guy who sets out looking for a drunk woman with the intent of having sex with her doesn’t realize that he’s taking advantage of her. He may not call it rape, but I still feel like he must know that the situation is wrong, he just doesn’t care.”
    But there´s a huge difference between doing something wrong and being a rapist. Lying about oneself to get sex is bad and most people who do it are certainly aknowledging that, but it certainly is not rape. But some men may think raping drunk and passed out women is basically in that category. So they don’t feel good about that, but not thaaat bad either.
    @ed:
    “so I’ll say it right here. There are no universal signals, and as much as many women want to hope men are mind readers, we aren’t. Women can encourage men to seek positive consent by changing their idea of romance to include it.”
    WTF? Yes, it may not be that easy for you to figure out signals that indicate that some woman is interest edin you in some way. Maybe that makes it hard for you to approach women. But here we are talking about sex. There are usually some very clear signals coming before sex: making out, undressing,… I don’t think anyone can be very confused about the signals in that case. People who are, probably shouldn’t have sex in the first place.

  36. Thomas
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Hey, everybody, take a look at Ed. Ed is an example of the commodity model at work. Ed makes applications for access to the pussy oversoul. Ed thinks that women are sex vending machines, and that if he pushes the right buttons, he has a right to sex. Ed is a tool. Nobody should have sex with Ed.
    Ed, if you’re in an environment where moderating your drinking makes you less popular as a sex partner, you are in the wrong environment. You need new company and new norms. I got through college without a drop of alcohol, and I had no problem finding enthusiastic sex partners. I am not the only one with that experience.

  37. bcfritts
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Think the commodity vs. performance model is simply a false dichotomy. Any transaction for a commodity requires a consensual relationship, whether it is selling my used car or enganging in sexual relations.
    Any non-consensual transaction is simply wrong period. In commerce, we enforce simple rules such as fraud, theft or conversion when we speak about non-consensual monetary transactions. Rape is simply a non-consensual sexual transaction, and should be punished accordingly.
    Of course there are always burden of proof and evidentiary issues with any fraudulent or non-consensual transaction, but that does not affect the basic analsysis that human interaction should actually be based on a mutual consent transaction model.

  38. Vervain
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    That basically assumes that every man could be a rapist, given enough alcohol. I find that to be extremely insulting. I have been very drunk and I´ve seen many, many people who were extremely drunk. None of them turned rapist because of the alcohol.
    If you read carefully you’ll notice that Law Fairy is referring this statement specifically to men who express worry that they might be subjected to “false” rape accusations. The point being, if you feel you have reason to be worried about being “falsely” accused, it’s probably because deep down, you suspect you are already guilty. A man who would never rape a woman is obviously confident he never has, and thus has no fear of “false” rape accusations.
    If you are one of the latter, you need not be insulted by a response that was directed at the former.

  39. Posted March 1, 2007 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    @Vervain:
    I´m not sure that´s the most straightforward reading.

    Seems to me that’s the perfect segue to “well, then protect yourself from being accused of rape. Don’t get drunk, don’t get her drunk, and get affirmative consent.” Any guy who would balk at that, isn’t concerned about FAKE accusations.

    To me that doesn’t seem to support the view that it is okay to get drunk, get her drunk and get her affirmative consent.
    @befritts:
    There pretty much is a difference between stealing and raping in principle. Raping a prostitute is not the same thing as not paying her, so rape must be more than “sex theft”.

  40. Posted March 1, 2007 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    So look at what happened here.
    I offered some positive steps women can take to prevent rape.
    EG posted a reply full of angry rhetoric and completely missing the points of my post (that encouraging environments accepting of date-rape encourages date-rape, and that positive consent should be the norm but many women don’t appreciate it).
    I replied with an over-the-top sarcastic post with the hoping to show how ridiculous EG’s reply was.
    Many replies later: “Ed is a tool. Nobody should have sex with Ed.” How mature.
    I’ll say this. I’m a man, and I’ve certainly never raped anyone. However, I do know several women who have been raped. It’s extremely disappointing to see that absolutely no one tried to take anything positive from what I said.
    Maybe I’m wrong and women shouldn’t worry about the consequences of their actions. Maybe I’m wrong and only men need to change their attitude for equality to be achieved. But I personally don’t think so.
    I offered my genuine thoughts based on personal experience because I care about the issue. If all that comes out of that is a series of cheap jabs at my assumed personal life, I guess this is a discussion I don’t want to be a part of. So how are you all going to change mens’ actions when you won’t have a rational discussion with one who’s on your side?

  41. Jeff
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    And what is it about men complaining they can’t “read the signals” and need it spelled out to them?

    In my experience, most of the guys who complain about “unclear signals” aren’t really worried about being rapists – they’re worried that they’re not getting laid as often as they could be.

    But there´s a huge difference between doing something wrong and being a rapist. Lying about oneself to get sex is bad and most people who do it are certainly acknowledging that, but it certainly is not rape.

    As someone who’s gotten into an argument over this very assertion recently – why isn’t that rape? If one’s partner wouldn’t have had sex absent the lie, how can we say that there was consent?

    But some men may think raping drunk and passed out women is basically in that category. So they don’t feel good about that, but not thaaat bad either.

    This is precisely why I *don’t* make these gradations. If there’s sex without legitimate consent (that means no threats, no badgering, and no lying), it’s rape.

  42. Thomas
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Ed, your “positive” step was that women should have more sex with Ed to reward him for not getting completely plastered. That’s self-serving, and a completely entitled view of sex. Women do not exist to give you pussy.
    There is nothing positive to take from your insistence that women reward you for good behavior with sex, except a negative example: that Ed is a tool, and that other men should not be like Ed. So that’s what I said. I took from your pathetic interjection the only positive thing that there was to take.
    You’re what feminists deride as the NiceGuy(TM), the guy that whines that he should get laid more because other guys are assholes. That’s an inherently sexist and entitled view. It reduces women to pussy vending machines. Maybe if you treated them as people, you would find that you didn’t lose out to drunker assholes in social situations.

  43. Thomas
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    BCFritts, the kernel of the commodity model is not the transaction — defined broadly enough, almost every interaction is also a transaction. The kernel of the model is the commodity view of sex, that it is a good or service to be exchanged for value rather than a shared experience.

  44. Posted March 1, 2007 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Ed, here’s a pretty good (if not sure-fire) way of helping yourself out if “reading the signs” becomes too much of a challenge: ask.
    The question is “Do you want to have sex with me?” It’s not “Can I have sex with you,” because permission is not the issue here. We’re talking enthusiastic affirmative consent. “Do you want to have sex with me,” and if the answer isn’t a clear and unslurred “Yes” (or, preferably, “Yes, yes, sweet Jesus, yes”), you don’t try to have sex with her.
    Other questions you might ask along the way (in addition to the first one) include, “Is this okay,” “Do you like that,” and “Are you okay.” And the trick, again, is that when you hear the first “No,” you stop.
    This concludes RAPE1101, “Intro to Not Being a Dickwad.”

  45. jane
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Ed wrote: “Men who moderate their drinking are often less popular in environments where date rape occurs.”
    Since no one seems to have pointed it out: if I’m actually looking to get laid, I’m not attracted to the guy with the limp dick. What planet is this guy living on???

  46. Thomas
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Jane, he’s living on Planet NiceGuy(TM), where he needs some excuse other than his own transparent neediness and entitlement to explain why women are not interested in him. The preferred excuse on Planet NiceGuy(TM) is some variation of “chicks like assholes, man, I don’t get it. Why don’t they like nice guys like me.”
    As they get older, they rot into MRAs, who have a different excuse: “Ameriskanks, man, feminism ruined ‘em. I need me a nice Asian mail-order bride. Or a Romanian chick. They’re thankful just to get an American. And they do what they’re told.”

  47. Vervain
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Michael G -
    I thought the intent of the comment was what I described, but you’re welcome to infer insult from it if you like. Please carry on being offended; I won’t interfere any further.
    Jeff -
    As someone who’s gotten into an argument over this very assertion recently – why isn’t that rape? If one’s partner wouldn’t have had sex absent the lie, how can we say that there was consent?
    If not rape, it’s at least fraud. ;)
    Thomas, and others -
    I’ve always wanted to ask the proverbial “Nice Guys” the following (primarily for my own amusement):
    Mr. Nice Guy, do you ever consider having sex with girls that you don’t find sexually attractive? Do you ever find yourself thinking you really ought to have sex with them anyway, because they help you out now and then, or are always polite to you whenever you see them, or because they refrained from rolling you when you got drunk and passed out that time? No? Gosh, imagine that! Don’t you feel obligated? I mean, they’re Nice Girls, aren’t they? Sure, they may not look like Pam Anderson, but the girls who do are always stuck-up bitches who won’t sleep with Nice Guys like you. But no, you refuse to get it up for the fat chick, or the one with bad acne, or the one who smells funny, because you’re a selfish bastard. You’d rather chase around after some stuck-up hottie bitch who treats you like crap.
    I don’t get it…wouldn’t you prefer a Nice Girl?
    *grin* Don’t mind me, I’m in a facetious mood today.

  48. Aaron Denney
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    A few points: on the performance vs. commodity, our very language works against us. We talk about “having sex”, “getting some” and similar. The only performance-type phrases that don’t sound stupid are either “making love” which really doesn’t apply to many encounters, or “fucking”, which has it’s own connotations dragged in.
    I think I actually understand what Ed is saying. Yes, it’s very easy to paint this as wanting the vending-machine view of sex, that “just avoiding doing the wrong thing” entitles him to sex.
    I can also read him as saying “hey, there’s a lot of girls out there that tolerate the wrong thing, that do go off with assholes. If they stopped tolerating this” It’s not saying he deserves sex, but that those assholes don’t. Still a very similar model in terms of women encouraging/discouraging behaviour of men.
    The thing is that concern about sexual access does greatly affect how some men behave. Why is it wrong to pay attention to that fact and ask what can be done with it?
    Men and women’s behaviors and standards do affect each other. We do talk about women spending incredible amounts of time, money and energy trying to live up to male ideals of beauty and sexuality.
    How is the converse different? Talking about some actual observed standards, and looking at the pressures on men?
    Sure, he may be overgeneralizing incredibly, and picking out cases that are not the norm, and stand out mentally for not being the norm.
    Still, the way Ed is being attacked by some here with the retort of “oh you just want to have more sex, so we shouldn’t listen to you” is a bit odd. Is it supposed to stigmatize him that he might *gasp* enjoy sex and want it? Why are you so sure that his secret motive for talking to strangers about it is ton encourage the women around him to jump on him. It just doesn’t seem a terribly great plan to me. Maybe, just maybe, there’s other motivations at work.

  49. Posted March 1, 2007 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Still, the way Ed is being attacked by some here with the retort of “oh you just want to have more sex, so we shouldn’t listen to you” is a bit odd. Is it supposed to stigmatize him that he might *gasp* enjoy sex and want it?
    No, it’s supposed to stigmatize him that he seems to think that the solution to wanting sex is to lecture women about how they should behave.
    I know from experience that me not getting laid is rarely due to the behavior of others.

  50. roymacIII
    Posted March 1, 2007 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    The thing is that concern about sexual access does greatly affect how some men behave. Why is it wrong to pay attention to that fact and ask what can be done with it?
    It’s not wrong to pay attention to the ways that men and women behave and how this alters the ways that sex is viewed. What is wrong is coming onto a post about the ways we view rape, and how we can prevent it, and saying things like: Men who moderate their drinking are less popular, and women should hold those men responsible for not raping them.
    Which, you know… is crap.
    That has nothing to do with preventing rape, unless he’s suggesting that men who moderate their drinking but aren’t “held responsible” for not raping women end up raping them. I don’t really get the impression that he was going in that direction, though.
    He wasn’t initiating a conversation about why men rape, which would have been fine, but about why Nice Guys don’t get laid, and how women should be doing more to make sure that Nice Guys get rewarded for being nice. Which… again… doesn’t really seem to have much to do with preventing rape.
    He claims to have offered “some positive steps women can take to prevent rape.”
    Can you point them out to me?
    Because it mostly looked like “yeah, interesting article, so, anyway, here are some ways that women can change the way they act so that things are easier for me(n).”

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