How Many Men are Rapists?

In the comments to Monday’s post about Mary Koss’ rape prevalence research, Donald Johnson asks:

I guess this would be hard to estimate (and even more controversial), but are there any estimates of what percentage of the male population are committing these rapes?

Donald’s question (and that I’ve been posting so much about Koss lately) makes this seem like a good time to reprint this (slightly edited) post from 2002.

* * *

(I swiped the idea for this post, and many of the stats, from this Tim Wise article on racism. The statistics in this post that didn’t come from Tim Wise’s article, came from either the Statistical Abstract of the US 2001 or from the American Jewish Year Book 2001).

Mary Koss’ much-discussed 1987 study of rape prevalence is famous mostly for its fidning that 1 in 8 college women have been victims of rape at some point in their lives. What’s not as well known is that the same study also surveyed thousands of college men, asking them about if they had ever forced a woman to have sex against her will. About 4.5% reported that they had.

It seems to me that we can draw two conclusions from this number (assuming it’s somewhat accurate – see the next post for more discussion of that). First – as even anti-feminists will agree – we can say that the overwhelming majority of men are not rapists. That’s good. Nonetheless, it’s also true that a terrifyingly high number of men have committed rape.

4.5% of the men in the United States is an incredibly high number – that translates into over six million men.

If you added up every US citizen who was officially unemployed or looking for work in 2001, that would be less than the total number of rapists.

If you added up every US citizen who is Jewish, that would still be less than the total number of rapists.

If you added up every teenage boy who had any sort of job – an afterschool job, a summer job, working full-time after dropping out, including all of those – you’d still have over a million fewer people then the total number of rapists.

There are twice as many rapists in the USA as there are single mothers.

For every drunk driver who is in a fatal accident this year, there are over 500 rapists.

If you take every doctor and nurse in the United States; and you added them to every librarian, every cashier, every cop, every postal clerk, and every bank teller in the whole country; you still wouldn’t have as many people as the number of rapists in the United States.

(Think of that a second – think of how often, in your daily life, you’ve seen cops and cashiers and all those other folks. Odds are, you’ve run into rapists more often than that).

To paraphrase Tim Wise: In short, “only” 4.5% of the male population is a lot of people, so that even by the most optimistic assessment of how many men are rapists, there are literally millions out there who not only would but have raped a woman. When combined with those who are less vicious – those who haven’t raped, but would be willing to in the right circumstances, and those who would make excuses for why other men rape, it becomes clear just how real a widespread a problem rape and rape-supportive attitudes are among men today.

As I understand it, the feminist theory is not that every men, or most men, are rapists. It’s that rape is a commonplace enough thing so that at some level most women are to some degree kept in fear of rape, because the possibility is always there.

When I’ve spoken to men, I’ve tried using this example:

Imagine that one out of 25 men have at some point in their lives attacked and tortured an Oregonian. You don’t know which ones had done it – you just know it’s about one in 25. And they had done it simply because they had wanted to, and they consider people from Oregon to be just that worthless.

Now imagine you were born in Oregon.

How safe would you feel in your daily life? What would it do to your feeling of security and safety, knowing that “only” one out of 25 of the men you stand in line with at the bank, the male cashiers you meet at the grocery, the male cops patrolling the streets, the male students you take classes with and the male professors you learn from, and your male co-workers at the office, has attacked someone like you, because they were like you?

4.5% is not a small number of men.

[edited a bit to reflect nobody.really's criticism in the comments]

This entry posted in Mary Koss controversy, Rape, intimate violence, & related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

81 Responses to How Many Men are Rapists?

  1. 1
    Kasasagi says:

    Posted by bones

    “Have you ever had sexual intercourse with a woman when she didn’t want to because you used some degree of physical force (twisting her arm, holding her down, etc.)?”

    It seems to me that they way this question is phrased, it doesn’t exclude coercive intercourse with a girlfriend (or spouse!).

    It would seem to me that to get a meaningful ratio of rape victims, one would need to put “holding down your reluctant girlfriend” into a different category than “rape of/by someone that you don’t have an ongoing sexual relationship with”.

  2. 2
    Tiger Spot says:

    Morphienne — you said “it’s unreasonable to expect a person to limit any of her activities based solely on her gender and the possibility that some asshole might do something terrible to her. My point is that these are things I have chosen not to do, or have been browbeaten into not doing, because of the prevalence of rape, and that sucks.” And I agree with that, and I think something should be done about it. I guess my point in responding to your list of limits is that I don’t really understand what leads people to decide that their safety depends on such harsh restrictions. Since I don’t understand where it’s coming from (because the same statistics don’t really scare me), I don’t really see what can be done about it on an immediate sort of level.

    Clearly, reducing the incidence of stranger rape (or, as you pointed out earlier, vague-acquaintance rape) would help, but it’s not a threat that’s ever going to go away completely. There must be something else that could help women feel more comfortable, but I don’t want to go around telling people to ignore their own feelings of danger, because that’s, well, dangerous.

  3. 3
    Morphienne says:

    *giggles* Actually, saying “I’m not going to rape you” would probably not be taken well. I know it would make *me* run.

    Tiger Spot: My point wasn’t that the things I do and don’t do are precautions all women should take in order to avoid being raped: quite the opposite. I don’t think any of the things you’ve done are unreasonable, and I think that ALL of the things I haven’t done because I fear rape ARE.

    It’s unreasonable to expect a person to be “easily entertained” because she doesn’t have the freedom to move around safely, because it’s unreasonable to expect a person to limit any of her activities based solely on her gender and the possibility that some asshole might do something terrible to her. My point is that these are things I have chosen not to do, or have been browbeaten into not doing, because of the prevalence of rape, and that sucks.

    Limiting women’s activities because some men rape is punishing all women because some of them, through no fault of their own, are hurt, and it’s ridiculous and offensive. My point was that that ruins people’s lives in a very tangible way, and that’s completely unacceptable. I would never call someone who engaged in normal daily activities careless or reckless.

    bones– If person A is in a sexual relationship with person B, and one day person B says, “I don’t want to have sex with you right now,” and person A holds them down and twists their arm and has sexual intercourse with person B, then person A has just committed rape. That’s rape: using physical force, violence, harm, or the threat of harm to have sexual intercourse with someone WHEN that person doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse.

  4. 4
    NelC says:

    Speaking as a 6’4″ 230lb hairy male, I think there’s some things on Morphienne’s list that I wouldn’t do either. I mean, jogging after dark? You could twist an ankle by stepping on something unseen….

    On the other hand, there have been times while walking home late at night when I’ve found myself walking behind a woman also walking home, gaining on her because I have long legs and it’s cold dammit and I want to get home, and she’s glanced behind and seen this great ape advancing on her and her pace has increased. And I’ve wanted to say, “No, I’m one of the good guys, slow down, I’m not going to rape you.” As if she’d listen.

    There’s nothing I can do about looking like a threatening male (except maybe shave my body, and lose some weight, and get old and develop a stoop), and I’m not sure what I can do so that women in general will feel less threatened by men in general.

  5. 5
    a man says:

    NelC, it’s totally reasonable, given the climate we live in, to cross over to the other side of the street and not be following right behind a woman walking alone. It’s a way to demonstrate respect for her space, and probably more considerate than saying “i’m not going to rape you.”

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    “Consensual B&D” does not include forcing someone to have intercourse “when she didn’t want to.” If it’s consensual, then by definition it’s wanted.

  7. 7
    Raznor says:

    You and your logical tautologies, Amp.

  8. 8
    bones says:

    “Have you ever had sexual intercourse with a woman when she didn’t want to because you used some degree of physical force (twisting her arm, holding her down, etc.)?”

    It seems to me that they way this question is phrased, it doesn’t exclude coercive intercourse with a girlfriend (or spouse!).

    It would seem to me that to get a meaningful ratio of rape victims, one would need to put “holding down your reluctant girlfriend” into a different category than “rape of/by someone that you don’t have an ongoing sexual relationship with”.

    It seems to me that the use of when here turns this from a question of assault into a question that mixes assault with dominance games.

    That’s not to say that it isn’t possible to rape a spouse, but rather it isn’t reasonable to treat all cases where a girlfriend is pushed into having sex at at a time not of her choosing as an assault equal to rape. Indeed, such are the kinks of a human being, that not all ‘coercion’ is even unwelcome.

    How are we to know that the YES responses to the question above are not an indication that consensual B&D is more common among college students than we would think?

    Or has this study already factored all of that in?

  9. 9
    bean says:

    86% of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.

  10. 10
    Hestia says:

    I think it makes sense that different women react to potential risks in different ways, based on their upbringing and where they live/have lived and personality and experiences, etc. I wouldn’t say you were being “completely reckless,” Tiger Spot, unless recklessness means anything beyond shutting oneself up in a concrete bunker.

    And I wouldn’t say you’re “unnaturally lucky,” either, because as prevalent as rape is, your chances are still greater that you won’t be raped, especially not by a stranger in a dark alley. (However, that doesn’t mean that everyone who understands this fact completely believes it–and the chance is, after all, always there.)

    So I figure, do what you’re comfortable doing, and remember that if something happens, it’s not your fault in any way, shape, and form. And remember that feeling uncomfortable isn’t a personal failure or anything to be ashamed about (still working on this one…).

  11. 11
    Morphienne says:

    You know, it occurs to me that the way I ended that previous post was needlessly tasteless. I apologize; it wasn’t intended to be, and it wasn’t intended to be hyperbole– I really do worry about that happening pretty often. But I don’t in any way want to minimize or dramatize the trauma of the people who *have* been through being raped. I’m sorry if I gave that impression. This is a subject that really, really bothers me.

  12. 12
    Tiger Spot says:

    I’ve done a lot of things on Morphienne’s list, and I don’t feel that doing them was putting me in harm’s way. While I do feel generally alert and a bit nervous if I’m in a questionable neighborhood or out after dark, I’ve never feared rape specifically — I’m worried about being mugged or attacked in general, and I don’t think I’d respond any differently to an attack that was aimed at rape than I would to an attack that was aimed at getting my wallet. (Fortunately, I haven’t ever had to find out how I’d react in either situation.)

    Does anyone know what the statistics for non-date rape and muggings look like? Is that in fact a more reasonable fear, or are my sensors all out of whack?

    I do keep myself out of situations that I feel nervous in, but my potentially-dangerous-situation detectors are apparently tuned less sensitively than most women’s. Also, I don’t think I’m a very tempting target for any kind of attack: I’m 5’8″, 145 pounds, and I usually wear pants and a t-shirt with hiking boots, sneakers, or great big clompy sandals, so I have good range of movement for running or fighting-back purposes. I walk pretty fast, and I look like I know where I’m going even when I don’t. And I hardly ever look like I might be carrying money (no purse or jewelry). So I feel pretty comfortable walking around places I know well after dark (so far, this has included residential neighborhoods and college campuses; if I’m just going for a walk I’d rather have someone with me [also true during the day, come to think of it], but if I’m going somewhere specific I don’t mind walking alone). I don’t feel comfortable alone in places I don’t know after dark.

    Things I have done:

    *lived in inexpensive housing (read: less than $500 a month in rent), because inexpensive housing in my city exists only in bad neighborhoods, and thus:

    I haven’t lived anywhere *really* bad, but I did share an apartment in an unpleasant neighborhood with two friends (one male, one female). It wasn’t that bad when we moved in, but the people in the apartment underneath us turned out to be really scary. We moved out as soon as we could. I have also lived alone in a one-room house in a poor, kind of run-down (but quiet) neighborhood. The scariest person I ran into there was a magazine salesman who followed me home almost all the way from the bus stop (during the day).

    *been financially able to live independently

    It’s a little difficult to say whether I’ve ever been really financially independent. I’ve usually split rent (and sometimes food) costs with at least one other person.

    *gone shopping or on an outing in a metropolis other than the one I live in by myself, and thus:

    This I’ve done, although only when spending the summer nearby (sort of like living there, I guess).

    *been capable of entertaining myself independent from other people’s whims

    Fortunately, I am easily entertained. :)

    *gotten into an elevator without immediately pressing the close-doors button so I’ll be alone

    It has never occurred to me to do that. I guess if there was some sort of sinister person lurking about I’d be careful about getting on an elevator.

    *taken the back stairs at my office building

    I don’t work in an office building, but I’m perfectly happy taking the stairs in parking garages, museums, apartment buildings, academic buildings, and so forth.

    *invited a male acquaintance into my house when I’m otherwise alone

    Done. (Hey, and while I was writing this I went downstairs and had a chat with a couple of (male) Mormons. Didn’t invite them in, though.)

    *invited a male friend into my house when I’m otherwise alone

    Done.

    *attended a gathering that was, other than myself, exclusively male

    Yes, although only small “gatherings”.

    *walked to my car after dark without awareness of the possibility that I will be attacked

    I guess the possibility’s always there, but most of the time I’m not actually thinking about it.

    *walked from my car to my front door after dark without awareness of the possibility that I will be attacked

    See above.

    *walked to work

    I have walked when work has been close enough.

    *used (our city’s pitiful excuse for) public transportation, because I would have to walk a mile from the nearest stop to my home

    I have used public transportation, although not where I live now. The next time I want to go downtown for something I intend to try and figure out the price structure and bus schedule, though, because parking is expensive.

    *ridden a bicycle to work

    I’ve done this when it’s been close enough.

    *ridden a bicycle for transportation, and not recreational, purposes

    I’ve never had a bike be my only transport option; bike + bus, however, I’ve done.

    *taken a road trip by myself

    I drove from Texas to Pennsylvania by myself when I moved up here.

    *taken a road trip without male accompaniment

    Every other road trip I’ve taken has been with my parents or my fiance, so no all-girl trips so far.

    *gone to a restaurant by myself in the evening

    I’ve done this once or twice, but I don’t enjoy it much. If I’m feeling too lazy to cook, I usually order pizza.

    *parked in a parking garage when I knew I would not be collecting my vehicle until after dark

    I do this all the time. Admittedly, the regularly scheduled stops are on a college campus, and I meet my fiance there to drive him home.

    So, am I just completely reckless, or unnaturally lucky, or do I terrify potential attackers with my awesome might, or what?

  13. 13
    Morphienne says:

    Catherine–

    I don’t know much about rape statistics, not of who does what to whom, but I understand that “someone known to the victim” isn’t always friends, friends of friends, or dates. I know the guy down the hall at my office building who says hello every day but always speaks directly to my nipples and not my face, and the maintenance technician who always says hello to my ass in a VERY friendly, almost Animaniac-like (Hellooooo, Nurse!) way. I know the four college boys who live in the house across the street and have wild parties, and I know one or two of the hundred or so people they invite over. I know my next-door neighbor, Al. I know my supervisor at work, who is male. I know my creepy, swinger, alcoholic uncle. All of these people are people who are “known to” me, and so if one of them raped me, it wouldn’t qualify as stranger rape. But I’m still worried when I walk from my car to my front door, because, really, it makes no difference who it is that’s just grabbed me by the hair– it still hurts.

  14. Just to clarify in case anyone misunderstands, I don’t think all men are rapists. The point was that anti-feminists are always trying to argue that the number is much smaller than studies have shown, whilst simultaneously claiming that women should act as if all men were rapists and if they don’t then its their fault they get raped.

  15. Just to clarify in case anyone misunderstands, I don’t think all men are rapists. The point was that anti-feminists are always trying to argue that the number is much smaller than studies have shown, whilst simultaneously claiming that women should act as if all men were rapists and if they don’t then its their fault they get raped.

  16. 16
    Raznor says:

    I think the major problem is the myth that men need sex and women don’t. This causes people to categorize rape like a starving man stealing a loaf of bread. This makes rape a safe crime – both safe from getting caught and safe from one’s own conscience, or from being severely stigmatized.

    I always have hope that society can change for the better, but reading stuff like this sure doesn’t make me feel extremely optimistic.

    Excuse me, I must do something less vomit-inducing than think about this sort of horrible thing. Like drinking beer while being repeatedly punched in the gut.

  17. Morphienne’s post was incredibly powerful. It was depressing reading, but mainly because I think most women, myself included will relate to it.

    Several thoughts occured to me whilst reading it.

    1) Some people still insist that if a woman doesn’t behave exactly as Morphienne described, its *her* fault if she’s raped. I can’t find words to describe how totally insane that is.

    2) I’ll always remember a comment someone made on this blog a while ago, along the lines of: anti-feminists say you can’t claim all men are rapists – but unless you behave as if they are, its your fault. It was worded much better than that, but it’s such a great point.

    3) Most rapes are committed by people known to the victim (I forget the statistic). Only a few rapes are stranger rapes, statistically. How does Morphienne’s list fit in with that? I’m not criticising Morphienneas I totally relate to it, but just thinking aloud.

  18. 18
    Mychelline says:

    Morphienne,

    Yeah, it sucks doesn’t it. I’ve been raped, and avoiding any of the things on your list wouldn’t have prevented it: family member, happened at home, no one else around.

    I try to follow a lot of your restrictions, though, because I sure don’t want it to happen again.

  19. 19
    Morphienne says:

    That just makes me so sick, Mychelline. I’m so sorry. God.

  20. 20
    a man says:

    I think the numbers are way higher than that if you include forms of sexual coercion that don’t require physical violence.

    Old rape myths used to require that there be medically documentable injury in order to prove that rape had occurred, and women had to risk severe violence by demonstrably fighting back in order for an assualt to be considered rape. Now much of society’s discourse still requires that women risk violence by vocalizing a lack of consent even if they are afraid of a man who holds power over them…why is the burden on the person with the least power, rather than men being required to recieve positive consent?

    Who wants to have sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with you? I think more than 5% of men don’t much care. Unfortunately, the wishes, much less the humanity, of most women are invisible and of little consequences to many,many men in this society. Male socialization in this culture is very tied into rape-supporting ideology, and it’s not an abberation at all. We’re taught that excercising power over passive women as a way to gain access to sex is the fairy tale way things happen.

    While I don’t know for sure that he’d agree with all the above thoughts, Paul Kivel http://www.paulkivel.com/links1/homecurrent.html
    is a good resource.

  21. 21
    Morphienne says:

    Jesus God. 4.5% of the men surveyed *admitted* they had forced a woman to have sex against her will?

    I know that behavioral researchers can get people do talk about or do darned near anything (Masters & Johnson and Mr. Kinsey are two examples of this phenomenon). I guess I’m interpreting admitting this behavior as some kind of pride, or at least lack of shame, for it.

    I guess I don’t understand why anyone would ever admit something like that. Even if you knew the survey was completely anonymous and you weren’t speaking to someone who had any information about you at all, like your face. Maybe my conscience is too twisted, or not twisted enough, but if I raped someone, I would never, never admit, even to myself, that I had done it. It would just become a black hole in my mind.

  22. 22
    Ampersand says:

    Well, keep in mind they weren’t asked to admit to “rape.” They were asked things like “Have you ever had sexual intercourse with a woman when she didn’t want to because you used some degree of physical force (twisting her arm, holding her down, etc.)?” Probably many of them didn’t consider the time they twisted an unwililng girl’s arm and held her down to be “rape.”

  23. 23
    Sheelzebub says:

    Also, a lot of people don’t consider having sex with someone who’s passed out (for whatever reason) rape. Or holding them down and not taking “no” for an answer.

  24. 24
    Richard Bellamy says:

    So I guess we can conclude that at least SOME rapists are employed, sober, and Gentile?

  25. 25
    Morphienne says:

    Yeah, one in every twenty isn’t a very small proportion at all, is it. But I don’t really see rape as a problem because one out of every twenty men commit it. I see it as a problem more because one out of every NINE women have it committed upon them.

    I’ve never been raped. Happy for me. But here’s a list of some other things I’ve never done, or never been allowed to do, because I don’t want to be, and the people who love me don’t want me to be, the ninth woman:

    *lived in inexpensive housing (read: less than $500 a month in rent), because inexpensive housing in my city exists only in bad neighborhoods, and thus:

    *been financially able to live independently

    *gone shopping or on an outing in a metropolis other than the one I live in by myself, and thus:

    *been capable of entertaining myself independent from other people’s whims

    *gone jogging at night, alone

    *gone walking in my own neighborhood alone after dark. My father, a police officer of 20 years, says it’s not safe. I live in a *nice* neighborhood, by the way. The third-best in the city. Ten years ago, in the second-best neighborhood in the city, a woman walking from the parking lot to her apartment was abducted, repeatedly raped, strangled to death, and left on the steps of that second-best neighborhood’s elementary school. Just FYI.

    *gone on a hike by myself

    *gone to a 24-hour fitness center after 11 P.M., and thus:

    *been capable of regulating my health/physical fitness without dependence on other people’s schedules and convenience, or significant financial burden (gyms)

    *gotten into an elevator without immediately pressing the close-doors button so I’ll be alone

    *taken the back stairs at my office building

    *invited amale acquaintance into my house when I’m otherwise alone

    *invited a male friend into my house when I’m otherwise alone

    *allowed myself to come under the influence of any chemical substance at a party

    *exited a party to go stand on the back porch, or front porch, or patio, when those areas have less than three other people in them

    *attended a gathering that was, other than myself, exclusively male

    *walked to my car after dark without awareness of the possibility that I will be attacked

    *entered my office building on a Saturday without awareness of the possibility that I will be attacked

    *walked from my car to my front door after dark without awareness of the possibility that I will be attacked

    *walked to work

    *used (our city’s pitiful excuse for) public transportation, because I would have to walk a mile from the nearest stop to my home

    *ridden a bicycle to work

    *ridden a bicycle for transportation, and not recreational, purposes, and thus:

    *been able to function without the expense in payment, gas, repairs, maintenance, and insurance for a motor vehicle, or, in the alternative, total dependence on another person’s convenience for all basic liing needs, and thus:

    *had a wide choice of job options that offer less stress or hours in exchange for lower pay

    *driven after dark without locking my doors

    *given personal information out on a personals ad

    *worked alone in the office in the evenings without locking myself into the suite

    *taken a road trip by myself

    *taken a road trip without male accompaniment

    *gone to a restaurant by myself in the evening

    *parked in a parking garage when I knew I would not be collecting my vehicle until after dark

    *gone to a dance club by myself

    I could no doubt think of more, and I invite anyone who’s interested to add their own hobbled shoes to this list. For my part, I have three things to say about it:

    Firstly, my life is severely limited by nothing more than that violence against women is prevalant in this society. My financial solvency is limited; my options with what to do for a career are limited; even my ability to leave my house for a few hours, or talk to my male friends, is utterly crippled. And the sad thing is, this won’t even guarantee that I won’t be raped. Sure, it diminishes my chances, SOMEWHAT, but it’s not a guarantee.

    And secondly: I’m lucky. I’m fortunate that I don’t HAVE to take public transportation, or walk to work. I’m fortunate I have a place to live that’s not in a bad neighbourhood, because I wouldn’t be able to afford anything else. I’m fortunate that I could, if I wanted to, afford a membership to a fitness center. I’m fortunate I have a friends and a partner to go shopping, hiking, jogging, and walking with.

    And number 2: A LOT of people, female people, don’t have any of these “options.” So they don’t get to decide whether they’re going to (theoretically: keep in mind, this may not keep them from being raped anyway) completely close in their lives and become dependent on the males or groups of women in their lives to allow them any freedom of movement or finance at all. They have no choice but to “put themselves” in situations that leave them more vulnerable to rape or violence every day, AND they get to worry about it, helplessly.

    And third: This. Is. SAD. I should not have to make a choice between my safety and some of the most basic aspects of my quality of life. My boyfriend doesn’t make choices like this. My father isn’t leashed. And the only reason they don’t is because they’re not from Oregon.

  26. 26
    Morphienne says:

    I went to a Take Back the Night march in Durango, Colorado, when I went to school (Ft. Lewis College) there. It was beautiful. The police roped off the streets for us, and after an hour of listening to personal accounts from survivors, and relations to survivors, of rape and sexual abuse, we walked, chanting, holding candles and bullhorns. I was thrilled by the number of men who chose to attend: fully a third of the participants were male.

    We marched from the college, about a mile down the hill and into the town’s main public park, where there was a moment of silence, a candlelight vigil, and an opportunity for anyone to get up and speak about their feelings. When it was over, everyone stayed to help clean up, chatting and laughing and eating pizza.

    And then all of the boys walked back to campus on their own, and all of the girls scrambled to arrange rides with their friends in pre-parked vehicles, or walked back to campus in groups of no less than three, so they wouldn’t have to walk back to campus by themselves in the dark.

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  35. 27
    Eddie says:

    [quote]It would seem to me that to get a meaningful ratio of rape victims, one would need to put “holding down your reluctant girlfriend” into a different category than “rape of/by someone that you don’t have an ongoing sexual relationship with”.[/quote]

    Bones, that should NOT be in a separate category. It happened to me. It IS rape. Don’t be an idiot.

  36. 28
    ginmar says:

    That’s a scary statement right there—excluding holding your reluctant girlfriend down should be excluded from rape statistics.

    No doubt he’s fuming at us somewhere. After all, rapes are always committed by the other guy.

  37. 29
    curiousgirl says:

    I can’t believe how surprised i am that a reader of this blog would both think it is okay to rape someone if they are your girlfriend or wife.

    [quote]It would seem to me that to get a meaningful ratio of rape victims, one would need to put “holding down your reluctant girlfriend” into a different category than “rape of/by someone that you don’t have an ongoing sexual relationship with”.[/quote]

    wow

  38. 30
    piny says:

    >>I think the major problem is the myth that men need sex and women don’t. This causes people to categorize rape like a starving man stealing a loaf of bread. This makes rape a safe crime – both safe from getting caught and safe from one’s own conscience, or from being severely stigmatized.>>

    Right. This, I think, is whence the feminist soundbite: “It’s not about sex, it’s about violence.” Not to imply that rape has nothing to do with how our culture views sex, but that rape is a problem of misogynistic violence rather than a problem of too few or two many consensual outlets for sexual expression.

  39. 31
    piny says:

    >>I can’t believe how surprised i am that a reader of this blog would both think it is okay to rape someone if they are your girlfriend or wife.>>

    I’m not at all surprised that this discussion is particularly interesting to trolls.

    And, whoa. I didn’t get the gist of that post at first–I thought he was pointing out that the survey might have gotten a _low_ estimate because the young men surveyed might have seen an ongoing relationship as always wanting to. IOW, that he was complaining about that attitude, not illustrating it.

    Listen, asshat who’s probably already been banned: it’s rape if she doesn’t want it just at that moment. It doesn’t matter if she’s dating you or sleeping with you or married to you. She gets to decide if AND when she has sex with you. If it’s against her will, it’s rape.

  40. 32
    BritGirlSF says:

    I’ve done pretty much everything on Morphienne’s list except the solo roadtrip (I’ve done roadtrips with female friends though) and I’ve never been raped. I know women who’ve been as careful as she is and have still been raped, one more than once. What does this indicate? I’m not sure. Maybe that the situations we’re taught to fear are the wrong damn situations.
    I’m not casting apersions on Morphienne’s way of coping with the rape culture, by the way. We all come up with our own coping mechanisms, and I don’t think anyone should be critiquing anyone else’s way of managing what is basically an insane situation. Our culture is pathological on the subject of women and sex. A significant number of men just don’t seem to be able to grasp the idea that women are people, not ambulatory sex toys. Ever tried to talk about the idea of “consent” with your average frat boy? Observe the forehead wrinkle, the eyes glaze over, the general air of confusion…it’s as if the idea that women are people whose willingness to participate must be obtained has simply never occurred to some of them.
    I hate to add an even more depressing note, but I’m fairly sure that 4.5% is an unrealistically small number. Not that that number isn’t horrifying by itself, but given that more like 1 in 8 women have been raped, my gut tells me that the number of rapists is actually significantly higher than 4.5%. The question is, even using a less loaded term like “force” rather than” rape”, what percentage of men will not consider what they did to be “forcing” someone even when, in fact, that’s exactly what happened? This is the thing that really scares me – how many men don’t even realise that a woman who isn’t participating, who looks scared or upset during sex, isn’t “normal”, isn’t just the way sex is? How many of them don’t even recognise lack of consent when they see it, because they’ve been so conditioned to think of a reluctant woman whose resistance has to be overcome as being the normal script for how sex works?
    Frightening.

  41. 33
    BritGirlSF says:

    “That’s not to say that it isn’t possible to rape a spouse, but rather it isn’t reasonable to treat all cases where a girlfriend is pushed into having sex at at a time not of her choosing as an assault equal to rape. Indeed, such are the kinks of a human being, that not all ‘coercion’ is even unwelcome. ”
    OK, this is exactly what I was just talking about. If you EVER force someone to have sex with you and that person doesn’t want to, it’s rape. So she’s your girlfriend and she wanted to fuck you yesterday? Sorry, still rape.
    Amazing that this has to be pointed out. And the “coercion” acted out in BSDM scenarios is not REAL coercion, it’s a game, agreed upon between people who trust each other, with the ability to bail at any time if either party becomes uncomfortable. Again, I’m not seeing why this is to hard to understand.

  42. 34
    Eleanor says:

    “How many of them don’t even recognise lack of consent when they see it, because they’ve been so conditioned to think of a reluctant woman whose resistance has to be overcome as being the normal script for how sex works?”

    Sounds like pretty much every James Bond movie up to the late 90s: just keep slapping the women about for long enough and holding them down, and they magically turn into submissive sex kittens. Boys grow up seeing that kind of thing as not just normal but erotic, no wonder they think ‘No’ means ‘Yes’ or at least ‘Open to persuasion.’

  43. 35
    Tuomas says:

    BritGirlSF:

    Again, I’m not seeing why this is to hard to understand.

    Because it really isn’t that hard to understand. But while pretending to not understand, a man with a rape fantasy can rape AND be a “nice guy”, not a rapist (aka a drooling boogeyman who lives under the bridge and comes out at night after girls and women who have been doing something a good, properly feminine but modest girls don’t do).
    Because rape discussions are usually fantasy discussions (that is, outside feminist blogs/circles).

  44. 36
    ginmar says:

    I had a troll like this who related a similiar story and then deleted it, unaware that I can save all comments in email. I’d therefore be willing to bet that the proportion of rapists in the general population is even higher than it is in college, because so many men don’t regard ‘holding your reluctant girlfriend down’ as rape at all. It’s persuasion. It’s ‘no means yes’ which we’ve been told doesn’t exist any longer. Yeah, right.

  45. 37
    curiousgirl says:

    And the self-deluded rapists out there will surely find it too complicated to parse the distinction that a woman may want to fuck you, but that doesn’t mean she wants whatever painful/violent and “surprise” scenario you may have in mind. If you go ahead with any kind of unwanted sex against the wishes of your partner–even after she’s agreed to sex in general– you are raping her.

    In order not to be a rapist, you have to care about one another’s desires and act like it. It isn’t a confusing concept if you think women are fully formed human beings with a full complement of rights and thier own desires–but if, like a meaningful portion of men (more than 4.5%, I’d wager), you don’t think so then I’m making a completely illogical argument.

  46. 38
    Tuomas says:

    Ginmar, I also think the number is a bit higher, or maybe even considerably higher. There are numerous good reasons to think so (it could be higher than 4.5% here in Finland too, it’s not just an American problem):
    1) College men are young, and the study doen’t tell whether they were starting the college (the term is “freshman”, I think) or nearing the end. Even then, they’d have plenty of time after the college.
    2) Colleges have the misogynistic frat boy subculture, but other places have misogynistic subcultures too. Hell, the whole culture is misogynistic to an extent.
    3) College students are smart and educated. Even if they aren’t exactly asked “have you raped”, many (especially among the ones who are inclined to rape) probably know the legal definition of rape, and can put 2+2 together when someone asks them: “Have you ever used force to make someone have sex with you”, and thus might decide to lie rather than to give themselves away as rapists (like the comment-deleting troll)
    4) While education doesn’t necessarily make anyone nonsexist, education combined with an open mind doesn’t hurt, either.

  47. 39
    kate says:

    Holding your reluctant girlfriend down should be categorized separately from ‘rape’? Yeah, only if shooting someone in the face can be categorized separately from ‘murder’.

    Dude, you are a sick fuckin’ puppy.

  48. 40
    Jesurgislac says:

    bones: but rather it isn’t reasonable to treat all cases where a girlfriend is pushed into having sex at at a time not of her choosing as an assault equal to rape.

    Yes, it is reasonable, because it is rape.

  49. 41
    Mendy says:

    It’s for that very reason that practitioner’s of BDSM use a “safe” word that isn’t “no” or “stop”. My husband and I like the word “ardvaark” because it’s not used in normal, everyday conversation. In those confines ardvaark means “Stop right now!”

    Holding anyone down without their permission and having intercourse with them is rape. Performing a sexual act upon a person that hasn’t consented to it is rape, and forcing a person to perform a sexual act upon you without consent is rape.

    What sick world do you live in where you just twist her arm and force her, and think it’s a sex game?

  50. 42
    Em says:

    Morphienne’s list gives a very good summary of the forces of fear that work on women. The list points out not only how fear can be emotionally or spiritually constraining, but also how it can act as a concrete obstacle to economic or career success. It certainly bears on my own life; I am a female physics major about to graduate from college, in a department with a very small percentage of female students and professors. Many of the things that the men do to advance their study and their careers pose at least a minor rape threat for me. A student might work with others on homework — but the only study groups around are usually all-male (and often late-night). Most of my fellow students seem fairly trustworthy, but at the same time, I imagine the defense saying at the rape trial, “Well, your honor, all I know is she willingly went alone into a room with five men at 11:00 at night… she obviously was looking for something…” Also, the pace of academic life is irregular, and people in the department often keep odd hours when necessary — but when I am around the lab at night, I can’t keep the thought out of my mind that I’m being stupid, and that if something happens I’ll have brought it upon myself. And soon I will (hopefully!) be a grad student, and I will have to find myself an affordable apartment on a meager stipend — and I will have to look just a bit harder for a safe place than my male colleagues because I know that 1 out of 25 men are looking to assault me. So even if I go ahead and do these possibly unsafe things, I am hindered by fear from applying my full intellect and creativity to my work. Where have all the great women physicists been? I wonder…

    This might have something to do with Tiger Spot’s report of being generally unafraid of rape — the actual probability of getting raped is one thing; the strength of the fear of getting raped is not necessarily related, but is still quite real. The tendency to blame the victim contributes mightily to this fear. I know that my mother’s frequent gifts of pamphlets along the lines of “10 Tips to Protect Yourself Against Rape” are well-meant. In fact, this kind of thing may be necessary to keep women safe right now, but at the same time it keeps women afraid and keeps us from envisioning a world in which rape is not a norm.

  51. 43
    Em says:

    whoops, came to this post via another blog and didn’t realize it was from May of *2004* … oh well…

  52. 44
    Soulhuntre says:

    Without knowing the wording of the original question it is impossible to know how useful the 4.5% number is.

    If it was “have you ever forced someone into a sexual act against their will” then the number would be clear.

    If it was “have you ever convinced someone to engage in a sexual act aftet then may have initially refused” then that is much less clear, as that question would apply to many dating situations in some way or another.

    As for the lsit of “don’t do’s” above it is indeed unfortunate that we live in a world where crim is a possability and it would obviously be best if there was no need to fear for any of us. That world will never exist even if you evaporated all the men on the planet.

  53. 45
    Susan says:

    we live in a world where crime is a possability and it would obviously be best if there was no need to fear for any of us. That world will never exist even if you evaporated all the men on the planet.

    Sad but true, Soulhuntre.

  54. 46
    Ampersand says:

    we live in a world where crime is a possability and it would obviously be best if there was no need to fear for any of us. That world will never exist even if you evaporated all the men on the planet.

    True. But it’s a fact that the large majority of violent stranger crime and the large majority of intimate assaults are committed by men, regardless of the victim’s sex. So although the possibility of being violently attacked wouldn’t disappear in a world without men, it would certainly be far, far reduced.

    I’m not saying that we should eliminate all men, of course. But we should be willing to acknowledge that this is not a sex-neutral problem. I think the best available solution is to change the way we raise boys, and to change our cultural concept of things like “real man” and “masculinity.”

  55. 47
    Ampersand says:

    Without knowing the wording of the original question it is impossible to know how useful the 4.5% number is.

    If it was “have you ever forced someone into a sexual act against their will” then the number would be clear.

    If it was “have you ever convinced someone to engage in a sexual act aftet then may have initially refused” then that is much less clear, as that question would apply to many dating situations in some way or another.

    It was actually a series of questions. However, the ones that Koss used to calculate rape prevalence were similar to your first question. She did ask questions along the lines of your second question, but the answers to those questions were not used for calculating rape prevalence.

  56. 48
    Robert says:

    I’m not saying that we should eliminate all men, of course.

    It makes an interesting thought experiment, though.

    There would still be assault, and there would still be rape. True, in greatly reduced quantities – but any amount is too much.

    Would people still be talking about the need to extirpate the rape culture? Or would the focus shift (well, remain) on telling women what they should do differently to avoid being victimized?

  57. 49
    Johann says:

    How Many Men are Rapists?
    Posted by ampersand | May 5th, 2004
    ….study also surveyed ‘thousands of college men’, asking them about if they had ever forced a woman to have sex against her will. About 4.5% reported that they had.
    ===================================
    Only this survey about college men is not enough to claim, that 4.5 % of ALL men are rapist.
    I would be interested to hear some more data about this subject.
    Are there some other data available?
    Somehow sorted to age of the man?

    How many percent out of all men are college men? How old are they?

    I think, the figure of 4.5 % is high, but realistic among young people.
    But to consider 4.5 % of men in their 50s, 60s, 70s as rapists – this is difficult to believe.

    We also have to see a difference, if the victim knows the rapist personally (living together even as man and wife) – or if the victim is attacked by a totally unknown person.

    Reading some postings here are indicating, that the USA generally is a very dangerous place….like to avoid: ‘walking to work’ – ‘riding a bicycle to work’ – ‘driving during night without locking the car doors’ – ‘going to a restaurant alone in the evening’……

    Considering such security cannot be only because of the danger of rape, it is because of crime generally.

  58. 50
    B says:

    Hej Johann,

    If 4,5% of young people are rapists, do they then stop being rapists when they get older? Is there a quota of people you have to rape to become a rapist?

    Surely it is the other way around – the older a man is the more opportunities he has had to commit rape and the higher is the propability that he actually is a rapist.

  59. 51
    nobody.really says:

    In the effort to help men appreciate how the lurking fear of rape impinges upon women’s daily lives, Amp offers an analogy: What if 1 out of 25 guys attacked an Oregonian for no reason – and you’re an Oregonian? Man, that’s really paranoia-inducing! Perhaps too much so. Amp has refined this analogy somewhat, but I maintain two quibbles.

    First, yes, rapists are plentiful, but so are potential rape victims. The same is not true of Oregonians (except in Oregon). Consequently the analogy breaks down.

    The number of people in the world is roughly 6.5 billion. Roughly half, or 3.25 billion, are men. 1/25 of this number is roughly 130 million. In contrast, the number of Oregonians is only 3.3 million. For 1 out of every 25 men to have attacked an Oregonian – and even assuming than no man ever attacked more than one Oregonian – the average Oregonian would experience more than 39 assaults. Is that a fair comparison to the prevalence of rape?

    I understand Amp to offer Oregonianess as a class analogous to gender, so that guys can identify with being targeted as a result of class membership. To make the numbers work, Amp could ask guys to imagine what it would be like if “you were from Oregon and 1 out of 25 Oregonian men attack another Oregonian man just because the guy’s from Oregon.” But it’s kinda wordy, and it undermines the class consciousness thing cuz it really boils down to “imagine that 1 out of 25 guys has attacked another guy.”

    Sorry, that’s the best I could do.

    Second: A woman’s ability to identify a potential rapist is arguably greater than a man’s ability to identify a potential assailant. Because date rape in more common than stranger rape, a woman can anticipate that the person who is most likely to rape her is a boyfriend or former boyfriend. To help guys appreciate the risk women face, it might be appropriate to say something like “imagine that 1% of the guys you meet have attacked other guys for the hell of it, and an additional 3.5% of guys have attacked their intimate friends, mostly when they were guests at their friends’ houses.” That’s paranoia-inducing, too, but it’s a different kind of paranoia.

  60. 52
    robert d says:

    I was raped by a girl when I was a young boy age about 6.It wasnt sex persay but three of them cornered me in a pool and the one in the center grabbed me forcefully without any regard to my being there I guess I can understand how it must feel to the weaker sex how this must feel, I still remember it and it affects me to this day, I have no sex life because I was raised by a liberal who gave me no sense of boundaries,he was just a wimp and so I conformed not knowing how wrong this was, I struggle with my manhood a lot.So you Ladies are not alone we all need good strong fathers rapists never mess with a good moral strong woman because she can see right through him just look them in the eye and they will be afraid very afraid of courage and strength they are your greatest weapons.They are bullies and bullies are wimps to other bullies.and the cycle goes on and on and on ad infinitum….So that’s why I believe in God very much , he guides me in every way I listen to him it is my intuition he speaks through not by knowledge or memorization..and I cherish his love that goes through me and everything he has created..bye and god bless you.

  61. 53
    Anonymous says:

    Can I say as a man that I have no problem with the idea that if a woman doesn’t want sex in any circumstances, anywhere, anyhow, for any reason then to force her to have sex is rape. That to me is just plain evident in the definition of the word and no ammount of parsing it will change the truth of the definition. If the word means anything it means non-consensual sex.

    As ever when I read blogs like this I feel really ashamed at being in the same category as people who do these kinds of things to others, I’m really sorry that it affects people’s behaviour on here so much, I think there is a kind of sexualisation of violence within our culture today that is very dangerous. I wish I had some solutions to stop men from raping women, I don’t- I hope that I would never (I can’t see into the future which is the only reason I’ve offered the conditional)- I hope it happens to no more women on this board than it has happened to already and I hope that those it has happened to can repair their lives. I really have nothing apart from sympathy to offer and I wish I could do more.

  62. 54
    curiousgyrl says:

    >

    Wow. This is a sad list. I have been raped, and I suppose if I never drank or did drugs at parties or spent time alone with male friends, that never woudl have happened. And I really wish it didnt happen.

    That said, though, I dont think all these rules even can prevent rape 100% or even close. and its sounds like an awfully restrictive life. No bicycles? No dining out alone?

    There are a lot of things on that list I wouldnt trade, even for complete safety, which even such limits won’t buy.

    Morphienne, I understand where you’re coming from, but I also think you are letting yourself be unecessarily imprisoned.

  63. 55
    Puma says:

    to the sympathetic Anonymous,

    Thank you, but I must take issue with your sense of futility in offering only sympathy – do you really think that is all you can do? While your kind words were indeed welcome, and I wish more men felt as you do, it is precisely men like you that are desperately needed to speak and act against rape. This is not an easy thing to do, as many women who fight against this rape culture can attest. It means putting yourself out there. It means taking the risk of putting yourself in the line of fire. But remember, women are in that line of fire every day with no such choice to opt out. We need your help. Challenge the men at your workplace, the men you call friends, the men in your family. As you can see, you already know some rapists, whether you knew it or not. Challenge the laws that make it even more difficult for women bringing charges of rape. Visit a rape-crisis center and ask how you can help. Do something, anything, besides nothing…

  64. 56
    Koneko says:

    “So you Ladies are not alone we all need good strong fathers rapists never mess with a good moral strong woman because she can see right through him” WHAT THE F*&%? how can you even say that? So all women who have been raped are bad immoral weaklings? That is bullshit. To say that all a woman needs to do to prevent herself from being raped is be a morally upstanding individual and be “good” and “strong”. You are still blaming the victim, still telling her that she deserved it because she wasn’t strong, or moral. That she could have avoided it if she had done something differently. You are what we are fighting against. You are your views are to blame for our mysoginistic culture.

    ” just look them in the eye and they will be afraid very afraid of courage and strength they are your greatest weapons.” No an aluminum bat is a weapon. Looking at them can do a myriad of things, from arousing them to infuriating them. Telling women that if we just look them in eye, they will realize their stupidity and stop is a ridiculous notion. You don’t think there’s a good percentage of victims out there who have fought back violently, biting, kicking, screaming doing everything they can, and they still don’t get away. Yet again, you’re blaming the victim.

    “They are bullies and bullies are wimps to other bullies.” No they are rapists. Using this type of language lessens the severity of their crimes, we don’t call men who commit assualt bullies, we don’t call murderer’s bullies, we don’t call child molesters bullies, why the hell would you simplify their actions to that of a child in the schoolyard? That implies they “just don’t know any better’. BULLSHIT. There actions are not that of a bully, but that of a rapist, they’re not taking lunch money, they are raping. There is a huge f’ing difference. Or do you consider women to be worth no more than lunch money?

  65. 57
    Michael W. says:

    Whenever I read articles like this, I get quite upset. Yes, the statistics are upsetting, but the fear mongering is much more upsetting. Yes, I get it. 4.5% is a lot. By going on and on about it, Ampersand does nothing but attempt convince women that they should be afraid.

    Most rapes that occur are perpetrated by men known to the victim. Thus the preventative measures described by Morphienne are worthless as self defense. They are dramatic measures taken to prevent something which is highly unlikely, an attack by a stranger. FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Teaching women to be fearful is doing them a disservice. Fmear causes women to inhibit their own lives. It also prepares them to be victims. Predators, be they animals or humans, can sense fear. Fearful prey is easier prey. Thus, women who show fear in their daily lives might become more attractive to those who might victimize them.

    Here’s a radical new idea. Rather than teaching women to be fearful, rather than teaching women that they are weak, rather than teaching women that they are helpless, teach women that they are strong. Teach them that they can take care of themselves. Teach them how to protect themselves with confidence and boldness. Not only would this allow individual women to better protect themselves, it would eventually change the image of women in society, combating the male mindset which causes rape in the first place.

  66. 58
    ms_xeno says:

    Michael, I don’t know how to break this to you, but I didn’t need Amp to tell me that I should be afraid of this culture. I witnessed an attempted rape when I was sixteen, and before that, there were scores of other lessons and signifiers that told me what to expect.

    You are essentially parrotting the points which Koneko already refuted. I suggest re-reading the post.

    What do you want men taught ? Isn’t there something they should learn here ? Your ideas are not “radical and new.” Women are sick and tired of always being the ones who must set the examples and do the teaching. Are you men automatons who must be lovingly but firmly reprogrammed by your self-designated subordinates, or are you full-fledged humans perfectly capable of talking to and dealing with one another in a fashion different than that which you use right now ?

  67. 59
    BStu says:

    I think it would be terribly wrong to suggest that discussion and consideration of the statistics is in anyway incompatable with advocating that women adopt a strong and confident stature in the world. And it would be even more wrong to suggest that it, alone, is fear mongering. Some will respond to such facts with fear, but that must not frighten US from the facts.

    For one thing, it might help to take the focus of rape prevention OFF women and onto men. What can WE do to stop rape? Its not up to women to stop rape. Its certainly not women’s duty to change the way men see them so as to stop rape. Men need to take responsibility, not keep pawning it off on women. Telling them that they have to solve a problem entirely not of their making. Who should combat that male mindset? Males. The discussion I see here takes on those questions. Its not wallowing in fear-mongering, but probing for answers and solutions. That’s a good thing.

  68. 60
    PJ says:

    I hate the fact America seems to only class something as rape if it includes physical violence – as this helps encourage the idea that forced sex is O.K. as long as not hitting was involved. Forced sex IS a violent act and IS rape. Many rapists have been interviewed about this and even they say it’s about power and violence, not just sex, hence the reason why old people and fat people have been raped.

  69. 61
    Grasshopper says:

    In the Australian National Survey of Teenagers taken every 5 years
    25% of men and 33% of women said that they could not say no or even avoid the amorous advances of others. They would let the act occur whether they wanted it or not. Drugs and alcohol were significant in sex – wanted or unwanted.

    Secondly Dept of Community Services in Australia who investigate abuse ask
    “what do you mean by coerced” “What do you mean by bad touch…”

    Third – as a male – most of the things on the list I would be worried about. We are not in a safe world. We may not like to restrict our actions but we must drop the idealism.

    And guys may not have to worry about being raped as often, but guys are more likely to be targets of violence and older people have the highest rates.

    What cuases it? Report after report says MEDIA. People watch up to 6 hours a night. Add internet…..
    Ever see prime time TV – person x sleeps with person y then breaks up with z and there are no consequences, no fights. People are shown to be available.

    Magazine shows how to pick up girl x or give the perfect blowjob.

    Music – the women dance around in seductive poses or put up with crap from the guy singing. Or the guy sings about killing, rape etc and cd’s get bought.

    Every night in primetime at least 6 or 7 sexual acts occur where neither the man or women doesn’t offer resistance, does not discuss the issue and does not use protection.

    In primetime, you also see men being belittled by women or men playing the dumb role. (Everybody Loves Raymond) Or being told they must act a certain way. Women go to bulimia, cutting, anorexia inward focus – men focus outwardly.
    Many have the abiltiy to divert their attention to sports / the bottle etc others take it out on women or need to redress the power imbalance.

    US society unfortunately breeds the macho male, the entitled male. It might not always lead to violence or sexual abuse but…

  70. 62
    Das says:

    Rape is one of the five reasons I am terribly afraid of dating ANY guy and any gesture they make to initiate friendship or a relationship starts a chain reaction of avoidance and disguised hostility until I think he’s actually being honest. He could be the hottest man ever, and I will find some flaw that disgusts me if I have even the slightest feeling he’s wanting more than just friendly company.
    For example, when a person of the male persuasion called me and left a message wanting to know if I’d like to go to his house and watch a movie, all the alarms began ringing to the extent I had a panic attack and called him back about an hour later, suggesting we go see a new movie in public and kept an empty seat between us. This with smoothly, oddly. And I didn’t feel so paranoid until he showed up at my workplace the next day to present me with a Beatles CD and then called me later that night, further making me think he wants something.
    … and the really sad thing is I’m prepared to inflict any amount of injury, emotional hurt or physical, and even sabotage the potential relationship based on this suspicion. (I may have already without even trying.)

    What makes this ‘paranoia’, as my mother calls it, this bad is roughly 99.9% of my generation has converted to the thug-life mentality. Exaggerated, but it really seems that way.
    And it also seems like the most rapes in this state occur on college campuses. I tend to be a loner, as a result of differing class schedules or not knowing anyone there. So this doesn’t bode too well for me despite the fact that going to college and graduating from said institute is one of my life goals.
    In other-words, I get out less than an elderly woman living on her own thanks to America’s ‘pat the guy on the back’ policy… and I’m only 21.

    Sorry if that made little sense or was too long.

  71. 63
    Avatarluv says:

    I have to put this out there too….what about when a guy(married/in a relationship)who just SLIPS his dick in while his partner is sleeping? I’ve heard of this idea of ‘WAKING her up with SEX’ in the morning. But, personally, I see something wrong with that. It doesn’t matter if the woman wants it or wiggles her hips away while saying no….it’s the fact that the guy simply felt he could just ACCESS her VAGINA at will while she’s asleep! If she would try to push her fingers or toes into his BUTT or mouth while HE was asleep, he would more than likely fairly strongly OBJECT! I would think that after the first time he did that to her, her reaction would inform him of what he can or cannot do concerning that type of sexual action in the future. Yet, merely moving my hips away or even going along with it would not work for ME. No, I wouldn’t BASH him but he would be CLEAR about not ever trying that again! My body, which obviously includes my vagina, is MINE…to be entered only by my CONSCIOUS, completely willing CONSENT!
    But hey, that’s just me.

  72. 64
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Avatarluv – I would think that, for that situation to count as consensual sex, it has to be agreed to *in advance* by both people involved, as part of the ground rules of the relationship. Even within the context of a relationship, I don’t think it would be acceptable for a man (or woman) to initiate sex of any kind on a sleeping partner as an experiment to find out if it’s ok or not.

    It’s certainly fine for a woman to say: “I’m happy for you to initiate sex with me while I’m asleep, and if in that particular morning I don’t want it, I’ll just stop you”. But it’s her choice to make whether she grants that permission, not her partner’s. And if the partner feels like that such permission is an essential component of a relationship, he or she should check whether this is the case early in the relationship, not just assume it’s going to be ok.

  73. 65
    Tamen says:

    Initiating and having sex with someone who is asleep without pre-agreed consent is per definition raping someone (having sex without consent) and hoping they turn out to like the sex rather than feeling violated. I know that it can fuck someone up pretty bad.

  74. 66
    flabergasted says:

    bones and Kasasagi,

    Are you crazy? You think raping your girlfriend or wife is somehow less a travesty than raping a stranger? Holding someone down, even if you’re dating, even if you’re married, in order to force sex upon someone (ANYONE) that doesn’t want to is still RAPE. If you’ve ever done this, count yourself in among men who’ve RAPED. You’re no better. Unfortunately many women are still victims of spousal abuse, violence or rape, and and it is no less a tragedy. Can you imagine someone saying when we were talking about assault and battery “Well if it’s your wife or your girlfriend, clearly that’s not assualt,” or “because it’s someone you love, its okay to hit/rape them.” Everyone thinks that line of reasoning is ridiculous. And everyone knows that is abuse. So acknowledge this is still rape.

  75. 67
    SCC says:

    Initiating and having sex with someone who is asleep without pre-agreed consent is per definition raping someone

    In Canadian law, there’s no such thing as “pre-agreed consent”.

    “The issue to resolve in this appeal is whether a person can perform sexual acts on an unconscious person if the person consented to those acts in advance of being rendered unconscious. Parliament has defined consent in a way that requires the complainant to be conscious throughout the sexual activity in question. Parliament’s definition of consent does not extend to advance consent to sexual acts committed while the complainant is unconscious. The legislation requires ongoing, conscious consent to ensure that women and men are not the victims of sexual exploitation, and to ensure that individuals engaging in sexual activity are capable of asking their partners to stop at any point.”

    R. v. J.A., 2011 SCC 28, [2011] 2 S.C.R. 440

  76. 68
    Desuline Darrow Unusual Lawyer says:

    Interesting piece.

    Concerning the girlfriend and boyfriend situation, I actually can see the logic of what was said. Some people do engage in those acts of domination and coercion, and whether or not it seems appropriate for US, it is appropriate to THEM. That would be an implied consent of both parties.

    However, that does not mean that the individuals in every situation like that is in fact using implied consent.

    Since we have a high number of female victims in this, I have two questions. How many of them are actually lying? And secondly how many of them are actually victims of repetitive offenders of this type of crime?

    Since we have a high number of male offenders in this, I have two questions. How many were engaged in an “implied consent” situation, or a situation that did not include penetration, but did include sexual arousal of some sort? How many of them are repetitive offenders.

    I’m actually uniquely curious about the number of repeat offenders because some rapists have done it once and regretted it and feel shame, while others have done it repeatedly and actually cause a massive stigma to be placed on the male population at large.

    I’m sure by even being on this blog-thread, I’d be responded to by individuals who are emotionally tied to the situation. But I don’t come here emotionally, but out of intellectual curiosity and to find out what people think of the possibilities.

  77. 70
    S says:

    If all cases of rape were taken into account it would be about 15%-25%. Most people do not know
    a) having sex with an incapacitated, including drunk, person is rape
    b) forcing someone to have sex without physical force by blackmailing or threatening is rape
    c) having sex with a spouse or partner if they refuse is rape
    d) a women forcing a man to have sex is rape

    The truth is many people have been involved in rape without even knowing it because they think that the above scenarios aren’t rape. The solution is to spread awareness about rape, to encourage both males and females to report if the have been raped, and to have much more severe rape sentences.

  78. 71
    S says:

    “She was too drunk to even notice. If she can’t remember it there’s nothing wrong.”

    “He’s a guy so he always wants to have sex. He got hard so obviously he wanted it.”

    “She should have known better than to be out alone at night. If you don’t want to be raped you should have a man with you.”

    “Its her duty to have sex with me and its not rape if we are married.”

    “We were on the bed already. She can’t lead me on and then say no.”

    I guarantee these are the excuses some of the men surveyed made. Few actually admit they committed rape.

  79. 72
    closetpuritan says:

    S, I haven’t read this specific study (it’s behind a paywall), but typically studies like this don’t ask, “Have you ever raped someone?” The questions they ask are more like, “Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone who did not want you to because they were too intoxicated to resist?” There will still be people who have done that and don’t want to admit to that either, but it will still catch the people who think that that’s not rape. Give the researchers some credit.

  80. “It seems to me that they way this question is phrased, it doesn’t exclude coercive intercourse with a girlfriend (or spouse!).

    It would seem to me that to get a meaningful ratio of rape victims, one would need to put “holding down your reluctant girlfriend” into a different category than “rape of/by someone that you don’t have an ongoing sexual relationship with”.”

    That is the most disgusting thing I’ve read in a while. I hope I don’t live anywhere near this Kasasagi person.