My rape story

The discussion about the man who claims he can’t be a rapist because his penis is too large set me thinking about my own near-miss a couple of months ago. It feels odd to talk about rape in connection with an experience that was more irritating than traumatic, but technically I came close to being raped and escaped more through luck than through anything I did “right”.

I’d gone out looking for sex: a division of paratroopers were camping in the village for the weekend, and I knew one of them should be willing to give me sex with no strings attached. I met a couple of likely men in the pub – they’d been drinking all evening, while I stayed completely sober because of my pregnancy – and went with them back to their camp.

For a while, everything proceeded in a way that satisfied us all. In the darkness, I didn’t realise immediately that one of the men was no longer wearing a condom – whether accidentally or by design I had no way of knowing. I told him to stop, and offered him two options: he could find and put on another condom, or we could abandon the idea of having sex. For myself, I preferred the first option, but it did depend on the availability of another condom.

Neither of these possibilities suited him. He made several suggestions of his own, none of which adequately covered my objection to unprotected sex. I tried to reason with him, but I found that I had to keep my hand over my crotch throughout the conversation to prevent his attempts to penetrate me without wasting time on discussion.

At that point, I started to worry. He was physically stronger than me, and drunk enough to be deaf to reason. If he decided to force me physically, there was little I could do about it. I began to imagine the recriminations I would face if I had to report him for raping me. “You went in the pub looking for sex, you left with two soldiers and went back to their camp – what did you think would happen?” And although I believed my answer – I thought a grown man would be capable of using a condom properly – was a satisfactory one, I wasn’t sure it would satisfy others.

The fear killed my desire to have sex and I started to put my clothes back on. Luckily, he made no protest; perhaps he was too drunk. I left without incident, and the fear receded once I was away from the danger.

If he had persisted, if he had penetrated me despite my objections, that would have been rape. I had consented to sex, but I had made it clear that condoms were part of the deal. When the condom vanished, so did my consent.

It can still be rape even if she wants to have sex with you. It can still be rape even if she’s sexually aroused and apparently ready for sex. If she consents to this but not that and you make her do that, it’s rape. If she consents to any kind of safe sex and you make her have unsafe sex, it’s rape.

I know I’m mostly preaching to the choir here, but I hope that by telling my own story I can convince anyone who isn’t sure.

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

293 Responses to My rape story

  1. 201
    Elena says:

    Emmetropia:

    ALL of us on this earth learn ways to avoid danger as we grow older. We all grow more sophisticated and less gullible, or most of us do. Don’t give yourself so much credit- and don’t assume that you can somehow pass on your wisdom to the youngsters. It probably won’t work.

    Anyway, it’s really just a false sense of security, because the only thing standing between any of us and a violent crime is the violent criminal deciding to attack us. That’s it. Well, that and our justice system.

  2. 202
    RonF says:

    A direct answer. Thank you!

  3. 203
    RonF says:

    I’d say “stranger rape” is a betrayal. There are certain norms of behavior that everyone is expected to observe. If someone behaves outside of those norms, then they have betrayed society in general and the people affected in particular.

    There’s a lot of disagreement, especially in sexual issues, on what those norms are, or should be. But I think we can all agree that non-consensual acts are not part of those norms.

  4. 204
    Legal eagle says:

    Isn’t it wonderful how you can change the whole complexion of a situation by leaving out a detail or two? I didn’t ply them with alcohol; they’d been drinking for hours when I met them, and I can only infer how drunk they were based on their behaviour.

    But much more importantly, I gave the asshole a choice. Either he could get a condom, or I was getting dressed and going home. I wasn’t forcing him to perform any sex act, unless you mean that he would be “forced” to wank off his frustration after I’d gone if I didn’t give him exactly what he wanted.

    The law does not state that YOU are the one to provide the controlled substance merely that you attempt to take advantage of them while they are in that state.
    i.e. A man is at a party and sees a woman who is intoxicated, he proceeds to have sex with her, she is too inebriated to make an informed consent to the act, legally this is rape.
    Also the only detail I left out was the sex of the parties. If a man had done the exact same thing you did (go looking for sex, found a drunk girl or two, took them somewhere and had his way with them especially when one of them is and I quote “drunk enough to be deaf to reason”, that would be the classical definition of date rape.
    As for the “I gave them a choice” argument if they were to drunk to be able to give an informed consent how could they possibly be able to make any kind of choice ???

    That’s a claim about the law. I don’t know what the law is in Lincolnshire, England. I know what it is in New York, and for alcohol to negate consent the intoxicated person must be passed out, as a practical matter. Legal Eagle, can you point to a statute or decision that says that simple intoxication negates consent?

    Or are you making things up ?

    Legal statutes in many states as well as at the federal level also prohibit rapes which occur when a perpetrator engages in a sex act with an unwilling victim who is unconscious or who is intoxicated with alcohol or drugs to the point that their ability to appraise or control their conduct is substantially impaired. The Federal Criminal Code defines this type of rape as aggravated sexual abuse by other means. Sometimes it is referred to as drug or alcohol facilitated rape.

    The above quote is from “RAPE IN MASSACHUSETTS: A Report to the Commonwealth” for further information I would recommend you read “What is consent” @
    http://wings.buffalo.edu/law/bclc/bclrarticles/3(2)/wertheimerfinal.pdf

    As for statues or decisions I did state at the beginning that this is the definitions that are being pushed for currently, but here are the proposed statues.

    (C) when the victim is incapable of giving consent because of mental deficiency or disease, or when the victim is incapable of giving consent because of the effect of any alcoholic liquor, narcotic, drug or other substance, which condition was known by the offender or was reasonably apparent to the offender

    In the meantime in Kansas this is the law “KSA 21-3502″ and as far as I know it’s the same in new york.

    A) When the victim is unconscious or physically powerless; OR

    B) When the victim is incapable of giving consent because the effect of any alcoholic liquor, narcotic, drug or other substance, which condition was known to the offender or reasonably apparent to the offender.

    So I’ll ask you this, if you were on the jury and you were given the description as written (with no genders or excuses) how would you find ?

  5. 205
    Q Grrl says:

    Legal Eagle: This is why feminists argue that consent must be sought repeatedly, not just once. For each act that might be ambiguous, consent should be renegotiated. Futher, to try to argue a gender neutral approach to the laws you quoted above is somewhat farcical. Your approach would imply a social and physical status quo that is non-existant.

  6. 206
    Jesurgislac says:

    legal eagle: Also the only detail I left out was the sex of the parties. If a man had done the exact same thing you did (go looking for sex, found a drunk girl or two, took them somewhere and had his way with them especially when one of them is and I quote “drunk enough to be deaf to reason”, that would be the classical definition of date rape.

    Okay, let’s look at Nick’s/the paratroopers behavior as if that of one man/two women.

    A man goes looking for sex. He finds a couple of drunk paratroopers (both female) who agree to have sex with him, and he lays down the condition of “no condom, no sex”. They agree. He has sex with one woman, using a condom, and she goes off and leaves him with the other woman. The next time, the man’s condom falls off. The drunk woman insists they should have sex anyway, and keeps trying to get him to penetrate her without the condom, physically trying to get his penis into her vagina. The man resists, tries to argue with her, asks her if there’s another condom he can use, and finally just walks away, because he’s not prepared to have sex with her unless he’s wearing a condom.

    That would be a classic example of a man behaving very well, not of date rape.

  7. 207
    RonF says:

    RonF: I’d like to ask you some questions.

    O.K.

    As a woman, my society basically presents me with the view that I should assume that every man is a potential rapist. How does that make you feel, as a man?

    I’d like to think that that’s not true. But it sure seems like rape has occurred between people with every conceivable kind of relationship, doesn’t it?

    How does that make me feel as a man? I don’t know how to answer that question “as a man”.

    How does that make me, personally, feel? It’s a horrible thing, and I feel bad about it. I feel that it is a failure in society to properly teach people how to look at, think about, and act towards others. And since we all make up society, it seems that many parents, religious leaders, teachers, etc., have neglected to properly teach these things. These people are all accountable for teaching and disciplining children in these matters (like when I had to put a stop to my Scouts saying “That’s gay” about stuff they dissaproved of).

    I think that in large part, this stems from people saying to themselves “The schools should teach …” or “Parents should teach …” or “The church should teach …” or “Men should teach …” without understanding that we ourselves all have to take the personal responsibility to teach such things. We all also have the personal responsibility to take part in and control of the societial structures we are part of, like our families, our schools, our churches, our clubs, etc., and see that they reflect and further the values we believe in.

    I am not going to say “Men should …” when the reality is that we all should.

    Do you have daughters,

    One.

    and if so, do you instruct them to view every man as a potential rapist?

    I haven’t put it like that. I have taught her that she should always maintain control over her own body, and that if anyone even remotely threatens that, she should beware and take appropriate action. I have never said, “even if it’s your uncle or your teacher or your coach”, I simply emphasized “anybody”.

    Do you provide them with rigorous, self-defense instruction, so that they will have the ability to fight off attackers?

    I have not, personally. However, my daughter is strong and athletic and plays a sport and position where she’s used to violent contact. I have personally witnessed that she’s not shy about doing what is necessary to take care of herself.

    Do you provide them with a feminist perspective on self-defense, so that they know that even if one of the so-called “good guys” or “nice guys” attacks them, they have the moral authority to resist just as much as if a “stranger” attacked them (see, that’s key. many raped women have gained a certain amount of trust in their rapist, because he’s a friend/neighbor/boyfriend/husband. women are still taught to be accomodating to men).

    I’m not familiar with what would be defined as “a feminist perspective” on self-defense. But if the rest of your statement is that definition, then the answer is yes. I have emphasized to her that no one has a right to obligate or compel her to do anything she thinks is wrong, no matter who they are or what their reason is.

  8. 208
    Thomas says:

    Here in New York, Penal Law s. 103.05 defines “lack of consent” to include incapacity. However, that is further defined, in relevant part, as “mentally defective”, “mentally incapacitated”, or “physically helpless.” The courts have, to my knowledge, interpreted intoxication to fall only into “mentally incapacitated” or “physically helpless.” The latter is passed out. The former is defined in Penal Law 130.00(6) as “rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his conduct owing to the influence of a narcotic or intoxicating substance administered to him without his consent …” (emphasis supplied)

    So, in New York (assuming no major change since my Penal Law was printed — I no longer do criminal defense work and I don’t keep up my books), incapable to consent due to intoxication means 1) unconscious, or 2) drunk against her will — spiked punch bowl, roofie, etc.

    So, this guy got drunk of his own free will. After getting drunk, he met a woman who offered to fuck him on the condition that he wore a condom. He went with her to another location, where he either failed to properly apply a condom or refused to do so. She decided not to have intercourse with him, and apparently offered other activities, which he declined. She then left.

    Under New York law, did Nick commit anything like a sexual assault? (I’ll save you the trouble — there is no such non-frivolous argument).

    Now, that Kansas statute — does it define any of those terms? Also, Legal Eagle, I’m guessing you don’t know much about how actual trials work, but the judge “charges” the jury, instructing them in what all the buzzwords in statutes mean. In order to apply the Kansas statute as the jury would, you would have to supply me with the instruction I would receive from the judge. Now, they vary sometimes, but judges tend to hew closely to the Pattern Jury Instructions. Do you have a Kansas PJI around? I’m pretty sure there’s a pattern instruction for incapable of consent by reason of intoxication. If the Jury is instructed that it means “unable to appreciate the nature of the activity” or “unable to understand that the defendant is proposing sexual penetration,” then there is likewise no argument for your proposition. If, and only if, the statute sets the bar so low that someone’s diminished capacity to exercise judgment is enough, then you have an argument — but that proves to much! If that were the standard, than any sex between any intoxicated people in Kansas would be illegal! Baptists might cheer that, but most of us live in the real world.

    Okay Legal Eagle — you picked the name. Now prove you know what you’re doing by posting the Kansas PJI for lack of consent by reason of intoxication.

  9. 209
    Jesurgislac says:

    RonF: I think that in large part, this stems from people saying to themselves “The schools should teach …” or “Parents should teach …” or “The church should teach …” or “Men should teach …” without understanding that we ourselves all have to take the personal responsibility to teach such things.

    So why was your first reaction to Nick’s story to blame her for the irresponsible and nearly-criminal actions of someone else? Why did you say to yourself “This was Nick’s fault” and pass that on to her?

    It looks to me like your feeling that “people should take personal responsibility for teaching that” (for example) men should not commit rape is directed at other people, not at yourself.

  10. 210
    John Howard says:

    Jesu:The drunk woman insists they should have sex anyway, and keeps trying to get him to penetrate her without the condom, physically trying to get his penis into her vagina. The man resists, tries to argue with her, asks her if there’s another condom he can use, and finally just walks away, because he’s not prepared to have sex with her unless he’s wearing a condom.

    That’s pretty much exactly what happened to me, though I hadn’t consented to intercourse at all, with or without a condom. (Consenting to sex with a condom is consenting to sexual intercourse, so I’m not sure if it becomes rape if the condom is slipped off unbeknownst to one party. Condoms slip off whether it’s intentional or not. Of course, a person’s consent can change for any reason during sex, whether it’s realizing that there is no condom or maybe seeing how much hair is on someone’s back. But I think once you have consented to sex, and have been having sex, it is harder to claim rape if you start to say no during the process. I never consented to intercourse at all, so my claim is more valid than Nick’s, and my rapist’s crime more clear cut.

    That would be a classic example of a man behaving very well, not of date rape.

    I’m glad to know you feel that way, because I sure felt like a jerk after pushing her off me. It of course ended our relationship, and though she was remorseful and recognized she had been wrong to mount me, she also seemed to think I was a jerk for not letting her.

  11. 211
    Thomas says:

    But I think once you have consented to sex, and have been having sex, it is harder to claim rape if you start to say no during the process.

    Wrong.

  12. 212
    Thomas says:

    Legal Eagle, the federal statute is 18 USC 2241. It says the same thing as NY: unconscious, or rendered intoxicated either without her knowledge or by force or threat.

    How’s it coming with that Kansas PJI?

  13. 213
    RonF says:

    So why was your first reaction to Nick’s story to blame her for the irresponsible and nearly-criminal actions of someone else? Why did you say to yourself “This was Nick’s fault” and pass that on to her?

    Because to say “You did something foolish” doesn’t equate to “You are to blame for what happened.”

    It looks to me like your feeling that “people should take personal responsibility for teaching that” (for example) men should not commit rape is directed at other people, not at yourself.

    Upthread I gave an example of one way in which I have discharged my own responsibility, by instructing my son. And, while the topic of rape has never come up, I have had numerous occasions in my Scouting career to instruct young men that they have no right to force someone else to do something they don’t want to do.

  14. 214
    Jenny K says:
    But I think once you have consented to sex, and have been having sex, it is harder to claim rape if you start to say no during the process.

    Wrong.

    I don’t think there are words for how wrong this is.

    It may be harder to prove in a court of law, it would certainly be harder at this point in time to get a conviction, but that doesn’t make it harder to “claim” rape.

  15. 215
    RonF says:

    “But I think once you have consented to sex, and have been having sex, it is harder to claim rape if you start to say no during the process.”

    It is no harder to claim rape. Having had sex with someone voluntarily gives them no more “right” to assault you than if you’d never consented to sex with them beforehand. But many people will wrongly presume that this supplies your assailant with justification. And a defense attorney will be looking to get some of those people onto your assailant’s jury.

  16. 216
    Jake Squid says:

    Because to say “You did something foolish” doesn’t equate to “You are to blame for what happened.”

    Unfortunately, that simply isn’t true for most people when you are on the receiving end of that statement. Also, you didn’t write, “You did something foolish.” This is what you wrote in comment #3:
    But you were damn stupid to put yourself in such a situation.

    “Damn stupid” doesn’t equate to “you did something foolish.” Not to mention, you’ve never given Nick a feasible alternative that she could have done in order to meet her goals. What you’ve done is to call her goals (and by extension, Nick) “damn stupid.” And I, for one, think that you owe an apology for that statement & then trying to claim that that statement was somehow “advice.”

  17. 217
    Jesurgislac says:

    RonF: Because to say “You did something foolish” doesn’t equate to “You are to blame for what happened.”

    Actually, you know, yes, it does. Telling Nick she was “damn stupid” does equate to laying blame on Nick, and wiggling around trying to claim that you weren’t really blaming Nick is much less convincing than just facing up to the fact that you thought Nick was at fault for nearly getting raped, and trying to do better in future.

    Upthread I gave an example of one way in which I have discharged my own responsibility, by instructing my son

    Yes, but in the real-life example on this thread, you made it clear that in fact when a man nearly rapes a woman, you lay blame on the woman. Your son will be picking up messages from that kind of talk, too.

  18. 218
    JayQ says:

    Some people think that saying an action (or person) is stupid is the same thing as saying they are to blame for whatever happens as an indirect result of that stupidity.

    I ride a motorcycle every day. I will readily admit that motorcycles are dangerous compared to cars, and that I am stupid for riding one when I don’t have to. But is there an alternative to give me the same satisfaction as the motorcycle? No. Does that make the stupid go away? No. If I get hit by a car whose driver thought my one headlight up close was two far away, does that mean that I was at fault since it is stupid to take such a risk as riding a motorcycle. NO. Am I still stupid for riding a motorcycle? YES.

    Doing stupid things (or being stupid for a short period) doesn’t automatically move the blame for any adverse event to the person doing the stupid thing.

    Was Nick stupid to get into that position? Maybe… I don’t know. Probably could have made better choices, but can’t we all? Many people are violent when drunk, so maybe she shouldn’t go with guys that have been drinking. Maybe she’s a good judge of character and can see in a short time whether a guy is going to get violent or not. Who knows for sure? I would think Nick would be the best judge for whether she did something stupid or not. But if it had continued on, it would have been rape, no doubt in my mind, and it was actually kind of close to rape, just losing the condom without telling her… In my opinion.

  19. 219
    ginmar says:

    Problem is, JayQ–and you and others keep refusing to get this—is that a man is not a high-speed vehicle. He’s not a machine. If all men are rapists and women should expect to be raped, then just spit it out. But then that would mean that feminists are right. But stop telling us to protect ourselves. If all men are rapists and all we can expect is rape, then we will start protecting ourselves, and it won’t be pretty.

    Some people think that saying an action (or person) is stupid is the same thing as saying they are to blame for whatever happens as an indirect result of that stupidity.

    I am so fucking sick of car analogies and motorcycle analogies and all sorts of things which compare mens’ decision to rape as something unthinking and unplanned. I am sick of hearing alcohol being blamed. Alcohol just lowers your inhibitions. It’s not Dr. Jekyll’s magic Id-potion but lots of people would rather think that than realize that men use it as an excuse to rape. I am sick to death of people whining, “Just because I said she was stupid, doesn’t mean I’m blaming her”—excusing themselves for blaming her. I am sick of people not blaming rapists first, foremost, and entirely.

    Most of I am sick of people who don’t examine men’s actions in order to understand them. A rape victim is a crime scene: she’s evidence of a crime committed. Blaming her–and yes, whine all you want, but you are blaming her—-but people don’t look at a fingerprint and blame it for the crime committed.

    If you don’t devote as much detail, passion, and condemnation to analyzing the man’s behavior and motivations, and spend all your time talking about the vicitm, then you are espousing an orthodoxy, and that’s what men do is invisible and nameless. As long as people go after women who’ve been raped or almost been raped after the fact, it’s a stupid exercise in makign the speaker feel good about himself or his society. But the price of that one-sided blindness is continued attacks on women and continued freedom to rape for men. Deal with it. But be honest about it.

  20. 220
    Seranvali says:

    But you were damn stupid to put yourself in such a situation.

    No, she isn’t. A person has the right to go out looking for sex. Nick had every right to do as she did.

    If she had said no and he’d forced her that would have been rape. No extenuating circumstances. No excuses.

    Why is this so diffucult to understand?

  21. 221
    Seranvali says:

    You know, it’s funny how we’re constantly being told that if we do this, go there or wear that we could be raped and it would be our fault. We’re lead to believe that men have no control over their sexuality and we’re stupid to trust them. Yet with the next breath we’re being told not to be nasty, suspicious bitches and to be nice to men.

    No matter what we do we’re going to be wrong.

  22. 222
    Seranvali says:

    A person has the right to seek sex without rape being a consequence of that search. Gah! It’s infuriating to hear the same thing again & again. “Not to pass judgement, but…”

    Exactly! The moment people qualify, they’ve just contradicted anything they’ve said before.

    We can take precautions. Mountains of them, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It won’t protect us and it doesn’t stop men from raping.

    It also shifts the focus away from rape in the home by trusted family members and ‘friends’ (by far the most common form of rape), to stranger rape, which is actually far less common. If we can be convinced that all rape is stranger rape the bigger problem goes unnoticed and unreported.

  23. 223
    Spicy says:

    We can take precautions. Mountains of them, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It won’t protect us and it doesn’t stop men from raping.

    Exactly.

    Rape will stop happening – not when women take every precaution possible – but when men stop raping.

    All those on this thread dishing out advice to women about ‘sensible choices’ are completely missing the point and doing absolutely nothing to end rape.

  24. 224
    Dave says:

    Always and at every moment consent must be had.

    I realize I’m stepping into treacherous territory, but does this really seem like a reasonable proposition? For example, if the man is a heartbeat away from orgasm, and the woman withdraws consent, I’m prepared to say that no man on the planet would stop. Any standard that would convict the entire male populace seems like a flawed standard.

    The fact is, as men get closer and closer to orgasm, they become less and less reasonable. I don’t know if this is biological or social, but considering it seems completely universal, I’m inclined to suspect biology.

    It would be great if we lived in Nick’s ideal world, but we just don’t. So why is it unreasonable to say that women should be careful about being in situations where men are closer to orgasm (ie, sexually aroused), and yet still expect them to make ideal decisions about consent?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should give men a pass in all ambiguous situations. Every case is different and has to be judged on its own merits. But Nick’s story above seems wildly different from some thug (stranger or relative, it doesn’t matter) ripping off a woman’s clothes and forcing intercourse. Pigeonholing both into the category of “rape” seems to be doing a disservice to the victims of the former.

  25. 225
    Charles says:

    Dave,

    No.

    Your extremely low opinion of men’s rationality does a disservice to me and most other men.

    And your feeling that raping a woman when she withdraws consent is not really a big deal does a disservice to everyone. In particular, it does a particularly grave disservice to the huge number of women who are raped in sexual circumstances.

    Besides which, since your standard, if it is anything other than victim blaming, has no way to distinguish between Nick’s situation and stranger in the bushes rape. As long as the man in the bushes has been masturbating to close to the point of orgasm, then whatever he does is just an expression of the natural irrationality of aroused men.

    Your switching from “a heartbeat away from orgasm” to “aroused” as your standard for when men are not particularly reasonable is particularly creepy and leads me to think that you should reflect on your previous sexual experience with some serious care. If you feel that ignoring a refusal of consent or a retraction of consent is just how men are, I suspect you base that on how you are, and I fear for every woman who finds herself in a sexual situation with you. Seriously.

    I have refrained from slamming on you harder in this because I think that really need to reflect on what you are saying, and how this relates to the fact that 1 in 20 men rapes and 1 in 4 women is the subject of an attempted rape, and where you fall in that. I seriously think that with your attitude on this, you either have raped (probably without even registering you were doing so) or that you will eventually.

    No means No, and it means No now, not once you are satisfied.

  26. 226
    Dave says:

    Ah, being deliberately obtuse. The hallmark of internet conversations.

    I didn’t present a standard. I was questioning one which was presented. And I did so politely, which you failed to do. How dare you make insinuations like that based on a couple paragraphs on a blog comment?

    Because I believe that men who are on the verge of orgasm might not listen to reason, I am a rapist. Fuck you.

  27. 227
    Jesurgislac says:

    Dave: Because I believe that men who are on the verge of orgasm might not listen to reason, I am a rapist. Fuck you.

    And because you argue that a woman who’s raped by someone she knows and may even previously have consented to sex with, has somehow been not quite as raped as the classic male I-don’t-do-this-so-it’s-not-really-rape “thug ripping off a woman’s clothes and forcing intercourse”. It reads like your average white bigot arguing that it’s not really racism unless it’s actually a lynching: or your average homophobe arguing that it’s not really homophobia unless it’s something like Matthew Shepherd, beaten to death.

    Pigeonholing both into the category of “rape” seems to be doing a disservice to the victims of the former.

    As 1 in 20 men reported they didn’t think that just pinning down a girlfriend and having sex with her was “really” rape; they too had bought into the myth that “rape” means “some thug” who beats a woman up, not the simple straightforward definition of sex without consent.

  28. 228
    Spicy says:

    I realize I’m stepping into treacherous territory, but does this really seem like a reasonable proposition? For example, if the man is a heartbeat away from orgasm, and the woman withdraws consent, I’m prepared to say that no man on the planet would stop. Any standard that would convict the entire male populace seems like a flawed standard.

    So if you were completely naked and masturbating when suddenly your mum walked in, you’d be unable to stop?

    And there was me thinking it was feminists that were popularly assumed to have a low opinion of men…

  29. 229
    Charles says:

    No Dave,

    Because you think that once a man is aroused he doesn’t necessarily need to listen to a retraction or refusal of consent, he can just be irrational and ignore it, and what he does won’t really be rape (were you saying something other than that? I find it very hard to read what you wrote and not find that summation pretty solidly in it), you should look very carefully at whether you are ever that man. If you ever are, then you have probably done things that your partner/victim counted as rape.

    If instead that is a standard which you only apply to other men, but would never apply to yourself, knowing that you are perfectly capable of acting rationally and respectfully in those situations, then why do you feel the need to apply that standard to others?

    And don’t tell me that you weren’t suggesting a standard. That is simply nonsense. And we were both polite, even if we both found what the other one was saying to be deeply offensive. You imply that I, like all men, am a natural rapist. I suggest that since you think we are all natural rapists, you may eventually find yourself fulfilling your beliefs.

  30. 230
    Ampersand says:

    Dave, you didn’t just say “men who are on the verge of orgasm might not listen to reason.” That’s the first thing you said – “a heartbeat away from orgasm.” And you’re right, few people are able to completely absorb new information and react to it in the space of a single heartbeat.

    I don’t think anyone has said, “if the person you’re having sex with says ‘no,’ and if you haven’t stopped by a single heartbeat later, that’s rape.” I agree that a one-heartbeat-or-less reaction time is probably unreasonable to ask for, especially less than a second before orgasm.

    But you then drop the “one heartbeat” standard, and go on to say:

    The fact is, as men get closer and closer to orgasm, they become less and less reasonable.

    And then you say:

    But Nick’s story above seems wildly different from some thug (stranger or relative, it doesn’t matter) ripping off a woman’s clothes and forcing intercourse. Pigeonholing both into the category of “rape” seems to be doing a disservice to the victims of the former.

    Now, Nick’s story involved someone who was at least several minutes away from orgasm, so you can hardly claim that this is a “heartbeat away” example. The issue isn’t even withdrawal; he hadn’t even entered Nick. So your position has changed, in the course of a single post, from “a heartbeat away from orgasm” to “even if he hasn’t entered yet, if consent is withdrawn and he attempts to force his way in anyway, that’s not comparable to rape.”

    As to when men are capable of stopping, as I wrote in an earlier post:

    Some folks have commented that men – and especially teenage boys – cannot be expected to be able to stop intercourse once they begin. There’s a point of no return, they argue, yadda yadda yadda.

    Consider this counterexample: Imagine John Z. of the much-discussed “In re John Z” California case. He’s in the middle of the sex act; his victim is ineffectually attempting to pull away and saying wishy-washy things like “No, I have to go home now” and “if you really liked me, you’d respect me and not do this.” But John Z. can’t be expected to stop, because that’s beyond a teenage boy’s ability, right?

    Okay, now imagine that in the middle of the scenario above, John Z’s mother walks into the room and says “John Z., what are you doing?”

    Is it imaginable that John Z. would be “unable to stop” under that circumstance? That he would continue for another minute – or another five minutes?

    Of course not. If something that really made him want to stop – like his mom watching – had entered the situation, John Z. would have jumped off Laura and yanked his pants on so fast he might have set off a sonic boom.

    That’s the standard men (and boys) should be judged by, in my view – is this a situation where they could stop, if they genuinely felt it was critically important to stop?

  31. 231
    Dave says:

    Charles – I really wasn’t suggesting a standard. I was just trying to point out the flaw I perceived in the suggested standard (consent can be withdrawn at any point). And, for what it’s worth, I’m pleased to say that no woman has ever told me to stop. I am deeply grateful for your concern over my moral well-being. Keep it up!

    Ampersand – thanks for the intelligent response. I wish I had seen the “mom walks in” point before, ’cause it does a lot to disarm the whole “point of no return” argument.

    Let me try to clarify my point. There is a continuum of sexual arousal. Ampersand and I agree that at the one-heartbeat-away end of the continuum, a man probably won’t be able to stop. I’m saying that to call that act “rape” is stretching the definition, at the least.

    I fully agree that Nick’s case is not at that point yet. I agree that any reasonable man would be able to stop, as the paratrooper grudgingly did. But I’m still having trouble seeing these two cases as equivalent:
    1. Thug forces intercourse
    2. Woman asks for intercourse, changes her mind at the 0 hour, thug forces intercourse.

    Yes. In both cases, the thug forced intercourse, and both cases are therefore rape. But do you really think there is no moral/legal difference between the two? I agree they’re both bad, but it seems kind of like the distinction between aggravated assault and plain old assault.

  32. 232
    Ampersand says:

    Dave, do you see these two cases as equivalent?

    1. Thug mugs me, takes $100.

    2. I offer to give the thug $100, but at the zero hour I change my mind. The thug then mugs me, taking $100.

    What moral or legal difference do you see between the two? Because to me, the two situations seem pretty much identical, from a moral and legal point of view.

  33. 233
    Charles says:

    Dave,

    I’m glad to hear that you haven’t raped anyone. The other important question you haven’t answered is what will you do when a woman does ask you to stop in the middle of sex.

    I’m not so much concerned for your moral well-being as I am for the well-being of the women you date.

    I realize I’m offending you. I apologize for the offense. If you are someone who would of course stop before the second heart beat, or at most the third, then obviously you don’t need to continue your introspection any further, and my intervention is entirely unneeded. However, you misread Amp. He doesn’t say you don’t have to stop when told to if you are a heart beat away from orgasm (so you’d continue on for however long your orgasm takes, and cross well over into rape), he says that it isn’t rape in the first heart beat after you are told to stop. 10 seconds later, you have crossed over.

  34. 234
    Dave says:

    Maybe I’m crazy (any takers?), but I do see a moral difference between Amp’s two scenarios. In #2, when you rescind your offer, you’re going to make the thug Very Very Angry. Very Very Angry people behave unpredictably. He still oughtn’t mug you and take your money, but I’m prepared to cut him some slack compared to #1.
    Don’t get me wrong – he’s still guilty of mugging. But yes, it seems like a slightly lesser crime.

    It seems to me that you are saying the overall scenario is not relevant to the moral/legal wrongdoing, just the outcome. Is that a fair summary?

  35. Pingback: breebop.com » Daring discussions of abortion and rape

  36. 235
    Spicy says:

    Angry people behave unpredictably. He still oughtn’t mug you and take your money, but I’m prepared to cut him some slack compared to #1.

    I really hope you didn’t mean to imply that you also cut rapists some slack?

  37. 236
    mousehounde says:

    Maybe I’m crazy (any takers?), but I do see a moral difference between Amp’s two scenarios. In #2, when you rescind your offer, you’re going to make the thug Very Very Angry. Very Very Angry people behave unpredictably. He still oughtn’t mug you and take your money, but I’m prepared to cut him some slack compared to #1.

    Yes, Dave. You are crazy. It seems to be that you are saying that it’s OK to hurt people who change their minds and “cheat” you out of a “reward” you were expecting and looking forward to. (That’s a generic “you”, not you in particular, Dave.)

    If we were talking about a guy on a date, instead of a mugger, I would think that what you are saying is that a girl who makes out with a guy, but changes her mind about the actual sex kinda, sorta deserves to be forced into it. Or at the very least, the guy shouldn’t be blamed for taking it because he has a right to angry that she is cheating him out of something he thought he deserved. “She kissed me, she let me touch her, she led me on. The little tease should have known what would happen. She was offering, what did she expect?”

  38. 237
    Samantha says:

    This happened to me once, but I didn’t notice until was too late. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that it was sexual assult- I just thought that I was stupid. This gives it a whole new perspective.

  39. 238
    Charles says:

    I think that Dave is trying to draw a parallel between rape and murder. There is a difference between first degree murder, in which you plan it out beforehand, second degree murder, in which you kill someone without planning, but with intention, and voluntary manslaughter, in which you do something that you ought to have known was lethal, but you didn’t think about it at the time. All three forms of murder are agreed to be monstrous acts that put someone beyond the pale of society, but there is still a matter of degree. There are serious problems with drawing parallels to rape, but it is not completely insane.

    The first important thing is that all three of those are forms of murder for which you will be punished. Very rarely will a jury say, “Well, he seems like a good guy, so even though he hit that woman in the head with a 20 pound stone, we think he’s probably sorry, and she kinda deserved to be killed for being so mouthy,” and let someone off for murder. They might say, “Well, we don’t really think he consciously decided to kill her, so he’ll only spend a decade or so in prison reflecting on what he did. Guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter.”

    Currently, with rape, a rape that starts with a couple having sex (and then turns into rape) will not be prosecuted (unless possibly it also involves overt physical (non-sexual) violence) and the rapist will not be punished at all. If some such rapes were recognized as second degree rape, still had severe penalties, and were actually prosecuted to conviction, then that wouldn’t actually be worse than the current situation. This is not quite the same as 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree rape in Washington, but it seems related.

    However, given that such rapes are currently routinely treated as not rape, the more important step is to recognize that they are rape. Saying, “well, they’re not really real rape like pre-planned rape,” is a step away from saying they are rape, not a step toward saying they are a form of rape that should be penalized less heavily. Currently, they are generally not punished at all, so they can’t be any less punished.

    The second important thing about the idea of first degree rape versus some lesser form of rape is that first degree murder requires no more than a second of forethought. If, just before you pull the trigger, you decide, “I’m going to kill this person,” then you have crossed over into first degree murder (or at least that is my impression). How can you rape someone (something not done in a second) without ever deciding “I am going to rape this person”? I suppose, horribly, many men do, thinking “Well, she said stop three times, but then she stopped saying it, so I guess she changed her mind.” I suppose such a man never realizes that he is committing rape, and is perhaps equivalent to a second degree murderer.

    However, saying that some forms of rape aren’t really real rape is exactly what allows such men to think that.

    One of the goals is that any remotely competent man will understand that when a person says stop, that means stop, and that not stopping is rape. With that understanding, nothing but the equivalent of first degree murder is possible in a rape.

  40. 239
    Thomas says:

    “But do you really think there is no moral/legal difference between the two? I agree they’re both bad, but it seems kind of like the distinction between aggravated assault and plain old assault. ”

    Dave, your analysis considers “letting him get close and then telling him to stop” a mitigating factor in the severity of rape. The analysis really ought to be the opposite. The better the rapist knows the victim, the closer their relationship, the more horrifying the rape.

    Further, as Charles pointed out, your call for mitigation maps onto the existing practice of not calling some rapes criminal at all. Your whole project is to provide mitigation for behavior which is under-punished as it is.

    In other words, the view you express is part of the problem.

  41. 240
    Dave says:

    mousehounde :

    It seems to be that you are saying that it’s OK to hurt people who change their minds and “cheat” you out of a “reward” you were expecting and looking forward to.

    Spicey:

    I really hope you didn’t mean to imply that you also cut rapists some slack?

    Me:

    Don’t get me wrong – he’s still guilty of mugging. But yes, it seems like a slightly lesser crime.

    I don’t know how this can be anything but a deliberate misrepresentation of my position. How lame. Are my posts really so long that you can’t follow the idea? Charles got it, maybe you can crib the notes from him.

    Charles, Thomas – thanks for the thoughts, and thanks for not calling me a rapist. I’ll think it over.

  42. 241
    piny says:

    >>Charles, Thomas – thanks for the thoughts, and thanks for not calling me a rapist. I’ll think it over. >>

    And can I just say thank you on behalf of all the women on this thread? I’m sure they’re incredibly grateful for your time and effort.

    Apologizing for rapists–like, for example, the kind of rapist who doesn’t stop when you tell him to stop–is not much better than being willing to commit rape oneself. Saying that Nick’s situation is not-rape or less-rape than stranger rape is not much better than being willing to commit rape oneself. Viewpoints like the ones you’ve aired here make it easier for men to rape and harder for victims to get perpetrators convicted of rape. You’re part of the problem.

    This “heartbeat away from orgasm” thing is just so much horseshit. I have told partners to stop at particularly inconvenient times and it has never been a problem. Frustrating? Sure. Impossible? Definitely not.

    Finally, “slightly lesser” does, too, count as “cutting rapists some slack.”

  43. 242
    Dave says:

    OK, spell this one out for me, ’cause I’m not getting it.

    Imagine, if you will, that a lot of men have thoughts similar to mine. I’m pretty sure we can agree on that point.

    One man – me – presented those thoughts in a public forum, discussed them, and is reconsidering.

    How exactly am I “part of the problem”?

  44. 243
    Jesurgislac says:

    Dave: But do you really think there is no moral/legal difference between the two?

    No, none at all.

    One man – me – presented those thoughts in a public forum, discussed them, and is reconsidering. How exactly am I “part of the problem”?

    That you are reconsidering your original stance – that it’s not “really” rape if a woman initially offers sex, then changes her mind, means you may cease to be part of the problem.

    If, after you’ve thought about it, you still think that once a woman consents to sex, even if she then retracts her consent, it’s not “really” rape, or it’s somehow a lesser crime than if the man was someone she’d never consented to have sex with, you will remain part of the problem.

    If, once you’ve thought about it, you change your mind, and decide that at any point a woman has a right to refuse consent to sex, and if a man goes ahead after a woman refuses consent, it’s rape, then, good, we need no longer fear that you might commit rape someday and never realise it.

    But, if you decide you’ll keep quiet about this – if when you hear other men talking about committing rape, forcing women when they’ve changed their minds, or arguing that after a certain point a woman has no right to change her mind – if you hear them say this and decide you’re going to keep your head down and not say anything for fear they’ll think you less of a man, or some other reason, then you remain part of the problem.

  45. 244
    piny says:

    Those men are also part of the problem. The fact that there are so many men who so believe is why we have this thing called “rape culture.”

    And I missed the part where you decided not to apologize for rapists anymore, or to dismiss Nick’s experience as somehow less of a moral wrong. You didn’t describe these views as cultural tropes. You didn’t say that this was how you felt, or that these were sexist ideas you struggled with. Your statements weren’t like the ones bean posted. You argued that men who are aroused cannot be reasonably expected to stop when their partner says stop, that they may even be incapable of doing so. Then, after patronizing the women who reacted with anger to your rape-apologist assertions, you said you were “thinking it over.” You still haven’t taken back “slightly lesser crime.”

    Maybe you can come back when you’re finished reconsidering.

  46. 245
    Broce says:

    Dave,
    Stating that if a man is “really aroused” he cannot stop is right next to saying that if a woman is dressed provocatively, or is particularly attractive to a given man in any way, his rape can be excused because after all, she “aroused him” to the point where he was unable to control himself.

    If a grown man does not have control of his penis, he shouldn’t have one. It’s a body part, dude. You don’t let your hand steal money out of the next person’s wallet because their wealth was just too tempting for your hand to resist. You control your hand. Likewise, men should control their penises.

    You give men absolutely no credit. You make it seem like all men are only one arousal away from raping.

  47. 246
    spicy says:

    I don’t know how this can be anything but a deliberate misrepresentation of my position. How lame. Are my posts really so long that you can’t follow the idea? Charles got it, maybe you can crib the notes from him.

    I don’t know how you expect to get away with such a deliberate misrepresentation of facts!

    You said: ‘I’m prepared to cut him some slack’and ‘ it seems like a slightly lesser crime’

    Perhaps you can explain how me asking you to clarify your position suddenly becomes a ‘deliberate misrepresentation’?

    Several other people who responded got it – maybe you could ask them to share their notes with you?

  48. 247
    Thomas says:

    Dave, if you’re thanking me and arguing with Piny, you didn’t understand what I wrote. I said that you’re part of the problem — though I phrased it as “the view you express.”

    Even if you were never yourself in a situation where a sex partner withdrew consent during intercourse, your argument that someone who ignores such a withdrawal of consent is somehow less culpable is 100% wrongheaded, and it plays right into the hands of rapists who want an excuse not to think of themselves as rapists. In fact, the slippery slope of “one heartbeat away,” for guys who do not respect women, quickly slides back to “we had already started,” and then “we were about to start.” Then what? “She clearly wanted to”?

    We need to be telling men that if their partner wants them to stop, they are expected to stop just as fast as they would if the SWAT team kicked in the door — right away, as fast as physically possible, not“I’m almost done.”

  49. 248
    piny says:

    >>Dave,
    Stating that if a man is “really aroused” he cannot stop is right next to saying that if a woman is dressed provocatively, or is particularly attractive to a given man in any way, his rape can be excused because after all, she “aroused him” to the point where he was unable to control himself. >>

    It’s also just not true. “Stop, wait, uncomfortable,” is more than enough for the guys I’ve been lucky enough to see. Adjustments happen all the time, and no man has ever flipped out or stroked out on me. Are my experiences as uncommon as Susan’s?

  50. 249
    Jenny K says:

    bean, that was an awesome excerpt

  51. 250
    mousehounde says:

    I don’t know how this can be anything but a deliberate misrepresentation of my position. How lame. Are my posts really so long that you can’t follow the idea? Charles got it, maybe you can crib the notes from him.

    That is the most roundabout way I think I have ever been called stupid. But that’s OK.

    I don’t think I misrepresented what you said. WRT Ampersand’s mugger example, you said you would cut slack to the mugger who took the money after the offer of $100 was rescinded. That his crime was lesser. That because he was not freely given something he was given reason to expect, it was to some degree OK if he took it. That because the mugger might be angry at being disappointed, his anger somehow mitigates his actions. Relating that example to rape gives the impression that you think that a guy who rapes after being denied sex he thought would be freely given should be cut some slack simply because he is angry and has been disappointed.

    Charles’s post paralleling murder and rape was very well reasoned. I particularly like the part where he points out that every murder case, regardless of circumstances, is treated as a crime. And he is correct. Regardless of the legal outcome, every murder case is initially treated as a crime, no matter what the degree, no matter who the victim is or their morals, no matter where it takes place, no matter what the victim wore, no matter how drunk the victim was, murder is considered a crime and treated accordingly. No one feels a need to prove a murder victim didn’t deserve to be murdered. Rape is very different. The only time rape is treated as a crime is when the victim can prove a level of innocence, when they can give reasons why they didn’t deserve to be raped. Unless of course, they are murdered in the process, in which case it would be treated as a crime.

    I don’t think I misrepresented what you said, Dave. I think we are just talking past each other because we see things differently. I see rape as a crime, regardless of the circumstances. I think you see rape as a crime only in certain circumstances. I see the rape “victim”, while you see the poor guy “accused” of rape.

  52. 251
    Dave says:

    All right, one last post, then I’ll kick the dust off my shoes.

    Let me just postulate that the following exchange does not help further your cause:

    Person A: I’ve been reading this thread, and I don’t agree with this assertion. Here’s why. Blah blah blah.
    Person B: RAPIST!
    Person C: YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!!!
    Person A: Ummm, ok. Have a nice day.

    Seriously, people. If you want to have an impact on peoples’ thinking, you’re gonna have to find a way to do better. If, on the other hand, you want to chase away people who are prepared to consider your viewpoint, keep doing what you’re doing.

    Obvious exceptions can be made for, say, Ampersand, who was polite and rational throughout.

    Bye now.

  53. 252
    ginmar says:

    Gee, isn’t Dave being civil? Isn’t that just great?

  54. 253
    piny says:

    >>Seriously, people. If you want to have an impact on peoples’ thinking, you’re gonna have to find a way to do better. If, on the other hand, you want to chase away people who are prepared to consider your viewpoint, keep doing what you’re doing. >>

    If you want us to believe even for a moment that you’re capable of learning a damn thing, you’re gonna have to stop wailing about your feelings being hurt when people say things like, “You’re part of the problem.” Telling us how best to educate you is disingenuous in the extreme–all it tells me is that you know you don’t have a leg to stand on, and are too immature to care.

  55. 254
    piny says:

    >>Gee, isn’t Dave being civil? Isn’t that just great? >>

    You’re just never happy, are you?

  56. 255
    ginmar says:

    Yeah, surprisingly enough, my standard ofhappy doesn’t include some guy saying that rape isn’t really rape if the girl changed her mind. I already got that tee shirt, thanks.

  57. 256
    spicy says:

    Person A: I’ve been reading this thread, and I don’t agree with this assertion. Here’s why. Blah blah blah.
    Person B: RAPIST!
    Person C: YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!!!
    Person A: Ummm, ok. Have a nice day.

    Translation…

    Person A: I’ve been reading this thread, and I don’t agree with this assertion. Here’s why. Blah blah blah.
    Person B: That way of thinking actually contributes to the problem.
    Person A: YOU WOMEN ARE ALL MISREPRESENTING ME! ONLY THE GUYS UNDERSTAND!
    Person C: Er… no – we’re actually asking for clarification
    Person D: Well I’m using your words…
    PersonA: YOU’RE SAYING I’M A RAPIST! BE NICE TO ME OR I WON’T LISTEN! I’M SO TIRED OF EXPLAINING MYSELF!

  58. 257
    piny says:

    >>Yeah, surprisingly enough, my standard ofhappy doesn’t include some guy saying that rape isn’t really rape if the girl changed her mind. I already got that tee shirt, thanks. >>

    But ginmar! It’s life-threatening to stop when you’re a heartbeat away from getting your rocks off! Men have strokes when they stop prematurely! That’s why so few of them are pro-feminist: the nice guys are all dead!

  59. 258
    ginmar says:

    But that doesn’t explain why so many anti-feminist men are so brain-damaged….Oh. Wait.

    Never mind.

  60. 259
    piny says:

    Duh. They’re all living at home, which means their moms had to have walked in on them at some point, right?

  61. 260
    ginmar says:

    And it was so awful that every woman has to pay for it!

    I swear, if there were some sexual device for men that was as simple as a vibrator, guys would just retreat to their basements and that’d it be it. What gets me is that that dismissive attitude—-”Well, she pissed him off, what do you want?”—-is never seen by them for the contempt for women that it is. They’ve just never thought about it, it’s so natural to them.

  62. 261
    Jesurgislac says:

    Dave: Seriously, people. If you want to have an impact on peoples’ thinking, you’re gonna have to find a way to do better. If, on the other hand, you want to chase away people who are prepared to consider your viewpoint, keep doing what you’re doing.

    Well, Dave, you clearly weren’t prepared to consider anyone’s viewpoint but your own, so we weren’t ever going to “have an impact” on your thinking.

  63. 262
    Richard Bennett says:

    This post is a tease. It’s titled “Rape Story” but there is no rape. In fact, what it describes is two drunken men – made that way by the author – exercising self-control.

    But that fact doesn’t seem to matter toward the point of underscoring female victimization by the patriarchy.

    The logic goes like this: when women are foolish, and something bad happens, it’s the man’s fault; and when nothing bad happens, that’s because radical feminism has made the world a better place, but it’s the man’s fault too.

    Classic.

  64. 263
    piny says:

    This post is a tease. It’s titled “Rape Story” but there is no rape.>>

    Poor baby! Did you already have your fly unzipped?

    There was indeed an attempted rape–in case you didn’t read carefully enough, this guy kept trying to penetrate the author against the author’s express wishes. If the author hadn’t resisted strenuously, this guy probably would indeed have committed rape. “Finally puts it away after repeated demands to do so,” doesn’t qualify as self-control in decent adult company. I don’t want to know what kind of men you hang out with.

    Also, Nick didn’t get them drunk. They were drunk already. But that’s beside the point, since no one would argue that they were too drunk to know where their genitals were.

  65. 264
    Richard Bennett says:

    Poor baby! Did you already have your fly unzipped?

    My, my.

  66. 265
    Thomas says:

    Richard, do you realize how creepy and sociopathic it sounds to say that a post about fear of rape is a “tease” because it contained no actual rape? Piny’s right; the clear implication is that you thought Nick was raped and that you ought to use the story for sexual gratification.

    If that’s what’s going on, get help now before you do something you can’t undo.

  67. 266
    Ampersand says:

    In defense of Richard (and I can’t believe I just typed that phrase), I suspect he was just looking for a cute opening line to make his point, which is that in his opinion, no attempted rape happened.

    (Of course, it’s also true that the tone of Richard’s opening post was belligerent and arrogant, which pretty much invites insulting replies.)

    [Edited to delete needless verbiage]

  68. 267
    La Lubu says:

    when women are foolish, and something bad happens

    Again…..what is the physical difference between (a) a woman being alone with a man with the intent of having sex with him, and (b) a woman being alone with a man without the intent of having sex with him?

  69. 268
    Rachel Ann says:

    La Luba,

    None really. However, if you are undressed or someone is on top of you it is harder to get out of the situation than if you are standing up or even sitting down.

    A lot depends on what else is going on.

  70. 269
    La Lubu says:

    Exactly! The difference would be whether or not the man was/is a rapist!

  71. 270
    Rachel Ann says:

    Yes, that would be one difference.
    However, how easily one could get out of the situation would depend on what else was happening. How close one was to people who would intervene. How easily one could get out of the situation. Where could one hide if necessary. What defense (not necessarily physical but psychological) might serve me best.

    Look, I know I’m not making myself clear or I’m dense, one or the other. But here is how I see it;
    for any given situation there is a way to maximize that situation to one’s benefit— in a way that I would hope wouldn’t negatively impact on someone else unless it was absolutely necessary.

    I am not here advocating a change in basic lifestyle (I am on moral grounds but no one has made me their moral teacher so it would fall on deaf ears.) I am advocating looking at each situation and asking yourself; what can I do to make this better for me? If a particular outcome was not favorable, or less favorable than I wanted, how can I alter myself (the easiest person to work on sans force)?

    To say “nothing” strikes me as rather defeatist. To wait for society to change seems rather
    a long wait. I do think working on society is a must and I do see that by not changing one’s behaviour, by acting despite the risk as if one would act if the risk did not exist could (possibly) change society faster, I do not think the change will come that much quickly, nor do I think the utlimate risk/benefit ratio over the course of time will not show a positive effect from focusing on changing society alone.

    I think we are both aiming for the same basic place but have different ideas on the journey.

  72. 271
    Emmetropia says:

    piny wrote-

    There was indeed an attempted rape”“in case you didn’t read carefully enough, this guy kept trying to penetrate the author against the author’s express wishes.

    nick wrote-

    I tried to reason with him, but found that I had to keep my hand over my crotch throughout the conversation to prevent his attempts to penetrate me without wasting time on discussion…If he decided to force me physically, there was little I could do about it.

    Nick seems to acknowledge here that she didn’t perceive a rape attempt had yet occured, “IF” being the operative word — something yet to happen. This does make the title of the piece, “My Rape Story,” a little misleading.

  73. 272
    piny says:

    >>I tried to reason with him, but found that I had to keep my hand over my crotch throughout the conversation to prevent his attempts to penetrate me without wasting time on discussion…>>

    Yanno, I can’t speak for Nick, but I would characterize attempting to penetrate a woman when she’s repeatedly telling you not to, under circumstances in which she made it absolutely clear that she would not consent, as attempted rape. He did try to force her. He backed off, eventually, because she resisted so strenuously, but he clearly wasn’t terribly concerned with what she wanted.

  74. 273
    piny says:

    >>This does make the title of the piece, “My Rape Story,” a little misleading. >>

    Riiiight. That was what Richard was objecting to. I disagree. The story was a story about rape, about consensual and nonconsensual sex, told to make a point about what is and is not considered violation.

  75. 274
    Emmetropia says:

    piny wrote-

    The story was a story about rape, about consensual and nonconsensual sex, told to make a point about what is and is not considered violation.

    So, may I ask, are all “violations,” all attempts at violation, equal?

  76. 275
    piny says:

    No. You’re doing some pretty nasty things to logic and semantics by imputing that meaning to my words, but that doesn’t put you on a par with a rapist, or even with the men who didn’t take Nick’s no seriously.

  77. 276
    La Lubu says:

    How close one was to people who would intervene.

    Rachel Ann, you know what I flashed on when I read this? The time my (now ex) husband broke into my apartment after I filed for divorce, with the intent of killing me (lucky for me he had knives but not a gun). See, I lived in an apartment building with paper-thin walls. There were twenty apartments in that building. And yes, I screamed bloody murder for the neighbors to call the police, that my husband was trying to kill me. Where I live, domestic violence isn’t yet viewed by the population at large as a matter to involve the police in. If it comes to actual murder, yes, but getting beaten up badly? That’s just a “family matter”. So, when I was screaming at the neighbors to call the police, their translation of “he’s trying to kill me” was “he’s beating me up.” And since taking a beating is part of what sometimes happens to wives, it wasn’t considered something worth phoning up the cops for.

    That’s coloring my view of this situation. I’m having a hard time believing that there is this “special” population of men who rape, with distinguishing characteristics that make them markedly different from the general population of men. Yes, I believe that men with previous rape convictions are more likely to rape, but barring a previous rape conviction, I don’t think rapists behave or express themselves any differently than men in general. The same way thieves don’t express themselves any differently than the population at large—you often won’t know if someone is a thief until you’ve had that thief steal from you.

    One of the myths that isn’t a rape myth, but feeds into rape myths, is that of “women’s intuition”. The idea that women have a special sixth sense that is more highly attuned than men, and that we have a special ability to pick up on cues about other people and/or situations that is inherent to our femininity. Back to our thief analogy. Society urges employers to screen employees for their likelihood to steal. Yet, no one blames an employer for having hired an employee who later turned out to be a thief. It is recognized that no matter the vigilance of the employer, if that employer hires enough people, that employer will eventually hire a thief, and be stolen from. And further, that when that employer is stolen from, that the blame rests 100% on the shoulders of the thief, and not of the employer. That employer is not blamed for having faulty intuition.

    Yet, that is exactly what we do to rape survivors. Blame them for having faulty intuition. There’s this background belief that if Nick had only “known” who ze was going home with, that hir situation would have been safer. What does that say to the 68% of women raped by men that they did know?

  78. 277
    Emmetropia says:

    piny wrote-

    No. You’re doing some pretty nasty things to logic and semantics by imputing that meaning to my words, but that doesn’t put you on a par with a rapist, or even with the men who didn’t take Nick’s no seriously.

    I asked you a simple, one sentence question, that sought to flesh out your viewpoint. A usual practice among critical thinkers, and certainly not at all out of line when having a discussion with a group that purports to establish a uniform definition of rape. I’m really unclear what meaning you believe I was trying to impart to your words.

  79. 278
    Flamethorn says:

    No. You’re doing some pretty nasty things to logic and semantics

    Violating them, even.

  80. 279
    Emmetropia says:

    ginmar wrote-

    Problem is, JayQ”“and you and others keep refusing to get this…is that a man is not a high-speed vehicle. He’s not a machine.

    Agreed. Neither are women. Neither are children.

    The problem is, that the consent model essentially defines human sexual relationships in terms of an simple exchange between consumer and supplier, like video rentals. Each partner seeks to maximize his or her benefit at a cost that they deem is reasonable.

    Society does not generally require that consumers consider the needs of the supplier. The consumer need only consider that his or her needs are being met. Such transactions are essentially self-regarding for the parties involved. Each becomes a means to the ends of the other, and objectifies men and women.

  81. 280
    Charles says:

    Emmetropia, what do you mean by “the consent model”?

  82. 281
    Robert says:

    I can’t speak for Emmetropia, and s/he may have a different take, but:

    The consent model is predicated on a view of sex as a transaction or set of transactions between two-plus autonomous humans, who each own and control their own body. It’s transactional, atomistic and temporally limited in scope.

    As opposed to (say) a spiritual model, where people are not autonomous, but complementarily paired, and where the sexual act is not primarily a physical coupling, but a spiritual unification. It’s process-oriented and not temporally bound; once joined, always joined.

    Rape is a grave wrong under both models, but for different reasons.

  83. 282
    Rachel Ann says:

    First, thank G-d you are alive.. I’m glad the piece of dirt did not succeed.

    Seond:
    BINGO!!

    I wrote How close one was to people who would intervene.
    and you responded with:

    The time my (now ex) husband broke into my apartment after I filed for divorce, with the intent of killing me (lucky for me he had knives but not a gun). See, I lived in an apartment building with paper-thin walls. There were twenty apartments in that building. And yes, I screamed bloody murder for the neighbors to call the police, that my husband was trying to kill me. Where I live, domestic violence isn’t yet viewed by the population at large as a matter to involve the police in. If it comes to actual murder, yes, but getting beaten up badly? That’s just a “family matter”. So, when I was screaming at the neighbors to call the police, their translation of “he’s trying to kill me” was “he’s beating me up.” And since taking a beating is part of what sometimes happens to wives, it wasn’t considered something worth phoning up the cops for.

    Exactly; you weren’t in close proxiity to people who could intervene or would intervene, in this case because of cultural background.

    Now I dont know if you knew at the time the cultural attitudes of your neighbors or the potential risk to you from a husband that one was in the midst of divorcing. Neither do I know if your husband showed a propensity towards violence during the marriage.

    But if you had known, how would you have changed what you had done, not that it would change your past, nor is it a matter of placing the blame on you. Alternate histories are mind games without any provable truth; but the information could help you in the future or prove invaluable to another woman in the same situation.

    Furthermore, the information you disclose should help us alter the thinking in society. What could bring the message home to the community where you were living that spouse abuse isn’t a family affair? How can we make society as a whole see this? How can we put pressure on the courts that this matter is dealt with more seriously?

    Part of the problem is that until the “jury” sees that spoue abuse isn’t a serious crime, the police can arrest the prosecution can do its utmost and the guy can still get off.

    One way might be to arrest and fine those who hear but do nothing; difficult because unless you can prove they actually heard the words and knew where the sound was coming from they can shrug and go “well I heard a fight, but I didn’t know anyone was in danger” Or “I heard screaming but I had no idea where it was coming from.”

  84. 283
    Robert says:

    One way might be to arrest and fine those who hear but do nothing

    Or shaming. Fear of being shamed is a powerful motivator. I think the people who ignored La Lubu’s cries for help behaved contemptibly. Shame on them.

  85. 284
    La Lubu says:

    Thank you Robert.

    I don’t think they did so out of a sense of evil though, even though their action was evil in its effect. They were conditioned to believe that domestic violence is a family matter, and that by involving the police, it contributes to divorce and family breakups. They believed that divorce was worse than getting beaten. I don’t think they really thought he was going to kill me, just beat me up. So, in that sense, shaming isn’t going to have an effect—first, you have to teach them that that view of domestic violence is flawed thinking. Divorce isn’t worse than being punched, or kicked, or spit on, or having obscenities screamed at you all night. It’s not. Divorce is a birthday party compared to that.

    But with this pre-existing cultural idea that divorce is worse than family violence, you’re not going to convince them with shame. They really think they were doing the right thing. They thought that their silence was going to keep my marriage together, which in their eyes was the “best thing”. You have to meet people where they are, and work from there. If you start with “a family living under domestic violence is already broken—divorce won’t make it worse” you won’t get there (IMHE). If you start with, “if it was a stranger doing that, would you call the police?” will get you there faster. Baby steps, ya know? And to me, that’s part of what this conversation on these various rape threads is about—-breaking down those mental barriers in order to do something that will make a practical difference.

  86. 285
    Dave says:

    Yeah, me again. I’m a glutton for punishment.

    Well, Dave, you clearly weren’t prepared to consider anyone’s viewpoint but your own, so we weren’t ever going to “have an impact” on your thinking.

    Ironically, despite the best efforts of some of the commentors here, I’ve been sold on Marsha’s original standard. Piny is absolutely right when e says “This ‘heartbeat away from orgasm’ thing is just so much horseshit.” It absolutely is, and now that I see it, I’m dismayed that I bought into the (near ubiquitous) horseshit. I guess I never put much thought into it, as I’ve never had anyone tell me to stop. Lucky me. :)

    I still think you (in general) might want to reconsider your approach to the discussion. Lots of people will just walk away with the first accusation of rape, and then you’ve lost ‘em. Just something to think about.

  87. 286
    piny says:

    >>I still think you (in general) might want to reconsider your approach to the discussion. Lots of people will just walk away with the first accusation of rape, and then you’ve lost ‘em. Just something to think about. >>

    I’ll repeat: if someone can’t handle tough criticism, they aren’t capable of evaluating their behavior and their beliefs. The kid gloves have to come off in order for this stuff to be challenged. You can’t call out rape-apologist ideas without using words like “rape apologist.” You were able to listen, and I appreciate that. But if your ego had prevented you from thinking through, “If that’s your definition of consent, I worry about the women you’ve been with,” it would have prevented you from thinking through, “These sentiments make it easier for men to rape women.”

  88. 287
    Jenny K says:

    Dave, that’s just going to turn into a discussion about civil debate vs. expecting girls to play nice. :)

    People call each out for uncivil language or undue hostility all the time on online discussions, but my personal experience is that when it comes to everything but feminism people are more likely to simply take issue with others’ tone or language and/or use others’ tone or language as an excuse to ignore the actual argument – and leave it at that. It’s only when it comes to feminism that people seem to constantly also feel the need to lecture their fellow debaters about “playing nice” as an argumentative strategy – even once they have been convinced.

    It may be that my view on this is skewed because of the types of blogs I frequent, and it may be that feminists are more apt to see hidden meaning in requests to stay civil, but even if there is truth to both of these, I don’t think the problem lies solely with us.

    Too often when non-feminists hear accusations of sexism and misogyny they take the accusations personally even when they aren’t meant to be. I mean, really all you have to do is read spicy’s translation of your synopsis of the events to see that most of those who were arguing with you were not trying to call you names just because they were angry or careless. For the most part they were arguing that you were wrong and that your arguments make it easier for rapists to get away with their crimes. At worst they were pointing out that you may end up committing criminal and unkind acts yourself – without meaning to – if you continue to hold such beliefs. No one was accusing you of currently being a rapist.

    How else were people supposed to respond to what you said? I suppose you could say we could be less angry, but in my experience that tends to backfire. We are talking about a serious and intimate crime here, if we didn’t sound angry we would come across as simply playing devil’s advocate or arguing with you for the sake of arguing or being right or proving you wrong.

    In my experience in discussing sexism and mysoginy, anger can be a very useful tool. It’s true that when we come across as angry others can get the impression that we are taking things too personally or are being too quick to judge, but it can also force them to try to put themselves into our shoes rather than simply attempt to “win” the debate. By forcing others to find arguments that will work against our anger, we also end up forcing them to consider viewpoints they usually would not if all they were doing was looking for holes in our arguments. The New York Times may not be the best venue to attempt this type of strategy, but I do think that informal conversations (online or off) can be – depending on the audience.

    Quite honestly – I don’t think most of the people who “walk away” from such anger will be convinced by people like me no matter what tone, language, or strategy I use. I think they will be convinced by people like you – so my job is to convince people like you. Mission Accomplished.

  89. 288
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Because this thread is getting too long for someone who only has dial-up, and because I may need to go into hospital at any time, I’m declaring this thread closed.

    Please do not post any more comments here, and thank you to everyone who contributed to a productive discussion.

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