Venturing off the Atheism Track

This post will discuss rape, including specific instances of rape, both historical and fictional.

I want to take a little side-track from talking about religion today. I want to talk about something else instead.

I know it’s not really what we do here at UF, but I think what we do do boils down to talking about ideas; today I’d like to talk about feminism. Or at least I think I’d like to talk about feminism; the definition of that word seems to change depending upon who you talk to; I’ve always considered it to mean something like “the promotion of equality between the genders”, but I’ve had more than one person (mostly frothy-mouthed Men’s Rights Movement types, admittedly) telling me that it’s about “empowering women”, and has nothing at all to do with equality. Personally I think that women worldwide are starting off with a socially imposed gender disadvantage anyway, so empowering women pretty much does mean the same thing as promoting gender equality at this point. But however. Your mileage may vary, and I’m happy to be educated about what feminism means if anybody would care to take the time. I freely confess, I don’t know what the “waves” of feminism are/were, I’m largely ignorant about feminist history, and I don’t know who most of the great feminists throughout history have been (except I once dated a girl who was named after Ememline Pankhurst and my mother thinks Germaine Greer and Janet Street Porter are awesome).

But really, those issues are kind of peripheral to what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about something that I disagree with a feminist spokesperson about. But I’ll come back to that in a while.

First I want to set some context. It’s context that I suspect that all of our female readers will already be aware of, but which may come as a surprise to at least some of our male readers (though let’s not get started on the Male Privilege Argument, which I think we have done to death on the forums).

The context I want to set is this: We live in a rape culture. If you doubt me, then let me give you some examples:

1) The movie Observe and Report, which contains a “comedy” rape, in which the main character initiates sex with an unconscious woman (who he has drugged), but we’re supposed to think it’s okay because she wakes up and, while clearly still under narcotic influence, gives consent after the fact. I don’t even know where to start tearing Seth Rogan a new arsehole for that one, but I refuse to provide a link to a clip of it.

2) Convicted rapist Mike Tyson plays himself in cameo roles in movies like The Hangover and The Hangover 2.

3) Roman Polanski, a darling of Hollywood who won’t go anywhere near Hollywood (or even America) for fear of being arrested for drugging and having forcible sex with a fifteen year old girl while she was saying no and telling him to stop.

The next few examples I want to give are taken from an article in The Independent titled “2012: the year when it became okay to blame victims of sexual assault”.

“At Caernarfon Crown Court earlier this month, a 49-year-old man was convicted of raping a teenage girl. Jailing the rapist, the judge told him: “She let herself down badly. She consumed far too much alcohol and took drugs, but she also had the misfortune of meeting you”.”

A Crown Court judge, victim blaming over a rape.

“In August, the MP George Galloway publicly dismissed allegations of rape and sexual assault against Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder, he said, was guilty simply of ‘bad sexual etiquette’ when he began to have sex with a sleeping woman who had previously consented; his actions were ‘not rape as anyone with any sense can possibly recognise it’.”

Notwithstanding that George Galloway is a complete idiot, I don’t even know where to start with this one. I’ve got quite a lot of sense, personally, and I have no hesitation in saying that if that really is what happened, then that was rape.

“In April, after the footballer Ched Evans was convicted of raping a woman who was too drunk to consent, his victim faced an appalling backlash of online abuse. Twitter users called her a “money-grabbing slut” and circulated her name so widely that she was forced to change her identity.”

I don’t know if anybody else followed the Ched Evans case, but it was a much needed victory for the relatively new and largely untested UK law which explicitly states that having sex with a person too intoxicated to consent is rape. He had sex with a woman so drunk that she was virtually comatose, having had a friend pick her up and bring her back to his hotel for that specific purpose. And the great British football loving public responded with a round of vitriolic victim blaming so severe that she’s had to move to a new part of the country and adopt a new identity.

Let’s not even bother quoting any of the US Republican party’s record on rape. It’s too long, and has been done to death in recent months.

And now onto the part I want to disagree with somebody over.

Christina Diamandopoulis from the charity Rape Crisis was quoted in The Independent as saying “We have to get together as women … to grow the seeds of the fightback, which has already started, with organisations such as Rape Crisis, Object, Everyday Sexism, Mumsnet and others. Together, women have moved mountains before – we can do it again.”

No. Sorry, but no. To imply that women will stop rape, to my mind (however unintentionally), perpetuates the harmful myth that women are responsible for rape. That is, on the whole, untrue. I’m not saying that women don’t have a role to play, they clearly do: It’s a role that they share with men, though – Educating our children so that they don’t passively accept rape culture, voting with their wallets by not contributing financially towards media which denigrates women and promotes patriarchy and rape culture, and by pressuring our political representatives to at least have a clue what rape culture is and why it’s bad.

But the reason that I disagree with Ms. Diamandopoulis’ sentiments is this: The one and only person responsible for a rape, is the rapist. And rapists, in the overwhelming majority of cases, are men.

It’s not women who need to adopt a change in attitude, it’s men. I think as men we can probably all think of instances where we’ve laughed amongst ourselves at jokes that we would absolutely never tell in the presence of a woman. I can certainly think of instances from my own youth where my attitude to women was not so much questionable as downright disgusting. I’ve given unthinking support to male friends who were accused of rape, without even stopping to think that maybe they did it. I’ve certainly had sex with women whilst we were both very drunk, and not thought to ask myself if they would have wanted to do it sober. I’ve hung around in groups of male friends discussing women like they were trophies to collect. And to my fellow men I say this: I know damned well that my experiences are not uncommon. The vast majority of us have done (or still do) these things.

And that is what needs to change to end rape culture: The things that we men do and say and are, when only men are present; the ways we interact with each other, the things that we find acceptable; the standards that we relax when we are with “the boys”.

So to that end, I’d like to make a little pledge:

I will never condone rape or support rape culture in any way. I will object, loudly, when a rape joke is told. I will not tolerate objectification of women, amongst my male friends or amongst anybody else. I will do my best to be aware of my male (and white, and straight, and middle class) privilege, and to not take advantage of it. If and when I have children, I will try to educate them to critically appraise the media to which they are exposed and be aware of the gender messages within it. I will not spend money on any product, company or media which I am aware of having promoted rape culture or gender disparity, regardless of whether they have done so deliberately.

I think that pretty much covers everything I wanted to say today. Once again, UFers, I extend my usual open invitation to educate me. Go go go!

  • Beth

    To imply that women will stop rape, to my mind (however unintentionally), perpetuates the harmful myth that women are responsible for rape.

    I think you need to reconsider this attitude. Having the ability to keep something from happening does not imply responsibility for it when/if it does occur. To claim that women cannot stop rape is to imply (however unintentionally) that women are powerless and cannot impact our culture in ways that would reduce the probability of rape.

    • Michael

      I agree with this. Telling someone to lock their door is not the same as blaming them for being robbed.

      • Yoav

        However the way rape is often discussed go far beyond the idea of taking reasonable precautions, there was a case in the US recently where the judge decided she should scold a woman who been sexually assaulted for being in a bar while female, you never hear that kind of comments regarding the victims in any other crimes, you don’t hear anyone say to someone that if he stayed home he wouldn’t have been there to be hit by that drunk driver. The way rape victims are often criticized is more equivalent to the police telling you that your house wouldn’t have been broken into if you didn’t just lock the door but also had it surrounded by a mine field, a 50′ electrified fence and a mote filled with crocodiles.

      • Libby Anne

        Just to point out, the things women are generally told to do to keep from being raped – to dress just so, for instance – don’t actually keep women from being raped. Studies have found, for instance, that rapists don’t choose their targets based on what they are wearing. More than that, most rape is committed by a acquaintance or significant other, not by some stranger in a back ally. Sure, there are some things women can do – things like this app for instance – but your suggestion that if women are not following all of the huge amount of advice they get on how to avoid being raped they are essentially “leaving the door unlocked” is highly problematic.

        • Michael

          Please avoid putting words in my mouth. I never said that women needed to follow all the (generally useless and sometimes ignorant) advice they are given, and nor, Kodie, did I say men “couldn’t help themselves.” I’m just pointing out that one can reasonably hold the position that there are some ways careful women can protect themselves, and if these can be shown to be effective, it’s probably a good idea to follow them when reasonable to do so.

          That doesn’t bear any direct relation to this article, just to Beth’s comment.

          • Helen

            Most rapes are committed by men the woman knows. And most of the ‘advice’ boils down to – “Don’t do anything fun or independent because men can’t help themselves and you might get raped.”

          • Kodie

            I didn’t say men can’t help themselves. I said that in the idea that women have to protect themselves, it is as if men are compared to an untamed wild animal that it is “wise” to protect ourselves from. We don’t know which men will rape us and which ones won’t. We can’t take a chance, because we’re warned not to, to spend private time with any of them. We’re warned to protect ourselves in multitude of scenarios or not get into them in the first place because you don’t know the character of the man you’re spending time with. When a rape does occur, because even though you’re a great guy who can control himself, a lot of men obviously can’t and don’t think they’re supposed to, well the woman “got herself” into that situation.

            A woman has to think about that always. It could be you, it could be any man. We don’t know, but we do know it’s all our fault for getting near enough to one. We cannot relax in social situations for if we do – and then get raped – we shouldn’t have trusted. It is exactly like saying you should not climb into a tiger cage at the zoo. Maybe the tiger is occupied and doesn’t notice and you climb back out and nothing happens. But it’s a tiger. You can’t blame the tiger!

            That’s not just how we’re taught – it bears out in rape statistics and rape outcomes where assessing the facts of the crime, a woman’s prior relationships are called into question, what she was wearing, her business at that location, how much she had to drink, and why she was so stupid to go there. It is essentially like the culture labeling men all tigers, and we can’t blame the tigers. And there are tigers all over the place, everywhere, not just jumping out of bushes with a ski mask. They go to the same parties, they go to the same schools, they are bosses and uncles and boyfriends and husbands. Since you look like one of these tigers, sorry for the mistake.

            Blame the rape culture that allows men to behave like animals and not women. Another thing to think about is HOW MUCH the rape prevention so-and-so revolves around what women should do. So we hear a lot of it. A LOT. Any time some other woman “gets herself into” a situation, we’re warned not to do that. Now, a woman can spend a lot of time with a lot of different guys and none of them are rapists. Well, thanks. I mean, thank you all for not raping the women. This counters a woman’s education what not to do, because obviously it can totally be safe to spend time with men who are all not rapists. And we know this too. It’s just that following this pattern of not treating all men like they can’t control themselves, you have a similar situation where the man does rape her, and she’s blamed for spending time with all the other guys who didn’t rape her. Her actions here are always up for question, and she blames herself because she was told but didn’t follow the instructions.

            What kind of rape prevention education do men get?

            • Michael

              Claiming that women can do some things to protect against rape is no more saying that men cannot help but rape them than saying that people should lock their doors is saying that robbers cannot help themselves. The fact of the matter is that there are rapists and there are robbers, and while they are clearly responsible for their own crimes, it is still sensible to take precautions when possible. That was the point of my analogy.

              I don’t doubt that there are people who give bad advice, but I don’t think the general idea that good advice might exist is problematic.

            • Custador

              Given that most rapes happen within relationships, and most of the rest happen within social circles, what possible precaution can a woman take against rape that can be more effective than teaching boys not to rape?

              Honestly? Claiming that women “women can do some things to protect against rape” is, if you’re talking about individual cases, simply not true. Examine some of the advice highlighted in a link I already provided:

              I was also getting schooled on the full contents of the “Don’t get raped,” handbook, not that any of managed to prevent rape for me in the end. I was told not to park in parking garages, because someone could hide under my car and rape me, but also not to park on the streets, because someone could come out of the shadows and rape me. I was told not to wear my hair in a ponytail, because someone could grab it and rape me, but also not to wear my hair down, because it made me look older and could entice someone to rape me. I was told not to walk alone or with only other girls, because it would leave me vulnerable and allow someone to rape me, but also not to spend time alone with or trust guys, because they could be planning to rape me.”

              Read this link. The sort version is that a rapist is likely to be:

              Current or Former Intimate Partner – 45.4%
              Another Relative – 13.9%
              Friend or Acquaintance – 29.6%
              Stranger – 11%

              That means that all of the unending (and generally contradictory and/or useless) advice that women get about how to avoid getting raped completely misses nine out of ten rapes anyway.

            • Kodie

              Michael – you’re right. It’s not currently safe for women to go anywhere with any man because he could be but probably isn’t a rapist, just in case. It’s not safe for her to be alone anywhere or at a party or drink anything or wear any provocative clothes. It’s not safe for her to have a steady boyfriend or a series of lovers or live alone or have a job that might keep her after dark or take public transportation where she might have to walk a distance after dark to her home and it’s not safe to take a taxi either.

              She should be careful, then she will not get raped. That’s just sensible!

              We already know that if we do any of those things and get raped, it’s our fault not the rapist.

              So what kind of rape prevention education do men get?

            • Kodie

              I say “could be but probably isn’t” to make sure I except all the men from gleaning the most important part of that paragraph to be the part where I might have accidentally accused all the men of being rapists, because in case I make a small error and accidentally don’t choose my words particularly well to make sure none of the men feel offended, it’s my fault if the thread goes on a tangent too.

            • Bill

              Kodie – I don’t particularly want to go another 10 rounds with you on this, but why do you want to jump to exteremes on this? Surely we can agree that there are some common sense things women can do to reduce the chances of being raped without locking themselves in their home.

              For instance trying to avoid being alone with men you don’t know well in a private setting. Have a friend you trust around who will look out for you if you are going to be consuming alcohol around strangers. etc…

              I realize these will not eliminate many types of rape (for instance by boyfriends/husbands/trusted friends etc…), but can we at least acknowledge that some common sense measures may limit the risk in some way? Even if not eliminate it.

              And to be clear, I am NOT saying that if a woman fails to take these measures and is raped that it’s her fault. Rape is always the rapists fault, no matter what.

            • Custador

              “For instance trying to avoid being alone with men you don’t know well in a private setting. Have a friend you trust around who will look out for you if you are going to be consuming alcohol around strangers. etc.

              This completely ignores the fact that the friend you trust is more likely to rape you than the starangers. What next? Have a stranger around to protect you from your friends? The reason women get angry at this advice is that it’s invariably given by people who don’t understand rape and make some extremely flawed presuppositions.

            • Bill

              A study by the national Institute of Health showed that about half of all rapes involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim or both. ( Now admittedly, the relationship bewteen alcohol consumption and rape is a complex one, but it seems it is a clear factor. Again, surely we can agree that being cognizant of this fact and being smart about alcohol consumption may have some impact on a woman’s ability to protect herself.

              Undoubtedly, we can also agree that men need to be educated on this. That “I was just so shitfaced” is no excuse. That intoxication is no defense.

              But I don’t understand why both approaches aren’t appropriate.

            • Custador

              You’re victim blaming. What you just said boils down to “Women should not drink around men or be around men who are drinking, because they might get raped”. Again I will say it: That advice doesn’t work.

            • UrsaMinor

              I was educated with the idea that sex is a normal and natural thing, and that sexual activity involves mutual consent. Rape per se wasn’t discussed, probably because none of the women in my family have been victims of it, and none of the men are the “Holy sh*t, will you look at the rack on that gal?” sorts who glorify locker-room culture. So, I never had the women-are-objects-to-be-conquered model in my home life, and the instructions that I did receive about sex revolved around “Respect your partner, be careful about STDs, don’t get anybody pregnant unless you’re ready to settle down and raise a family, and have a good time”. Which, I think, is all sensible advice about sexual relationships.

            • Michael

              Without question we must find ways to change male behavior. But to say that nothing potential victims (who are usually but not always female) can do that would have any effect seems extremely pessimistic and disempowering to me. Surely the large majority of rapes occur in isolation, for instance, so although not 100 percent effective and not always possible, generally trying to avoid spending time alone with men you don’t want to have sex with should be a safe practice. Other things like rape whistles surely are not perfect, but are easy, inexpensive, and provide another layer of security.

              Things like this will not stop all rape. They probably won’t even stop a majority. But they will stop some, so when practicable, they seem like good advice. Women (and men, for that matter) can do this at the same time as working toward solutions to the much more fundamental social and behavioral causes of (nearly always male) people raping in the first place.

            • Custador

              ” generally trying to avoid spending time alone with men you don’t want to have sex with should be a safe practice”

              I have many, many female friends who (as far as I know) don’t want to have sex with me. I spend time alone with all of them. I’d be devastated if they didn’t want to for fear of me raping them. Seriously, can you not see why it’s so wrong to expect potential victims to be the ones to go to outlandish lengths to avoid potential attackers?

            • Bill

              “You’re victim blaming. What you just said boils down to “Women should not drink around men or be around men who are drinking, because they might get raped”. ”

              No – That’s not what I’m saying, but that seems to be what a few people around here want me to be saying. Let me try to clarify again:

              I’m saying that drinking to excess can have bad consequences for everyone. One of those bad consequences can be rape. Both men and women should be aware of the realtionship bewteen alcohol and rape and do their best to avoid alcohol leading to this dreadful result. Guys, this means if you drink and your with a woman who is drinking taking it too far is rape. Women this means alcohol comsumption may put you in a position you want to avoid. Use good judgment.

              But the risks are unfairly higher for women in this situation. Perhaps a small amount of prevention could help.

            • Bill

              “This completely ignores the fact that the friend you trust is more likely to rape you than the starangers. ”

              Perhaps you missed this part of what I said: ‘I realize these will not eliminate many types of rape (for instance by boyfriends/husbands/trusted friends etc…), but can we at least acknowledge that some common sense measures may limit the risk in some way? Even if not eliminate it.”

              I feel like you’re letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. I’m not suggesting anything a woman can do to protect herself elminates completely the risk of rape. I’m not saying anyone is to blame for rape but rapists. All I’m saying is that there may be some things women can do to help themselves.

              Let me see if I can use an analogy to tell where I’m coming from. My favorite gymn is in a terrible neighborhood. Despite the fact that it’s in a high crime area, I love the gymn and it’s convenient for me to use. So I use it. But fact is that large numbers of violent crimes are reported every year in the area. Does that stop me from using the gymn? No. Because I realize the the vast majority of people in that neighborhood are good people trying to get by. (Plus I really like the gymn.)

              But when I go there I use some precautions. I park close to the door in a well lit area. I move in and out of the building quickly etc… Now if I didn’t take those precautions and I got mugged, beaten etc… would it be my fault? Hell no. But that would be little solace after I’d been beaten. I’d still have the bruises to show for it.

              Do my precautions eliminate the possibility of being mugged? Again, no. But I think they reduce the risk in some way, and to me it’s worth altering my behavior to get some redution.

              Do I want a perfect world where muggers don’t exist? Yes of course. I may even work toward creating the world. But we don’t live in it now, and I’ve got to accept some unplesant realities.

            • Kodie

              All of that seems like sound advice to watch out for until we can expect men aren’t excused for behaving like animals. Obviously. If you don’t want yourself or other men to be “victimized” by being categorized as a potential rapist, you should care about stopping the acceptance of rape as inevitable, and the forethought women do but men do not have to do in order to leave the house. Easy to take for granted how much safer you are as a man when you don’t have to “be careful” everywhere with everyone.

              When the rapes happen, the blaming of the victim happens, and this sends a culture-wide signal to men -and to women- that men are allowed to be beasts, think of women like prey, and women have to not only be careful not to suffer the devastating effects of rape, but the devastating effects of taking responsibility for being somewhere men are allowed to roam freely without escorts.

            • Kodie

              I don’t think you guys are getting the scope of limits and precautions that you think are just generally good ideas.

    • Custador

      I hear what you’re saying; perhaps I should have said “To imply that women have responsibility for stopping rape…”

      • kessy_athena

        I think it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between assigning blame for a particular case of rape, and trying to address why rape is such a common thing. Obviously, the responsibility for any particular rape lies with the rapist. But when trying to address problems at a societal level, I don’t think it’s generally helpful to look at it in terms of blame and responsibility. That just gets people’s backs up, and gets in the way of actually doing something.

      • Kodie

        I think when you say, for example, bears can’t help themselves, or sharks, or lions, humans tend to protect themselves from the threat as best they can. We can’t guarantee anyone’s safety and blame the lion for eating them if they just walk around lion town. I’m pretty safe from lions here though. I think we (maybe here, maybe elsewhere) like to laugh at idiots and blame them. Wasn’t there something with the teens at the zoo climbing over the fence and taunting the tigers and got killed? And we thought that was hilarious.

        What we’re dealing with here is similar. Society seems to regard men as immune from their nature. They may choose not to rape but we cannot blame them if they do. They are predators and they see prey, even in their imagination. Like an animal may be threatened or hungry or agitated or playing. We know enough about animal behavior to excuse all effects and behaviors which we cannot control, but knowing them, control ourselves. Don’t swim where there are sharks. Don’t walk around with lions. Don’t try to outrun a bear and definitely don’t play with her cubs. I mean, that’s stupid that we are self-absorbed – would we be ok with a bear playing with our people children because they’re cute? The difference is we know the bear is stronger than us, so we can calculate that is probably not safe for the children, whereas we think the bears can read our mind when we mean no harm to theirs.

        Anyway, this is how society treats women and men. Women are people who should stay out of the habitat of the predatory animal for our own safety, and that predatory animals will just do what they do as if they aren’t people who can be reasoned with, and their territory is just about everywhere. So this limits women a lot, but also gives society some reason to blame them for getting out of their limits. Even if they stay in their limits, they must have done something – looked at someone, invited him with her eyes or stood provocatively (a vague and subjective term).

        So instead, stop treating men like wild predatory animals. Stop excusing them for behaving like one, stop encouraging them to just take what they want, and I know there are men who don’t do this – what is most discouraging to me is how when one wants to speak up, they are demeaned by the rape-enablers. So how to get over the majority and the loudest who believe they speak for everyone? How to stop them shaping our culture to accept rape? The “backlash” of these men to come onto all these blogs and speak of MRA, etc., and insult both men and women for having a different opinion?

        We’ve had this discussion before – the internet seems to have a crew of unabashed men who cry pretty loud whenever someone mentions anything feminist. They shut down discussion and take all the attention onto themselves. I have seen this happen over and over again, where the majority go with this “stop whining about your rights and make me a sandwich, bitch” kind of person. I have said before that I find that not only disgusting, but way out of proportion with the initial complaint. While someone may have a difference of attitude, I don’t know why it goes so out of proportion so quickly with so little input. The blame again goes to feminists! We spoke up, so derailment is all our fault. Excuses, excuses.

        I would like to see these cavemen embarrassed out of sight. Honestly, that’s what I would like to have happen. Everyone else can go out at night, and if some asshole hits on a woman, nobody has to feel physically threatened. A woman can just say, “not on your life” like she should, and move on without watching her back or being afraid to stay at the party. It would not be the end of the world if that happened. But that’s not what’s happening. The interaction where she’s made to feel solely responsible for whatever happens next, where if she insults some drunk groper he might retaliate, and people aren’t watching out for each other! In the present scenario, we have women looking after each other, some men watching out for women, and nobody but the bouncer if it gets out of hand watching out for the man.

        Purity culture intersects with this, as women are “blamed” for being raped by being slutty. Men are not punished for being slutty – people even want them excused from parental responsibility in case of pregnancy. He was there but it’s not his! This shouldn’t ruin his life. He doesn’t have to walk around all horny with the threat of parenthood upon him at all the way women do. I could observe that within my adult lifetime, men have been able to be culturally trained to avoid parenthood. They seem much more cautious now only because they have to, because both DNA tests on one hand, but the perceived threat that she’s not actually taking her birth control pills like she promised on the other. I think we also have to “thank” AIDS for condom awareness. At any rate, this indicates to me that young men can be taught to avoid negative outcomes. If we took rape more seriously, then they would also try to avoid doing that, but right now it’s encouraged, misstated, misunderstood, and therefore allowed. I think every man would say even now that rape is wrong, while excusing behaviors that are examples of rape. How are they supposed to change their attitudes? Until they’re punished directly for their offenses, they get and continue to disperse the message that if we can get away with it, it doesn’t count. Legally. Why can’t they be trained instead to respect people, why does it have to be the law?

        This is a much broader topic that still confuses me. People only seem to understand something is wrong if there’s a consequence for it – whether that be staying after school, going to jail, paying a fine, or being socially outcast. Everything else is negotiable or defensible. Rape is technically against the law but you won’t be socially outcast. You will be socially outcast for calling everything that is rape “rape” loudly, not just if you’re a woman, but almost especially if you’re a man. More men need to be … ridiculed for forcing themselves on someone or someone who is drunk, etc. Men right now are allowed to be as emotional as they want – in anger but not tears. “Emotional” is not the same thing as being angry because men do that, and women cry. We don’t do enough to call that lack of control into scrutiny as well. If women want to be powerful at work, they can’t cry, but if they are angry, they can’t be men either – only men are allowed to lose it. Anyway, what pride does a man have if he can’t have sex without brute strength or weakening his “opponent” – that is the attitude right there that is wrong. Although I think it is bad, we ridicule men for paying a prostitute for sex. Why pay a woman when you can find one to submit to you for free? What is sex anyway for men? The MRA would have you believe that women are all banded together in a team to prevent men from ever having sex. That way, men see women as a conquest and not as a friend who also likes to have sex. I think men are trained from early on to expect women will not want to have sex with them. I don’t know. Because of purity culture, and women having been taught certain standards, men are left with having to play tricks to get one to change her mind, to unlock the vault, as it were.

        So yeah, I ramble. But that is there. The deep point of the rape culture is that men are excused for behaving like animals, and to take any women they can any way they can, because there’s not likely to be another, that it’s a conspiracy against men ever getting laid. I hear a lot of men think women have more control over the world because we “let” or “don’t let” men have sex with us -well that’s about all the power we have, right? So with that attitude, it’s only natural for men to whine and pity themselves and deserve sex and resent women and plot to have sex with us without actually liking us and being our friends and respecting us as people, which leaves other tactics such as getting us drunk or isolating us from our friends.

        That’s really masculine and powerful!

  • Slow Learner

    Well said. Good man!

  • vasaroti

    Good for you.
    In recent weeks I haven’t spent much time with the local atheist group because one of the most active members says really unpalatable things about women – even while talking to women. He called PZ Myers an “mangina” (whatever that is) and offered the opinion that he’s sticking up for the woman who was accosted at an atheist conference (the elevator incident) because he wants to “get laid” by the woman. Even with a socially inept nerd like this guy, there must be some way to understand that men and women deserve equal respect…i just haven’t found it yet.

    • FO

      You should try and confront him.
      The idea is that some things just shouldn’t be given a free pass.
      We do it with religion, we can do it with rape.

  • Yoav

    Avicenna over at FtB has a post dealing with one of these MRA dipshits who, in the wake of the recent case of the woman who was raped and murdered on a Delhi bus, is complaining how the true victims are really the poor, poor menz.

    • Custador

      How on Earth could it be argued that a woman getting raped to death victimises men?!

      • Yoav

        I have long ago stopped being shocked by the level of self absorbance that some people display, it’s always all about them.

        • kessy_athena

          Whenever something bad happens to anyone, there will always be some who find a way to blame it on someone else.

  • L.Long

    1st-rape is bad and should be prosecuted to the full extent. You can hear the BUT coming….
    But remember men are very weak minded creatures with absolutely NO self control…. I know this because the Quaran says so. So you can’t blame the guy when the girl has no tent on.
    Actually when growing up there was a thing called ‘catholic rape’, when the guy & girl where getting it on, and the girl starts with the ‘no’ ‘you must not’ while tearing clothes off and having a death grip on the member so that it can’t get away. In this way the girl could have a good time while ‘not sinning’ because she said no and he kept going.
    So boys get a lot of mixed signals, and there is NO proper teaching of proper sexual interactions because the schools are not allowed and the parents are usually witless religious twits who will not discuss anything with the kids (well my catholic parents did not). So between normal suggestive TV and sexy books (that lie) and porn ,that really lies, and many mixed signals while growing there is a great deal of bad mental programming. I’m NOT excusing the menz that rape, just showing that they are also a victim of this sexually repressive society controlled by dimwit religious nut jobs. So it is even more important for the secular part of this society to push this and push hard because men have got to be educated some how on proper behavior.
    But I will still make sure that my G’daughter will be taught, as her mother was taught, how to stop a rapist; men education is too slow.

    • Amyc

      If a man feels like he’s getting mixed signals, then he should stop to clarify the situation. After all, what are the possibilities here: 1) the man doesn’t stop and rapes a woman who was not giving consent, or 2) the man stops and he just doesn’t have sex that night, even if the woman wanted to (but was giving mixed signals).
      If you’re afraid of mixed signals, then communicate that anxiety with your partner. It’s really not that difficult to stop for two seconds to ask,”Do you really want to have sex right now?” If she says yes, then yay! You get to have sex. If she says no, then yay! You didn’t rape somebody.

    • Kodie

      Well if we put the burden on women to not give mixed signals, they will still get raped by the excused men who are still confused. Another thing to mention is that we take the cultural burden off women having to maintain some kind of purity, so that in itself is considered a “mixed signal”. She has sex with him but she won’t have sex with me!!??? !

      How is that confusing any more than he lives in that house and you live in yours?

      She dresses like that to get attention but she won’t have sex with me?

      She’s not dressing like that to inflict pain on you from not having sex with her. I could say perhaps she wanted to get attention but then gives her the prerogative of sorting through the attention she gets. Men seem to have a lot of issues with other men – the men women choose to have sex with instead of them, and again blame the women. Is it not her prerogative to attract attention and then decide if the attention she gets is from someone she wants to see? Everyone has that prerogative. Men see things like “oh, she’s shallow and only sees a man in dollar signs” – so? If they are adults who want to have sex, but not with you – you are free to seek some other girl who enjoys your company! I am not saying every woman is like that either. But it all ties in to the kinds of excuses men have for hating women who have sex. If it’s not you, you give her a character flaw. Why do you want to have sex with someone who has a perceived character flaw anyway? Why do you take away her ability to decide, one, because she’s dressed for “anyone” and, two, “anyone” doesn’t seem to include you?

      One of the most sexist-est things I notice is that between men and women trying to have relationships or sex with each other, women have a lot of pressure to be “chosen” from among the best of available men, whatever “best” could mean. That means if a bad man rejects the woman, she feels even worse. She might have lowered her standards, well she is taught that she should, just to have someone and not be alone. The antidote to this is to come up with a different plan. To compete against other women for the attention of men, well all men, but in hopes of attracting the better men. The rest – the “you” I was talking about earlier – can be attracted to her, her skin, hair, shape, legs, whatever, and still she has the prerogative not to have to have sex with you just because she is dressed like that. Do you men understand that? You don’t all seem to.

      On the other hand, men are jealous of other men, but blame women. If a man isn’t good enough for the woman they pick out to pursue, he blames her and not himself. He doesn’t go home and cry in a bucket of ice cream that he’s too fat or doesn’t have long enough eyelashes or whatever. He thinks she’s a bitch. Men who have more going for them, and thus more attractive to what a woman will have sex with do not seem to factor in. Those guys are assholes, but the women who like those men are worse! Do men try to better themselves, superficially, to attract attention? Almost never, it seems. Of all the men I’ve gone out with, all felt they were good enough, while giving out pointers how I could improve to please them. Things were good enough for a start, but they’re not going to marry me unless I fix this and that and start working out and keeping a clean kitchen an learn to cook for example. One of them, well more than one of them didn’t have license to drive a fucking car, and some lost their jobs. And they didn’t pity themselves that I would reject them. Inside the relationship, if things didn’t go well, they had no problems bailing and trying again – obviously without the forethought to think – what other girl would like me without a car or a job? Outside the relationship, guys seem to be really bitter about girls who won’t ever have sex with them based on the guys they do have sex with. I don’t see guys sweating out the competition terribly far, they pretty much think someone will accept them for who they are eventually.

      And if not, they can always get them a little too drunk to make a decision.

      Just saying what I see.

  • picklefactory

    > He called PZ Myers an “mangina”

    Perhaps it is the genetic fallacy at work, but in my opinion, if someone uses the word ‘mangina’ unironically you are perfectly justified in never taking anything he says seriously ever again, or better yet, mocking him.

  • Noelle

    Thanks, Custy. Nice post.

  • J-Rex

    I don’t think she meant “Women need to get together and stop rape, which means that it’s indirectly our fault for not doing something before.” I think it’s more about the activism and creating the awareness about what consensual sex really is and what rape really is. It’s unlikely that there is going to be one solution to ending rape culture. I agree that men have the biggest responsibility, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing women can do.
    Great post!

  • Dan

    Correction, Roman Polanski drugged and ANAL-raped a THIRTEEN year old girl. It’s disgusting that he is still freely hobnobbing with Hollywood celebs, and they’re defending him! I refuse to watch any of his movies.

  • Bart Mitchell

    Sorry, completely off topic. I keep staring a that picture, wondering why that woman is dangleling a badminton racket case in her right hand.

    • machintelligence

      I think your sense of perspective is a bit off. That is a guitar case slung over the back of a person standing behind her. You might have been distracted.

      • FO

        Her image TOTALLY distracted me.
        I think she’s really hot.
        And no, even the *idea* of raping her makes me feel bad.

      • Kodie

        It looks more like a banjo but I’m not sure.

      • Bart Mitchell
  • Randy

    “We live in a rape culture. ”
    I respect your pledge. It seems like you had some things against women that you are making amends for. But I do not live in your rape culture. I have a long response, roughly in order of the ideas in your post.

    1. You select a comedy film in which a lead character does something reprehensible. I don’t have it available to me to view. But this one data point may not apply, because the film is a comedy, and much comedy is based exactly on lead characters doing all manner of reprehensible things. There is nothing unfit for humor, and it is a skill to make bad things funny. It’s not always going to work. There are plenty of dramatic films in which rapists are shown negatively and are punished for their crimes. Audiences are stupid, certainly, but they aren’t so stupid that they can’t tell how to differentiate between what is to be taken seriously, and what isn’t. Name a few films from the current culture (a Western country, this century) where rape is seriously presented as anything other than bad, and describe its positive reception by critics and audiences. The only one I can think of is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, in which a rapist is in turn raped with an object.

    2. Convicted rapist Tyson has paid his debt, and is generally regarded as someone who has been hit in the head so hard that he can’t think properly, if he ever could. If I recall, his great contribution to film was having a real-life ridiculous permanent face tattoo. This is the admiration that creates rape culture? People get to make a living after they pay their debt. If we don’t want that to happen, we shouldn’t release anyone. But prison sentencing and overcrowding are two whole other issues that would take me off topic.

    3. Roman Polanski makes good films. A legitimate product, the result of a person’s collaboration with others, is independent of whatever unprosecuted crime they committed on their own. It’s France to blame here. It’s up to them to explain why they prevented someone from being prosecuted for rape of a child. It should be obvious why Polanski cannot come to the US to meet people who like his films. It’s because there is so plainly not a rape culture, that he would almost certainly be arrested and face justice.

    4. You continue with more evidence by a person you regard as “a complete idiot”. Surely this category of “complete” includes only the fringes of the “idiot” segment of society. I’m trusting your description is correct, so he cannot represent the mainstream culture (and being thrown out of his own party seems to back that up). Your arguments would be more convincing if you could find someone respected in the mainstream who represents this rape culture you have.

    5. The response to Ched Evans may be a valid point. But I suspect it’s less to do with rape than the inexplicable insanity of some UK/European football fans and their myopic loyalty to their hero to the detriment of everything else. I don’t follow the sport, but every time it makes the news on this side of the Atlantic, it seems to be for some violence that happened in the stands, or on the field, or on the way there, or on the way home, or some biased insult someone made about race or nationality or orientation. It seems to draw and magnify the worst of society, rather than represent the mainstream. I suspect they’d react the same no matter what the charge.

    6. US Republican Party. That’s a whole other dimension unto itself. In the US, you get basically two choices D and R. It’s highly unlikely that people voting R agree with everything every R says. For a country proud of democracy, the system isn’t actually that democratic, and you see relatively low voter turnout. In any case, even the elected R’s are in the midst of self-destruction.

    7. Your representation of rape culture is as a straight male thing. Perhaps that’s why I do not relate to it, because I do not see men behaving this way. While rape is overwhelmingly committed by men, there are three things we should not lose track of: rape itself is not a gendered act and occurs with all combinations of sexes; it is prejudicial to flip the relation and paint most men as rape culture just because most rapists are men; and we all have a responsibility to reduce rape in all its forms.

    8. Objectification isn’t limited to sexual. I objectify you. In fact it’s further than that… you don’t even have the status of object, just temporary text on a screen to me, one of many blogs I visit. Can you expect more? It’s not rational to expect to treat everyone in their totality, because we cannot interact with everyone that way. So I may find your text interesting, regardless of the rest of what you do with your life, as I may find someone’s legs interesting regardless of the rest of who they are. There’s nothing wrong with pointing out those legs, just like I’d point out a painting or sunset, and I will continue to do so. Appreciating the human form is a wonderful key part of being human.

    I assume your post was prompted by world events. I know too little to speak about India’s culture. And I’m not one to defend Ohio. But what went on in small-town Ohio is not reflective of this region’s overall culture. While some in the town are in denial (not unexpected prior to any trial), the accused have been publicly shamed, and are being prosecuted precisely because there is not a rape culture. There is the law; it reaches into that town, and rape is a crime.

    To close: “The one and only person responsible for a rape, is the rapist.” I believe you’ve summed up my position. I do not live in your rape culture.

    • M

      You live in a rape culture, you just don’t see it. It’s an unfortunate part of what we call privilege- if you don’t have to deal with it, it’s invisible because it’s never happened to you. It took me a long time be able to see my privilege (white, middle-class, cis, straight) but it can be done.

      1. This sort of representation of rape happens all. The. TIME! in movies, comic books, video games, and novels. The sex scene in Blade Runner- totally a rape scene. Every rom-com ever has the guy being a creepy stalker and often includes rape-y sex, if not outright rape. Rape isn’t funny, and making the joke in a comedy is representative of the way we don’t take rape seriously. When you make rape funny, you’re actually laughing at and trivializing the experiences of all the people (mostly women) who have been raped.

      2. You sort of have a point here, and you sort of don’t. Yes, once people pay their debts to society, those debts should be marked paid. But the point is that many people still admire Tyson. A rapist is not a good person. Why is rape considered so minor of a crime that even a convicted rapist still gets respect?

      3. See #2. Roman Polanski drugged and raped a child. Any civilized society ought to be appalled by this. Instead, it took over 15 years for this to even become major news and he’s still not be extradited, because he makes good films. It’s not a bad thing to like his films- I read books by authors whose political ideas I despise, after all. It is a bad thing to say that because he makes good films, he shouldn’t be punished for rape. There were a ton of people in the US, including celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg, who argued that what happened wasn’t “rape-rape” and that Roman Polanski didn’t deserve to be punished at all. Why is rape considered so minor a crime it can’t be allowed to interfere with a filmmaker’s career?

      4. This matters because George Galloway is an MP. He’s a public figure, an elected official. The fact that he could say something so awful, and no one really cared, is meaningful. Rape is so trivialized in our society that when public officials describe a rape and call it not-rape, they aren’t immediately condemned for being idiots. Also, the idea that forcing sex on an unconscious partner isn’t rape is very widespread. That is part of rape culture as well- how little people know about what rape is and what consent is and means.

      5. One example of a sports hero, I could maybe buy your explanation. But there are tons of them. In the US alone, there’s a case of a football team in Steubenville, Ohio who gang-raped a girl at a party and took pictures and posted them on Facebook. The coach and city rallied behind the players and have been harassing the girl and trying to make her shut up. At Notre Dame university, there are TWO rapists currently playing on the football team. Kobe Bryant, a basketball player, is a rapist. So is Mike Tyson. So are many other athletes. Penn State covered up Jerry Sandusky’s rapes for years. Athletes are told that their athletic prowess gives them access to women’s bodies and then protected by their coaches and society when they “take their due”. After all, who could resist such a catch as an athlete? Any woman who says she was raped is obviously just playing for money or attention, right? That’s the story we hear. That’s rape culture.

      6. I … I don’t even know where to start. One of only two major parties in the US has said that rape isn’t important, and still has a loyal following. Women are obviously so unimportant to them that this doesn’t immediately fracture and destroy the party, yet somehow this is not evidence for the objectification and dehumanization of women? Yes, often people vote for parties that they don’t agree with all the planks, but some issues are bedrock. I would never vote for anyone who said such horrible things about anyone, even if I agreed with every other policy position they stood for, because of what that says about me as a person.

      7. Uh, it is a straight male thing. Many men feel entitled to women’s bodies. Are you saying no one you know has ever leered at a woman? Wolf-whistled at her? Made remarks about how he’d “do her”, whether in her hearing or not? Told rape jokes? Gotten a woman drunk to ‘have a good time’? Gone ‘hunting’ and treated women as his ‘prey’? Tried to chat up a woman at the mall, or on the train, or at a bar even though she clearly doesn’t want to talk to him? Those are all part of rape culture. They all treat women as objects and as trophies instead of as people.

      Now, not all rape is committed by men on women. The vast majority of it is. Men also rape men, because rape is about power, but power over someone’s sex and sexuality is pretty potent. Men want to punish women for “rising above their station” or sometimes men for acting insufficiently masculine (gay men are at particular risk of being raped). However, well over 90% of rapists are straight males, so while we can and should remember that other forms of rape exist, it’s definitely a straight male problem.

      8. Objectification isn’t limited to sexual objectification, but it’s one of the most common and harmful forms. Rape is kind of the epitome of sexual objectification. Man goes “I want and am entitled to sex”, sees a sex object (woman), and goes and takes it. He doesn’t think about who she is or the harm he’s doing to her because in his mind, she isn’t a person. Aesthetic appreciation of the human body is fine, but you must also recognize the person inside the body. A woman isn’t just a nice pair of legs or tits or ass. She has a mind, a personality, hopes, and dreams. When you leer at her legs, you deny her all of herself. That is rape culture.

      I would like you to find Starling’s Schrodinger’s Rapist post. I’m not even going to try to make a link of it, but those keywords should find it. Read it then tell me we don’t live in a rape culture.

      • April

        Oh my gosh! You just said it all for me!! I love this!

        • vasaroti


          • Custador

            Indeed, thank you M. We do live in a rape culture. I just gave the first few examples that came to mind; I could have given many, many more.

      • Jer

        I was reading the post by Randy hoping to see if someone had taken on his points one at a time. Thanks.

  • FO

    As a man, I feel insulted by the claim that I cannot control myself.

    In other news, a (female) friend of mine opened a group CouchSurfing Against Rape on CouchSurfing and got TONS of hate mail.

    • April

      I’m glad you do. Isn’t it just ridiculous the way society treats male sexuality? *sigh*

  • Chris Hallquist

    I agree with Beth in seeing no problem with Christina Diamandopoulis’ statement. Your criticism of Diamandopoulis is like hearing someone say “our community is going to stop crime” and responding “But that implies crime is the community’s fault! The only people to blame for crime are criminals!”

    To give a more concrete example: I like to travel, and I’ve been to a few places in the world which, while not super-dangerous, require being careful that you don’t get into the wrong cab, with possible consequences including getting kidnapped. When people have told me this, they were NOT saying that getting kidnapped is all the kidnapping victim’s fault, and kidnappers can’t be held culpable.

    I’m horrified by some of the things the authorities have said in the aftermath of rape cases, but this is largely a matter of context and the implied dismissiveness of the victim’s suffering.

  • April

    Whenever I read “I want to talk about a feminist I disagree with” I always get a little bit nervous .. because truth be told, they usually do not say what you say. I was pleasantly surprised to read what you wrote.. and relieved. Thank you for calling her out on her words. That’s important.

    I am an anti-rape culture activist and yes, I find myself saying things that fit right into rape culture. I am continually learning about how I support it without realizing it. That is our job as human beings. Figure out how we are supporting harm and fix it.

    “But the reason that I disagree with Ms. Diamandopoulis’ sentiments is this: The one and only person responsible for a rape, is the rapist. And rapists, in the overwhelming majority of cases, are men.” Thank you, thank you and thank you again for stating this.

    And to the first commenter, yes, that is shifting the blame responsibility onto the victim no matter how well meaning. It is not unreasonable to talk about how we can protect ourselves from harm in general. That is a fantastic thing but when you say “here’s how you can stop this” you’re saying that that person has responsibility in preventing it. The only thing that stops a rapist from raping is he/she choosing not to rape. Period. I’m sorry it is that way.. believe me, if there was a way to have prevented it, I would have. In a heart beat. Unfortunately, he was too close to me and I didn’t see he had shifted so quickly right in front of me.

    My case is common. And that’s what you need to hear. The only thing that is going to cut down on sexual assault crimes is educating people on how to recognize it and how to not do it. Seriously. It sounds.. incredibly elementary but America has a rape problem (google those words with Jessica Valenti–she’s right). And, telling women they should protect themselves better?? Has that worked so far? It doesn’t seem it has. The great thing that has come out of the last few decades in terms of stopping rape is that we can talk about it now and believe people (more often) when they talk about it. That’s huge. We have a long way to go though.

  • Bill

    “To imply that women will stop rape, to my mind (however unintentionally), perpetuates the harmful myth that women are responsible for rape.”

    You’ve said a lot of good things in this post Custy, but I have to disagree a bit with this point.

    While I completely agree that it’s apalling to imply women are responsible for rape – myth is not a strong enough world – women do and must play a crucial role in stopping rape and the “rape culture” you’ve described. How?

    Women can educate unenlightened men about misconceptions reagrding power, sexuality, violence and the rapes that result.

    Women can educate society about the prevelance of rape and its impact.

    Women can lobby for stronger laws regarding the prosecution of rapists. Similarly, women can lobby prosecuters to charge hard rape cases and seek the imposition of real penalties for rapists.

    Women can eductae themselves about the places and activities that increase the liklihood of being raped. (Please note this is NOT blaming women who are raped in those circumstances. The rapist is responsible and should pay the price for his abhorent behavior. It is a recognition, however, that some horrible men are going to rape women no matter what and it is best to know what situations increase the liklihood.)

    Victims of rape can take the brave step of testifying against their rapist….


    While the rapist is to blame for any indivual act of rape, we as a society are responsible for helping make rape less prevelant. All of us. Men must act, but women must be included as well.

    • M

      I agree with all this, but I’m still going to disagree with the overall gist of it. Women HAVE been doing all those things. For decades. It hasn’t worked because rape culture is reinforced in many places women simply are not (locker rooms, male groups of friends, etc). It hasn’t worked because whenever an underprivileged groups calls out a privileged group, the privileged group can ignore or denigrate the underprivileged. Calling for men to address rape culture isn’t women abdicating responsibility, it’s an acknowledgment that it’s not a woman problem. It’s a man problem whose victims are primarily women. The point you make, that it’s everyone’s responsibility, is insulting in light of the fact that women have been doing their part for 40 years.

      • Bill

        I think “insulting” overstates it.

        I don’t disagree with what you’re saying at all, and I did not mean to imply that women have not done the things I’ve listed. I was responding to the idea that only men can stop rape. (Which is how I read the original point.) While it’s technically true that only rapist can complete eliminate rape if they collectively decided to stop – and most rapists are men – there are a lot of things non-rapists can do to address the problem. Both men and women. And yes, men are a huge part of that equation.

        • M

          I agree and I don’t. Yes, there are a lot of things non-rapists can and should do to stop rape. However, women mostly don’t make rape culture, although it is true that some are part of it and do reinforce it. It’s not even that only rapists can stop rape- while true, that’s horribly oversimplified as you have correctly pointed out. It’s that masculinity and how our society constructs masculinity creates and feeds rape culture. The people best placed to change how we define what a “man” or a “good man” is are other men. Women have done and are doing just about all they can to stop rape, so when they issue a call to arms to men to stop rape culture and the response is “well we all need to work at it”, that ignores and subtly denigrates the work women have already done and are doing.

          Imagine if someone had been building a wall for 20 years to keep out lions. Every day, they ask for help but no one else in the village will help them build the wall. Eventually, they just can’t do any more single-handedly, but the lions still attack. The village elder then issues a call and says “The lions are attacking! Everyone needs to pitch in and build a wall around the village”. The next day, as our hero is getting dressed, our hero’s neighbor looks into hir hut and says “Well come on, hurry up, we all need to pitch in to build this wall”. I think the person who spent 20 years trying to build the wall might be just a tad upset that their efforts went unrecognized. I have no doubt you didn’t mean to be insulting or to denigrate women’s anti-rape efforts to date, but that’s the message I saw.

          • Bill

            ” The people best placed to change how we define what a “man” or a “good man” is are other men.’

            I disagree with this a bit. I think some of the most powerful people able to change how we define “good man” are parents. Both fathers and mothers. As a father of both sons and daughters I fully recognize my responsibility in modeling what it means to be a “good man,” but my wife shares equally in teaching our children about what it means to become responsible and compassionate adults.

            “…that ignores and subtly denigrates the work women have already done and are doing.”

            I cannot fathom how you interpret anything I’ve said as deneigrating the efforts of women to stop rape. In no way am I saying women haven’t done a ton on the issue, or that they don’t deserve credit. I’m saying more men need to join them in those efforts, and they need to work together going forward.

            Turning to your hypothetical. What it seems like you’re saying is something more akin to this:

            The wall builders have been telling the village for years that they all need a lion protection wall. They are largely ignored by the other villagers, until one day the lions attack. At this point the villagers say: “Holy crap, let’s build this lion wall together ASAP.” At which point the wall builders say: “Screw you, we told you we needed a wall and you ignored us. I know we are about to be over run by lions and we’d greatly reduce the chances of getting eaten if we do this together but there’s a price for ignoring us. Only you can build a wall.”

            • Kodie

              It’s a cultural problem that doesn’t seem to affect men, so men do not naturally seem to have any incentive to respond.

              Not all men are rapists. But that doesn’t mean anything to me. What matters is the cultural attitude toward rape. Women have to fear every man a potential rapist under all the rules we’re supposed to follow in order to not get ourselves raped. But from the general cultural attitude, we still blame women for the situations. Both men and women participate in blaming the woman. Believe me, women who are also taught to follow directions and have been safe blame and police other women from not following the directions.

              But men seem to feel like, hey well I’m not a rapist. All I have to do is continue not raping anyone! But when they see a woman doesn’t trust them, again, they blame the woman. She’s supposed to, with all we’ve been warned about, be able to tell you’re not going to rape her. Call her frigid or batshit or whatever. Blame her for following the boundaries. That’s what women live with.

              What do men have? Well, I can see you resent the bad reputation you have from being associated with rapists. Other than that, I think you don’t all know what is rape and what is not rape. Some guys are rapists who don’t think that what they did was rape, but it was rape. How come they’re not sure? How come they’re excused for not knowing? How come that’s measured against the woman’s actions and history in most cases? Men don’t seem to see the connection between what some of them do and what all of them are responsible for educating each other about. Y’all police the guy whose t-shirt turned pink from the wash, or he likes poetry or something. You know how to knock each other around verbally and keep each other in line. When you hear a story about how this guy went over to some crazy chick’s house after midnight and such and such, if that’s rape, you call that guy a rapist! You don’t say, yeah, cool! She was asleep the whole time? Nice. And then do the fist bump.

            • Bill

              “Well, I can see you resent the bad reputation you have from being associated with rapists. Other than that, I think you don’t all know what is rape and what is not rape. Some guys are rapists who don’t think that what they did was rape, but it was rape. How come they’re not sure? How come they’re excused for not knowing?”

              I’m not sure what your first sentence means. I think you’re saying that because I’m a man I have to accept that the behavior of men affects how my gender is perceived. (Tell me if I’m wrong.) I actually agree with that.

              What the fuck would give you the impression that I don’t know what rape is? How the hell could you have the impression that I think rapists are excused for not knowing what rape is?

          • Bill

            Let me see if I can give a more concrete example that helps explain where I’m coming from.

            One of the most effective and passionate anti-rape activists I know is an assistant district attorney in the city where I live. I worked for her in prosecuting sensitive crimes. Sexual abuse cases. (I largely dealt with child abuse cases, but she handled everything.)

            She is one of the best advocates I’ve ever seen and has the strength of her convictions behind what she does. Were I ever accused of a crime I would NOT want to see her name listed as the prosecuting attorney. She has chosen a less lucrative career than she could have in order to do what’s right, and she is trying to change our rape culture.

            We should recognize all she and women like her have done. But it would be a huge loss in the fight against sexual assult if we said “only men can change this so go do something else.”

            • Kodie

              You know, why do you take it that way? I feel like this is some kind of protest, like women are doing great things and we should applaud them! You haven’t said what you’re doing yourself. You have said what you’re teaching your daughters, which on one hand is to keep them as safe as you can, but against what brutal predator? Girls and women are taught what to do and what not to do all the time – why aren’t the brutal predators equally educated and informed? It just feels like you are dodging. I know you sound really proud of women’s accomplishments but that’s not what the post was about. Acknowledge the other half of the culture has a lot of work to do to catch up.

            • Bill

              “Acknowledge the other half of the culture has a lot of work to do to catch up.”

              I have acknowledged this. But to be clear, here you go: Men have a lot of work to do to catch up to women on the issue of rape.

              “You haven’t said what you’re doing yourself.”

              Ok here’s some of the things I do. I raise my sons to respect women and understand that they women complete autonomy over themselves. that society may not always leave them with that impression, but that society is just flat out wrong about that. Women are never to be regarded as objects to be posessed. That rape is not just a guy with a knife in an alley, but also going to far when your date has had a few too many drinks at a party.

              I teach my daughters that they stand on their own and don’t need a man to have value. If they want one they should look for a man who treats them as an equal in all aspects. I model this behavior with their mother. And yes, I tell them to avoid potentially dangerous situations. (Sorry if that last one offends you.)

              Oh yeah – and I teach all my children that men and women are eual. Period.

              I acted as a pro bono assistant district attorney to prosecute sex crimes.

              I do pro bono work for victims of domestic abuse. These are often victims of rape.

              I donate/volunteer to a shelter for women in abusive relationships and in need of dependencey counseling. For what may be obvious reasons this often inculdes dealing with sexual abuse.

              Is that enough? Should I not laud the women I see doing the same types of things?

            • Kodie

              I don’t know, Custador mentioned when you’re in the company of other men and they might say something piggy, you stand up to them about it. And teach your sons not to go along with the crowd either.

              And no, you did not make any of these things clear before. Your initial post and most of the follow-ups for a while took offense that the article proposed that women couldn’t or shouldn’t do anything! and then suggested what women could do. Missed the point of the post and reading comprehension.

              Admit that you ignored men’s responsibility to the culture initially.

            • Bill

              Admit that you just glossed over the following in my initial post:

              “While the rapist is to blame for any indivual act of rape, we as a society are responsible for helping make rape less prevelant. All of us. Men must act, but women must be included as well.”

              Admit that from the outset I’ve said women and men should work together to prevent rape and change our culture.

              Admit that I got the point of the post – said I agreed with it – but took issue with a single point. Admit that my disagreement stems from having watched women do excellent work in this area.

              Admit that you made assumptions about me that weren’t true.

            • Kodie

              I saw you respond to the article and list a bunch of stuff women have already been doing. You haven’t yet seemed to relate to what the article is advising men to do other than as a parent to children of both sexes, which you then went on to describe weirdly.

              I totally agree women have been doing great things and should continue to do so. Men aren’t just “helpers” who take a feminist issue here and there. It’s a culture-wide problem. Men maybe go to rallies to support women, but what do men say to other men? How do men initiate any kind of effort on their own, to spearhead some kind of campaign to stop other men from thinking rape is ok, or educate them not knowing what rape is (most people still think it’s the bogeyman jumping out of the bushes), and their attitudes toward women? In the company of men and what loose talk men might have in the absence of women, well they are in “company”. There is the problem that they speak freely because no one will speak up, because there are no women present. And if you speak up, you will probably be equated with a woman.

              I didn’t see from the outset that you emphasized any effort men should take.

            • Bill

              “You haven’t yet seemed to relate to what the article is advising men to do other than as a parent to children of both sexes, which you then went on to describe weirdly.”

              Oh, so we are ignoring my work in favor of victims of sexual assault? Got it.

              Yeah – The article is advising men to help change the very real rape culture in our society. I’ve described multiple concrete ways in which I’m doing that. I get the article. I’m doing my part.

              Sorry you think my description was “weird.” Seemed pretty straight forward to me. And frankly parenting is the best possible way I have to help change our culture on this.

            • Bill

              “In the company of men and what loose talk men might have in the absence of women, well they are in “company”. There is the problem that they speak freely because no one will speak up, because there are no women present. And if you speak up, you will probably be equated with a woman.”

              Look, I’m sure these conversations among men you keep describing do happen. I’m telling you they don’t happen in front of me. It may be because men who know me know my positions on such things and how I would respond, but I’m telling you I’m not privy to a bunch of “locker room talk.”

              I solemnly swear that If I am I will speak up. Doe that make you feel better?

            • Kodie

              That brings to mind. Well I know how men talk (a) because Custador says guys come on admit it, basically. Mostly I hear when accused men all say “I’m not like that!” But they never seem to admit they know anyone like that. They care primarily about not being mistaken for one of these mythical doucheheads I’m making up than saying they do talk like that when the skirts aren’t around and I love and/or hate it. (b) because I’ve had male friends who don’t regard me as fragile woman who can’t hear what they’re really thinking. It’s disgusting. (c) This isn’t really C. I thought I had a couple examples.

              I think the “danger” is that if you do speak up, they don’t talk like that in front of you again. In fact, they find ways to avoid being in situations with you that they can’t speak freely, or they ridicule you so you don’t speak up again, or both. So it very well may have happened that YOU did what you’re supposed to do and ended up with a group of male friends who are decent like yourself. I would not say that never happens, and would even go so far as say rape-enablers may have “punished” you to a group of men who don’t say offensive things. If not you, then this is probably a social dynamic, a weeding-out process. If some new neighbor joined your group and started saying rape-enabling things, would you be more inclined to gang up on him as a group until he conformed, or just keep him out of the group because he’s a piece of shit?

              That’s not a trick question with a right answer as far as I’m concerned.

              You could even emphasize that you are a guy with decent male friends. At some point, people were offensive and instead of being socially encouraged to go along with them, you made other friends. The other problem with this is that there’s work. People don’t pipe up so well at work as they might in a group of friends. Kids in school tend to be really way tense about who their friends are and doing whatever their friends lead them to do. I was not that way! I understand when you say you’re not a “typical” way. But in a group dynamic where being someone’s friend seems to be more important than doing the right thing, people don’t speak up. The consequences can be very bad. You can get bullied, cyber-bullied, really fucking ruined, or at the very best of cases, cast off to make friends with some other group “they” consider losers. That last one is not really the worst thing to happen to anyone, it just feels like you would rather some asshole like you than some nice people who ? have some rumors spread around how they are the worst and you don’t want to “have to be” friends with them.

              So anyway, I don’t know what to say about the social consequences of belonging to a decent group of guys and don’t know any douchebags to stand up to personally.

            • Bill

              “So it very well may have happened that YOU did what you’re supposed to do and ended up with a group of male friends who are decent like yourself. ”

              I am a fairly outspoken person and anybody who knows me figures out fairly quickly where I fall on issues like this. I think that’s a factor. (I can tell you that as a younger man I did speak up in some uncomfortable situations and it didnt’ always have great results.But that’s not a reason to not speak up.)

              Another large factor is that fact that most of my interaction with people is in a professional setting, where this type of conversation would never be tolerated under any circumstances.

            • Kodie

              I just want to say I have news for you if you think this type of conversation is not tolerated in professional settings. That’s not saying your circumstance or whatever, that you’re lying about it or anything, but just that I hope you don’t have the idea that other workplaces keep it clean for everyone’s safety and comfort.

              Other than that, thanks. I have to get out now so basically what I think is that guys do get punished socially for not going with the crowd, and that’s unfortunate. Any man who doesn’t take that as “punishment” and just gets along with a new crowd instead is ok. You make your views known so that’s going to get you scrutinized and insulted, just like women who speak up now have to put up with (or go along to avoid being “different,” outspoken and shunned from a popular social group). Social punishment seems to be huge, so it would be great if someday, one guy says something rapey, and the other guys without checking each other all say that’s wrong dude and embarrass the crap out of him, instead of the other way around as how I usually imagine it. Being singled out is not fun, so it would be wonderful if the guy who is disgusting and rape-enabling would be the guy who is singled out of the group. That would indicate this man-power is working to prevent rape more than now.

            • Bill

              “I just want to say I have news for you if you think this type of conversation is not tolerated in professional settings.”

              In no way was I saying that every professional setting is the same as mine. (You really like to read things in to what I say.) Nor was I saying that my professional setting is perfect. Just that I don’t come across the conversations you describe.

    • Helen

      The activities that usually result in being raped are – going out, having male friends, having a partner. Women shouldn’t have to avoid these things to avoid rape.

      • Bill

        No they shouldn’t.

        But there are other things that may be good to avoid. Like consuming intoxicants in excess. Like being alone in certain settings.

        Is it right that women have to think about these things? No, absolutely not. Should we work to create a world in which women don’t have to think about these things? Yes we should. But I’m not holding out for a perfect world, and in the mean time I will tell my daughters about some common sense tips that may keep them safe.

        • Kodie

          Drinking to excess is not an invitation to be raped. Do you tell your sons that?

          Basically all we’ve been told how not to get raped amounts to extreme chastity. We’re not even allowed to trust a man. Men think why do women treat me like I’m going to rape her? It’s because if we let down our guard and have a good time and he does – and we don’t know anything about any individual man’s character ahead of time – we have to assume you’re all rapists and behave strictly perfectly in order to avoid getting blamed. That involves where we go, who we go out with, whether we ever consented to sex before, every outfit we want to wear, and still rapists will put us at ease. You’re safe with me babe, come let’s talk in my room. Ok. Wait a second, I just wanted to talk. Well you came to my room! Etcetera.

          Every man who doesn’t do this – every man who is not a rapist – should hate this guy and stamp him out of the population. Why isn’t that what’s happening?

          • Bill

            Yes I tell my sons that that drinking to excess can have dire negative consequences including the possibility of getting raped. Statistically it is less likely that one of my sons will be raped, but the possibility still exists.

            It is not an “invitation” to be raped. Nobody invites someone to rape them. But in certain situations in may increase the liklihood. While I would like to live in a perfect world where this doesn’t happen, I recognize that it might.

            I do hate the guy you’ve described. I do want to stamp him out of the population and I do what I can to do so.

            • Kodie

              Interesting that you teach your sons how not to get raped. That is statistically less probable than them taking the opportunity to rape someone.

            • Bill

              Are you trying to imply that I don’t teach my sons not to rape? Are you really trying to say that?

            • Kodie

              I’m not implying anything. I just think it’s weird to mention you teach them also how not to get raped but leave out the part that’s kind of important to the theme.

            • Bill

              You specifically asked if I teach my sons something. I answered the question.

              Interested in what else I teach them? See my response above.

            • Kodie

              Well your answer was weird. Why emphasize the unlikely (although that is good to teach both your sons and daughters how to avoid being raped and how to respect other people’s agency) without also explaining the likely? The “blame” on the victim for getting into a situation is already covered – at least for women – but the responsibility for refraining from committing an offense is and was the point. The actor is the criminal. Why compare what you teach your son to potential as a victim? As I said, the world we live in now treats men like wild animals. Anything we do to rile one and get assaulted by one is the victim’s responsibility to avoid taunting and proximity and keeping completely sober. Your response was incomplete. At least in some sense, it sounds like you don’t trust women equally as much as you don’t trust men; rather than explain how you teach them responsible behavior, you omit that in favor of explaining how you teach them both protection. I’m going to say, based on your protests so far, that you didn’t intend that to come across, but it does no good for you to be offended by everything I am trying to tell you either. I wouldn’t dare question anyone’s parenting methods! Except that’s what we’re partly talking about.

              I’m sure you’re a decent parent who teaches your children how to be great people who never rape or get raped. It just seems that yeah on one hand, you do have to teach them not to drink too much and lose their senses, nobody is smacking men who brag about their conquests and MEN telling MEN they are rapists. The rape culture allows it. If your daughter or son has a few drinks and gets raped, was that because too many drinks? Or was that because rape culture doesn’t emphasize to the other party in the room that taking advantage is WRONG. It already emphasizes plenty what we have to do to avoid it and judges the victim harshly for straying outside the guidelines. The perpetrators are not educated about it, and reinforce each other’s behaviors as manly. Do you tell your son other men in his company will say these things and expect he will agree?

            • Bill

              “It just seems that yeah on one hand, you do have to teach them not to drink too much and lose their senses, nobody is smacking men who brag about their conquests and MEN telling MEN they are rapists. The rape culture allows it.”

              You know what? You’re reading way too much in to the fact that I want to partner with women to change this culture.

              I absolutely would take loudly take offense if I was in a situation where a man was bragging about conquests or describing a rape. You know how often I’m in that situation? Never. But if I find myself there I can guarantee you I won’t be silent.

              “If your daughter or son has a few drinks and gets raped, was that because too many drinks?”

              No, it’s because some scumbag rapist raped them. But that’s little comfort after the fact. As my child is dealing with the trauma of rape. So while I don’t blame the victim, I do recognize that there are behaviors that might help a bit to avoid becoming a victim. It’s not an absolute protection against victimhood, but I don’t understand why a responsible parent wouldn’t help their kids understand this.

              “Do you tell your son other men in his company will say these things and expect he will agree?”

              I tell my sons that they should stand up for what’s right, which includes not participating in a culture that encourages rape. I model this for them. Why you would assume I do anything besides that is beyond me.

    • Kodie

      Yeah, you’re basically saying here are some good ideas, why don’t you women try some or all of them!

      Good idea, man.

      • Bill

        That’s not what I’m saying at all.

        What I’m saying is that women and men can do these things together. I’m countering what I thought was the original point that only men can help prevent rape.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think that’s what he meant at all. I think it was a call to action FOR men. Some of the responses sound like well women power! Women can do this too! Don’t you dare tell women they can’t help! Well, sort of too late.

          Men who fall into the category of potential rapists (because, why not) need to listen and they don’t listen to women. I applaud Custador for being a man who says hey men, let’s do what we can, besides not rape. Police yourselves, yourselves. Stop relying on women to do more and everything to do whatever we can to stop from being raped. There’s obviously a class of men who pay no attention when women say stuff, so that’s unfortunate. This post was a call to other men to inhibit and educate. Stand up in a crowd of men only to be ganged up on and called a pansy for caring what women think and how to treat them? Welcome.

          It’s more of a challenge for men, I think. I definitely get the idea that men amongst themselves have different attitudes about women than most women are party to hearing. So when we’re not there to have those conversations, you know who is there? Men.

          Your list of what women can do is what women have been doing. So I think you think women can “do it all!” without the help of men – does this make you think you’re a feminist? If it’s a cultural problem and for the most part actively performed BY MEN, and women try and try and try to tell men not to rape us, and they still rape us, what do you do now? Try to give the women pointers how to help? Like we’ve done nothing? That’s how your post came across, blatantly. Take the challenge. Read the post again and say “I’m a man who will help.”

          What you don’t seem to understand is the rape culture tends to put all the responsibility on women to stop being victims, to be in charge of educating men how not to victimize us, and where not to be when we might get raped. That’s only half the job, honey. The culture is every person, men included, so do your part. Your advice for women seems to absolve you of committing to do your part, and perhaps inadvertently blames women for not accomplishing our goals and still fearing to be raped anywhere we might go.

          • Bill

            Kodie. I’m not sure what I’ve done to rile you up. But let me see if I can clarify my position. Here’s the point I was responding to:

            ““We have to get together as women … to grow the seeds of the fightback, which has already started, with organisations such as Rape Crisis, Object, Everyday Sexism, Mumsnet and others. Together, women have moved mountains before – we can do it again.”

            No. Sorry, but no. To imply that women will stop rape, to my mind (however unintentionally), perpetuates the harmful myth that women are responsible for rape.”

            I read that as a statement that women can’t stop rape. (Since – you know – in response to a statement that women can help stop rape it says: “No. Sorry, but no.”) Logically that means if we are to stop it men must do it. All I’m saying is that it needs to be a joint effort bewteen women and men. I don’t disagere that men bear enormous responsibility for tackling this problem. So I’m not sure why what I said was controversial.

            “So I think you think women can “do it all!” without the help of men – does this make you think you’re a feminist?”

            Please point me to any point where I said men don’t bear responsibility and shouldn’t help. And for what it’s worth I am a feminist.

            “If it’s a cultural problem and for the most part actively performed BY MEN, and women try and try and try to tell men not to rape us, and they still rape us, what do you do now? Try to give the women pointers how to help? Like we’ve done nothing? That’s how your post came across, blatantly. Take the challenge. Read the post again and say “I’m a man who will help.” ”

            Again, please point out the place where I’ve said women should change it it alone. Or that men bear no responsibility. Or that women have done nothing. You’re trying to put words in my mouth. Frankly, offensive words. I am a man who’s trying to change this issue. I just happen to think that some of my most effective allies in that effort are women who are doing many of the things I’ve listed

            “Your advice for women seems to absolve you of committing to do your part, and perhaps inadvertently blames women for not accomplishing our goals and still fearing to be raped anywhere we might go.”

            Complete and utter bullshit. Nowhere have I tried to absolve myself from doing my part. I would never blame women for being raped. All I’ve said is that men and women should partner to tackle this problem. I can’t see how that can be controversial.

            • Kodie

              Your responses so far have been “in protest” of the idea that women can’t stop rape at all. Your responses so far have left out any activism in this area (other than teaching your daughters how to prevent their own rapes) that you or any other men should try to do.

            • Kodie

              To clarify, it looks a lot like you’re reading too much into one part of the article and ignoring the factor that men need to participate in this effort.

            • Bill

              Please see my response above.

              I didn’t realize i had to lay out my specific activities in the area before I had any credibility with you.

            • Bill

              And again. I haven’t ignored the role men should play at all. I’ve specifically said men and women should work together on this.

              Why are you so intent on trying to make me in to a bad guy?

            • Kodie

              I’m not trying to make you into the bad guy. Why do you feel that way? What have I said? It’s only to help you clarify your position. Your initial response was “in favor” of women – don’t tell women they can’t do anything! Here are some things women can do. Most of the rest have come up with even more defense of women. I think you think you are doing the right thing and backing women in their efforts.

              What about men-initiated efforts? Well, Custador is a man who initiated a list of ideas for men. For some reason, you took this as an insult of women that ignored our efforts, but you did not take up the clue that you’re a man and some things you might not be doing yet that you can do – in some ways, that can only be done by men.

              I’m sorry if I came across too blunt and accusatory! My tone, I should be whipped for telling you how it really is. I just get the impression from you that you think this is still just a woman’s problem for women to act upon, and that men can “assist” but there’s really nothing you can do short of not raping anyone.

              Men who would rape don’t seem to listen to women, don’t seem to regard our authority or agency, in any case. Now it seems that men who are innocent don’t listen either. I’m trying to make you out to be the bad guy? I’m trying to make you learn how to be a better guy! Women have to deal with this shit 24/7 and the rape culture hasn’t changed.

            • Bill

              “I just get the impression from you that you think this is still just a woman’s problem for women to act upon, and that men can “assist” but there’s really nothing you can do short of not raping anyone.”

              I have no idea how you could read what I’ve said and be left with the impression I think this is just a woman’s problem. I’ve repeatedly said it’s a societal problem and society must fix it. Here’s a news flash. Men and women are both part of society.

              This type of statement is what I mean by trying to make me out as the bad guy.

              By the way, what is it you you think I’m “not doing short of not raping someone?”

            • Kodie

              This is a thread where I think it’s ok for a guy to pat himself on the back and say “I do this and I do that. Here is how I help, and here is how my family helps.” You did later come say something about being an advocate, and how you teach your children, but you kind of de-emphasized that.

              It is bizarre. You obviously care a lot about women. The first thing you came up with that I saw seemed to be in contrast to the article – hey here’s some stuff women do and can do and keep doing! Yay for women! I definitely from the outset get the impression that you care and you are a feeling, caring guy about women and women’s issues.

              And for a feeling caring guy, it might seem weird to you to promote yourself. For example, our culture calls being a father when the mother is away “babysitting”. Oh look, the man is “helping” and he wants a fucking medal for sharing the household duties a fraction. So you don’t want to act like you deserve a fucking medal for being a man who cares, when this is still largely seen as a women’s thing.

              The thing is – the thread calls out men to act. What will you do? What have you done? What kind of example are you to other men? I would go ahead and move on from this exchange and make a new post where you say “I’m a man who does…” these things, and it’s not hard to do. And it’s really manly and other men should get involved instead of stand by.

              That’s the point of the post. It is sometimes difficult in our culture to give men credit where they think they deserve inordinate amounts of credit for one unit compared to a woman’s 100 units, for example. Instead of culture framing this as a woman’s issue, and therefore easily ignored, it would be fantastic to see this framed as a man’s issue. A male crisis. Right now it is still a woman’s issue that men participate somewhat and support us. Just because we’ve had to do it and some have been really great, productive, and active in the movement, why is it so unbalanced?

              I just think if you’re doing a lot, now would be a great time to consolidate that list of items into one post to offer suggestions to other people mostly, and not just to get credit. I wish I hadn’t said all the things I said, and you seem to have great intentions, which is sort of sad, since what does that say about a lot of other men. You had a great opportunity to be an example to them instead of telling women what they might try to do.

            • Bill

              “…it might seem weird to you to promote yourself. ”

              Want to know something that my bra burning feminist mother taught me?

              Men shouldn’t act like they did something special for shit they should be doing anyway. It’s your fucking job to parent, don’t ask for a medal because of it. The baseline assumption should be that women are equal to you. Don’t act like a hero because you treat them that way.

              I’m not interested in promoting what I do, and I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it but for your insistance that it somehow mattered.

              And for the record, I don’t think there’s anything bizarre about pointing out that men and women should work together on equal footing to change a terrible aspect of our culture.

            • Custador

              What’s going on on this thr- OHLAWD!

            • Bill

              Custy – Perhaps you could clear something up? As set forth in what’s now a pretty muddled thread, I read your post as in part standing for the proposition that only men can prevent rape. That, yes there are a few things that women might do, but only men can stop it. Did I read that right? Because I think I’m being accused of misreading it.

            • Custador

              I think that women are already doing their part, and to a high degree they are also under pressire to do things that make absolutely no difference anyway, and men need to do a hell of a lot more, particularly in terms of changing masculine social norms.

              I also think that whilst women can provide all of the encouragement, education and motivation in the world, rape will ultimately not stop until men decide to stop tolerating rape culture, giving rapists free passes, and (frankly) being rapists.

  • Sarah

    I am a female, I consider myself a feminist and I completely agree with this article. It’s not that women are powerless to stop rape, we can bring awareness, we can stop victim shaming, we can fight the system that allows so many rapists to walk free but the fact remains that in order to really put an end to rape we need to change the attitudes of the rapists and the men in this world who sympathize with them. Even if everyone women in this world stands up and fights back against rape culture it will be meaningless if the men are not fighting with us. We need to stop looking at violence against women as a woman’s issue, it is a HUMAN rights issue. Until men start treating us as humans, rape culture will always exist.

  • Vixi Dragon

    Just wanted to tell you . . . Thank you for your post. I found it through Libby Anne at Love Joy Feminism. Your pledge gives me hope. So much so that I linked to it in my blog (post will be up 8am pacific time, Friday, Jan. 11th).