I Get Mail – I am an Hatetheist »« The Lappy is Dead. Long Live The Lappy || Charity for a Charity Case

Phone Blogging – Schrodinger’s Rapist

This is a rewrite – Blogging from the phone was an experiment and a total failure. It’s impossible to actually re-read what you wrote and spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and the like abound (even more than usual)

I dislike schrodinger’s rapist but I understand why the concept exists.

You see people judge me by what I am a lot. I have suffered some pretty overt racism (I have been prevented from flying kind of racism. I have seen my aunt stripped because they didn’t believe she was on near permanent dialysis… Because we were brown. It hurt a lot. They couldn’t even tell the difference between a HINDU and a Muslim then why on earth are they indulging in stupid procedures like this. No little old lady with a metal hip was made to strip… just the brown one) I don’t like being judged and a lot of who I am today is based on being a stupid 18 year old me prone to ripping his shirt while screaming “I WILL SHOW YOU ALL!!!”. I was the kind of person who would wear a “It’s okay, I normally pay to be degraded and stripped by a man in uniform” T-Shirt through security because for a fair while after 9/11 I would have to take pants off and get felt up. For me it was fighting back. Schrodinger’s Terrorist. (I also had an “It’s Okay! I enjoy it!” and a “At least buy a boy a drink first!” t-shirt)

I really wish women didn’t feel like all men are rapists but they do feel threatened by us because of the behaviour of our gender. Now we may not be “rapey” but there are a few who are. For all the good people do it’s easy to poison the well by the behaviour of the few. You may not be the grope monster (I am the gentleman grope monster. I take permission first!) but you certainly look like one. And that is unfortunate. So women feel threatened by us.

The correct way of dealing with this is not for me to act in the way that the grope monster does.

To walk a mile in their shoes and to recognise that their fears (While IMHO are stupid because of my experiences as a person who was judged by the fears people have had.) are based on genuine human experiences. But that’s the thing, my experiences are also subjective. My treatment as schrodinger’s terrorist means that other such treatments make me uncomfortable. I fear such concepts and dislike them because they look the same. The experiences that we face build us up. And that’s precisely why this concept exists. Because there is no “rapist” look. The nice man opening the door for you may be one, the guy you think is creepy may not.

It is a symptom of the way things are in our society. The fever is a symptom of the bacteria, not the villain in the disease. In that way schrodinger’s rapist is the symptom of the pathogen that is rape and sexual harassment. The cure is to remove the pathogen. To create a world where women aren’t raped so women don’t see men as rapists. Now I have to fight that in a “For Fuck’s Sake Stop Raping” sort of way but you guys are lucky.

The best you got is “don’t take advantage of drunk women, don’t grab women without permission”. You can do more with that than I can. You are farther ahead on the ladder of progress towards an equal society.

Some rape culture can be blamed on women too. (WHAT!) Specifically what women are told by popular culture aimed at them. No means Yes is the WORST thing on earth and I have known women who have said that. No means Try Harder? No. No should mean No. Do not listen to Cosmo or Marie Claire or any other magazine of that sort. Women are straight up being taught how to play hard to get. That’s also encouraging rape culture because you cannot tell the difference between hard to get and no.

We will teach boys not to rape and we will teach girls to say No means No and stand by it.

But for now? I give you the advice that I gave my brother when he went on dates. No means No, Maybe means No. Yes means Yes. If maybe means yes then be pleasantly surprised but live your life with the notion that maybe means no.

It is my greatest wish to destroy the very concept of Schrodinger’s Rapist but to do that we have to create a world where men and women respect each other a lot more than they do now.

(BTW I wrote this as a comment and realised it would make a pretty decent blog post. And yes it is typed up using goddamn swype… So bear with me. And boy was I right. Phone blogging is great for twitter, not for an actual blog!) Once again I apologise to readers. I don’t really think this was a good piece. It shall however stay up as a demonstration of how crummy I can really write.

Comments

  1. glodson says

    When I first encountered Schrodinger’s Rapist, I was offended too. I wanted to scream “I’m not a goddamned rapist.” Luckily, I do think some before I fully form my opinion.

    Like you said, I tried thinking about from the point of view of a woman. I remembered the times I spent in the 90′s living on a university campus. I thought about the guys I knew in High School. I thought about the things they said. Their attitudes, and I thought about how it would be to experience it form the other side.

    And I understood where the idea comes from, and it made sense. There’s a level of not-knowing. She can’t know that I am not a rapist, not abusive, and all that. I don’t like the association with rapists just because of my gender. But I get it. Once I saw that I lived in the midst of a horrible rape culture, I got it. Hell, just look at the reaction Rebecca Watson got for tweeting out that having sex with a drunk girl was rape if she didn’t consent. People lost their minds, because there’s this attitude that we have to ply women with drinks to get her into bed. That it is okay, and just a part of getting a little sex. That bullying women into drinking too much is fine. That isolating them to get them drunk is fine. If she passed out drunk with you, she’s consenting. Not every guy has this line of thinking, but it seems to be quite popular. Fuck, it is the American version of eve teasing.

    This idea cannot end while people seem to have a shaky idea of what consent is. I read this article some time ago. It is a great summary of why we seem to have a bad idea of what consent is in this country. And those fucking articles in Cosmo do contribute. Hell, ever heard of Purity Balls? Those are a thing that reinforces the idea that a good girl says no, even if she really wants it. And her father is supposed to encourage it. They are horrible, and contribute to this suppression of the free expression of female sexuality, which all ties into this horrible situation. And the first person that tries to get me to talk my daughter into one of this stupid fucking pledges is getting punched in the face. Not the best reaction, I know, but I’m going to do my best to see that she doesn’t grow up with this feeling of shame attached to her sexuality, however it might be expressed as she grows up.

    The added wrinkle of facing racism so directly is something I hadn’t considered though. I get how this would be a doubly disturbing idea. And the way to end it, as you note, is to address the rape culture that seems to be a common thread in many parts of the world. It isn’t like all rape apologists are screaming “rape is cool.” Rather, they reinforce parts of the culture that allows for this environment to exist. Some do this on purpose, I’m sure. But most, I would guess, don’t even realize the fall out of their ideas. Or simply don’t care. Doesn’t really matter, as the net effect is all the same.

  2. The Mellow Monkey says

    I really wish women didn’t feel like all men are rapists but they do feel threatened by us because of the behaviour of our gender.

    This isn’t exactly how I have understood Schrödinger’s rapist to be used and I think the fine distinction here is an important one: Schrödinger’s rapist isn’t based on the idea or feeling or worry that all men are rapists. It’s simply that we can’t tell the difference. Not until a rapist rapes.

    I do not look at every man I cross paths with as a rapist, but in the back of my head I have the fear of letting my guard down. If a man I knew and considered a friend for years and trusted to stay in my house could rape me, can I be certain about anyone else? That doesn’t mean all men are rapists or that I think every man I see is a rapist. Simply that a rapist doesn’t wear a sign. There’s no twirling mustache. There’s no definite knowledge until the rape.

    One of the best things men can do to combat this is to fight back against rape culture. The objectification and othering of women–particularly minority women–and talk or jokes about getting a woman drunk for the sake of sex. The casual joking around about violence against women. The view that sex is something a man hunts down and takes, while it is something a woman gives or has taken. When men turn to their friends and say “no, that’s not okay” it carries a lot more weight. It also reduces tolerance for aspects of rape culture. It reduces the hiding places for rapists. If the men who aren’t rapists are actively and loudly and proudly fighting against rape culture, then there is less uncertainty for rapists to use as their shield.

    (Caveat that not all rapists are men and not all rape victims are women, of course. I’m speaking specifically to the ideas and scenarios Avicenna brings up here.)

  3. A Hermit says

    Like I said in the other thread, I think of it in terms of my own behaviour if I’m, for example, traveling on a subway..I keep my wallet in a safe place. Because in a crowded train station anywhere in the world everyone there is Schrodinger’s pickpocket.

    It’s not that “all men are rapists” it’s just that you can’t tell just buy looking which ones might be.

  4. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh a lot of rapes can be blamed on women too. (WHAT!) Specifically what women are told by popular culture. No means Yes is the WORST thing on earth and I have known women who have said that. No means Try Harder? No. No should mean No. Do not listen to Cosmo or Marie Claire or any other magazine of that sort

    Dear gods, please re think that. “Women” are not the same thing as “irresponsible shit magazines.” It is not helpful in any conceivable universe to conflate the two or to write “a lot of rapes can be blamed on women too.” Jesus, Avicenna.

    That’s also encouraging rape culture because you cannot tell the difference between hard to get and no.

    You are stone cold ignorant on this topic and your ignorance is causing you to perpetuate rape culture. Yes, I know you don’t intend to, but you ARE.

    It is NOT the case that rapists can’t tell the difference or that they misunderstand cues. It’s that they don’t WANT to hear “no.” You don’t have to remain ignorant—here’s some reading for you:

    It’s not that they don’t understand; it’s that they don’t like the answer

    Note that there are actual studies and peer-reviewed papers cited.

  5. The Mellow Monkey says

    Josh:

    It is NOT the case that rapists can’t tell the difference or that they misunderstand cues. It’s that they don’t WANT to hear “no.”

    Yes. They are not poor, confused lads led astray. There might be a lot of rapists who do not name what they do rape, but they are knowingly and actively behaving as predators.

    These are the methods the men in the cited study admitted to, once the word “rape” was removed from the questioning:

    (1) Have you ever been in a situation where you tried, but for various reasons did not succeed, in having sexual intercourse with an adult by using or threatening to use physical force (twisting their arm, holding them down, etc.) if they did not cooperate?
    (2) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual advances (e.g., removing their clothes)?
    (3) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with an adult when they didn’t want to because you used or threatened to use physical force (twisting their arm; holding them down, etc.) if they didn’t cooperate?
    (4) Have you ever had oral sex with an adult when they didn’t want to because you used or threatened to use physical force (twisting their arm; holding them down, etc.) if they didn’t cooperate?

    This is not misunderstanding. This is not the fault of women. These are predatory actions.

  6. ischemgeek says

    I agree with The Mellow Monkey.

    Schrodinger’s Rapist =/= all men are rapists. Schrodinger’s Rapist = the vast majority of people who rape women are men, and we can’t tell the difference between rapist and non-rapist, and if we make a false negative, the consequences are gonna be catastrophic and blamed entirely on us. Because we dared to be female and exist.

    Society imposes the Schrodinger’s Rapist view, because any rape is considered the woman’s fault – she should’ve been with someone. She should’ve not been wearing those clothes. She shouldn’t have been out at night. Etc.

    That’s rape culture.

    And you’ve bought into it to some degree, with the “don’t say no and stick by it” schtick. No, we do say no. And it doesn’t matter. Because 99.9999 times out of 100, rape is anything but an accident. As Josh said, it’s not that women don’t say no, it’s that rapists don’t give a damn about the answer.

  7. ismenia says

    Avicenna, I discovered your blog recently and love it but please don’t just dash off posts like this. It’s not well written or well thought out.

    “A lot of rapes can be blamed on women”. Well there are known instances of women committing rapes (I know, this gets us into legal definition issues but lets leave that to one side). There have been cases where women have been accessories to rape. They are to blame but the fact that many women perpetuate rape culture by repeating myths, slut-shaming does not mean those women are to blame for rapes. It’s like saying that all Muslims should be blamed for Islamic terrorism because they perpetuate the religious beliefs that some take to extremes.

    Schrodinger’s rapist explains why women are careful and why men should not act in a way that will be threatening, like walking too close behind a lone woman in an isolated area. It doesn’t mean women see all men as rapists.

    On a lighter note, I think ‘maybe’ means ‘no for now but I’ll consider it’.

  8. says

    I think ‘maybe’ means ‘no for now but I’ll consider it’.

    It also sometimes means, “I’m trying to reject you gently.” Which I am now discovering probably means “I am trying to reject you gently because I’m worried that you’ll have a great big mooing cow if I just tell you flat out, ‘no’”

  9. blar says

    … No means Try Harder?

    Its the cutural tendency for men to assume that a woman is saying the opposite of what she means that is the problem. Sometimes people dont say what they mean. This does not mean that someone will not mean what they say.

    Also, maybe women would be more explicit and direct about what they wanted if there wasnt a disturbing tendency for the testosterone-addled male to get rapey and violent upon denial.

  10. didgen says

    Thank you Josh.

    Avicenna, I generally enjoy your blog, this one not so much. I understand what you were trying to say I think. No one contributes to their own rape. Ever. The decision to rape another person, to not stop when clear consent is not present, is solely the fault of the rapist. If you find yourself in a sexual situation with a partner that you believe is “playing hard to get”, then you are best served by realizing that that person is immature, and do them the favor of not indulging it.

  11. Akheloios says

    Above commenters have got into the meat of what is wrong with this post (all of the post tbh), but I’ll just add one thing. ‘No means No’ is for both people.

    By saying that men cannot control themselves and carry on with sex through some misguided idea of ‘No means Yes’ from magazines is to insult men just as much as you’ve just insulted women. If a woman uses a ‘No means Yes’ strategy, then they will soon learn that it doesn’t work when all normal, well adjusted, non-rapey partners always stop after hearing the ‘No’.

    Men can and will control themselves, and hearing ‘No’ is a real red flag.

  12. Sarah says

    To walk a mile in their shoes and to recognise that their fears (While IMHO are stupid) are based on genuine human experiences.

    The commenters above hit most of the points but I have to tell you that this hit me very wrong. This reads to me that while you may think you are walking a mile in my shoes (as a woman) that you aren’t really trying to understand those fears at all. By dismissing them as stupid you are failing to really empathize. As other said it’s not the case that I look at every man and think he’s a rapist. But I just don’t know.

    These “stupid” fears come from some very rational places too. From the fact that most men are both bigger and stronger than I am. From the encounters in very public places where a man became verbally abusive because I asked to be left alone, and no one else stepped in. From the fact that I have to always be hyper aware of my surroundings because that drink in my hand might have been tampered with (I’ve had bartenders take them away from me because they saw something fishy while my head was turned). From that friendly guy who became pushy when he caught me alone.

    And Avicenna…I don’t live in India where women are still viewed as chattel! After the many very good, very smart things you’ve written on that subject you really ought to be more aware that women all over the world do have damn good reasons for those fears.

  13. says

    Indeed, however I think I shouldn’t have blogged from the phone. It’s not a medium for this. I will have a better rewrite up in a few minutes.

  14. fantysq (a Radical Feminist and a Militant Atheist) says

    You drew parallels between wrong things. A woman in a male-supremacist society is not like security in the airport, she’s more like a brown guy in a white-supremacist society. Schroedinger’s rapist is nothing like Schroedinger’s terrorist and more like Schroedinger’s racist (if you live somewhere when you could get beaten or killed for being brown).

  15. Janothar says

    Similar to fantysq, my first reaction is that you have this entirely wrong on power dynamics. The treatment you get at the airport is wrong, and the Schrodinger’s Terrorist idea is wrong, in no small part because it is a tool for the powerful to use to oppress, it’s a viewpoint that is fundamentally racist. On the other hand, Schrodinger’s Rapist is a view of the oppressed towards their oppressor class (I say this being male, part of this oppressor/priviledged class). You’re conflating two things where the power dynamics are entirely different, and in doing so, you’ve put your foot firmly in your mouth.

  16. says

    “Some rape culture can be blamed on women too.”

    And that’s where I stopped reading, because you clearly do not understand the concept of “Schroedinger’s Rapist” and you continue to engage in victim-blaming.

    I was in no way “to blame” for my rapes and abuse. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been blamed for it — “If you hadn’t been in a relationship with him,” “if you had just left,” and so forth. How the fuck was I supposed to know beforehand that he would turn out to be a complete creeper?

    Now? Now I’m careful — I don’t assume any man is (or isn’t) a rapist or creeper, but I keep in mind that I cannot know, and therefore must watch out for myself.

    I’m sorry if that offends you, I am, but I’m tired of hearing crap out of otherwise good bloggers that does nothing but perpetuate the problem (and blame women for it).

  17. says

    Gah! I had a proper response!

    Right I have said as much but I fear that the medium of phone blogging is not conducive to me. I am prone to not thinking as I write and I often go back and re-read what I wrote to see if it is sensible or not.

    What I was trying to imply (@WMDKitty) was that some parts of rape culture are due to a bad habit. Playing hard to get is so intensely fraught with the capacity for communication error. That we have created a trope that playing hard to get works so people gain an often (especially in the case of India where the ideal romance often has young boys doing extremely stalkerish things because they are considered romantic for the same reason that crashing someone’s wedding and declaring your undying love in a goofy speech is considered romantic in western cinema. However as Indian kids have no actual dating advice? The movie advice is the one they take and it is not healthy advice)

    I didn’t think I was blaming victims, I was blaming a part of culture that encouraged women to think that saying no encourages men to be more romantic and men to think that no means “try harder”. This is something mainly entrenched in women’s literature (Men don’t play hard to get, women do) and it’s primarily encouraged by women to other women. It’s what i was aiming at.

    I don’t think I made it clear enough while I wrote that I hate the culture that encourages that sort of behaviour rather than the women involved in it.

    However I am saying this again, the post stays up because it showcases terrible writing that occurs if you don’t think about the stuff you write exactly and try and write on a device meant for short messages with little to no review.

  18. Jay says

    1.

    I really wish women didn’t feel like all men are rapists but they do feel threatened by us because of the behaviour of our gender.

    Can you provide some survey numbers so we can get an idea of how many women, where, ages, feel this way? Perhaps it is a problem that needs addressing. Perhaps it is not a problem that needs addressing. Perhaps it is a problem that needs addressing but Schrodinger’s Rapist is way over the top and not actually the appropriate way to address it. Shotguns and flies.

    2.

    For a generation we black folks have been the sexual scapegoats for white American filth in literature and lynching. Every time a black man commits a crime, the story is garnished and embellished by unbelievable sadism in order to make a beast out of the criminal. It is not enough that a black man robs or kills or fights. No! In addition to that, the world must be made to believe him a wild beast of such inconceivable and abnormal appetites that he turns from red force and white anger to filthy lust. No proof is asked for such incredible lies. -W.E.B DuBois: The Crisis, October 1930

  19. says

    Avicenna

    Ah. Thank you for clarifying.

    I agree that part of the problem is exactly that — women buy into (or are taught) that creepy behavior is “romantic”, and it’s presented as this big Thing, like, like… oh, look at Twilight! Edward stalks Bella, is obsessed with her scent, sneaks into her room to watch her sleep (super creepy!), uses her desire to become a vampire to manipulate her into marriage, goes halfway ’round the world “for her own good” (nearly driving her to suicide via cliff-diving), and all this is supposed to be “romantic”?!

    Or, hey, “Beauty and the Beast”. He behaves like, well, a beast, does things (keeps her captive, isolates her from family and friends, randomly rages at her over little things) that we would rightly consider abusive, and because she “loves him enough”, he changes from a beast into a man.

    Ultimately, I think we’re in agreement — the culture needs to change, end of.

  20. Jay says

    Right I have said as much but I fear that the medium of phone blogging is not conducive to me

    I am truly amazed and a bit in awe of what many people can do on their phones. It is a testament to the desire of people to communicate.

    Not me though, phone input is mostly torture.

  21. b1982028 says

    Can you please not trivialize women’s not showing their interest as ‘playing hard to get’? I’m sure that there are women who play hard to get — i.e., give ambiguous answers or half-hearted ‘no’s for the purpose of amusement or ego-inflation (or, according to Mr. Collins, ‘to increase [the man's] love by suspense’). There are good reasons for people (especially women) to say ‘no’ when they don’t quite mean it or to be a little ambiguous. Slut-shaming is the obvious one. For the less obvious one, think of how many people think that you can’t change your mind once you say yes, or how many times you’ve heard ‘it’s obviously just sex she regretted — she was all over him earlier’.

    If you want people (women, in this case) to say what they mean, first make it safe for them to do so. Listen when there is a ‘no’ or an ambiguous answer, and back off. Encourage others to do the same. Stop using the phrase ‘playing hard to get’, and discourage other people from using it.

    Basically, I won’t be blunt about whether or not I want to have sex/a relationship with someone until I’m convinced that they won’t beat me, rape me, or turn my friend group against me when I do. And because I don’t know who’s going to turn out to be the type of person who would do something awful until they do it, I’ve got a pretty high bar. (Huh. Lookit that. It’s Schrödinger’s rapist again!) If somebody thinks that I’m playing hard to get? That is their problem, not mine.

    [This might not make sense, because my brain isn't working right now.]

  22. says

    I think it’s important to acknowledge that Schrödinger’s Rapist ignores one fatal flaw in its concept: the fact that women are more likely to be raped by people they know, like family members, friends or acquaintances, than strangers on the street.

    It is therefore not feasible at all to make the suggestion that women should be on the lookout for strange men in case they might rape them. If women wants to take that precaution anyway that’s up to them, in fact I encourage it, but to make it out to be some undeniable fact is needless fearmongering. (I mean, this is not taking into consideration the name itself, “Schrödinger’s Rapist” which even though it’s called that doesn’t use the principles of the original experiment but uses its own definition. [That and the experiment was also supposed to be satirical.])

    The concept of Schrödinger’s Rapist was destroyed before it was even conceived, a lot to do with its author being incompetent and a lot to do with its author being delusional and paranoid. If you read that article and don’t get the sense that the author might be a bit loopy, that says more about you than it says about the supposed potential rapists it warns women about. There is no reason to put the fear into women that any man that approach them may be a potential rapist.

    If she should talk about it, she should at least have a good sense of the facts surrounding the issue and not talk out of her arse.

  23. says

    Schrodinger’s rapist is like Schrodinger’s cat. You don’t know till you open the box if the cat is dead or alive. You don’t know until the man rapes until he’s a rapist. This speaks to the fact that the only true commonality amongst rapists as a whole is that they rape. This goes to the whole concept that there are no “rules” that people (especially women) can follow that will guarantee that they are not raped.

  24. hjhornbeck says

    Pitchguest @23:

    I think it’s important to acknowledge that Schrödinger’s Rapist ignores one fatal flaw in its concept: the fact that women are more likely to be raped by people they know, like family members, friends or acquaintances, than strangers on the street.

    Er, Schrodinger’s Rapist asserts that you can’t tell a rapist from a non-rapist. It does not say “avoid strangers,” because that would imply you could tell rapists from non-rapists. You’re arguing against something you don’t even understand.

  25. ismenia says

    I want to give an example from experience. When I was about 19 I had a man sit next to me at a station on the London Underground. I was reading but he started talking to me. Now like all women I had been primed for years to be wary of being strange men. Now interrupting a stranger reading for no good reason is rude and I was a bit irritated but far to polite to show annoyance.

    We got on a train and were talking. He was going the same way and getting off a couple of stops before me. At a certain point he said, “So when are we going to see each other again?” (note the presumption), I said I did not want to see him again. He persisted over and over again for the whole journey. He was a big guy and overbearing. Being just 19 I wasn’t sure how to handle this situation. I did start to wonder what I would do if he did not get off at the stop he had told me he was going to and mentally planned to approach station staff if he followed me to my destination. I was very relieved when he got off the train.

    Now most likely he was not a rapist. But his attitude showed lack of respect for women, asking when not if I wanted to see him again and his badgering showed he does not like to take no for an answer. So from my perspective that behaviour was ringing alarm bells, even if I wasn’t conscious of the reasons why.

    The point of Schrodinger’s rapist is not to tell women to fear men, we are told that constantly from childhood anyway. It’s to tell men not to behave in a way that will make afraid. Unless you like the idea that the woman you’re chatting to on the train is mentally making a contigency plan in case you try to follow her home.

  26. Sarah says

    Er, Schrodinger’s Rapist asserts that you can’t tell a rapist from a non-rapist. It does not say “avoid strangers,” because that would imply you could tell rapists from non-rapists. You’re arguing against something you don’t even understand.

    This. It has nothing to do with stranger-danger. We are aware that men who are known to us are more likely to be a danger. But that population includes men we’ve known for an hour and men we’ve known for 20 years. It applies to all of them to a greater or lesser degree. And sometimes those we’ve chosen to trust are rapists. We just don’t know.

  27. mildlymagnificent says

    Playing hard to get?

    Most of the time women are playing for time, trying to work out whether or when or how a flat No might result in a physical assault or a sexual assault. They’re hoping that the man in question will take the hint from the negative body language and the non-committal words before they’re obliged to state the unequivocal No and risk the unpredictable consequences.

    Remember always the words of Margaret Atwood

    “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

  28. ischemgeek says

    @Pitchguest: It’s not the concept of Schrodinger’s rapist (i.e., that a given woman has no idea whether a given man is in the 4-8% of the male population that are rapists – see the article Josh cited) that makes women fear strangers. It’s the societal messaging we receive.

    Actually read the rape avoidance tips lists sometime. Be independent, don’t be alone. Be confident, be paranoid. Scream for help, don’t piss him off. Etc. The standard set for a victim to not be considered at fault is impossible to live up to, but the underlying message is: If rape happens, it’s your fault because you weren’t avoiding it well enough. Rapists are treated like immutable forces of nature that have no blame assigned to them. Even though they’re people who by-and-large make the conscious decision that I’m going to have sex with this person whether xie likes it or not.

    Since women don’t want to be victims of a crime for which they’ll be shamed, have their reputations dragged through the mud, and blamed for, and we’re told that any rape is our fault always (in a way that doesn’t happen for crimes that affect both genders equally or crimes that predominantly affect men – assault and mugging, for example), the necessary self-defense response is to become hypercautious. A Type I error means we offend someone. A Type II error means our lives are ruined. Given that situation, wouldn’t you want to stack the odds in favor of Type I errors over Type II?

    The answer is not to tell women that we’re being “paranoid” to act in accordance with that principle when it’s the only option that society gives us. The answer is to change society so that rape avoidance tips like these are replaced with ones like these. We should be putting the blame where it belongs.

  29. Klang says

    Avicenna, I don’t think the ‘Schrodinger’s terrorist’ thing is the same.

    All you are trying to do in that scenario is get on a plane whilst being brown. You shouldn’t have to put up with things that others do not because of the colour of your skin. There’s are strong arguments that profiling doesn’t work and that it’s just plain ol’ racism.

    Meanwhile, Schrodinger’s rapist isn’t saying to men “you have to put up with women being afraid of you at all times, no matter what you do”.
    It’s saying “when you interact with women, think carefully about how you do it and avoid being a creep, intimidating or even just mildly annoying. You might have good intentions but the woman doesn’t know that”.

    Schrodinger’s terrorist, which would apply equally to everyone, would advise “don’t talk about bombs or explosions whilst in an airport. You might only be joking but the security guards don’t know that”

  30. bradleybetts says

    @Pitchguest

    I think it’s important to acknowledge that Schrödinger’s Rapist ignores one fatal flaw in its concept: the fact that women are more likely to be raped by people they know, like family members, friends or acquaintances, than strangers on the street.

    Oh Christ, not this shit again. Look, you seem to think that Schroedinger’s Rapist is some sort of theory feminists have come up with to try and demonise all men as potential rapists. It isn’t. It a is a tool which is supposed to explain why women may be less than enthusiastic about your advances.

    Something actually happened to me the other week that will help me explain it, if you will indulge a quick anecdote. Basically, I was out with a few friends and we got chatting to a pair of ladies, both of whom were older than me (I’d say early to mid- thirties) but of an age with one of the guys I was with, who was getting on well with one of them. They came with us to a few other pubs, and her friend spent the night grabbing my arse, running her hands up the inside of my leg, and even putting her hands in my pockets. I was confused by the last one until someone at work this week quipped “It wasn’t your wallet she was going for”. She did this repeatedly despite me obviously not being interested and twice actually asking her to stop. That was irritating. Really fucking irritating. But my point is this: it was only ever irritating, because the whole time I knew that, short of slipping some sort of drug into my drink, there is no way that this skinny, 5’2″ lady would ever be able to overpower 6’2″, 13 1/2 stone me. For a woman in the same situation, I imagine it would not be irritating so much as bloody terrifying. If you take an average man and an average woman, the man will be bigger, heavier and stronger; and if that man decides to use force then there is almost nothing she can do about it.

    And that’s the point which you seem to be missing. Schroedinger’s rapist does not say that all men are potentially rapists, though it is sometimes phrased like that which is understandably insulting. I was insulted by it until I understood it better. Rather, it simply says that a woman does not know a man’s intentions, and due to the fact that he is capable of overpowering her if he should so wish means that she has to be more careful than a man in the same situation would have to be.

    So no, it’s not ignoring that statistic at all because that statistic is completely irrelevant to the concept which it is trying to explain.

  31. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    It is therefore not feasible at all to make the suggestion that women should be on the lookout for strange men in case they might rape them.

    SR would be garbage if it said that, but it doesn’t. At all. Pitchguest, there’s a very simple reason that you don’t understand the concept of SR. It’s not a message directed towards women to tell them what to do, it’s a message directed at men to tell them what not to do. Don’t be creepy, don’t be weird, don’t shout at women on the street or follow them on the subway, don’t corner them in elevators or ignore when they say no, because they don’t know if you’re a rapist or if you’re just pushy. I almost said “clueless”, but as others have said, minimizing threatening behavior by pawning it off as doofy cluelessness or being “socially awkward” is not helpful.

  32. says

    hjhornbeck:

    Er, Schrodinger’s Rapist asserts that you can’t tell a rapist from a non-rapist. It does not say “avoid strangers,” because that would imply you could tell rapists from non-rapists. You’re arguing against something you don’t even understand.

    *snerk* Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t say, “avoid strangers” then. Seems you’re arguing against something you haven’t even read correctly.

    Sarah:

    This. It has nothing to do with stranger-danger. We are aware that men who are known to us are more likely to be a danger. But that population includes men we’ve known for an hour and men we’ve known for 20 years. It applies to all of them to a greater or lesser degree. And sometimes those we’ve chosen to trust are rapists. We just don’t know.

    Let us say even if she would warn about the danger of men they’ve known for an hour or longer, it’s still fearmongering. But the tone of the article is not about the men they’ve known briefly or for longer periods of time, it’s about strange men. Specifically strange men that wants to know them romantically. So once again ignoring that it doesn’t follow the principles of Schrödinger correctly, if it is saying you don’t know a man is a rapist or not until they rape, then what good is it? What kind of timeline does it give? An hour, a week, a month, a year? Ten years? Twenty years?

    The answer? None of those things. It’s devoid of facts. No statistics, nothing. It exists for seemingly no other reason than to frighten women to walk the streets or with men who might be interested in them, telling them to always be on their guard for no good reason. It’s a failed concept, both factually and morally.

  33. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    Pitchguest, once again, SR is not talking to women. READ.

  34. says

    RahX:

    SR would be garbage if it said that, but it doesn’t. At all. Pitchguest, there’s a very simple reason that you don’t understand the concept of SR. It’s not a message directed towards women to tell them what to do, it’s a message directed at men to tell them what not to do. Don’t be creepy, don’t be weird, don’t shout at women on the street or follow them on the subway, don’t corner them in elevators or ignore when they say no, because they don’t know if you’re a rapist or if you’re just pushy. I almost said “clueless”, but as others have said, minimizing threatening behavior by pawning it off as doofy cluelessness or being “socially awkward” is not helpful.

    Yes, you are right. It is telling men what not to do. And it is not addressing men in general, it is addressing the supposed “good men”, the ones that doesn’t hate or dislike women, or would treat them disrespectfully. It also addressing the ones who would be interested in finding a woman to be with romantically, at which point they should follow the “simple steps” she offers.

    But indirectly, she’s saying this is what women suffers every day. Indirectly, she’s saying women fear from the advances of strange men knowing they might wish to rape them. In fact, this is a point she makes in the article, that women (plural) have this fear, not just her. Which is, when you take into consideration the omission of facts and statistics, making it extremely difficult for me to take her seriously. Not to mention that it’s very condescending to claim she’s addressing the so-called “good men”, but then feels the need to remind them not to rape.

    Moreover, if they are good men, why would they “shout at women in the street”, “corner them in elevators” or “ignore them when they say no”? It just sounds so nonsensical. And for the record, women aren’t as weak as she makes them sound. If I were a woman, I don’t think I would take too kindly to be infantilized in that manner.

  35. Sarah says

    Pitchguest, you’ve ignored several well thought out explanations of the concept in order to continue to argue against your strawman instead. Feel free, but that makes discussing it with you pretty pointless.

  36. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    Pitchguest, you’re fucking tedious.

    But indirectly, she’s saying this is what women suffers every day. Indirectly, she’s saying women fear from the advances of strange men knowing they might wish to rape them.

    It’s only a “fear” in the way that you “fear” burglars so you lock your house up when you leave. You’re continuing to mischaracterize a statement of skepticism and self-preservation into one where a woman is trying to terrorize all other women into being DEATHLY AFRAID OF TEH MENZ. That is not what SR is doing whatsoever and you know it, and you keep refusing to listen to all the people telling you, including lots of women, that SR both accurately describes their life experiences and that it’s useful. You’ve had stories told to you, by men, that they were insulted at what they thought SR was saying until they understood it. You keep on deliberately misunderstanding so you can keep flailing at what you want SR to mean. Stop.

    Which is, when you take into consideration the omission of facts and statistics, making it extremely difficult for me to take her seriously.

    Dismissing the myriad statements of women and hyperskepticism. That’s not new.

    Not to mention that it’s very condescending to claim she’s addressing the so-called “good men”, but then feels the need to remind them not to rape.

    Even “good men” can have misconceptions about what rape is and isn’t. I know from first-hand experience that the guy who raped my friend several years ago thought that what he was doing was fine, that he was ” a good guy”. Reminding men of what things like “consent” and “respecting boundaries” are is not condescending since apparently they don’t all know. Also, given that even you admit that rapes are committed most often by friends, family, and acquaintances, the supposed “good guys” in contrast to the fictional Stranger Rapist in the Bushes, reminding them about those things is actually pretty fucking useful.

    And for the record, women aren’t as weak as she makes them sound. If I were a woman, I don’t think I would take too kindly to be infantilized in that manner.

    OMFG, now we’ve circled around to more of the “feminists are the REAL sexists!!!” shit. I told you you were fucking tedious.

  37. says

    bradleybetts:

    Oh Christ, not this shit again. Look, you seem to think that Schroedinger’s Rapist is some sort of theory feminists have come up with to try and demonise all men as potential rapists. It isn’t. It a is a tool which is supposed to explain why women may be less than enthusiastic about your advances.

    It’s a theory authored by a radical feminist, so in that respect I guess you could call it *a* feminist theory. But if you want to call it a tool, allow me to laugh in your face and just to illustrate why I would laugh in your face, let me recount why Edwin Schrödinger devised his original thought experiment. Let’s go back in time, to 1935 when the experiment was first concocted. This was the infancy of quantum mechanics/theory and in one instance of quantum mechanics, there was the principle of superposition; that something physical—like an electron—could be in two states at once but only when it’s measured or observed will correspond to only one of the two states. Edwin Schrödinger thought this was pure nonsense and therefore devised a thought experiment to disprove it—or at least to show how ridiculous it was.

    Enter Schrödinger’s Cat. The experiment was to put a cat in a box, a geiger counter and a radioactive isotope. If the radioactive substance should decay even a little, it would trigger a hammer that would shatter the vial and kill the cat. Now here comes the ‘burlesque’ that Schrödinger wished to illustrate. The observer cannot know whether the cat in the box is dead or alive, so according to quantum superposition the cat is both dead and alive at the same time. Which is, of course, nonsense. But what makes it even more nonsensical is that the experiment doesn’t even require human observation for the cat to differentiate between the two states, as that’s what the geiger counter is for.

    So if we’re to apply the principle of Schrödinger to “Schrödinger’s Rapist”, the would-be rapist would be a rapist and not a rapist at the same time, but it wouldn’t require human observation to know which is which. Do you see why I laugh in your face? The author of the original experiment, Schrödinger, thought the concept was bunk and thus to co-opt an experiment which purpose is to show a concept is bunk, would infer that her concept is also bunk. Phaedra Starling clearly didn’t think too much about the name or she misunderstood, as many of you have done, the principle of the original experiment. (Obviously she should’ve called it “Pascal’s Rapist” or “Occam’s Rapist”. C’est la vie.)

    And that’s the point which you seem to be missing. Schroedinger’s rapist does not say that all men are potentially rapists, though it is sometimes phrased like that which is understandably insulting. I was insulted by it until I understood it better. Rather, it simply says that a woman does not know a man’s intentions, and due to the fact that he is capable of overpowering her if he should so wish means that she has to be more careful than a man in the same situation would have to be.

    So no, it’s not ignoring that statistic at all because that statistic is completely irrelevant to the concept which it is trying to explain.

    It is very much, in clear text, saying that any man is potentially a rapist. It’s the same thing when Greg Laden wrote that all men have a “rape switch.”

    But I’m not saying that women shouldn’t ever take precautions if they want to, just that it’s unnecessarily fostering that fear — and escalating it — with no good reason for it. That’s the problem I have with Schrödinger’s Rapist.

  38. Klang says

    It is very much, in clear text, saying that any man is potentially a rapist. It’s the same thing when Greg Laden wrote that all men have a “rape switch.”

    SIgh. No, no it really, really isn’t the same thing at all. It is saying any man is potentially a rapist from the point of view of someone else – in the sense that anyone can be anything and other people cannot know.

    When you put your bank card into a cash machine, the person behind you is potentially a PIN thief or a mugger. So if you’re that person queuing behind then it’s polite and considerate to leave some space between them and the person at the machine. Obviously, you are not going to do anything. But they don’t know that.

    This is not the same as saying every person has a ‘mugging’ switch.

  39. Klang says

    But I’m not saying that women shouldn’t ever take precautions if they want to, just that it’s unnecessarily fostering that fear — and escalating it — with no good reason for it. That’s the problem I have with Schrödinger’s Rapist.

    For fuck’s sake, SR is not about telling women to be afraid. It is not.

    My girlfriend came off a train to meet me shaking with a mix of fear and anger the other week because a guy wouldn’t leave her alone and kept talking to her on board. He wasn’t aggressive particularly but was getting more and more unpleasant as my gf didn’t want to speak to him.

    The guy was probably not going to do anything. But she didn’t know that for sure. He probably just thought he was being assertive and doing the alpha-male hunter thing. Letting men know that they shouldn’t pressure women and should leave them alone when they ask to be left alone is *not* escalating fear.

  40. hjhornbeck says

    Klang @42:

    For fuck’s sake, SR is not about telling women to be afraid. It is not.

    This. Do you have a lock on your door because you fear thieves, or because it’s sound risk management? Do you put a seatbelt on when you drive because you fear accidents, or because it’s sound risk management? Do you have insurance because you fear fire, or because it’s sound risk management?

    If you are a woman, are you somewhat on guard around men because you’re afraid of rapists, or because it’s sound risk management? If you are a man, should you be offended that women are on guard around you? If so, why are you not offended by insurance, seat-belts, or locks?

  41. Rodney Nelson says

    I see that Pitchguest not only doesn’t understand Schrödinger’s Rapist, he doesn’t understand Schrödinger’s Cat.

    The point of Schrödinger’s Cat is that while the cat knows whether it’s dead or not, the observer outside the closed box doesn’t. The only way the observer can know the condition of the cat is to open the box. Similarly, the only way a woman knows if a man is a rapist or not is if the man rapes or doesn’t rape.

    It is very much, in clear text, saying that any man is potentially a rapist.

    Most men aren’t rapists but the woman doesn’t know which men are and which aren’t except by their actions.

    It’s the same thing when Greg Laden wrote that all men have a “rape switch.”

    No it’s not. Schrödinger’s Rapist doesn’t have a rape switch where sometimes he’s a rapist and sometimes he isn’t. Rather the WOMAN doesn’t know if a man is a rapist or not.

  42. ralphwiggam says

    “you cannot tell the difference between hard to get and no” because there is no difference. They both mean exactly the same thing. No sex.

  43. Pitchguest says

    Rodney Nelson:

    I see that Pitchguest not only doesn’t understand Schrödinger’s Rapist, he doesn’t understand Schrödinger’s Cat.

    The point of Schrödinger’s Cat is that while the cat knows whether it’s dead or not, the observer outside the closed box doesn’t. The only way the observer can know the condition of the cat is to open the box. Similarly, the only way a woman knows if a man is a rapist or not is if the man rapes or doesn’t rape.

    I don’t understand the *burlesque* thought experiment that Edwin Schrödinger concocted to mock quantum superposition. I’m glad you told me this, Rodney. Unfortunately, though, if you recall, I didn’t say anything about the CAT knowing whether it is dead or alive, I said it didn’t require *human observation* to find out whether the cat is alive or dead because (and read this very carefully this time) that is what the geiger counter is for. Quantum superposition was the principle that something physical, like an electron, before it was observed *or measured* (very important distinction) could inhabit two states at once.

    But Edwin Schrödinger thought it was curious why it required a *human* to observe or measure the state of the electron, whereupon it would fall upon either of the two states it inhabited, when something else could measure or observe it just as well. Hence the geiger counter, because it would *measure* (the radiation of) the state of the cat. That was the point of Schrödinger’s Cat.

    However, for “Schrödinger’s Rapist” I see nothing that suggests it attempts to ridicule a concept where a subject inhabits two states at the same time, but rather pretends to be a legitimate original experiment for the purpose of exposing rapists in our midst. Or rather, to “inform” good men how to not act like rapists or in such a way that women thinks they’re rapists. Either way, it’s nonsense and the idea should have been discarded the moment it was published. Then again, SCUM Manifesto, Rape Culture 101, Patriarchy Theory, Feminism 101, etc, etc. In the face of those odds, it was unlikely to disappear.

    Most men aren’t rapists but the woman doesn’t know which men are and which aren’t except by their actions.

    … No it’s not. Schrödinger’s Rapist doesn’t have a rape switch where sometimes he’s a rapist and sometimes he isn’t. Rather the WOMAN doesn’t know if a man is a rapist or not.

    Logically if all men have a rape switch, even our purely hypothetical and mythical “Schrödinger’s Rapist” would have one – but I digress.

    So women don’t know whether men are rapists or not? So? Guess what? Neither do other men. That’s why it’s a useless concept, it’s platitude upon platitude. That is part of the reason why Schrödinger didn’t take his thought experiment seriously, because if he treated it as something that deserved even a modicum of scientific inquiry, it would defeat the purpose of concocting it in the first place.

    The men women should be on guard for that might be rapists, might also be thieves, murderers, decent human beings or none of the above. I say if women want to take safety precautions when they go outside, by all means do. But if they want to take safety precautions and then go on about strange men that might want to rape them whenever they do (despite the statistical improbability), I might begin to think it’s less science and more sensationalism.

    The statistics say that women are more likely to be raped by people they know, mostly by men, and men raped mostly by other men. Not commonly from strangers, but family, friends, acquaintances, so on. The statistics on the amount of women raped by strangers versus the amount of men raped by strangers are in the same ballpark, but men usually being the assailants for both. So you’re not going to get a denial that strange men rape strange women, that it’s not possible or extremely rare; it’s not, it’s just rare and I’m going by the numbers.

    However, in contrast, the amount of men murdered by strangers strongly outweigh the amount of women murdered by strangers (usually also the assailants on both being men). But even here, statistics show that men and women murdered are commonly by people they know and not from complete strangers. Therefore, if we’re to go by the logic of Phaedra Starling, women on the street should be on guard for men because they might be rapists, but men should be on guard for other men because they might be murderers? Right? Because while women may be in danger of rape more often than men, men are more often in danger of being murdered and you *just don’t know.* So which sensationalist storyline are we supposed to go with here? Or should we just say it’s all bullshit and call it a day?

    Fake edit: I’m trying to find the page of statistics where I found this out originally. (Not from hack website, if you must know. Results gathered by the CIA, FBI or whatever; I remember posting it somewhere else, just need to find it again.

    In the meantime, there is this:

    https://www.ncjrs.gov/ovc_archives/reports/help_series/pdftxt/sexualassaultvictimization.txt

    Explaining the disparity of “stranger rape” vs. “aquaintance rape.” I’ll find the other one.

  44. Pitchguest says

    hjhornbeck:

    This. Do you have a lock on your door because you fear thieves, or because it’s sound risk management? Do you put a seatbelt on when you drive because you fear accidents, or because it’s sound risk management? Do you have insurance because you fear fire, or because it’s sound risk management?

    If you are a woman, are you somewhat on guard around men because you’re afraid of rapists, or because it’s sound risk management? If you are a man, should you be offended that women are on guard around you? If so, why are you not offended by insurance, seat-belts, or locks?

    Are you suggesting that women should constantly be on their guard around strange men? Are you suggesting that men should constantly be on their guard around other strange men, in case they might be viscious murderers? Not particularly healthy if you ask me. Why not give them the benefit of the doubt? Is that a privileged position? Because I can assure you, while I am a white, straight male, other white, straight males with a tendency to rape or murder, should they have the urge to commit any of those things, would probably not consider my gender, race or ethnicity before proceeding with their heinous act.

    And seeing as I am a man, the probability that I would end up dead is higher than it would be had I been a woman.

    Now I wouldn’t suggest either of these things, to be honest, because to me it fosters a atmosphere of fear. On both sides, I might add, women to be around men, and men to be around women. And since Ms. Starling has been so kind (or unkind, depending on how you look at it) to neglect showing contrary data to her findings, *like* how women are more likely to be raped by people they know than strangers, and as an interesting aside that men are more likely to be murdered than women, it seems as though she has either an axe to grind or wrote it with the singular purpose to create drama.

    Moreover, not to mention that none of this has any similarity to “sound risk management.” The reason seatbelts were invented was to reduce the amount of casualties resulting from car crashes, getting ejected from the car at great speed, or damages resulting in neck and back due to the “whiplash.” Locks was designed to prevent other people from entering your stuff, your car, your house, your business, and insurance to reduce costs. That’s all “sound risk management.” But being on guard around all men, because you think they might be rapists or murderers? That isn’t “sound risk management,” that’s lunacy. You might as well say they’re aliens or reptilians, or those things from “They Live” – you just don’t know. And ain’t that the truth.

  45. bradleybetts says

    @Pitchguest

    Yes, thank you, you patronising fuck, I’m aware of the method and the theory behind Schroedinger’s Cat. The name Schroedinger’s Rapist alludes to the fact that, much like you could not know for certain whether or not the cat was dead (which was the point of the experiment, Schroedinger’s point being it had to be one or the other and the mere fact you didn’t know which didn’t mean that it was both; a fact you seem to have missed in your comparison between SC and SR) a woman does not know whether or not a man is a rapist. It really is quite a simple analogy and the fact you can’t understand it says quite a lot about you.

    And no, in “clear text” or not it does not say all men are potentially rapists. That is a flawed and oversimplified explanation offered up by those with a flawed understanding of the concept which you adhere to rigidly because it suits your agenda.

    The facts of the matter are these:

    -a woman does not know if a man is a rapist or not
    -a man is perfectly capable of overpowering a woman if he so chooses
    [] a woman must be more on her guard around strange men than a man must be around strange women

    It really is very, very simple. If you can’t understand it then you are, quite frankly, an idiot.

  46. says

    I don’t agree with your comparison of this analogy with your experience with racial profiling. The difference lies in that when you were racially profiled, your body and space and identity was violated by outside forces when you tried to engage in normal travel activities, and it was horrible and I’m sorry that it happened to you. However, when you approach a woman in a public space, that is not something you *have* to do to get through your day. A woman is not going to frisk you or even be rude to you, she is just sitting there being a woman. She does not owe you conversation or a smile or a date. In the case of racial profiling, you *are* entitled to fly without a cavity search, that’s a basic human expectation. I am also entitled to ride a bus without fear that if I say “no” to the stranger asking for my number that he will follow me home from my stop (at worst) or yell some obscenities at me(at best). That’s the difference, the benefit of the doubt is not an entitlement you get from strange women who don’t know you. Why should we compromise our own safety? So you can feel better about yourself? So you can flirt with us? So your feelings aren’t hurt?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>