Rape Prevention Aimed At Rapists Does Work: The “Don’t Be That Guy” Campaign


Content alert (obviously): rape, rape apology, victim-blaming

“Sure, in a perfect world, you could aim rape prevention efforts at potential rapists. But that’s never going to work. Rapists are sociopaths, beyond the reach of persuasion or reason. You’re never going to convince them. So it’s totally reasonable to aim rape prevention efforts at potential rape victims, and teaching them how not to be raped.”

Every time a discussion of rape happens, it’s a sure bet that the conversation will eventually turn to what the victim could have done differently. Even when the specific topic at hand is rape culture, and the ways that sexism and misogyny and sexual shame and entitlement and attitudes about masculinity and other toxic elements of the culture can make rape more likely and less likely to be punished… the conversation will eventually get turned to “what should rape victims do to keep from being raped.” Even when the topic at hand is ways that rape victims routinely get blamed for their rapes, the conversation will still eventually get turned to “what should rape victims to to keep from being raped.” And when this happens, and when people speak out against it, it’s almost certain that someone will say, “But that’s not part of rape culture! That’s just practical common sense! We want people to not get raped — and telling likely targets of rape how to keep themselves safe is the only effective way to do that!” (As happened in this comment thread. [UPDATE: Forgot to include the link. Here it is.])

I don’t ever want to hear this again. Not just because it’s part of the exact victim-blaming rape culture we’re talking about. Not just because this business of rapists being just a handful of sociopaths — as opposed to active members of society who you might know — is bullshit. I don’t want to hear it again… because it’s just flatly not true.

just because she isn't saying no anti-rape posterHave you heard about the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign in Edmonton?

The “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign is a public service rape prevention campaign launched in Edmonton in 2010, and adopted by other cities in Canada, which took the radical step of aiming its message, not at potential rape victims, but at potential rapists. It took the radical step of educating potential rapists about what rape actually is. It recognized the role that alcohol commonly plays in rape — and it educates potential rapists that having sex with someone who doesn’t consent, or who is too drunk to consent, or who is passed out and therefore unable to consent, is rape.

The campaign didn’t target the stereotypical media image of rapists, the drooling psychopaths springing on suspects in a dark alley with a knife. It targeted ordinary folks, frat boys and partiers and bar-hoppers and folks who just like to toss a few back now and then… who have been brought up in a culture that teaches that drunkenness equals consent. It was influenced by a study out of the U.K. showing that 48 percent of men ages 18 to 25 did not consider it rape if the women was too drunk to know it was happening. And it teaches them that no: drunkenness does not equal consent, being stoned does not equal consent, being passed out does not equal consent. It had slogans like, “Just because she isn’t saying no… doesn’t mean she’s saying yes.” “Just because you help her home… doesn’t mean you get to help yourself.” “Just because she’s drunk doesn’t mean she wants to f**k.” It had slogans on every poster saying, “Sex without consent = sexual assault.”

just because you help her home anti-rape posterAnd the campaign has been so successful, the number of reported sexual assaults in Vancouver fell by 10 per cent.

I’m going to say that again, since it’s the big take-home message from this piece: A rape prevention campaign targeted at potential rapists rather than potential victims was launched… and the number of reported sexual assaults fell by 10 per cent.

Yes, I know. Correlation doesn’t equal causation. But this is a dramatic drop in a very short time, with no other obvious causative factors. The Edmonton police are so convinced of the campaign’s effectiveness that they’re bringing it back, with new posters (one of which focuses on male victims of same-sex rape)… and other cities around Canada want in on the action.

just because she's drunk anti-rape posterI would like to point something out: This wasn’t a years-long or decades-long effort to radically change the culture’s attitudes about sexual consent. This wasn’t a years-long or decades-long effort to radically change the culture’s attitudes about sexism and misogyny and sexual shame and entitlement and attitudes about masculinity and so on. This was a one-shot public service campaign: a series of posters distributed in bars, nightclubs, transit stations and campus facilities. And it still had the apparent result of reducing the rate of rape by 10%.

Think of what we could do if we did more than just launch a public service campaign.

Think of what we could do if we did take part in a years-long or decades-long effort to radically change the culture’s attitudes about sexual consent.

As was pointed out in the recent conversation here (can’t find the exact comment, sorry): It’s completely reasonable to think that culture has an effect on rates of rape. Rates of rape are different in different cultures. Why is it so irrational to think that changing the culture might reduce the rates of rape?

People changed their culture’s attitudes about slavery. About lynching. About women’s right to vote. About the Ku Klux Klan. About same-sex marriage.

Why is it so irrational to think that we could change our culture’s attitudes about rape?

Comments

  1. rocko2466 says

    Hi. I don’t think people are saying it is irrational to say that we could change our culture’s attitudes about rape, it’s that people are saying that it’s not our culture’s attitudes about rape that is the problem.

  2. huntstoddard says

    There’s a consistent confusion that many men have around women and alcohol, which is why I think this campaign has worked. I do think that many men interpret the fact that a woman “lets down her hair” and gets drunk around them as a green light of sorts, and disabusing them of that notion is a very good idea. Of course, some rapists really are sociopaths, and the campaign is probably going to have very little effect on them. It’s like the difference between a more or less honest person who decides to not report income vs. the actual, premeditated tax evader. If a man spends his days obsessing over women, stalking them, planning how to get them alone, he is a premeditated criminal rapist. That man is not going to be swayed by public information.

  3. says

    Love this kind of campaign! When I was at Colorado State University, they had a similar campaign in the dorms, I dont know how effective it was there because it was only really visible in the dorms, and even then it was only one or two posters per dorm complex, but I hope it had some kind of effect.

    One thing that always kinda bugs me though is where do you draw the line at how drunk is too drunk to consent. Obviously passed out drunk is too far, but the way it was presented to me when I was at CSU was that if they are over the limit to drive they are too drunk to consent. Considering that Colorado has a limit of .05% vs the normal .08% this can mean not having had much to drink at all, maybe one to two drinks according to quick BAC estimations. I realize there’s no way to eliminate all the grey areas in life, but this does seem like a judgment call that has some pretty big consequences that is likely to be made when the guy has most likely also been drinking (obviously no excuse, but does decrease ones ability to make good judgments).

    Which brings me to the other thing I always wonder about on this is what about when its a mostly sober woman and a very drunk guy. A big reason I wonder about this is because at one point I had an encounter with a girl in a friends basement that I didnt exactly say no to, but afterwards she literally had to drag me up the stairs because I was too drunk to climb them on my hands and knees. I dont feel like it was exactly a sexual assault, but I was definitely a bit squeged out the next morning (also almost ended my relationship with my then girlfriend now wife because I couldn’t not tell her). I recognize that if the genders had been reversed it would almost certainly have been considered sexual assault or worse, but as is even I cant seem to think of it like that. Is that a problem? Because I really dont know.

  4. Greta Christina says

    One thing that always kinda bugs me though is where do you draw the line at how drunk is too drunk to consent.

    travisdykes @ #3: I like what Rebecca Watson had to say about that: If you’re not sure whether your partner is too drunk to consent, then err on the side of not being a rapist. The harm done by not having sex with them if they were sober enough to consent is that you didn’t have sex. The harm done by having sex with them if they weren’t sober enough to consent is that you raped them.

    As to the question of your own experience: I’m so sorry you went through that. I’m not a sexual assault counselor, so I may not be the best person to ask this of. But there’s two main things I would say. One is that, as the victim in this situation, you get to decide whether it crossed the line into assault. (You don’t necessarily get to draw the legal line, but IMO you get to draw the moral line.)

    The other thing I would say is that I think you’re not the only man who’s experienced this, and who’s experienced it as troubling at best and as sexual assault at worst… but who had a hard time thinking of it that way. I think our culture doesn’t take those situations seriously, or recognize them as sexual assault or rape: our culture sees it as something of a joke, if it even acknowledges it at all. It’s like I keep saying, and like a lot of us keep saying: Sexism and gender stereotyping hurt everyone. Men, women, people who don’t fall into a gender binary… everyone.

  5. says

    Travisdykes- the genders don’t need to be reversed for that to certainly be considered sexual assault (or, worse). The notion of “It’s rape when it’s a sober man on a drunk woman” is descriptive, not prescriptive. It’s rape when one person is too drunk to consent and the other(s) takes advantage of that, whether they realize they’re taking advantage or whether they intend to do so or not. That’s regardless of genders involved.

    On that note, particularly the “whether or not they realize they’re taking advantage of someone” part, this is fantastic. If it weren’t 5am I may have just squeed when I read “10 percent.” That is just awesome. And I have a feeling that the effect was two-fold; On one hand, it gave the message to the legitimately unaware that people cannot consent while drunk, and on the other it let the others who know that, and take advantage of it, know that that was not acceptable.

    Hell, maybe even threefold. Because it also let people know that if they rape someone who is drunk, that “But she was drinking so its her fault!” wasn’t being found acceptable any more.

    I’m loving the expansion too. Particularly the part that if someone changes their mind, it’s still rape. There’s too much of a narrative that a “yes” once is a “yes” always. I’d love to see it expanded even further, too, perhaps to include how what someone wears doesn’t equal consent, and how marrying/dating someone doesn’t equal consent (though that’s partly covered by the “Changing his/her mind” poster).

  6. says

    It’s really simple, if you think that she could say no then you do not do it. And if she tells you no, at any time, you stop immediately. Anything else just makes it too complex and open to abuse. There no excuse at all, ever for rape. Learn, understand and accept this. No, shut up, just accept this as fact.

  7. khms says

    @5 Grimalkin:

    And I have a feeling that the effect was two-fold; On one hand, it gave the message to the legitimately unaware that people cannot consent while drunk, and on the other it let the others who know that, and take advantage of it, know that that was not acceptable.

    Hell, maybe even threefold. Because it also let people know that if they rape someone who is drunk, that “But she was drinking so its her fault!” wasn’t being found acceptable any more.

    Yet another effect: it tells the drunk people who wake up and realize what happened, yes, that actually is rape, you actually can press charges for this. It’s not just a “you were stupid, you deserve what you got” situation.

    And if you really want to get into telling victims to be more careful, it can even do that, without going out and saying it: it describes known dangerous situations, so potential victims could conceivably react by changing their behaviour to avoid the situations or at least diminish the danger involved. Mind you, I’m not saying they should, it’s just a pretty much unavoidable side effect from potential victims seeing the ads that some of them will start thinking along those lines.

    ——————————————————–

    One other thing I wanted to mention (and really, I want to just shortly mention this, please don’t make it into a big discussion derailing the original thread): the victim blaming is definitely not restricted to rape. For example, I remember hearing pretty much every year how tourists in foreign countries really have to pay rather ridiculous amounts of attention to their luggage, cameras, and so on, if they ever expect to see a cent from their insurance when stuff gets stolen. Or I remember there was (many years ago by now) a judge saying that a driver who collided with a train, in fog, really should have stopped, got out of his car, and put his ear to the rail and listen for coming trains. Or lots of stuff about how to secure your doors … it’s pretty much universal to tell victims they really should have done X (or not done it) to help avoid whatever happened to them. How do you decide where to draw the line between reasonable precautions and victim blaming? Unfortunately, it’s not obvious.

  8. StevoR, fallible human being says

    *Greta* that is, always seem to make that typo. It suits you tho’. Coz you are one great blogger. Thankyou.

  9. rq says

    A friend of mine on Facebook recently posted a photo with requisite caption listing ways a woman can avoid being raped, supposedly adapted from a set of characteristics that rapists supposedly admitted to looking for in their potential victims, and I am now going to reply to her with this post, because I did not know what else to say. Thank you for this!

  10. 2ndserve says

    I’ll be really interested in seeing more data come out of things like this. Most people know better. I’ve seen it in bar/party situations where men “protect” their inebriated female friends. I did the same when I was young.

    I’ve read comments on Rebecca’s blog and it seemed too many were making this way to difficult. I read too many hypotheticals that don’t really fit reality and ignore the responsibility of the person desiring sex. If you are willing to get to know someone well enough to have sex with them, it is you’re responsibility to also get to know them well enough to know they are of sound enough mind to consent.

    If we recognize that some are ignorant (still responsible, but ignorant) of this without being full blown sociopaths, than a campaign like this makes tons of sense. It also puts the responsibility squarely on the potential perp. It also raises awareness of associates, giving them the knowledge and ammunition to say, “What the fuck are you doing?”

    Having not drank heavy or spent much time in bars for a long time, I hadn’t given this much/any thought. Thanks to the recent attention, my awareness has been raised.

  11. opposablethumbs says

    This is brilliant. I just contacted the National Union of Students in the UK, linking the SAVE site and asking if they would consider encouraging Students’ Unions at the UK universities to look at this campaign. (they probably know all about it, but worth it just in case they don’t!)

    Thank you for this, it’s so good to see!

  12. huntstoddard says

    Yet another effect: it tells the drunk people who wake up and realize what happened, yes, that actually is rape, you actually can press charges for this. It’s not just a “you were stupid, you deserve what you got” situation.

    There are going to be the inevitable legal cases which will appear to foul the process, which I don’t think should prevent the overall establishment of “drunk rape.” For instance, there will be case where both parties are falling down drunk, both waking the next morning feeling bad about what happened, both thinking they might have been taken advantage of, etc. Then of course, there will be the defense against the party charging drunk rape where the other merely claims to also be equivalently inebriated, without witnesses to either confirm or deny this, as a dishonest defense against their actions. The legal problem here is that a drunk victim is by definition a lousy witness in court, without other corroborating sober witnesses–not so much in terms of what happened to him or her, but about the state of the alleged rapist. I suppose you could take the extraordinary measure to forbid or outlaw all sex while drunk, either or both parties. In other words, “let’s get drunk and screw” will no longer be an option.

  13. Cass M says

    3rd prong – ensuring person knows it was rape is very important. This poster group informs people of Canadian law as pertains to sexual assault. Everyone is used to living in a USian cyber world where horrors like that football team happens. It discourages reporting when the victim is supported by law. Canadian law forbids revictimizing be exploring sexual history and, like domestic assault, the police can bring forward charges. The gender/orientation is irrelevant. Unfortunately trans inclusion is at the provincial and there is always the possibility of abuse but overall it seems reasonable.

  14. Ysanne says

    at one point I had an encounter with a girl in a friends basement that I didnt exactly say no to, but afterwards she literally had to drag me up the stairs because I was too drunk to climb them on my hands and knees.[…] but I was definitely a bit squeged out the next morning.

    And here we go with the ambiguity of understatement.
    If “didn’t exactly say no” is an euphemism for “was happy and enthusiastic to participate even though in a corner of my mind I knew that this is not a good idea by rational standards”, and “squeged out” means “in hindsight I wish I would’ve done the rational thing”, then it’s poor judgement by drinking.
    If “didn’t exactly say no” means “didn’t want to go ahead but was too drunk to manage a ‘no'”, and “squeged” is “feeling that something was done against my will”, then it’s sexual assault. Maybe not intentionally — the assumption that any guy wants sex at any opportunity is quite common, so she might even have thought she’s doing you a favour.
    This is actually an prime example of how even in seemingly obvious situations it’s a good idea to communicate clearly and explicitly about consent, instead of just assuming it implicitly.

  15. says

    I’ve written before about the futility of “Don’t rape.” The slogans saying “Don’t teach women how to avoid being raped; teach men not to rape” have always seemed beside the point, because “Don’t rape” says nothing to a person who doesn’t consider himself a potential rapist. This I like. This is explaining what rape is to the people who need to hear it, so that they know not to do it.

    I think it’s easy to get tripped up on how obvious it should be that you shouldn’t, for example, have sex with someone who passed out drunk at a party. Yes, it should certainly be obvious– but it isn’t. People who aren’t psychopaths apparently have difficulty understanding this, and they need to be taught. A poster campaign is a good start. Let’s have more of them, and let’s have more than that.

  16. A Hermit says

    As part of my martial arts career I occasionally taught a women’s self defense course; lots of talk about awareness and avoidance and how not to get attacked along with the proper technique for stuff like gouging an eye.

    I also taught my sons to respect women.

    I’ve always thought the latter was more important.

  17. B says

    I think the messaging has important distinctions.

    People like me would say, “Well, Duh!” to a statement like “just because she is drunk doesn’t mean she wants to fuck”.
    Though there are people that may seem like rational folk that would say “Oh, that’s what they mean.”…and it may, and if the 10% drop is true, it would seem effective.

    I ask myself the question “Why”?

    It would seem to me that those that don’t have the judgement to understand that statement have the freedom to understand it without being criminalized prior to having actually done anything criminal!
    I would suggest an experiment to see if I am correct.

    1. Get statistics in about 9 different areas of the country on rape reports, make sure the data is clean for a good baseline.
    2. In three areas, post the “Just because she is drunk, doesn’t mean she wants to fuck”. campaign and measure the after effects.
    3. In three areas, run a campaign with “Don’t Rape” and measure the after effects.
    4. In three areas, don’t run a campaign as a control.

    My prediction?
    #2 will show results, as possibly demonstrated above
    #3 will not show results. (possibly negative results)
    #4 will show normal statistical background fluctuation

    When it comes to changing thoughts of people and encouraging different ways of thinking, messaging and the words used, does in fact matter, on average.

  18. Ganner says

    People have this naive notion that the world is made up of “good people” and “bad people.” You see it in the comments Greta mentioned: “rapists are sociopaths, good people already know not to rape.” You see it in the gun debate, “Taking away guns from the good people won’t keep the bad people from getting them and doing bad things.” You see it in racism and sexism debates: if you point out a gender or racial bias in an institution or event, people’s response is to act like you’re calling them “bad people.” They are good people, they can’t possibly have contributed to sexism or racism. Sexists and racists are evil bad people, not anything like ME. Pay attention and you’ll see this fallacy everywhere. People don’t like shades of gray. People don’t like the idea that people can be kind of good and kind of bad. People don’t like the idea that good people can make bad decisions and do a bad thing. People don’t like that good people can be blind to the fact that they’re doing bad things. This “good person/bad person” fallacy is something that I think should be paid more attention to and broken down by skeptics, because I believe it hinders our progress in numerous different areas.

  19. says

    I wonder what would be required to bring this campaign to Seattle. Who to contact for permission to use extant materials, who to contact for local partnerships, that sort of thing. I’m ready to put up some of my own money for this, and I suspect that finding backers would not be difficult.

  20. BradC says

    So on one level, as several people have already mentioned, these posters seem to be an effective way to help inform people who might not understand consent, or who don’t know Canadian law, etc.

    But I think some of the comments here are underestimating the effectiveness this can have even in situations where “predators” are deliberately taking advantage of drunk women. I think the messages can be effective, even in those situations:

    1. The more that people become aware of the messages in these posters, the more likely that bystanders would intervene in situations that appear skeezy.

    2. The more that people become aware of the messages in these posters, the more likely that a victim may realize that they were actually sexually assaulted, instead of thinking they just “got drunk and went too far”

    3. The more that people become aware of the messages in these posters, the less effective a “but she was drunk and asking for it” defense would be (at least in the court of public opinion, and eventually perhaps even to police/investigators and to the courts? Here’s hoping, anyway.)

    4. The more that people become aware of the messages in these posters, the less reason a predator has to think that he could get away with sexual assault.

    And that is changing rape culture.

  21. leftwingfox says

    I’d like to take the “mutually drunk” scenario in a different direction.

    A few years back, I was living with 4 roommates in a single apartment. After one night of celebratory heavy drinking, the last one awake decided to “go home”, and left the apartment to drive to his mother’s place. He passed out behind the wheel and crashed his truck.

    None of us were awake to stop him, none of us suspected he would leave the apartment like that. So in that sense, it couldn’t have beep prevented. Thinking back on it now, there actually was a way we could have stopped it.

    Alcohol dosen’t make people become different people, it simply removes inhibitions. Booze didn’t turn Mel Gibson into an antisemitic misogynist, it merely removed the filter that kept him from expressing his views explicitly in public. My roommate was used to driving after a couple beers, so when the inhibition to “head home” was removed, he still felt he was ok to drive home.

    If we teach people that a person too drunk to consent is off limits, then even when drunk, they’ll be more likely to leave them be even when the inhibitions go down. The more we try to justify those marginal cases where both people are too drunk to consent, the more we set up a culture where being staggeringly drunk is a licence to rape.

  22. Thorne says

    I have to say “Yes” to so much here! Yes to “explaining” to people just what constitutes rape.Yes to pounding home the necessity for informed consent before sex. And yes to teaching our children to respect the rights of others, of all sexual orientations. So many good comments and ideas on display here.

    BUT (you knew there was going to be a but, didn’t you?) I want to question the whole alcohol culture that seems to provide such rich opportunities for such actions. I’ve never been a big drinker, mainly because I’ve never liked having my brains scrambled by alcohol. So I don’t understand why people would go out to bars to deliberately get themselves so smashed as to be incapable of making rational decisions in the first place! I can’t tell you how many of my former coworkers would blithely comment, on a Friday afternoon, that they just couldn’t wait to go out and get sloshed after work. And not once was I ever able to get a rational explanation for such a desire.

    So shouldn’t a part of any such advertising campaign also inform people that drinking to excess can increase their risks of falling prey to a rapist? And by the same token, shouldn’t such advertising inform people that drinking to excess could increase the likelihood that you could actually rape someone?

    I realize that this is only a part of the overall problem, but every little bit helps. And let’s face it, better education about the problems associated with drinking alcohol would help in other areas as well.

  23. says

    Thumbs up from me. My parents and teachers raised me (mostly) right, so it saddens me that there are so many people who really don’t know what rape means. There are even rapists who will feign ignorance to defend themselves from the consequences, since they can count on the ignorant to shame the victim and find elaborate ways to manufacture false consent that allegedly clears the rapist’s name while providing other rapists with precedents they can abuse. The more anti-rapist messages like this that get sent out, the weaker ignorance will be as a defense, both legally and culturally.

    And yeah, there are mentally ill people who become rapists who won’t be affected by campaigns like this, at least not directly. They’re not the intended target. A lot of rapists are “normal” people, and we need to face that to deal with the bulk of the problem. Pushing a campaign like this isn’t an either/or proposition, so it can be used alongside other methods that would be more effective for such cases.

  24. cicely (Distressing Unto Eagles) says

    Of course, some rapists really are sociopaths, and the campaign is probably going to have very little effect on them.

    Except…that it removes cover (society’s “accepted excuses”) that they can hide behind.
    -

  25. brucegee1962 says

    There’s a scene in “The Philadelphia Story” where Katherine Hepburn gets extremely drunk and is climbing all over Jimmy Stewart, and he takes her back to her room. In the morning she’s positive he’s taken advantage of her, but he says no, he just put her into her bed and went home. He says “There are rules about that sort of thing.” Quite simply, there was societal agreement as to what it meant to be a “gentleman,” and part of that was to not be a rapist.

    It isn’t as if our generation is the first to come up with the idea that it’s not ok for a man to have sex with a woman who is drunk. I think there has been a small number of predators over the last few decades who have been trying to promote the idea that it’s ok. Here, as in many other cases, the so-called “liberals” are actually the ones who are trying to return things to the way they used to be.

  26. opposablethumbs says

    Gregory in Seattle, click Greta’s link in the OP – the SAVE campaign’s own website has a page for anyone interested in using their material (as long as it’s unaltered and fully attributed). As far as I could see this was free of charge (check that of course).

  27. says

    I imagine that if the “no consent” = “sexual assault” message pervades the culture, it will make it easier to get rape convictions. I wonder how many jurors are reluctant to condemn behavior (having sex with drunks) that they themselves have done, because that would be admitting that they themselves are rapists.

  28. hypatiasdaughter says

    I like to use theft as an analogy.
    If I met up with a guy who was too drunk to consent or to know what was happening to him, would taking money out of his wallet make me a thief?
    Hey, if he was going to buy me drinks and food, all I did was help myself when he became too incapacitated.
    Hey, if he was too drunk to say “No, you can’t have any of my money”, then I can assume he said “Yes”.

    Actually, this attitude infuriates me. A PRIMARY legal principal for centuries is that any action performed against another person requires that person’s consent. Assault is simply TOUCHING another person without their consent. That is why there are/were specific exemptions from this principle for husbands and wives (marital rape wasn’t illegal), parental discipline, police officers making an arrest and doctors trying to treat a resisting patient.
    There is some severe cognitive dissonance going on to understand your right not to be assaulted or robbed by others, even if you were drunk, and then stating “If she is too drunk to say “No”, it isn’t rape”.

  29. Greta Christina says

    So shouldn’t a part of any such advertising campaign also inform people that drinking to excess can increase their risks of falling prey to a rapist?

    Thorne @ #25: The problem with a campaign like that is that it feeds the “blame the victim” mentality. One of the biggest problems in rape culture is that many rape victims blame themselves, and sometimes don’t even think of what happened to them as rape since they were “asking for it” — which (a) adds to the trauma of their rape the unnecessary guilt over having caused it, and (b) means they don’t press charges.

    As khms said at #8: In a campaign like this one, that message will probably come through anyway — in a way that doesn’t blame the victim.

    For the record, I am also baffled by “getting hammered” culture, and think it’s harmful in many ways. I like to drink, I even occasionally like to drink to a certain amount of excess; but I’m baffled by the “get totally wasted every weekend” culture, and think it does a lot of harm. I wouldn’t object to public service campaigns about that harm. But I wouldn’t want them set up in a way that makes rape victims think they’re responsible for their rapes.

  30. David says

    It’s high time we started addressing this issue head on instead of talking around it. In Western culture there’s a reticence to avoid dealing with anything concerning sexuality, and especially sexual crimes. It’s uncomfortable, but we need to talk about how to foster a culture of respect and dignity, and start teaching our children now to view all people as deserving of basic human rights.

    As creative as this ad campaign is, I’m concerned over the veiled insinuation that the natural state for males is “rapist.” Perhaps my perspective as a gay man is somewhat different, but I’d wager that the vast majority of heterosexual men are honorable and respectful towards women. Yes, rape is a serious problem in our society, that anyone would think they have the right to take advantage of a woman, inebriated or not.

    However, to make a generalisation aimed at men in the hopes that the message will reach potential offenders seems the wrong way to go about it. What this does is raise suspicion on all men, including those who pose no threat to anyone, male or female, which only makes it harder for the guys who are honorable and respectful. The message it sends to women is: “All men are potential rapists, and not to be trusted.”

    Rape is only the tip of a much larger sociological iceberg. We need to start viewing it as the pathology that it is: The tragic end result of a culture that teaches some men to view women as objects void of feeling or humanity. It is sociopathy to an extent, but it’s ultimately a failure to foster altruism. Let’s address that instead of branding all males as guilty by association.

  31. says

    @opposablethumbs #29 – The downside is that the materials MUST be used as-is, with the logo and web URL for the originators, and any additions off to the side as an added sticker. I am concerned that it would confuse the message if people noted only the central, prominent address and went off to a website in a different country.

    So I’m wondering if there would be any issues in borrowing the slogan and message, and do our own ad campaign, as long as we make it clear that we are a different group in a different country. If nothing else, I don’t expect there would be any problem if we came up with a sufficiently different slogan, but “Don’t Be That Guy” seems pretty close to exactly right.

  32. ButchKitties says

    @23 regarding your last sentence.

    One of the things we learned about in my Victimology class was that all the focus on alcohol related rape on college campuses had an unintended side effect. Interviews with fraternities found that members who had formed their plans for incapacitating girls with alcohol while they were sober made sure they only executed their plans after they got drunk as well. That way they could claim, “It wasn’t rape because I was wasted, too.”

  33. opposablethumbs says

    Gregory in Seattle, I hadn’t noticed that detail. But it occurs to me that they might just be assuming use only within Canada, in which case it would make sense, and not have considered use abroad. I suppose it might be worth simply asking the SAVE organisation for permission to change the contact details specifically for use in another country and just see what they say? I agree, “Don’t be that guy” hits just the right note.

  34. antialiasis says

    David, I’m sorry, but no matter how I contort my mind, I can’t possibly see where you’re getting painting all men as rapists out of this campaign. None of the slogans talk about men or target men; the closest is “Don’t be that guy” but while that draws on the fact most rapists are male, how that implies men are rapists by default escapes me.

  35. opposablethumbs says

    David @ 34, I thing you are completely wrong about any veiled insinuation about all men. If I see a campaign exhorting people not to do something that I don’t happen to be in the habit of doing anyway (I don’t know … vandalism, setting inhumane traps, drink-driving?) I don’t feel targeted – I know it’s not aimed at me. At most I might be more inclined to notice other people’s demeanour in relation to the likelihood of doing those things, which is all to the good in this context.

  36. Greta Christina says

    David of #34 is apparently the same person who just called me a “tactless, insensitive harpy” on Twitter, because he was repeatedly spouting this same “this campaign is a generalization against all men” line, and I told him that (a0 the campaign doesn’t say, “Suspect all men.” It says, “Don’t rape. Here’s what rape is. Don’t do it.” — and (b) if he thought his hurt feelings were more important than reducing rape, then he should get the hell off my Twitter feed.

    So, yeah. Blocked. Bye-bye.

  37. says

    David @#34 brings up an incredibly important point: how do we convince men that their privilege to walk around ignoring or disregarding the experiences and rights of women is trumped by the right of women to not be abused and disregarded? We’ve seen this time and time again: “As a man I’m against rape, but you’re only allowed to try to prevent rape in ways that don’t make me even mildly uncomfortable, make any generalizations that could remotely apply to me, or require me to examine my own behavior in any way shape or form.”

    And if that is your definition of “against rape” then you’re not actually against rape. Because I’m actually against rape, and I’m willing to accept all sorts of things that are inconvenient and uncomfortable and paint men in general and even me in particular in an unflattering light, because none of those things are WORSE THAN GETTING RAPED. This sort of male entitlement to not even have to deal with mild irritation over an ad campaign is fucking pathetic.

  38. Thorne says

    Greta @33

    The problem with a campaign like that is that it feeds the “blame the victim” mentality

    Yeah, I see your point. That is not my intent. I guess I’m not quite sure how to express the idea that there are things women CAN do which will reduce the likelihood of being raped, without making it seem like failing to do them is tantamount to asking for it. For my part, I think it should be possible, in an ideal world, for any person, male or female, to walk around stark naked without fear of being assaulted. Sadly, we live in a world which is far from ideal.

  39. huntstoddard says

    brucegee1962 has an interesting point about the “rules” from yesteryear. While I think viewing mid-20th century as some kind of anti-rape utopia is naive, there might be something to the idea that our society has lost something, and I have a theory. Could it be that the 60’s sexual revolution, while freeing people of outdated sexual norms, actually had the unhealthy adjunct of throwing out a set of implied rules that were effective against date and acquaintance rape?

  40. says

    Because I’m actually against rape, and I’m willing to accept all sorts of things that are inconvenient and uncomfortable and paint men in general and even me in particular in an unflattering light, because none of those things are WORSE THAN GETTING RAPED.

    To expand on what Joe said, Guys, if you’re sick of being painted as potential rapists, of feeling targeted by these types of campaigns, etc, DO SOMETHING about it. Don’t act like a creeper, and when you see your friend acting like a creeper, tell him “Hey, that’s not cool, knock that shit off’.” If you’re tired of being treated like you’re that guy, don’t be that guy, and don’t let your friends be that guy either.

  41. opposablethumbs says

    Could it be that the 60′s sexual revolution, while freeing people of outdated sexual norms, actually had the unhealthy adjunct of throwing out a set of implied rules that were effective against date and acquaintance rape?

    No. Rape within marriage used to be legal, remember?

    Those “implied rules” were a veneer of civility that applied only to “good girls”. Have the misfortune to be of a lower socioeconomic class, devoid of a “protector” (owner) – or, horror of horrors, unmarried and not a virgin – or labelled a “bad girl” for socially disapproved conduct – and you were fair game under those “rules”.

  42. says

    To expand on what Joe said, Guys, if you’re sick of being painted as potential rapists, of feeling targeted by these types of campaigns, etc, DO SOMETHING about it. Don’t act like a creeper, and when you see your friend acting like a creeper, tell him “Hey, that’s not cool, knock that shit off’.” If you’re tired of being treated like you’re that guy, don’t be that guy, and don’t let your friends be that guy either.

    I’d take it back a step and say “Guys, if you’re sick of being painted as potential rapists, of feeling targeted by these types of campaigns, etc…. TOUGH.” It is sort of the way that as an atheist I advocate for mockery and rudeness towards religion and religious leaders and even liberal religious people, because the FIRST thing they need to know is that there’s nothing sacred about their beliefs to me, and they can’t impose their rules on other people. No, I DON’T have to respect theistic beliefs or theists either. You don’t get a free pass on “stupid” by calling it “religious.”

    By the same token, men need to get over the idea that their anything trumps a woman’s everything. As a group, men need to stop thinking that they have even have a right to be acknowledged by women, let alone having a right to sex from women. We need to stop automatically spewing “but what about the men” every time someone says something about women. And if anti-rape discussions or measures make us feel bad or whatever… too goddamned bad. For all the anti-feminist talk about how women want to be treated like delicate little flowers, there’s a whole lot of thin-skinned whining from that crowd about how their precious fee-fees are hurt my anything that doesn’t coddle them.

  43. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I also taught my sons to respect women.

    I’ve always thought the latter was more important.

    The problem is that, all too often “Respect Women” is code for all sorts of toxic, patriarchal possessive bullshit that can feed rape culture in all sorts of backhanded ways (affirming the idea of men as the possessors and caretakers of women, implying that women who don’t go along with that and play the part aren’t worth “respecting,” etc), to say nothing of the more mundane problems of beating around the bush and potentially equating “hold the door for a woman” with “don’t violate a woman.” And even if your family doesn’t understand it that way, plenty of people do.

    We should be explicitly teaching the ethical necessity of consent, not cloaking it in outdated, problematic language.

  44. freemage says

    Thorne: Basically, stick those discussions in a different area. Yes, situational awareness education and self-defense (broadly speaking, not merely martial defenses) are important parts of crime-reduction in general; Greta’s point is that this campaign is filling a desperately needed gap, and it does that best if it’s unadulterated by self-defense tactics.

    That said, I think your suggestion that getting drunk increases the danger of waking up the next morning to find out that you are now a rapist would be an awesome addition to the campaign. “If they’re both drunk, and one of them wakes up and says they were raped–then they were raped.”

    There’s one other thing that I think makes this ad campaign so perfect–the pictures. They show circumstances that people can relate to, can recognize when they encounter them. (The second wave of posters is more effective in this regard, though I like the second one in the first wave, as well.) It makes it clear that no, simply not being passed out doesn’t make it okay.

    Finally, I do think a third wave of posters which included one along these lines–“Not all men want sex all the time. Don’t be that girl.”–would be a valid expansion of the program, but the way the numbers play out, I don’t think it’s something they should be ripped on for not including right from the start.

  45. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    As creative as this ad campaign is, I’m concerned over the veiled insinuation that the natural state for males is “rapist.” Perhaps my perspective as a gay man is somewhat different, but I’d wager that the vast majority of heterosexual men are honorable and respectful towards women. Yes, rape is a serious problem in our society, that anyone would think they have the right to take advantage of a woman, inebriated or not.

    However, to make a generalisation aimed at men in the hopes that the message will reach potential offenders seems the wrong way to go about it. What this does is raise suspicion on all men, including those who pose no threat to anyone, male or female, which only makes it harder for the guys who are honorable and respectful. The message it sends to women is: “All men are potential rapists, and not to be trusted.”

    Um, as a non-rapist male*, I already KNOW not to be “that guy” so it seems obvious the campaign isn’t directed at me.

    Why do YOU find it so threatening?

  46. says

    Joe
    I agree entirely. I was just saying that, for those men who do get all whiny about it, that doing something to reduce the need for this kind of campaign will get you a lot further than whining about your fee fees.

  47. Funny Diva says

    Opposable Thumbs @45

    Exactly so. Plenty of men in Katharine Hepburn’s class and Jimmy Stewart’s class in Philly Story would have had no problem “taking advantage” of, say, the colored housekeeper. Or the single mother from the other side of the tracks.
    Chivalry…20th century, 12th century, doesn’t matter…it was NOT all that for us women!

  48. johnthedrunkard says

    Late on this one but I want to throw in two notions.

    1, Of course such a campaign won’t stop Ted Bundy II. Nothing will. But it will change attitudes, decrease rationalization of assaultive behavior, and encourage witnesses, victims, and everyone else to speak the fuck UP!

    2. The refusal to acknowledge just how powerful and dangerous alcohol can be is pandemic in vast ranges of society. We used to slough off drunk driving as a minor ‘everybody does it’ sort of foible. We have to reach a point where we stop pretending that guzzling alcohol is just ‘normal’ partying.

    One more: alcoholic blackouts (periods when the drinker is ‘conscious’ but not recording any short-term memory are a real phenomena. People come out of blackouts having consented to behaviors they would never have done in their right minds. More important, ‘normal’ people rarely, if ever, experience blackouts. They will throw up or lose consciousness before they can get drunk enough to blackout. ONLY alcoholics have blackouts, and perhaps as many as half of sober alcoholics have NOT had blackouts.

    I wasn’t in the lucky half, but I was lucky enough not to wake up with a felony over my head.

  49. says

    I’m impressed. It took until comment #14 for someone to show up and start fussing over the boundaries, wondering when raping someone wouldn’t really be counted as rape.

  50. says

    I am not sure what you are talking about.

    The article says:

    “According to Edmonton police statistics, there were 645 sexual assaults reported in 2009, compared to 700 reported in 2011…

    Vancouver has picked up the campaign, too, and has seen its number of sexual assaults go down.

    Unfortunately, Edmonton is not seeing the same results, but Smith hopes that changes with time.”

    It clearly says that after picking up the campaign, sexual assaults have gone up in Edmonton.

  51. ckitching says

    They will throw up or lose consciousness before they can get drunk enough to blackout. ONLY alcoholics have blackouts, and perhaps as many as half of sober alcoholics have NOT had blackouts.

    Pure and utter bullshit. Speaking as someone who can’t drink because he experiences blackouts when consuming even moderate amounts of alcohol, I can tell you that I’ve never been an alcoholic. Hell, I haven’t even developed any enjoyment for drinking because I can’t associate it with any enjoyable memories (but I do remember the hangovers from the times I did try). At this point, I haven’t bothered drinking alcohol in something like fifteen years because it’s just not worth it.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that alcohol culture is very pervasive, and I often catch myself saying things that don’t really make sense given my situation, like “I need a drink” (which is shorthand for “I wish I could quit working on this drudgery and do something enjoyable instead”).

  52. ckitching says

    I probably should’ve quoted the part about having to be drunk enough to throw up or lose consciousness, as well.

  53. scottcunningham says

    I’m glad to see these posters on campus. I hope they work. I’ve lived with a lot of male room mates in my time, most of whom obstinately refused to understand that:

    Isolating someone from her friends and compelling her to drink heavily and leave with you would equal rape

    Stealing someones phone and bullying her into drinking heavily before you’ll give it back in the hope she’ll get so drunk she won’t know what she’s doing would equal rape

    And so on. Yes, some of us would step in to stop these guys, and we sure paid for it too. I replaced a lot of dishes in my time because of the all-dishes-destroying retaliations that would ensue if a friend and I stepped in to stop a room mate who somehow could not / pretended not to understand what he was trying to do would be rape.

    Also I got beat up a lot. Those “when dudebro did X, I stepped in and Y” posters somehow leave that part out. And it was still totally worth it.

  54. christophernicholas says

    Isn’t there some way to teach women to recognize, fight back and be on guard against sexual violence in a way that’s empowering, and that doesn’t imply it’s the woman’s fault if she gets targeted for a rape? We teach people ways to guard against, avoid and fight back against other types of crime.

    For the record, it’s never the victim’s fault they are targeted for a crime. And I agree wholeheartedly that a campaign aimed at raising peoples’ awareness of what consent means, and challenging misconceptions about sexual violence, can be productive and are worthwhile. The “don’t be that guy” campaign seems like a good idea, well implemented, to me.

    But does teaching strategies for recognizing, avoiding, and fighting back against crime always have to stigmatize the victim? I would think that a major component of any such teaching would be straightforward explanations of responsibility and culpability, that emphasize to the potential victim that it is NOT their fault if they are targeted.

  55. christophernicholas says

    Or to put it another way: victim shame is also part of the culture that needs to be changed. Holding rapists accountable, putting them on notice that they will be held accountable, that they can’t blame their victim for the assault, that behavior (x) is, indeed, rape – those are all parts of the culture that need to be changed. Changing the attitudes of people who might commit a crime is a valid and important strategy – it works with all sorts of behaviors. So is changing the attitudes of law enforcement, bystanders/witnesses, and potential jurors.

    But, changing the victim’s attitude might be just as important. Some victim’s buy into the idea that they were asking for it, or have accepted male entitlement all their lives and thus have been programmed not to assert themselves, or not to identify some types of rape as “real” rape. Isn’t there a way to teach rape defense and avoidance that addresses that cultural brainwashing?

    And does it have to be all or nothing? Can we target potential criminals and attempt to change their behavior, AND teach victim’s to fight back? Why not?

  56. Greta Christina says

    christophernicholas @ #61 and #62: We discussed this in the previous comment thread, the one I linked to here in the post. Here’s what I said then, and what I will say again now.

    Is it reasonable to discuss effective self-defense techniques? Yes. Can you have a simultaneous discussion of self-defense techniques and rape culture? In theory, sure.

    But when EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DISCUSSION of rape culture gets turned into a discussion of self-defense techniques, or other discussions of what rape victims can do to survive and what potential rape victims can do to avoid getting raped… it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the people changing the subject are doing so because they don’t want to discuss rape culture.

    There are times and places and forums in which it’s reasonable to address what people can do to protect themselves from crimes, including the crime of rape. But when every single discussion of rape eventually turns to “what should rape victims do differently,” then we have a problem.

  57. says

    christopherenicholas, please read the 2nd paragraph of the original post. You are a perfect example of Greta’s point.

  58. Edward Clint says

    It’s worth noting, I think, that rates of other violent crime either went up in Vancouver between 2010/2011 or stayed about the same (murders up, assault and thefts about the same). This supports the case that the ad campaign was causal in the decline in rape, as opposed to say, coincidental with a general decline in violent crimes with an unidentified other cause. I hope this gets some attention from researchers and policy makers.

  59. christophernicholas says

    @Greta Christina63

    Not trying to change the subject at all. Pointing out that not all attempts to educate victims about rape avoidance/defense are attempts to deny that rape culture exists, or sidetrack discussion of same. Rather, effective self defense/avoidance/coping strategies need to address rape culture, precisely BECAUSE:

    “One of the biggest problems in rape culture is that many rape victims blame themselves, and sometimes don’t even think of what happened to them as rape since they were “asking for it” — which (a) adds to the trauma of their rape the unnecessary guilt over having caused it, and (b) means they don’t press charges.”

    Any self defense strategy needs to start by inoculating victims against the attitude described in quotes above.

    Yes, rape culture needs to be addressed, and efforts to change that culture via education and awareness can be effective – there are people who could benefit from “how not to become a date rapist” education. But addressing victim strategies need not always be construed as ‘blaming the victim.’

  60. jefrir says

    Those commenting on the movie quote and how it shows that things were better in the past: look at it again. You’re listening to the man saying “there are rules” and assuming that’s an accurate description of the world. Listen to the woman. She’s afraid he might have raped her – because many people would have done, then as now. She has a reasonable fear which he dismisses, because she should just know that he’s one of the good guys. Things haven’t changed so very much.

  61. huntstoddard says

    christophernicholas

    The short answer is that avoidance/defense is, strictly speaking, off topic. So are questions about how mutually assured drunkenness will be prosecuted (my fault). The topic is really one of changing culture/minds/attitudes, public education and most of all prevention.

    The long answer is more complicated and difficult to get your mind around, and to be honest I still have some difficulty with it. It is this: I was once in a discussion about a certain college that had a known dangerous and poorly lighted parking structure. Students had been raped there. I made the opinion that if I knew a student there, I would advise her to not walk through it at night. I was informed that my opinion is what enables rape culture. Now, at the time I thought this was a left turn into crazy town, but when you think about it, it does have a certain logic. Because: once you shift the onus from rapist to victim, no matter how well-meaning you might be, there is the automatic shift if guilt association. Now all the women who do happen to walk through that structure become “guilty,” to a certain extent, of failing to heed a safety warning. You may not feel this way, I may not, but unfortunately it is often revealed that police hold this type of opinion dear. The same type of thing can be applied to anti-rape defense measures. Suddenly it becomes a woman’s responsibility to defend herself, as if there is some kind of moral weight to that.

    Much of this is tied to political ideology. There actually ARE those who believe self defense is a moral responsibility, just as there are those who believe that being armed to the teeth is a moral responsibility. I could tell you my opinion about them, but I think you can guess.

  62. jeroenmetselaar says

    I can expand the message of this campaign, although not in a sentence that is snappy enough for a poster. The message is this:

    “When you are about to have sex in a situation where you have an advantage over you partner(s) it is your responsibility and your responsibility alone to make sure first that it is not rape. Advantages include but are not limited to when you are stronger, older, more mature, more sober, more aware, or higher in social hierarchy.

    It will always be YOUR task to acquire full, informed, freely given, and aware consent.”

  63. christophernicholas says

    @68 the idea that discussing strategies for self defense and avoidance necessarily “puts the onus on victims” is crazy. Yes, there is a cultural sickness whereby rape is often tolerated or rape victims get blamed, and we need to combat that sick culture.

    But there is a clear difference between saying “that parking lot is a dangerous place at night,” vs. “it’s your own fault if you get raped in that parking lot.” Part of challenging ‘rape culture,’ IMO, should be clarifying the difference.

    People have the right to walk through parking lots at night without fear of attack. But if an acquaintance were to walk blithely towards that dangerous parking lot, unaware of the spate of rapes that occurred there, should you REFRAIN from warning her, so as not to enable rape culture? Or should you warn her, in order to help her avoid an actual rape? If police consider a victim somehow culpable because she walked through a parking lot then their attitude is indeed a form of victim blaming, and needs to be challenged.

    If the university decides to put more lights in the parking lot, or post a guard, or otherwise tries to reduce the opportunity for rapists in that area, does that ‘enable’ rape culture by implying darkness and isolation are to blame for the crimes, rather than the perpetrators? Nope. It’s just a way to make the crime harder to commit. Doing things to thwart rapists does not preclude doing things to reduce cultural tolerance of rape.

    Since you brought the subject up: self defense is not a moral responsibility or obligation, and neither is being armed. Both are personal choices – but responsible people should be allowed that choice. Denying innocent, responsible people the right of self defense, or the ability to arm themselves effectively for self defense purposes, IMO, IS morally repugnant. If a victim happens by choice or circumstance to be unarmed, or unable to effectively defend him or herself, that does not make the victim ‘at fault’ for being attacked, nor does it excuse the attacker. If anything, that defenselessness is an aggravating circumstance, which should increase the penalty, and blame, given to the attacker.

  64. Greta Christina says

    But there is a clear difference between saying “that parking lot is a dangerous place at night,” vs. “it’s your own fault if you get raped in that parking lot.”

    christophernicholas @ #70: And for the I don’t know how many-th time: That is not the point people are trying to make. The point is not about whether it’s possible to do education for potential rape victims on how to avoid rape in a way that doesn’t blame the victim. The point is about when and where it’s appropriate to have that conversation.

    The point is that EVERY SINGLE TIME the subject of rape comes up, the subject gets turned to how potential rape victims might prevent their rapes. Even when the specific subject being discussed is how to educate potential rapists on how not to rape. And even when people have specifically and repeatedly been asked not to do this. The point is that there are a zillion places on the internet to have the conversation you want to have…and there is apparently no place on the internet where we can have the conversation about rape that some of us are saying we want to have.

    You have specifically and repeatedly been asked not to do this. Why is it so important to you to keep hammering on about this subject, despite the fact that it is clearly unwelcome?

  65. rocko2466 says

    Hi Greta

    The numbers are a bit shaky on this one.

    1) The 9.8% drop is in sexual assault (not rapes). You equivocate from at one point saying “A rape prevention campaign targeted at potential rapists rather than potential victims was launched… and the number of reported sexual assaults fell by 10 per cent” to “And it still had the apparent result of reducing the rate of rape by 10%.” Rape and sexual assault are very different things. Sexual assault is a much broader term.

    2) You also say that the “Edmonton police were so convinced of the campaign’s effectiveness…” That may well be, but it could be inferred (as you haven’t said anywhere what the results in Edmonton were) that the Edmonton statistics were just as promising (leaving aside matters of causation versus correlation). The rapes were actually UP in Edmonton. (http://www.theunexpectedtnt.com/2012/01/partial-success-dont-be-that-guy.html)

    Sad as it is, I think there’s a bit of confirmation bias in this article. While we want rape-prevention-campaigns to be aimed at rapists and succeed, the jury’s out. If we were getting the same results from a homeopathic potion, we’d be laughing at them all the way down the comments thread.

    The reason the conversation turns to how to prevent rape (from the victim’s perspective) is that they’re the more surefire way to prevent it. The people who WANT to prevent rape are those who might be victimised by it. The people who don’t want to prevent rape are those who are going to do it. As christophernicholas said, there’s a clear difference between saying “that parking lot is a dangerous place at night,” vs. “it’s your own fault if you get raped in that parking lot.””.

    I’d like to draw an analogy between lions and people going into the jungle. We don’t train the lions to stay away because we know they’re not going to care or listen. Screw it, they’re lions. What we do is educate people about lion safety, take steps on lions known to attack and set up systems to scare away lions (see http://www.dogonews.com/2012/10/28/young-boys-brilliant-invention-ensures-harmony-between-man-and-beast/page/18). This is done without any hint of us wandering up to the lion attack victims and saying “You deserved it, you moron. We told you not to get attacked by lions.”

    I am all for these advertisements continuing, but saying that it WORKS isn’t quite possible yet.

  66. gypsy says

    If I could add another idea to the poster campaign, it would be something along these lines:

    Tiredness is like drunkenness. Half-asleep does not equal consent.

    Or

    You “wake her up” from a deep sleep. She is groggy and unresisting. This is not consent.

    Multiple research studies show that driving while fatigued for even for two or three hours at night is comparable to driving drunk. Anecdotally, I can attest that when I am extremely tired, my behavior, cognition, decision-making abilities, and inhibition levels are exactly like when I’m drunk. I have certainly had people try to take advantage of this state, either when I’ve partially woken up from a deep sleep or when I am sleep-deprived. Worse, there has been more than one person who has tried to deliberately get me into this state, for example keeping on putting on one more episode after another while watching TV together at his house, trying to use my increasing tiredness to get closer to me, in the same way as he might ply me with drinks for the same reasons. This is a very under-acknowledged situation that is just as culturally whitewashed and equally culpable as drunk rape.

    An image of a man and very sleepy woman watching a movie together, with the above slogan (or something like it) would make a good poster, I think.

  67. says

    Thank you (not really), Rocko, for comparing men to wild beasts .

    That is exactly the kind of attitude that needs to be fixed for real change to occur. That is exactly the kind of attitude these posters are trying to change.

  68. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    The reason the conversation turns to how to prevent rape (from the victim’s perspective) is that they’re the more surefire way to prevent it. The people who WANT to prevent rape are those who might be victimised by it. The people who don’t want to prevent rape are those who are going to do it. As christophernicholas said, there’s a clear difference between saying “that parking lot is a dangerous place at night,” vs. “it’s your own fault if you get raped in that parking lot.””.

    Read the post. Read the comments. Follow the reasoning. Shut the fuck up and listen for once in your life.

  69. Nepenthe says

    @rocko

    In Alberta, as in much of the US and Canada (can’t speak to anywhere else) there is no crime called rape. Sexual assault encompasses what we call rape as well as less invasive sexual violation.

    I’m not addressing the rest of your post because… ew.

  70. says

    Rocko,

    We don’t train the lions to stay away because we know they’re not going to care or listen.

    Predators get to operate with near impunity in our culture. A “Don’t Rape” campaign removes some of the cover that predators get from the deference of the rest of the population. By constricting their opportunities of cutting a victim out of the herd (to expand on your analogy) without social censure, the number of rapes would be reduced. Think of it as cutting down the grass around the gazelle herd so the lion can’t sneak up on them.

  71. johnthedrunkard says

    Regarding alcohol denial:

    —ckitching— Posts 57-58.

    Q.E.D.

    If drinking is dangerous for you, regardless of quantity. YOU ARE AN ALCOHOLIC.

    Inventing personal definitions of alcoholism that magically exclude you:
    [‘I don’t drink every day,’ ‘I just drink every day, no binges,’ ‘I can only drink a little,’ ‘I drink more than everyone else and end up driving them home.’] are symptoms of alcoholism.

    I could easily say that I haven’t consumed alcohol since 1988 because of X or Y or Z, but all those specifics come under the general category of symptoms of alcoholism.

  72. Doireann Ní says

    Saw this campaign in my college (in Dublin, Ireland). Thought it was great, though odd that some of the posters were in the girls’ bathrooms…
    Anyway, glad it’s haeing some effect!

  73. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    If drinking is dangerous for you, regardless of quantity. YOU ARE AN ALCOHOLIC.

    And to think, some people accuse 12-steppers of being simple minded self righteous dogmatists…

  74. cactusren says

    johnthedrunkard:

    ONLY alcoholics have blackouts….

    I sometimes black out when at drink too much at high elevations (above ~6000 feet), so I restrict myself to a beer or two in those situations, if I choose to be sociable and drink with others. Nearer to sea level, I don’t black out. So am I an alcoholic only when I’m at a high elevation?

  75. leonpeyre says

    This is an awesome campaign! We should be doing that now, here in the US–in fact we should have been doing this decades ago.

    Maybe if this gets picked up here in the States and spreads all over, I can feel a little safer when my daughter’s old enough to go out drinking.

  76. christophernicholas says

    @71 but it is exactly the point made @68. In post # 68, to which I was replying, warning someone about a parking lot where rapes had occurred was described as enabling rape culture.

    @rocko #72

    “The reason the conversation turns to how to prevent rape (from the victim’s perspective) is that they’re the more surefire way to prevent it. The people who WANT to prevent rape are those who might be victimized by it. The people who don’t want to prevent rape are those who are going to do it.”

    I disagree. There’s nothing ‘surefire’ about teaching victim’s to resist crime. It’s worthwhile, but campaigns to discourage criminal behavior are also worthwhile. Rapists don’t just want to commit rape. They want to get away with committing rape, and sometimes they want to pretend to themselves that what they did, or are contemplating doing, isn’t rape. An education campaign that let’s them know they won’t get away with it, that punctures their denial by clearly describing behavior as rape, that changes the attitudes of their friends so their peers won’t excuse or defend their rape, is very worthwhile. There’s no reason not to attack the attitudes that enable the perpetrators of rape. We put up signs letting people know they’ll get pulled over and ticketed for seatbelt violations or drunk driving. What’s so unproductive about putting rapists on notice that their behavior won’t be whitewashed or excused anymore? And why is it an all or nothing proposition – educating victims that they have actually been raped, that it is the rapists fault, is part and parcel of a victim defense strategy – AND is easily accomplished by the same sort of campaign. The sign that shows a woman passed out, with the caption “just because she isn’t saying no, doesn’t mean she’s saying yes” benefits more than just the potential date rapist. If it doesn’t reach him – ie, he still rapes – it still might have reached her, so she doesn’t curl up in shame and pretend to herself that what happened wasn’t really rape, so she reports it. It might reach jurors or police, who would then be less likely to treat her as the criminal, and more likely to hold the right person accountable.

  77. rocko2466 says

    #74 I didn’t compare men to wild beasts. I compared rapists to wild beasts.

    #75 Ad hominem. I didn’t agree because I didn’t listen. Right. Thanks for your contribution.

    #76 It depends on your location. In Vancouver, there’s a distinction.

    #78 Predators don’t act with impunity. It is illegal. Laws are enforced. It is sometimes difficult to weigh up the evidence, but that’s the nature of the crime. It is also considered morally abhorrent. (http://unsolicitedcomment.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/a-delhi-bus-and-a-culture-of-rape/)

    #82 It’s not derailed. It’s people trying to prevent rape. Not people trying to advance their ill-informed socio-political views.

    #85 I agree it should be both. But I also think that safety campaigns are most likely to work because you are appealing to those who don’t want the crime to occur. I also said “more surefire” (i.e. it’s more likely to be ‘surefire’); I didn’t say it was actually surefire.

    And I guess noone is going to respond on the figures. Noone (who is strongly disagreeing with me) is particularly interested in engaging on the facts.

  78. christophernicholas says

    #85 Most successful anti crime campaigns do focus on perpetrators’ behavior, not victim behavior. Anti-drunk driving ads focus primarily on the driver’s responsibility not to get behind the wheel, etc. Not every discussion about drunk driving gets derailed by discussion of “defensive driving” tactics. OTOH people don’t tend to blame the victims of vehicular homicide the way they blame victims of rape, so you don’t hear claims that all defensive driving classes blame the victim.

  79. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    #75 Ad hominem. I didn’t agree because I didn’t listen. Right. Thanks for your contribution.

    No, you didn’t listen because you’re condesplaining on topics that you clearly know little about but suffer from an unfortunate delusion of authority, and because you’re smugly flopping out canards that have been discussed at length in the community of people who are familiar with these issues because they actually have to deal with them (IE, women and people who care about women) as if they were novel, impressive, definitive arguments rather than embarrassing, smug assertions. I predict that you will demand I exhaustively restate ALL THE THINGS you are ignoring, rather than do any research for yourself. I suggest you start with the ones that are addressed in the OP, comments on this thread, and links from either of the foregoing.

    Also, you’re misusing “ad hominem” which refers, briefly, to the use of an insult as a premise in an argument; a conclusion stated in uncharitable language is not an “ad hominem.”

  80. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    So why is no one addressing the fact that Greta’s entire article is wrong?

    Would you like a moist towelette?

  81. Suido says

    @Johnthedrunkard #52

    More important, ‘normal’ people rarely, if ever, experience blackouts. They will throw up or lose consciousness before they can get drunk enough to blackout. ONLY alcoholics have blackouts

    Bullshit. Citation needed.

    I’ve never been an alcoholic, by any measure. I have a brother and cousins who have admitted to alcohol and drug dependencies, but their stories are very different from mine.

    I first had a blackout when I was seventeen. I was just an idiot trying to drink as much as my larger friend. According to my friends, I was lucid for a long time that I can’t remember. Yes, I threw up and passed out that night, but not until much, much later. That one example flies in the face of your generalisation.

    I also had numerous blackouts during university years, including times when my friends couldn’t believe I didn’t remember certain things, due to my lucidity. My alcohol consumption and tolerance was huge, but there was no dependency. I was always able to say no if I was driving, or if I had work. Tolerance for alcohol does not an alcoholic make. You could certainly make the case for submitting to societal pressure to drink to excess (and I fully agree with your Point 2), but I had a shit ton of fun.

    Since uni, my drinking and my tolerance has decreased. I feel no pressure to drink/not drink.

    Please check your generalisations at the door. You’re saying that anyone who has a black out is an alcoholic. In cases of drunk people being taken advantage of, in whatever way, that’s not helpful. It’s a short step away from saying that nice girls don’t have black outs.

  82. says

    Rocko @#86:

    Predators don’t act with impunity. It is illegal. Laws are enforced. It is sometimes difficult to weigh up the evidence, but that’s the nature of the crime. It is also considered morally abhorrent.

    In the US only 5% of rapes result in felony convictions. Only 3% result in jail time for the rapist. So yes, predators act with near impunity (you forgot the “near”).

    http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates

    These “Don’t Rape” campaigns are trying to get across the point that rape is defined by lack of consent, not necessarily only by use of force. That’s the problem – too many people don’t even recognize a rape if there’s no knife to the throat. So no, rape is not always considered morally abhorrent.

  83. christophernicholas says

    Rocko said: “What we do is educate people about lion safety, take steps on lions known to attack and set up systems to scare away lions.”

    Systems to scare away lions address the lions’ behavior. Think of a rape awareness campaign, like the “Don’t be that guy campaign,” as scaring away the lions. They remove the comfortable cultural cover that let’s some men get away with rape, especially non-forcible rape. And, I’d much rather scare away a lion – ie, deter it from attacking me in the first place – than fight it off, so scaring away the lion is the first priority. Self defense is a second line consideration, for use when deterrent strategies fail.

  84. christophernicholas says

    @92 Drinking to the point of having blackouts or passing out is a form of alcohol abuse, and a physically dangerous, unhealthy behavior for a whole host of reasons that have nothing to do with sexual assault. And also, for reasons that have to do with sexual assault – I don’t know how to properly draw the ven diagram that shows how binge drinking culture and rape culture overlap, but overlap they do. Again, there’s a huge difference between saying “people who drink to excess deserve to get raped/actually wanted it/should have known better/weren’t ‘really’ raped” – which is repugnant – and saying “rapists often exploit people who are intoxicated” – which is tragically obvious. A campaign that addresses rapists’ behavior by saying “it’s not OK to exploit people who are intoxicated, that IS SO rape/you won’t get away with it!” should be a no brainer.

  85. says

    Rocko

    The reason the conversation turns to how to prevent rape (from the victim’s perspective) is that they’re the more surefire way to prevent it. The people who WANT to prevent rape are those who might be victimised by it.

    I’m not a victim of rape, nor am I seriously at risk of being so victimized, and I sure as hell WANT to prevent rape. Part of doing that is knowing what the lead up to rape looks like so that steps can be taken before an attack actually happens. So, educational campaigns about what sorts of behaviors to watch for? These are helpful. They’re even more helpful to people who are like I was a decade or so ago, because at that time I didn’t know what many of those behaviors looked like, and thus wouldn’t have known when intervention was required.

    … set up systems to scare away lions …

    So, something like signs indicating that lions who eat people will be shot? Obviously the analogy isn’t perfect, since lions don’t read, but we’re not actually talking about lions, and humans can totally be deterred by warnings that others will not put up with their shit. Not all the time, but often enough that it’s a worthwhile endeavor to make sure that the predators know it.

    christophernicholas #95

    Drinking to the point of having blackouts or passing out is a form of alcohol abuse, and a physically dangerous, unhealthy behavior for a whole host of reasons that have nothing to do with sexual assault.

    It is not, however, an indication of addiction/dependency, which is the claim to which #92 was responding. For the record, I have also drunk to the point of blackouts on occasion, and this represented poor decision making on my part, but it does not mean that I was or am addicted to alcohol.

  86. rocko2466 says

    #93. That’s an evidence issue not a ‘we like rape’ issue, FFS. Rape is difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. We have a presumption of innocence that we can’t get around.

    Doesn’t mean we condone rape. Sorry. I know you’d like that to be the case to fit in with your ideology.

  87. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    That’s an evidence issue not a ‘we like rape’ issue, FFS. Rape is difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Oh bull fucking shit. If it’s merely a dispassionate matter of evidence explain every fucking entry on this card.

    Or are you actually denying that these are commonplace reactions to rape accusations?

  88. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    And of course rape is difficult to prove if other people have followed your example and made up their minds that it either doesn’t happen or doesn’t matter.

  89. rocko2466 says

    You guys should open a fish and chip shop with all your red herrings.

    (And yes. Azkyroth. You got me. All of the above was me denying that rape happens or that it matters. Idiot.)

  90. Suido says

    @christophernicholas #95

    Thanks for completely disregarding the point I was responding to, and rushing off in a different direction.

    I was trying to show another commenter how their incorrect generalisations could be used to further stigmatise victims.

    also, what Dalillama said.

  91. Suido says

    Missed this one, Johnthedrunkard #79

    If drinking is dangerous for you, regardless of quantity. YOU ARE AN ALCOHOLIC.

    Also bullshit.

    All drinking in dangerous, depending on dosage. Drinking too much water is dangerous.

    Alcoholism is a very loosely defined set of problems, most easily categorised as abuse and/or dependency. If we were to classify every person who has ever binged on alcohol as an alcoholic, the word just loses its meaning.

    Throwing the word alcoholism around during a conversation about rape, victims and how to better prevent rape is not helpful.

  92. Greta Christina says

    A quick reminder to everyone participating in this discussion: Here is my comment policy. Please read it, and follow it. I accept and indeed encourage lively debate in my blog, but I expect a certain level of civility in those debates. This means you. Thank you.

  93. says

    johnthedrunkard

    I could easily say that I haven’t consumed alcohol since 1988 because of X or Y or Z, but all those specifics come under the general category of symptoms of alcoholism.

    By this logic, I’m a “crack head” because I tried crack exactly once, didn’t like it, and have never touched it since. Yep, total junkie, here… *roll eyes*

    True story, actually. I was all, like, UP! and ping! for, like, 15 minutes, and then I crashed, and it sucked, and that was the first (and last! time I experimented with anything harder than cannabis.

  94. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    So why is no one addressing the fact that Greta’s entire article is wrong? – Cel Rince

    Because it isn’t. Next stupid question?

  95. says

    Regarding rape prevention tips aimed at women:

    Aside from the reasons already stated, I think it’s important to note that *we already know* whatever you’re going to tell us. All our lives, women are told where we should go or not go, what times of day we should sequester ourselves in our homes, what kind of self defense we should learn, what kind of pepper spray or guns we should have. It’s comparable to telling someone who is overweight “Hey, did you know if you dieted and exercised you’d just get skinny?” Yes, thanks, we all fucking know that already.

    These “helpful suggestions” are not just ineffective, they are directly harmful because they put the focus on the very small number of stranger rapes and ignore the majority of rapes, the ones being targeted by the above campaign. So many people don’t even know that the situations described in the advertising are indeed rape, and stopping those is the responsibility of the rapist and it’s also up to the rest of us to refuse to provide cover for the rapists and call them out.

  96. djs says

    Aside from the reasons already stated, I think it’s important to note that *we already know* whatever you’re going to tell us

    I believe this is part of what some the guys are objecting about. At least in my circle we all already know what the adverts are pointing out. Thus, the general opinion is that the adverts believe men don’t have two brain cells to rub together. In my circle we don’t take offense, however, because all too often it seems humanity in general(in other words both men and women) don’t have the requisite number of brain cells to rub together. Or the famous phrase “Common sense isn’t common”. Or the good old motivation poster stating that common sense is so rare it is a super power.

    The Graphic I mentioned

  97. opposablethumbs says

    I really don’t get why a fair few folk seem to feel this campaign somehow stigmatises “all men”. I see drink-driving prevention ads, at most I’m going to think “yup, good thing I don’t drink and drive”. Why should I feel targeted if it’s not something I do or even think of doing?
    .
    The ads say “don’t be that guy” – not “don’t be a guy”. Sheesh.

  98. Pteryxx says

    Follow-up article by Amanda Marcotte (thanks Giliell):

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/09/rape-is-not-an-accident/

    Greta didn’t talk about why these campaigns aimed at would-be rapists work, just that they did work. The commenters immediately assumed it was because the campaigns clarified things for the mythical accidental rapists. As if guys look at these ads and think, “Oh crap, here I was thinking that as long as she’s too drunk to resist, I can round that up to consent. My mistake! I will refrain. Thanks, public service campaign!” It’s a silly idea, and one that, I think, leads people who want to focus on victim-blaming to feel secure that this is the only appropriate avenue of talking rape prevention.

    But victim-blamers are wrong. Telling men not to rape works, and not because it prevents “good guys” who mean well from attacking drunk women, by clarifying the issues. It works for two major reasons:

    1) This campaign puts rapists on notice. As noted above, rapists know how to rape and how to get away with it. If you’re a rapist and you’re looking at this campaign, what you’re seeing is law enforcement letting you know that they’re onto your game.

    […]

    2) The campaign clarifies the issue for people who are snookered by rapists. Rapists have a social license to operate because other people are hesitant to describe their behavior as rape, or as wrong anyway. For a lot of people, hearing a male friend brag about nailing that dumb drunk bitch creates cognitive dissonance, and the temptation is to define it as not-rape.

  99. jackiepaper says

    Rocko, Ya know what? In college I could not walk into a women’s restroom without being reminded that I was responsible for not getting raped. In every stall they posted a list of things I needed to do to avoid rapists. It did not make me feel safe or uniquely informed. I made me feel that the school could not be bothered to actually deal with the stalking, abuse and rapes of women on their campus. The men’s rooms had no such signs, yet it is not often men who perpetrate these crimes on women.

    I realized later, that not only could they not be bothered to actually stop these horrors happening to their students, but that they actively shushed any victims who came forward. In that small town rape convictions seemed impossible to get, even in the most obvious scenarios. Victims often dropped out and went away quietly. I came to believe (and still do) that the school likes to advertise how safe their campus is. That safety is proved to future students by showing them how few violent / sexual crimes happen on campus. And how do we know there are no crimes? Because thee are no convictions. The school then gets to celebrate how well warning women not to get raped works to stop rapes from happening. Women however, continue to be raped.

    That’s rape culture and that is what you are advocating with your “How not to get raped” advice. It is patronizing, victim blaming and stupid.

  100. jackiepaper says

    Boogers! I meant to type, “yet it is often”. Jeez, if I had a dollar for every typo…..

  101. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    (And yes. Azkyroth. You got me. All of the above was me denying that rape happens or that it matters. Idiot.)

    Your protestations say “no” but your derailing the thread about a successful, perpetrator-focused anti-rape campaign to canard us (yes, that’s a verb now) and pout about our “ideology” SCREAMS “yes.”

    You are wrong. You are malignantly wrong. The canards you present are shallow, poorly reasoned conceits that have been refuted repeatedly, and do actual harm, in ways that have been discussed IN THIS THREAD yet you are so absolutely certain that you KNOW BETTER THAN US, better than Greta (I believe you attempted to “correct” her on what constituted “derailing” ON HER OWN BLOG, ffs), that you won’t listen to any of it.

    If you actually cared, you would stop and listen and at least think through the responses you’re getting.

    If you actually cared, you would at least consider for a moment that the antipathy you are receiving is because you are presuming to know better than people who potentially or actually have to deal with rape, and people who engage and listen to those who do, because…? (Well, by pattern recognition, most likely because OF COURSE you know better than the silly wimmenz being a MANLY MAN and all, but you haven’t come out and said that yet and I’m sure you’ll deny it). And that shit is ANNOYING AS HELL, rightly so, even THE FIRST TIME you have to deal with it.

    If you cared, you would not be insisting that rape-minimizing, rape-trivializing, victim-blaming attitudes don’t exist and then dismissing a page of them, so common that the idea of playing bingo with them suggested itself, as a “red herring.”

    If you actually cared you would listen and think and try to learn. You are doing none of those things.

    People who behave like you are the number one reason rape culture exists and persists. You create an atmosphere it can breathe, provide shelter in which it can hide, and distract and wear down its natural enemies. If you cared, you’d AT LEAST stop actively undermining efforts to oppose it.

    Time to put up and shut up.

  102. huntstoddard says

    I have problems with Marcotte’s article. I think it paints things too black and white. While I agree that “accidental rape” may be a myth, I don’t think ignorance-based rape is. I don’t think she appreciates just how accurately cluelessness can mimic evil behavior and that there are a lot of clueless guys out there. In contradiction to the OP, she is confirming the opinion that ALL rapists are sociopaths, and I don’t think that’s correct.

  103. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I have problems with Marcotte’s article. I think it paints things too black and white. While I agree that “accidental rape” may be a myth, I don’t think ignorance-based rape is. I don’t think she appreciates just how accurately cluelessness can mimic evil behavior and that there are a lot of clueless guys out there. In contradiction to the OP, she is confirming the opinion that ALL rapists are sociopaths, and I don’t think that’s correct.

    Among abusers, feigning cluelessness to excuse evil behavior is rampant. I suspect her categorization is informed by pragmatic rather than epistemological concerns.

  104. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    (Then again, this IS the same Amanda Marcotte who banned me from Pandagon due, as near as I can tell, to mistaking something I was blockquoting in order to argue with it for my own words, so who the fuck knows.)

  105. says

    “Because it isn’t. Next stupid question?” – Nick Gotts

    But it is.

    Her article clearly argues that the campaign resulted in a drop in sexual assault, and that argument hinges on the stats in Vancouver:

    “And the campaign has been so successful, the number of reported sexual assaults in Vancouver fell by 10 per cent.

    I’m going to say that again, since it’s the big take-home message from this piece: A rape prevention campaign targeted at potential rapists rather than potential victims was launched… and the number of reported sexual assaults fell by 10 per cent.

    Yes, I know. Correlation doesn’t equal causation. But this is a dramatic drop in a very short time, with no other obvious causative factors.”

    But that same argument is disproven by the stats in Edmonton.

    Why is everyone here just saying “Yes, you are quite right Greta!”?

  106. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    But that same argument is disproven by the stats in Edmonton.

    The presence of a plausible mechanism in one case, and the absence in the other, would be a good place to start.

  107. carole jeppesen says

    While I love this campaign, I’m hesitant to say that it’s an actual increase (seen in Edmonton) or decrease (as seen in Vancouver). There are just too many crimes, especially sexual crimes, that go unreported. So any increase is likely not caused by the campaign, or caused by people who wouldn’t have reported reporting their attacks. Though a decrease is (to me) more likely caused by a decrease in crime (at least for the sexual crimes), then due to people not reporting the crime due to the campaign.
    (sorry if this is hard to understand)

  108. says

    I approve of these campaigns (assuming of course that no evidence turns up that they are counter productive which seems unlikely). And when I came to the site a UK Home Office advert of this sort came up, which makes me at least a little bit proud to be British.

    I have to say I really liked Ganner’s comment. Looking at this from an evolutionary perspective our male genes want men to have as much sex as possible pretty much indiscriminately. At least until recently there has been no evolutionary reason why the attitudes being critiicized here should be selected against. It does not follow that there is necessarily any genetic disposition to these attitudes but it seems likely to me. Of course since we are also conscious rational beings we should be able to override these genetic dispositions and these awareness raising campaigns looks to me like the right way of going about it. But diffusing the heat away from individuals by pointing out – correctly I think – that it is not about “Good” and “Bad” people, seems likely to help make the campaigns more effective.

    I have slightly more issue with the idea that the victim can change a “yes” to a “no” even in the absence of any decision-making impairment (which is how I read one comment). Fear of taking this to extremes may legitimately explain some push back.

  109. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Looking at this from an evolutionary perspective our male genes want men to have as much sex as possible pretty much indiscriminately.

    Rape is about power. Sex is secondary.

  110. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I have slightly more issue with the idea that the victim can change a “yes” to a “no” even in the absence of any decision-making impairment (which is how I read one comment). Fear of taking this to extremes may legitimately explain some push back.

    Rereading…

    Um…what?

  111. Thorne says

    @ Azkyroth #121

    Rape is about power. Sex is secondary.

    Is that always true? Granted, most of the time it is about power. But is some college kid, taking advantage of his date’s drunkenness, really thinking of how to control her? Or is he just interested in getting his rocks off? It’s still rape, either way. But the motivations can be varied, and may have nothing to do with power and control.

  112. maddog1129 says

    “Taking advantage of his date’s drunkenness” IS an exercise of power. She’s powerLESS; all the power is his.

  113. djs says

    I get where Thorne is coming from. From the victims pov it doesn’t change much. However, Thorne is asking about the guys point of view.


    When people say that rape isn’t about sex but about power it seems to imply that that is the reason the perp is going about the action. Which means the question isn’t about the victims pov but rather the perps. The reason I say this is because most often that is brought up when people spring the ‘we are wired for sex’ argument as an attempted excuse for the perp. Thus, it is logical to assume the the counter argument of ‘its about power, not sex’ is concerning the perps pov.


    And in Thorne’s example I would also theorize that the college kid(possibly sloshed himself) is more after ‘getting his rocks off’ than he is after asserting his dominance. Though likely there is a bit of both going on.

  114. rocko2466 says

    Hey Azkyroth, I was talking about the issues raised by this article, not derailing it. And if you learn to use a scroll button, you’ll see I also pointed out that the article was wrong (if we use Greta’s ‘correlation effectively equals causation because I haven’t looked into it so don’t know any other factors’ approach, this campaign INCREASED rapes in Edmonton!). But noone wanted to engage on THAT issue, because everyone wanted to hoot and holler about some made up rape culture.

  115. Thorne says

    @ maddog1129 #125

    “Taking advantage of his date’s drunkenness” IS an exercise of power. She’s powerLESS; all the power is his.

    I agree that, from an objective framework, it is an exercise of power. But is that the motivation behind it? It’s not as if he’s physically, or even emotionally, forcing her into submission. He’s taking advantage of her lack of control due to alcohol. It’s still rape, but it’s not about exerting power.

    From an objective standpoint, virtually all sexual activity is about an exchange of power. Man on top, woman on bottom, or vice versa. The top position is generally viewed as a position of power and control. The very act itself, of male penetrating female, is an act of physical power and domination, to some degree. But that’s not the primary motivation.

    Regardless of motivation, taking advantage of someone’s lack of control is still rape. Without informed consent there could be no other way to see it. The program Greta wrote about brings that point home to those who might not have seen it that way.

  116. Thorne says

    @rocko2466 #127

    this campaign INCREASED rapes in Edmonton!

    That is NOT what the report you linked to says! That report states that the number of rapes increased from 600 reported in 2010 to 687 reported in 2011. And it specifically states that this is because, “victims are now less reluctant to report assaults and young people have greater access to drugs and alcohol.” {emphasis mine}

    So this campaign did NOT increase the number or rapes in Edmonton, but it MAY have led to a greater willingness of victims to report them! This is a good thing! Unless, of course, you really want to defend rape culture.

  117. Greta Christina says

    ….because everyone wanted to hoot and holler about some made up rape culture.

    And that’s it for rocko2466. What as asshole. Goodbye.

  118. Greta Christina says

    From an objective standpoint, virtually all sexual activity is about an exchange of power. Man on top, woman on bottom, or vice versa. The top position is generally viewed as a position of power and control. The very act itself, of male penetrating female, is an act of physical power and domination, to some degree.

    Thorne @ #128: This may be slightly off-topic, but ultimately I don’t think it is: No. No, no, no, no, no. I absolutely reject the idea that entirely consensual sex is always, or even virtually always, about a power exchange. And I say that as someone who engages in sex that is a consensual power exchange, i.e. kinky sex. The idea that one person is dominating the other because they’ve agreed to use the logistically convenient position of one person being on top, or are having one person penetrate another (in any gender configuration) because it feels good…. no. And I don’t think it helps feminists to go down the Dworkinite road of “all penetration is dominance.” It makes feminist thought about rape culture look silly.

  119. hjhornbeck says

    Quick correction, Christina:

    The Edmonton police are so convinced of the campaign’s effectiveness that they’re bringing it back, with new posters (one of which focuses on male victims of same-sex rape)… and other cities around Canada want in on the action.

    The link you gave doesn’t show that the Edmonton Police have anything to do with that campaign. This one does.

  120. says

    Thanks for writing this, Greta. It makes me glad to know that there are people getting a good message out there, especially with examples of when it’s not consensual, because most people will just assume that whatever they’re doing doesn’t cross the line, unless there’s an effort to get the message out there that it’s not okay.

    It was influenced by a study out of the U.K. showing that 48 percent of men ages 18 to 25 did not consider it rape if the women was too drunk to know it was happening.

    This is just … so infuriating and sad at the same time. I wonder how many of the same people wouldn’t consider it assault if someone kicked or punched them while they were too drunk to know it was happening.

    Why is it so irrational to think that we could change our culture’s attitudes about rape?

    I think it’s that people don’t want to admit that it’s a problem in our culture. I think when people see something bad happening in what they perceive as “other” cultures, the reaction is to wonder what’s going on in their culture or society that’s allowing that to happen … but when it happens in our own culture (or one that we look at as being similar to our own, even if it’s in a different country) then people don’t want to admit that someone who did something wrong was affected by the culture. If something bad is going on in an “other” culture, people talk about how they should change and how people need to speak up more against that bad thing; when a bad thing is going on in our own culture, or familiar one, and people say we should examine ourselves and the ideas in our society, they get accused of blaming innocent people or exaggerating. Somehow, the assumption seems to go, the traditions of “other” cultures can be problematic, but ours never can; people in other cultures can be affected negatively by the society in which they grew up, but people in our own society are the exception to the rule.

  121. Edward Gemmer says

    This type of education makes a lot of sense. In order for a law to have any preventative power, the person breaking it needs to know it exists. Sex with someone too intoxicated to consent is rape in nearly all jurisdictions, but that dioesn’t mean everyone knows that. Schools don’t really do a good job addressing it, leaving it to parents, and the laws were most likely different when they were teenagers.

    OTOH (and please don’t ban me) I think this education would be good for men and women. In looking at many rape cases, there is a theme of “she didn’t say no.” This may or may not affect the acts status as a crime, but it certainly can make it really difficult to prove. Young women experimenting with sex seem to be more likely to be raped in a date rape setting. Why? Many reasons, but one could be that experienced males with who don’t care much about their date are more likely to try and have sex in a sexualized environment. Good practice would be for each person to talk about what they want and don’t want, but this rarely happens, especially for less experienced people. At the very least, I think men and women could be taught to be more confident about expressing what they are comfortable with. If you don’t want to have intercourse, say so.

  122. says

    christophernicholas: Greta is talking here about an ad campaign that seems to have had a beneficial effect on rates of sexual assault, with no apparent downside. Why do you feel we have to change the subject?

    It’s one thing to say we should encourage women to adopt reasonable strategies to protect themselves from violence. It’s quite another to insist that every discussion of violent crime should turn to individual self-defense, regardless of the original topic.

    Teaching and encouraging self-defense does not, in itself, put any onus on victims or potential victims. Hijacking every discussion of issues affecting women’s safety and constantly demanding we talk about self-defense, however, does.

  123. says

    Shorter Edeard Gemmer: “This ad campaign makes a lot of sense, but I still think we need to find more ways to hold women responsible for how they get treated by men.”

  124. ildi says

    I guess rocko missed the Steubenville, Ohio video where the freshly-graduated student goes on for 12 minutes about the 16-year-old girl being dead (she wasn’t) and

    Is it really rape? Because you don’t know if she wanted to or not. She might have wanted to. That might have been her final wish.

    (One of the milder things he said. Google “Steubenville video” if you can stomach it.)

    democracynow interviewed Monika Johnson Hostler, president of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence; Kristen Gwynne, an associate editor at AlterNet; and “X”, a member of the hacktivist group Anonymous using a pseudonym.

    “X”: Well, I think it’s apparent to anybody who can stomach watching it for the entire 12 minutes. I, myself, here at our location—we’ve been working night and day on this operation, and I’ve watched it at least a dozen times, and it makes me sick each time we watch it. I think it speaks for itself. These young men were sitting around immediately after the crime took place—that’s clear from what they say in the video. One person even gets up at one point and leaves in disgust and goes to check on the victim to see if the victim is OK. So the victim is still nearby, still—the crime is still in progress, in essence, when this video was shot. And a number of people are implicated in the video, including the subject of the video; Michael Nodianos implicates himself in this crime. So I think the video speaks for itself. And, you know, I can’t—I can’t imagine how the police do not see this as further evidence and do not levy charges against the people in the video.

    No rape culture here!

  125. says

    Looking at this from an evolutionary perspective our male genes want men to have as much sex as possible pretty much indiscriminately. At least until recently there has been no evolutionary reason why the attitudes being critiicized here should be selected against. It does not follow that there is necessarily any genetic disposition to these attitudes but it seems likely to me. Of course since we are also conscious rational beings we should be able to override these genetic dispositions and these awareness raising campaigns looks to me like the right way of going about it.

    And your point is…?

  126. Edward Gemmer says

    “Shorter Edeard Gemmer: “This ad campaign makes a lot of sense, but I still think we need to find more ways to hold women responsible for how they get treated by men.””

    Not at all. Everyone can only be responsible for what they do. In our culture, we seem to tread a weird line of never really talking about sex then being surprised at what people come up with on their own. I’m not a woman, but I imagine at a young age sex is just as confusing and difficult to figure out as it is for men, if not more so. So a way of empowering women to be more comfortable with what they want (and more importantly in this context, what they don’t want) is, I think, an important thing that could reduce sexual violence. To me, it’s not about “holding people responsible.” It’s about reducing rape.

    Since you mention it, I think empowering men on the issue would be good, too, though we are still really far away from that. Evolution is rejected as a contributing factor in psychology among many people, even among atheists, though to me it explains a few things about rape, one of which is that men compete for status. What could be a better compliment to a man other than “he can get any woman he wants.” Many men view having sex as a way to get higher status among males and be more attractive to females. Education to young men about the impulses they feel and why they feel that way could be a great thing, perhaps affecting not just rape but all crime, since the vast bulk of crime is committed by males. But when we are waging battles about whether evolution should be taught at all, it seems unlikely that we will get to that any time soon.

  127. says

    Evolution is rejected as a contributing factor in psychology among many people, even among atheists, though to me it explains a few things about rape, one of which is that men compete for status.

    This sort of evolutionary-psychobabble can be used to “explain” damn near anything. In my experience, it’s mostly used to excuse bad behavior, or to lower expectations of how men are supposed to act. (“Men are pigs. It’s in our genes. Whaddaya expect?”) That’s why bringing up “evolution” is so useless most of the time.

  128. says

    Raging Bee
    Madhumanists ‘point’ is that he’s full of evopsych just-so stories. I can come up with those too, though. For instance, take this line:

    Looking at this from an evolutionary perspective our male genes want men to have as much sex as possible pretty much indiscriminately.

    Automatically, madhumanist goes to rape as the obvious evolutionary pathway to that goal. However, looking at our nearest relatives, we see that male bonobos (very low incidence of rape) actually get a whole lot more sex on average compared to male chimpanzees, despite the known rapey tendencies of the latter.

  129. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    All this talk about lions being incapable of not eating things makes me wonder, is Rocko saying that men just HAVE to rape and therfore saying Don’t Rape won’t work, because men are just rapebeasts incapable of not raping? And it’s feminists that hate men, how again?

    Additionally, anyone who watches nature documentaries about wild cats knows that lions have learned to keep away from two legged creatures – humans – because they’re figured out that these two-legged creatures can kill them from far away – with guns.

    If a lion can learn that two-legged creatures are bad news, surely rocko’s rapebeast men can learn rape is bad? Rocko’s not accusing his rapebeast men of having less intelligence than a wild cat, is he?

  130. Edward Gemmer says

    “This sort of evolutionary-psychobabble can be used to “explain” damn near anything. In my experience, it’s mostly used to excuse bad behavior, or to lower expectations of how men are supposed to act. (“Men are pigs. It’s in our genes. Whaddaya expect?”) That’s why bringing up “evolution” is so useless most of the time.”

    Well, I don’t disagree, and applications can be limited. However, I’ve been interested in criminology, and criminals, almost always and everywhere, are men. So I think it is worth looking at. Biology plays a role. That doesn’t mean it is a defense. I strongly believe racism has a biological element, but we have made some good headway against it.

  131. says

    All this talk about lions being incapable of not eating things makes me wonder, is Rocko saying that men just HAVE to rape and therfore saying Don’t Rape won’t work, because men are just rapebeasts incapable of not raping?

    I dunno about rocko (though his ‘nym rings a tiny alarm bell or two in my own head), but there is some fool out there who wrote a book called “A Natural History of Rape,” in which (according to a credible-sounding review at least) he said that, yes, men are programmed to want as much sex as possible, including the rapey kind, therefore, while men have to be dilligently schooled to override our base violent animal instincts, women also have to just accept that we’re all dangerous, and never show too much skin or act too provocative, ever, ’cause us men are such beasts and all. The author pretended to emphasize that, yes, it’s men’s fault when they rape, but he kept on trashing feminists at the same time for not understanding…something. Apparently a lot of over-the-top anti-feminist polemics in a book that pretended to be a sciencey treatment of rape.

  132. says

    I strongly believe racism has a biological element…

    If by “biological” you mean “arising at least partially from a hard-wired instinct,” then I agree — but you need to use more specific words to avoid misunderstanding. Some of the words you use here are so vague I really don’t know what you’re trying to say, and that makes you sound kinda stupid.

  133. Edward Gemmer says

    If by “biological” you mean “arising at least partially from a hard-wired instinct,” then I agree — but you need to use more specific words to avoid misunderstanding. Some of the words you use here are so vague I really don’t know what you’re trying to say, and that makes you sound kinda stupid.

    Well I really strive to be totally stupid, not just kinda :)

    Also, I would disagree that men search out as much sex as possible. That’s not what evolution predicts, and not what we see. They search out sex, yes, but as much sex as possible would lead one to the conclusion that all men are unfaithful or all men want “easy” women, which isn’t true at all. Consider the way women are classified as “easy.” It is to diminish the status that having sex with them confers. If there is one thing that “evpsych” is right on the money with, it is that reproductive “status” is an extremely important goal.

  134. Edward Gemmer says

    Also, what is a “don’t be that guy” campaign if not a message of don’t be that guy in comparison to other guys.

  135. says

    Also, what is a “don’t be that guy” campaign if not a message of don’t be that guy in comparison to other guys.

    A message of “don’t be that guy at all?” It’s not a “comparative” or “relative” thing — either you choose to take unfair advantage of women who are drunk or otherwise vulnerable, or you don’t. Then again, this sounds like another case of poorly chosen words on your part, so maybe I’m misunderstanding what you were “really” trying to say.

  136. Thorne says

    All of this talk about the evolutionary imperative of men towards rape is just making excuses. Even if it were true, which I doubt, there are many such “imperatives” that we suppress or ignore in favor of what we laughingly call civilization. We are able to override these imperatives through culture and education. Rape is no different.

    Throughout history there have been cultures which revered women, so that a woman could walk naked through the streets without fear of rape. And there have been (and are) cultures where a woman is not safe under any circumstances. None of these cultures are evolutionarily imperative, they are human constructs of culture.

    Cultures change, for many different reasons, and we need to take advantage of every possible mechanism to change the idea that rape is tolerable, if you’re a man. The “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign is a tool for changing that culture. We need more such tools.

  137. says

    I just made the following post on Facebook when this blog entry was shown to me. I thought it was appropriate to place here:

    “Women can say a lot with the say they dress and present themselves. They can say “I am strong, proud and confident in the way I present myself to the world”. They can say “I am enjoying this life to the fullest, on my terms”. They can even say “Hey, look at me”. They might not even be saying anything at all.

    One thing they rarely IF EVER say is “Free, take one”.

    Rape is not okay, full stop. Consensual sex with another human being is a privilege, not a right or a conquest. The neanderthals, perverts, and misogynists of this world need to realize this, and decent men and women need to do something when they don’t.”

  138. says

    All of this talk about the evolutionary imperative of men towards rape is just making excuses. Even if it were true…

    Which it most certainly is not. Humans are social creatures — it’s not enough just to make babies, we have to stick together and raise and socialize them as well; and routine impregnation through violent rape doesn’t really facilitate the raising and socializing part of perpetuating the tribe. That may work for other species, but not for humans.

    All this blather about rape being an “evolutionary imperative” is coming from simpletons who have no fucking clue what’s good for the human species, or how human reproduction and child-rearing actually work.

  139. marilove says

    Ah, yes. Edward Gemmer, who feels that women “sometimes” have an obligation to have sex, even if they don’t want to. A MORAL obligation. Please see: http://skepchick.org/2012/12/skepchick-quickies-12-21-4/

    How about this?

    As far as sexism. You can call it evo-psych bullshit, but a better term would be reality. I don’t have a uterus and it is extremely unlikely that I will grow one. I am totally dependent on women to procreate, something which I definitely enjoy doing. I imagine I am not alone. So, it is inevitable that I will treat women differently from men. This may be offensive, but that doesn’t make it any less accurate.

    There are more gems in the comments — including how some sexism is TOTALLY OKAY!! (Because men rely on women as baby making machines, duh.)

    Don’t even engage him.

    This may be against the comment policy, but I felt it needed to be shared. He is an MRA troll disguised as an ally.

  140. Greta Christina says

    marilove @ #152: Good enough for me. Part of my comment policy is that people who behave reprehensibly in other blogs are not welcome in mine. He’s gone.

  141. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    David @ #34,

    You would proably be shocked and dismayed to know that the advertisements also target would-be-rapist gay men.

    You don’t get a free-pass at the stupid and over-used defensive rhetoric that these ads or statements that these ads make paint all men as rapists or potential rapists, just because you’re gay. And it’s not being gay that makes it difficult for you to understand how ridiculous that rhetoric is.

    Just try thinking about it for a second. If you are not a potential rapist, then the ad doesn’t apply to you. You know yourself. The ad is appealing to those who would rape based on the notion that what they’re doing isn’t rape. Unless you’re the kind of person to take advantage of someone incapable of offering consent or forcing yourself on them without their consent (with their explicit denial of consent, even), then the ad isn’t targeting you. The ad isn’t painting all men, let alone just straight men, as potential rapists, it’s warning men that don’t know better (a generous presumption), that the situations the ad highlights are rape and that they shouldn’t ‘be that guy’, the guy who does rape.

    This isn’t hard to grasp. Don’t use your sexuality as an excuse not to think, it’s degrading and stupid.

  142. calabasita says

    Hello. I’d like to speak from the perspective of someone who actually has been raped and otherwise sexually assaulted, on numerous occasions.

    It has taken me a while, but I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of what many don’t believe in: “rape culture.” Although there is a pervasive rape culture–the whole idea of “scoring,” which was NOT what the free love movement of the ’60s was supposed to be about–it is pretty clear that rape culture mostly applies to “bad girls” or good girls behaving badly, which is why it is fair game for men to get women drunk to sleep with them (if she got drunk with me she must have wanted it, or at least she was behaving badly, she should have known better, she got what was coming to her). Much of this revolves around alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately there is a lot of pressure in college to use a lot of alcohol and drugs. There is also the fact that it is fun, and young people–women included–want to do it. There is also pressure on men who might otherwise be non-rapists to behave like rapists. Those who would be rapists anyway if they could get away with it–usually because of contemptuous attitudes towards women and a sense of entitlement–well, college is a great place for them to prowl and cover their actions with the excuse “I/she was drunk.”

    There have been a few cases in which my sexual assaults did not involve alcohol. I have been grabbed/followed etc. while working or riding public transportation. I’ve been molested in a movie theater (as a child) and sexually menaced by a male adult stagehand while assistant-directing a theater production as a teenager. I have been raped in a hostel while sick with bronchitis and a double ear infection, in a room alone, to recover. It took me a long time to see that as rape because, since I had just moved to a brand new country and gotten two jobs, I couldn’t afford to be raped (again), in my mind, so when a stranger came into my room in the middle of the night and woke me up by crawling naked into bed with me, I just turned my head away and let him. His behavior was clearly predatory–he had seen me around the hostel and knew how sick and weak I was–and I couldn’t bear to struggle and have him do it anyway. I struck up a (brief) sexual relationship with this loathsome character afterward as a further way to make this encounter “not rape.” Like many victims who have been multiply abused, I have pathologized my role in life, to some extent. I was also raped twice by the first man I slept with, once violently, and neither time did I characterize as “rape” in my head until much later. It just didn’t occur to me, as a seventeen-year-old, that I could be raped by a sexual partner. That I shouldn’t be treated that way. The violent occasion was a surprise attack while showering that was so sudden and painful it took my breath away and I had no time to say “no.” The other time I was sleeping. In all of these occasions, since I failed to say “no,” I thought it was my fault.

    I would say that youth/inexperience/low self-esteem are similar to alcohol in that they’re attributes predators are attracted to. Any sort of vulnerability. As a child my natural rebelliousness was curtailed–I was forcibly sent to counseling, a traumatic experience–and my father and I had a difficult relationship (I was the “bad one” in his eyes, compared to my sister, since I didn’t want to listen). I internalized all of this, which made me an easy target. I also felt I was ugly because I am not a stick figure (I was not ugly), which also made me a great target. I later went on to be in a domestic violence relationship. No surprise there.

    In college both times I was raped I was drunk. The first time I still feel very conflicted about, as I am still not sure his intent to rape was there; perhaps he thought I wanted it. And maybe I thought I did at the time, too, but it ended up being scary, and I ended up feeling used and taken advantage of. I felt a sort of thrill about this examining my injuries the next day–“I was made for this. This is my role in life. I must be a masochist. This is what I want.” I know, it’s sickening. But I sort of snapped after that and had flashbacks, hypervigilance, nightmares, all the rest of it. I had never told anyone about my previous sexual abuse. I wondered if I was projecting onto him.

    The second time was clearly predatory. As a result of the first rape I snapped–I became drunken, drug-using, promiscuous, looking for the worst sort of men to take advantage of me. Maybe I wanted to die. I did stop having sex at a certain turning point, but not drinking (I worked in a bar/restaurant where after work the waitresses and barbacks would get me drunk; I had been sexually harassed by customers at this workplace many times, with no reprisals). My best friend’s crush was angry at her after a fight they had. He came in the bar and saw the waitresses buying me ten shots in a row. He began buying me beers. He offered to walk me home “for safety.” I was in and out of consciousness. He asked me where my best friend/roommate was, and I told him she was out of town. I turned around to say goodbye at my door. He pushed the door open and came inside.

    Even if I had not clearly said “stop” to him–which I did, I came to and heard a disembodied voice (mine) saying it while he was assaulting me–this would have been rape. But the year before, when I had gone to the police about the other assault, they had told me “don’t go home with someone you don’t know,” “get to know someone before you do that,” (get raped?), etc., and dismissed me. So I didn’t go to the police again. Of course my friend believed I had slept with her crush, as I was promiscuous and a “bad girl” that year. It ruined our friendship, which was the rapist’s goal; I assume he was jealous of our closeness. I don’t know what I would have done in any of these situations if I’d gotten pregnant.

    I have also been forcibly digitally penetrated by men at bars while drinking–once while having a conversation with a stranger, once while dancing with someone I thought was a friend on NYE, in front of a lot of people–both were surprise attacks, and only the second time was I drunk. I’ve been fondled/squeezed/grabbed many more times. That almost doesn’t even bother me anymore, I am so used to it. Despite martial arts training, I was so “broken” into passivity as an adolescent that I cannot stand up for myself. I guess I must make a great victim. Maybe even more so because otherwise I am smart and fiery, but men sense this weakness, and it’s a good way to get back at me.

    I have tried to talk about this before, on other message boards, and been told I was a “lousy slut who was asking for it” and “woke up and regretted it the next morning. There are no take-backs for sex.” By both men and women. This seems to be a common cultural attitude. Even my own sister–who is brilliant, and a lawyer–said only the last incidence counted as rape, as it was the only time I clearly said “stop.” But you can’t tell me all those other men didn’t know what they were doing, when I was too drunk/sick/surprised to respond to their sudden attacks.

    Of these men that I know, one was a bartender and a ladies’ man, one was an upstanding citizen, an engineer and “pillar of his community,” one was an undocumented immigrant, one was an EMT, one was a middle-aged middle-class father of four grown daughters, one was an environmentalist, and one was a member of MARS . So much for antisocial psychopaths. So much for a “profile.”

    I still find it difficult to stand up for myself, and have been assaulted less seriously (only because friends were there) since those incidents. I don’t go out anymore. I don’t date. I’ve put on weight. All of this is bad for my physical and mental health. I have bipolar disorder, which hasn’t helped, and I still have nightmares. I have thought about suicide in the past. I am firmly heterosexual, and I love men, and would like to be able to trust one again someday enough to fall in love with him.

    In my experience, my own mentality–my low self-esteem, my risk-taking behaviors, my natural often unconscious flirtatiousness, all of this–is a contributing factor. Particularly my mentality, the passivity in the face of aggression (though I am not passive in relationships/real sex), my desire for and struggle against male authority/attention.

    The other side of it is my rapists’ mentality. The kind that is drawn to those attributes instead of my other attributes, because of a desire for sexual power and control.

    Yes, the drinking myth needs to be dispelled. But at the heart of all this lies a truth about the way men are taught to relate to women in our culture.

    I am not saying every man is like this. Every person has their dark side, of course. But men who successfully resist such behaviors are strong individuals, because it is ingrained in our culture, and not just to a certain extent. I’m not saying I know what to do about it, or that I am blaming men so much as I am blaming humans, women included. Women also really need to change their attitudes towards sexual interaction.

    Teaching men how not to rape is important. Teaching women how not to get raped should come down to teaching women about what their rights are in this society. This is part of a larger struggle and this is why it is a contentious issue and deeply frightening for societal throwbacks, of which there are many.

    Just my thoughts on the subject.

  143. says

    Not helping this whole debate is the fact that people in general (men and women alike) are also known to drink with the intent of reducing inhibitions and shyness to allow them to do stupid fun things that they might otherwise not do like karaoke! So while the poster may say “don’t have sex with drunk people” the truth is half the people having sex out there in the world are slightly impaired in some way or other.

    Seeing as how expecting people to give a potential sex partner a breathalizer test to ensure they are only tipsy and not drunk off their ass is a bit absurd. So yeah while I don’t take the side of the “rapist” in 9 out of 10 claimed rapes – we must also be careful not to make excuses for people (women especially seem to fall into this trap mostly) who choose to get drunk off their ass in the company of many stupid men looking to get laid with some random tipsy lady at the party/event they are attending this weekend. true story.

  144. says

    The entire article is built on a faulty premise, which is that there is a culture in favor of rape.

    Obviously this is untrue – our culture finds rape an appealing crime, which is why it is punished much more severely than other forms of violence.

    So the article’s argument is doomed from the get-go. It’s built on a lie. But the lies don’t stop there.

    The article relies heavily on the typical feminist fallacies of “turning the exception into the rule”, “Post hoc, propter hoc”, and genetic fallacy. The author backs her nonsensical argument up with a single study done in Vancouver and a broad generalization about cultures everywhere. Obviously, cultures differ in many ways from each other, besides their culture: demographics, economics, political systems, etc. Yet she leaps to the totally illogical and baseless conclusion that culture, and not any of the other comorbid factors, is the actionable issue. What justifies such a leap?

    The real goal of nonsense like this is to demonize and criminalize men as a class.

    Isn’t it curious how the author, who doesn’t like men, dedicates most of her life and mental energy to writing about how they are evil and conspiring to rape women everywhere? If I heard a KKK member talk about preventing car robbery, would I think he’s more interested in protecting my car, or settling scores with a particular group of people he doesn’t like?

    Everyone is a potential rapist in the same sense that everyone is capable of committing theft or assault. The defense that “I had reason to believe that use of force or taking property was justified by the situation” is perfectly valid.

    If a woman is dressing or acting in a way to create the impression that she is sexually available, saying, “But I didn’t mean it”, is as absurd and contemptible as putting a “Free, Take One” sign next to some brownies outside your office, then slapping people with accusations of theft. Or using “Fighting Words” to instigate then crying assault. In fact, in both cases, the only criminal is the accuser – I’m sorry, “victim”. It’s called entrapment.

    Sexual freedom means sexual responsibility. Your argument has no basis other than trying to criminalize the male sex drive and persecute men.

    How many of the people in favor of such arguments have no place for men in their lives and choose usernames that demonstrate excessive levels of anger and social hostility. I wouldn’t trust a Christian fundamentalist to offer an objective opinion on anti-Semitism, so why would I trust a GLBT radical to offer a credible opinion on heterosexual issues?

    Further proof. The article makes reference to the high incidence of gay and lesbian rape. But the article is entirely predicated on men as villains and women as victims. So is this about preventing rape, or about demonizing men? You decide!

  145. Greta Christina says

    Ethan Farber has been put into comment moderation. His commenting here is bordering on theeadjacking and comment hogging, and he’s starting the same argument in multiple threads — all of which are prohibited by my comment policy. Also, this particular comment reveals a complete inability to read for comprehension, as it flat-out misrepresents my positions on many topics, and reveals an utterly vile and despicable attitude towards sexual consent that I will not tolerate in my blog. And I’m at a conference and don’t have time or energy to monitor conversations as closely as I normally do. So any further comments from Ethan Farber will have to be approved by me before they’re posted. Thanks for your understanding.

  146. Thorne says

    The entire article is built on a faulty premise, which is that there is a culture in favor of rape.

    Not so much that the culture is in favor of rape, but that it protects certain rapists instead of their victims. The Steubenville case, among others, is a perfect example of that. One has to wonder what the opinion of the community would have been had those boys not been members of the football team. The fact that so many were willing to accept their actions simply because they were athletes says more about the culture of rape acceptance than anything else could have. And now, apparently, another case involving athletes with 13 year old girls? I suppose they were asking for it, too?

    our culture finds rape an appealing crime

    Your typo in the second paragraph (at least I ASSUME it’s a typo) is as revealing of your attitude as anything else you had to say.

    If a woman is dressing or acting in a way to create the impression that she is sexually available, saying, “But I didn’t mean it”, is as absurd and contemptible as putting a “Free, Take One” sign next to some brownies outside your office, then slapping people with accusations of theft.

    So much wrong here! A woman, anyone, saying that she is sexually available does not mean that she is available to everyone and anyone! It does not give anyone the right to assume that she’s “up for anything” just because she dresses in what you might consider provocative clothing. It would be like a car thief claiming that it was okay to steal someone’s car because they left the key in it.

    Sexual freedom means sexual responsibility.

    Yes, it does. And that applies to everyone, of both sexes! And if you force yourself upon someone without their consent, real informed consent not just a “didn’t say no” consent, you must accept the responsibility for raping that person.

    And just for the record, to make my opinion more “credible” to you, I am a white male who has never forced myself upon anyone, has never considered a woman to be a piece of meat, has never, ever contemplated taking a woman against her wishes. If I saw a woman walking naked on the street I would give her the shirt off my back and help her to safety, without ever feeling that she owed me anything. And if I were to see a situation like what happened in Steubenville, I would do everything in my power to protect the woman and to hinder, if not harm, those trying to rape her! The thought that people like you would try to pass yourselves off as “real men” just sickens me.

    Is that a credible enough opinion for you, Ethan?

  147. pandakun says

    I’ve seen a number of people parrot what Ethan said above, usually getting their arguments from sites like AVfM. Using the same buzzwords: “demonize”, “paint with a broad brush”… yep. The arguments I’d seen from men espousing Ethan’s beliefs was that rapists were always rapists, actively sought all their sexual encounters to be non-consensual, and knew exactly what was and wasn’t rape. Oh, if only the world were so simple.

    The one thing I got out of this campaign was it addressed people who might be inclined to rape; someone who hadn’t thought too much of what rape was, and might not think – at some circumstance in the future – what they were doing was rape. Someone who had totally consensual sex all their life, but one night went to a party and thought “they’re almost passed out, maybe they won’t mind”. Having read these posters as a high school kid (not that I was sexually active) would have certainly had rounded out my understanding more, because the only education I had in sexual consent was through popular culture – which at that time was “brooding guy in a dark alley threatens woman with a knife”. I hadn’t ever been wasted either, so all that would have been a new avenue for me.

    Anyway, clearly education is the important thing: what constitutes a “no” and what constitutes a “yes”. How to effectively communicate both, how to recognize both.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Now, we should all know off the top that Greta Christina appears to have a desire for this to be true (as, to be honest, do I). Her concern is that rape prevention campaigns tend to be directed at safety (which she considers victim-blaming). She wished to obtain some data that proved that. Her triumphant article is here. […]

  2. […] It’s Wrong. In New Paper, Professor Thoma Overlooks The Contribution of Financial Bloggers Rape Prevention Aimed At Rapists Does Work: The “Don’t Be That Guy” Campaign More bogosity from Michelle Rhee Rhee Versus Reality: How Not to Grade Restaurants and Schools Did […]

  3. […] Greta Christina wrote yesterday about an anti-rape campaign that is being considered a success by law enforcement in Edmonton. It’s the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign, and after the city was blanketed with it, the rape rate went down 10%. Greta cited it, correctly, as an example of how anti-rape messages aimed at telling men not to rape work, and much better than telling women to live their lives in fear of rapists. Here are some examples of it: […]

  4. […] While these are sad and fatiguing itemizations, they are not “new.” These are “extreme,” well-publicized cases of daily events. Many “everyday” assaults, say on U.S .college campuses where 28 percent of women are assaulted, take place because of of people’s differing understandings of consent and their expectations regarding who says “yes” and what “no” means. The point of consent as a norm is to make these situations unambiguous and rare. This means we have to accept that telling rapists not to rape, or to face real consequences, works. As it clearly does. […]

  5. […] While these are sad and fatiguing itemizations, they are not “new.” These are “extreme,” well-publicized cases of daily events. Many “everyday” assaults, say on U.S .college campuses where 28 percent of women are assaulted, take place because of of people’s differing understandings of consent and their expectations regarding who says “yes” and what “no” means. The point of consent as a norm is to make these situations unambiguous and rare. This means we have to accept that telling rapists not to rape, or to face real consequences, works. As it clearly does. […]

  6. […] Those of us immersed in this work believe that we may be at a legitimate strategic inflection point in the fight against violence against women.  There is no “neutral” in this fight. I’m not saying men need to step in to “take charge” and “protect helpless women.”  Women, like Mallika Dutt, founder and CEO of Breakthrough, are agents of change.  But, we need men to be our allies. And, we know that it works when they are our allies. […]

  7. […] women ‘don’t get raped,’ so let’s try teaching people, men, to not rape. We’ve already seen evidence that such educational campaigns have done positive work in places like Edmonton, so let’s try […]

  8. […] men taking advantage of drunk women with various copy about why men should not do so. Later, the organization and the local police claimed that the campaign resulted in a lower rate of sexual violence against women despite that the […]

  9. […] to be a rapist and surefire ways to prevent sexual assault. Plus, I found out that the folks at SAVE Edmonton did a great campaign around “Don’t be THAT guy”. I hope there will be more such campaigns. I will keep training in martial arts, where I’ve […]

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