Comments

  1. says

    Incorrect, Hari. Though the numbers skew very, very heavily toward women being the victims, it’s not actually a risk factor, since men can be raped, and all it takes is the presence of one of the risk factors from my abovementioned Complete List and you’re in trouble.

  2. rq says

    Wow, this must have taken forever to compile! [/sarcasm]
    (Thank you. It is, indeed, comprehensive. And simple. And, one would think, obvious.)

  3. Banana says

    How to prevent rape: a complete list

    1. don’t engage in sexual activity with another person without the other person’s consent.

  4. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Jason:
    Any chance you can forward this to Salon?
    And all college campuses?
    And all politicians?

    Maybe a billboard campaign?

  5. opposablethumbs says

    At last, a genuine fully comprehensive list which – together with Banana’s excellent and exhaustive list at #11 – puts all the valid risk factor and rape prevention advice in the world in one place.

    Thank you.

    (Now all we need to do is get people everywhere to read for comprehension …)

  6. Jussi says

    I can’t argue with that list, however it’s far from being practical.
    I would still recommend lone women stay out of dark alleys, etc.

    This is bit like:
    The risk factors for getting cancer: a complete list
    1. Being alive.

    Of course rape is always fault of rapist,
    but there are ways to lower the risk of being raped (or robbed, etc).

  7. hoary puccoon says

    Jussi @ 15–

    How many women do you know who spend their leisure hours lingering alone in dark alleys?
    Any?

  8. Banana says

    Dark alleys are not risk factors for rape because dark alleys do not rape people.

    The only risk factor for rape is still proximity to someone who rapes people.

  9. Stephen Grant says

    The best way to lower the risk of being raped:
    Teach people not to rape.

    I have a couple of questions.

    1. How would you go about doing this?
    2. Do you think that teaching rapists not to rape would stop them from raping?

    I’m guessing you don’t have an answer for the first question, which is really a moot point, given that the answer to the second question is quite an obvious ‘no’.

    This is bit like:
    The risk factors for getting cancer: a complete list
    1. Being alive.

    What this person said.

    Dark alleys are not risk factors for rape because dark alleys do not rape people.

    The only risk factor for rape is still proximity to someone who rapes people

    It’s as if you don’t know what risk factor actually means. It’s a variable, that when present, increases the statistical likelihood of you being raped. For example, being in prison. Being in prison doesn’t rape you either, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a risk factor. You are, in actuality, more likely to be raped in prison than not in prison. That’s because the situation is directly linked to being in close proximity to rapists. Dark alleys too.

    90% of my blog is “you wouldn’t think this needs saying, BUT…”

    No, Jason. 90% of your blog is “this doesn’t need saying, but… I’ll say it anyway and then block anyone who disagrees”. This list helps nobody.

  10. says

    If most rape happens between acquaintances, how is being in a dark alley a risk factor for rape? If most rape happens outside of prison, and being in prison only increases your risk factor for rape if you’re also kept near enough other people e.g. not in solitary confinement, how is being in prison a risk factor for rape? The only commonality between all rapes is that someone has to be willing to forego consent. The only commonality between all rapes is there’s a rapist.

    To abstract those extra variables away, the only risk factor for being raped in my list is being near people who rape people. It takes the onus of responsibility off the victim, where it never belonged.

    Likewise, while on any blog the only risk factor for being blocked is pissing the blog-owner off, that’s not how I work. I’ve long given contrarians plenty of opportunity to attempt to prove their points before being blocked when they get to be too abusive or turn the place too toxic. So, go ahead. Prove to me that I block people for mere disagreement, Mr. First Time Poster.

  11. Jussi says

    @ Banana
    How about teaching people also not to rob and murder?
    Do you really think that is reasonable solution to the problem?
    Rape is disgusting violent crime, it’s not something normal healthy people do.
    They do it because there is something wrong with them, not because of anyone
    hasn’t teach them not to rape.

    Nobody taught me not to rape, but still I would never ever rape.

    @ hoary puccoon
    Some people go to unsafe places and they are not necessarily aware of it.

    When I was in Rio, local people warned me about the place where I was.
    They said I probably get robbed soon and I must be very careful.

    Should I have reply to them, “no you are silly, these streets doesn’t rob anyone
    and I don’t spend my leisure hours lingering on these streets”?

    @ Stephen Grant
    Thanks for elaborating my point.

  12. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault

    There is pretty much variation in the statistics already, so result of this teaching campaign might just be flux. Well see in couple years.
    http://mediareleases.vpd.ca/2010/09/27/sexual-assault-statistics-report/

    Also rape is always act of violence, no matter if it is done in bed by husband.

    Then the prison example… you are misunderstanding statistics.
    Even if majority of rapes happen outside of prison, still getting in prison makes raping more probable. That is because majority of rapists are outside of prison in numbers, but in prison there are more rapist per persons.

  13. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault

    To abstract those extra variables away, the only risk factor for being raped in my list is being near people who rape people. It takes the onus of responsibility off the victim, where it never belonged.

    No, that is logically wrong. Responsibility has nothing to do with this issue,
    the fault is always on rapist or generally on person who does the wrong thing.
    Let me rephrase the problem; what are the risk factors of getting proximity to rapist?

  14. says

    Tell me, Jussi, what does a rapist look like? What defining characteristics can you use to know that a particular person is a rapist? Once you know that, you know how to avoid being in proximity to one.

  15. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault
    You still didn’t get my point. Maybe I over simplified it.
    Being near rapist doesn’t mean you are going to be raped, it is also depending on
    various other circumstances.
    There are no common characteristics in appearance of rapist, but there are certain places and situations where you are more likely to meet rapist (example prison). And
    there are also some circumstances that makes the raping more likely, example
    privacy.

    @ Banana
    Rapes that happen in home are extremely difficult to avoid.
    But it doesn’t mean risk of some other types of rapes cannot be lowered.

    One advise (not very good) I could give is not let people in your home unless you know them very well.

  16. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault and Banana
    These are very common sense things and they are not just for women, but also to men.
    Men are much less likely to be raped, but men are often robbed and more often violently attacked.

    It’s never fault of victim,
    but there really are things to lower you change to get violated.

  17. says

    @Jussi
    No, at the very best you can, indeed, lower your own personal risk of getting raped. It still doesn’t make a dent in the actual prevalence of rape unless the problem of rapists is adressed.
    All the “rape prevention” and “risk reducing” strategies work according to the old principle that you don’t have to outrun the lion. You just have to outrun the slowest member of the group.

  18. says

    Why is there a greater risk of being raped in a dark alley? Because that’s where someone who is a rapist will be? Sounds like a dependent risk, not an independent one.

  19. Jussi says

    @ Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-
    You might be completely right. However I would guess if everyone would be really cautious, then it would be harder to rape and thus it could result in fewer rapes. Same thing with robberies and other violent acts.

    However I think we agree, that we need to deal with root problem, ie why people rape. I don’t think it’s as simple as teach people not to rape. Instead I think it’s some kind of mental health problem and much harder to deal with.
    Meanwhile I hope people would use common sense to avoid troubles,
    but of course there is nothing that could make your life perfectly safe.

    @ robertbaden
    There is needed privacy for the rapist. It doesn’t matter at all if the risk is dependent or independent. It is higher absolute risk, and that is what I’m talking about.

  20. says

    Jussi: again, some people simply don’t know that the things that they’re doing are rape. It doesn’t take a mental problem for someone to think that a drunk person is “easy”. That’s why educating about consent helps reduce sexual assault.

    Stop reducing this problem to one of only violent stranger rape by mentally unstable people, please. You’re doing no justice to the victims of rape, nor to people with mental health issues.

  21. says

    Jussi

    You might be completely right. However I would guess if everyone would be really cautious, then it would be harder to rape and thus it could result in fewer rapes. Same thing with robberies and other violent acts.

    No, I think you have it backwards.
    We don’t need to be more cautious about our own behaviour. Hell, there hardly is an action women don’t second-guess and check for increased risks.
    We need to be more conscious about rapists. If rapists target drunk women the answer is not “be more cuations, don’t get drunk*” The answer is: look out for guys who try to take advantage of drunk women!

    *Which opens another can of worms, because quite often rapists make sure that those women are drunk. Since alcohol as a drug is widely avaible and legal and accepted they don’t even need to use illegal “rape drugs”.

    And what Jadon said: Everybody is against rape. Duh, like everybody is against murder. But the understanding what rape is, is vastly different and painting it as “violent stranger in a dark alley” doesn’t fucking help. Those studies about the percentage of women who have been raped and the percentage of men who rape? The people doing them were very careful not to use the word “rape”. they gave people questions that were a definition of rape but left out the “R-word”.
    As long as a room full of people thinks it’s funny when somebody sticks their finger up an unconscious woman’s vagina people clearly don’t know what rape is.

  22. Jussi says

    @ Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-
    Well I would advise everyone not to drink too much. Excess alcohol consumption increases risk of multiple cancers, violence, accidents, etc.

    Your suggestion “look out for guys who try to take advantage of drunk women” is fine, but how do you regocnize such guy? How can you look out for them? Especially when you are drunk. I’d say it’s more practical to advise binge drinking only with trusted friends.

    @ Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- and Jason Thibeault
    Do you consider this as something what normal “uneducated” people would do?

    As long as a room full of people thinks it’s funny when somebody sticks their finger up an unconscious woman’s vagina people clearly don’t know what rape is.

  23. opposablethumbs says

    Do you consider this as something what normal “uneducated” people would do?

    Jussi, it’s exactly what a whole roomful of people – successful high-school students – have done. Perfectly normal, socially successful, financially comfortable, popular high-school students. On the 11th of August 2012. Have you heard of Steubenville?

  24. opposablethumbs says

    … oh, and in case you’re not familiar with what happened – the town as a whole really united over this. In support of the rapists. And to harass and attack the victim and her family.

  25. Jussi says

    @ opposablethumbs
    Hard to believe this, but maybe your “normal” really is mentally sick as hell.
    I haven’t heard about Steubenville, I live in Finland.

    Good luck with the education campaign.

  26. says

    Jussi: it’s called “rape culture”, and yes, it’s sick as hell that people are educated presently that they can do shit like that and get away with it. That’s why feminists fight the fight they do against said rape culture.

  27. says

    No. No, it is not a mental health problem. Not unless you redefine “mental health” to include perfectly mentally sound people who are miseducated, at which point you’ve redefined “mental health” to uselessness.

  28. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault
    Then why such difference to Finland. We don’t have such education program in here, and still it’s very common sense that the described situation is rape?
    You don’t need to teach such very basic things to mentally healthy people with normal emotional life.

    To me that sounds like bullshit excuse (“I didn’t knew it’s wrong”) to try to get out off trouble and responsibility. Seriously I’m extremely surprised if that is their honest belief.

  29. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault
    So? What do you think I said?
    They are rapes, done by bad men, not mistakes or misunderstandings (that can be corrected by education) you are trying to put rapes in your country.

  30. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault
    Last research THL made demonstrated that rapes are under reported (in Finland) because of shame. Not because of any misunderstandings.

  31. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault
    Mostly because emotionally healthy people doesn’t want to hurt other people in anyway without explicit intentions to hurt (for revenge etc). But I cannot say much else than I haven’t ever knew anyone who would think it’s OK to finger unconscious people (etc like that). I have never even heard that anyone would think that way. This is so basic stuff that to me it’s completely absurd and ridiculous to even talk about this.

  32. says

    They don’t know it as hurt Jussi. That’s the problem. Some people don’t recognize that touching without consent is a violation because “how could just touching hurt a person”. Or “how could sex, which feels good, hurt a person.” But bodily integrity is important, and having control over it and who gets to do things to it is important, and violating that bodily integrity can do real psychological damage. But some people simply do not understand this.

    If you don’t understand how people could think that way, that’s because you empathize with other people. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that EVERYONE ELSE thinks the way YOU do. And don’t assume that people who think differently are mentally damaged, or evil, or monsters. They can be miseducated rational civil intelligent human beings. They can be people who have never been taught to empathize with others. They can be people who have never had a reason to consider anything but their own well-being at the expense of everyone else.

  33. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault
    I’m not very empathic person, I have mild high-functioning autism.
    I really don’t understand how someone could think it’s OK to touch others private parts without consent.

    They can be people who have never had a reason to consider anything but their own
    well-being at the expense of everyone else.

    Again, that’s considered as emotionally healthy?
    To me that sounds like personality disorder.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

  34. says

    “Never had a reason to” doesn’t mean “is incapable of” or “has a problem with”. I’ve never had a reason to go deep-sea diving. I don’t know how I’d fare. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be great at it!

  35. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault
    Yes, but how that is possible if you live normal life among other humans?
    I would agree if we would talk about people raised by wolfs…

  36. Pteryxx says

    Jussi:

    Yes, but how that is possible if you live normal life among other humans?
    I would agree if we would talk about people raised by wolfs…

    Lots of humans rationalize even when they ought to know they’ve hurt someone. In rapes specifically, the rationalizations often look like “the raped person was being flirty, therefore they really wanted sex even though they said ‘no’ ” or “the raped person was drunk, therefore they wanted someone to do sex to them without giving permission or having to remember it afterward”. Another excuse is “married women can’t say ‘no’ to their husbands’. Statements like those are nonsense, but people who find out about rapes (or commit rapes) will use them as an excuse to do nothing at all, or nothing except blaming the victim.

    One in three people believes that women who behave flirtatiously are at least partially responsible if they are raped, a report published today reveals. A similar number think that women are partially or wholly responsible for being raped if they are drunk, and more than a quarter believe women are responsible if they wear sexy or revealing clothing.

    The Amnesty International report was described as “shocking” by the group’s UK director, Kate Allen. “The government’s policies on tackling rape are failing and failing badly,” she said. Nearly 15% of respondents thought a woman would be partly responsible for being raped if she was known to have many sexual partners, and 8% totally responsible.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/nov/21/ukcrime.prisonsandprobation

    And it’s not just the US or the UK.

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/violence_against_women_20130620/en/index.html

    For combined intimate partner and non-partner sexual violence or both among all women of 15 years or older, prevalence rates were as follows:

    Africa – 45.6%
    Americas – 36.1%
    Eastern Mediterranean – 36.4%* (No data were available for non-partner sexual violence in this region)
    Europe – 27.2%
    South-East Asia – 40.2%
    Western Pacific – 27.9%
    High income countries – 32.7%

    There’s no reason to expect Finland, or any other particular country, to have much lower incidence of rapes than the others.

    But I cannot say much else than I haven’t ever knew anyone who would think it’s OK to finger unconscious people (etc like that). I have never even heard that anyone would think that way.

    Jussi… have you actually asked them? This could get people angry at you, but if you talk to your friends and say “Did you know some people think it’s okay to have sex with someone who’s unconscious?” you may find someone you know thinks like that. You almost certainly know someone who has been raped, but has never told you.

  37. Jussi says

    @ Pteryxx

    Lots of humans rationalize even when they ought to know they’ve hurt someone.

    Yes, I’m sure they do. Can you fix that with education?
    I think not.

    There’s no reason to expect Finland, or any other particular country, to have much lower incidence of rapes than the others.

    I agree, and this is something I have never claimed against.
    I only said I don’t think people rape in Finland, because they think it’s OK to do.

    One in three people believes that women who…

    The article doesn’t offer primary source… I suspect there was variation how people understand word rape and I believe that the numbers are different when the question is asked differently (instead of “committing rape” use “do something wrong”).

  38. Pteryxx says

    Jussi: You’d be wrong. Here’s the primary source.

    Press release: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=16618

    Source doc: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/uploads/documents/doc_16619.doc

    Percentages taken from the graph.

    Q3. I am now going to read out a series of scenarios which a woman may find herself in. In each could you please indicate whether you believe a woman is totally responsible, partially responsible or not at all responsible for being raped if…

    The woman is drunk (Base, n=1,083)
    26% partially responsible, 4% totally responsible

    The woman has behaved in a flirtatious manner (Base: n=1,078)
    28% partially responsible, 6% totally responsible

    The woman has failed to say ‘no’ clearly to the man (Base, n=1,076)
    29% partially responsible, 8% totally responsible

    A woman is wearing sexy or revealing clothes (Base, n=1,076)
    20% partially responsible, 6% totally responsible

    It is known that the woman has many sexual partners (Base, n=1,076)
    14% partially responsible, 8% totally responsible

    The woman is alone and walking in a dangerous or deserted area (1,075)
    17% partially responsible, 5% totally responsible

  39. Jussi says

    @ Pteryxx

    What “partially reponsible” means here? Does it mean it was partly fault of the victim, or that fault was completely on rapist, but the victim made bad decision which made her more likely to be raped?

    The woman is alone and walking in a dangerous or deserted area (1,075)
    17% partially responsible, 5% totally responsible

    I think this last part reveals the problem in this study.

    I think if they would have asked “Is it wrong to rape woman when she is alone and walking in a dangerous or deserted area?”, then I would think almost all would have answered “Yes!”.

    I think those “totally responsible” answers just tell about cold attitude against people doing mistakes.
    And again I emphasize, rape is never fault of the victim.

  40. Pteryxx says

    You could just look at the press release I linked for you.

    http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=16618

    Amnesty International UK Kate Allen said: “This poll shows that a disturbingly large proportion of the public blame women themselves for being raped. “It is shocking that so many people will lay the blame for being raped at the feet of women themselves and the government must launch a new drive to counteract this sexist ‘blame culture’.”

    but the victim made bad decision which made her more likely to be raped?

    Do you actually believe that women who act flirtatious, wear sexy clothing, have many partners, get drunk, or walk alone are at higher risk of being raped? Because none of that is true, either. Most rapists know their victims, plan to rape them, and do so by manipulating their trust or tricking them into a situation where the victim can’t get away when they realize what’s happening.

    You really don’t know much about rape if you seriously believe that list of old excuses. Do some reading about rape myths – most of these links mention statistics and at least name the studies they come from – and look up your own primary sources instead of telling me to do it for you. You haven’t even looked for sources proving a link between clothing or alleys and risk of rape. If you had, you’d know better.

    https://www.mnsu.edu/varp/assault/myths.html

    http://www.aauw.org/2013/10/11/stop-campus-assault/

    http://www.enmu.edu/services/police/prevention/sexual-assault.shtml

    http://www.uwpexponent.org/2012/04/05/sexual-assault-coverage-contradicts-statistics/

    Sexual assault can be loosely defined as unwanted sexual touching or penetration without consent. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, rape can be defined as forced sexual intercourse by means of psychological coercion or physical force. Coercion includes words or situations that make someone fear that their safety is threatened if they don’t have sex. This type of assault includes using physical size or strength, badgering, bribing or threatening to “out” someone’s sexual identity in a way that causes another person to give in to unwanted sexual acts.

    Yet a significant number of men do not recognize or acknowledge coercion as assault. AAUW research shows that 43 percent of college-aged men admitted to using coercion to have sex, including ignoring protests, being physically aggressive and even forcing sex, but none of them recognized or defined their behavior as rape.

    Deirdre Dalsing, director of University Counseling Services, finds that many students are surprised to learn that behavior they have engaged in might have met the definition of sexual assault.

    “Verbal consent is needed,” Dalsing said. ”It’s not about silence. Going into a room with someone is not consent. Young men are surprised by what they learn when they sit and talk in a nonthreatening manner.”

  41. says

    Jussi
    Please. Stop.
    Because right now you’re becoming the posterboy for “wellmeaning people who perpetrate rape-culture by not knowing the first thing about it”.

    1. Rape is not committed by “mentally ill people”. There is nor correlation between being mentally ill and being a rapist. There is however one between being mentally ill and being raped. And that is because of the stigma attached to mental illness, the stigma you’re reinforcing with your rapist=mentally ill claims. Because if he is sane and she is crazy*, the it’s crazy bitch be lying. That’s why rapists target mentally ill women.

    2. Rape is not done by “bad men”. What you’re doing is called “othering”. It means you’re setting a group of people apart from the rest of us. It is usually done with marginalized groups (gays are…, blacks are…, women are…) and it is done with people who do bad things. They are quickly labelled monsters and, yes, mentally ill, because that way we don’t have to deal with the implications such a bad deed has for society. It’s an individual problem, nothing we can do about it. To go for a slight Goodwin: In 1930 Germans were not that different from the French, the Americans, or the Fins. Nor were they in 1935, or 1940, or 1945. They didn’t become mentally ill monsters in those 12 years and then turned normal again in 45. The real horror is that people like you and I stood up in the morning, sent kids into a gaschamber and then came home and pleyed with the kitten. There’s nothing that makes us inherently different from those who commit hirrible crimes. Actual psychopaths and sociopaths are rare.
    When talking about rape this has another effect: If rape is only committed by bad men, then somebody you know to be a “good man” can’t have raped her, right? And since the world is full of implicit biases against women (hysterical, irrational, dishonest…) then she must be lying, right?

    3. People have posted you many links that show that while people all agree that rape is bad, they hardly know what rape is. Like you they talk about strangers in the bushes, and not friends at parties. Your advice to only “binge-drink with trusted friends” betrays your complete ignorance on the subject. Quite often women find themselves raped by trusted friends (or husbands, for that matter). The very people who they thought they were safe with. How many people think that it’s ok for him to finish if she says stop?

    4.

    What “partially reponsible” means here? Does it mean it was partly fault of the victim, or that fault was completely on rapist, but the victim made bad decision which made her more likely to be raped?

    See, that’s what makes me want to yell at my computer screen. Rape is not in any way caused by women “making bad decisions”. Your very example here is a brilliant example. Women usually don’t walk through deserted areas in the dark because it’s fun. Hell, we’ve been taught from the time we were in diapers that we must never-ever do that. But we want and need to participate in society. I do this “alone in the dark in a deserted area” thingy once a week. Why? Because it’s my damn JOB. And then I do it again once to twice a week now. Why? Because college finishes that late. Unless you think that having a job or getting an education are “bad decisions on part of the victim” you need to shut up about those things.

    *Just for the sake of the argument I will only deal in this comment with male on cis-female rape. This is not meant to exclude other victims or types of rape.

  42. Gyatso says

    So, let me get this straight – (1) the primary, perhaps only risk factor a person needs to take into consideration is their proximity to a person who rapes. And (2) most rapists are acquaintances of or are known to the people they rape. Am I with you so far?

    But I’m guessing that most people that are raped by their spouses, lovers, friends, family members or acquaintances did not know until they were raped that they would be raped, i.e. did not know they were in the proximity of a rapist. I’m guessing that because, well, no one wants or expects to get raped – and because the alternative would be that they knew their rapist was a rapist and they chose to be within fucking distance of them – as well as in an environment where no one would intervene to stop a rape once it had begun (like their friend’s comfy and tastefully decorated living room). And then, you know, victim blaming.

    Am I missing something, because I don’t see at all how your complete list of rape risk factors is helpful for anyone.

    Sign

  43. says

    It’s a hell of a lot more helpful than teaching women a rain dance of behaviors to avoid that don’t actually keep them from getting raped, but curtail their freedom to do things that men get to do without consequences or being blamed if something bad happened to them.

  44. says

    Additionally, yes, since consent is the primary factor in determining whether or not someone is being raped, nobody wants or expects to be raped. That much should be obvious, yes?

  45. Gyatso says

    It’s a hell of a lot more helpful than teaching women people a rain dance of behaviors to avoid.

    But you are – you’re saying people should avoid being within fucking distance of a person that they do not know is a rapist until the rapist begins to rape them. And since everyone is Schrodinger’s rapist, that pretty much circumscribes what sort of behaviour is risk free behaviour, and it dramatically curtails personal freedom.

    So I’m still missing how your complete list of risk factors is helpful. It just seems glib. Well intended, perhaps justifiably exasperated, but mostly glib.

    Additionally, yes, since consent is the primary factor in determining whether or not someone is being raped, nobody wants or expects to be raped. That much should be obvious, yes?

    Oh I agree, consent is definitely the primary factor in determining whether or not someone is being raped. But up until the moment when consent becomes the determining factor, a person doesn’t know if she/he’s within fucking distance of a rapist.
    But I see what you’re saying – you’re saying the primary risk factor is being within fucking distance of a person who is touching you without your consent. Which seems an awful lot like saying the primary factor for rape is being raped (i.e. being touched without your consent). Which, um, is a pretty silly thing to say – unless you’re given to mansplaining – which I actually don’t think you are. Which leaves me wondering, what the heck were you thinking?

    I dunno. Maybe you’d like to just reconsider whether your list really is comprehensive or whether it could be more helpful.

  46. says

    No, my use of “women” there was intentional. Nobody teaches men to avoid drinking too much lest they get raped. Nobody teaches men that if they wear something tight-fitting that it’s their fault if they were raped. Nobody teaches men to avoid any sort of behaviour at all.

  47. Gyatso says

    p.s., FWIW, I’ve been reading your blog for only a few months but I absolutely enjoy it. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and the degree to which you put yourself out there both in your posts and in your replies to what others have written. I always look forward to your new posts, and particularly the ones you file under gender and privilege headings. Also, living in Canada as I do, I especially appreciate the Canadian content.

  48. says

    And that’s actually the point. Lists of behaviours to avoid do not keep you from being raped. The only behaviour you could evince to make certain you’re not raped is to avoid all people, because without the presence of a rapist, you won’t get raped. Because you CAN’T know in advance who’s a rapist, you CAN’T avoid being raped. But you CAN flip the narrative so the onus of responsibility for ending rape is making certain that would-be rapists who simply don’t know any better actually understand that a lack of clear, enthusiastic consent is what makes sex rape. By doing that, you demonstrably reduce instances of rape.

  49. says

    Gyatso, you might be missing some context here: Jason is responding to a more or less constant stream of rape apologetics from various atheist/skeptic community members, wherein they rattle on about how it’s only common sense that women should watch their drinks, and not go in dark parking lots, or leave their house unburka’d. In that context, arguing against the victim-blaming aspects of rape culture, this post makes perfect sense: the single and only risk factor that every single rape has in common is that there was a rapist or rapists present. Period, end of sentence, fin.

    That it is not useful as a rape-prevention heuristic for women is the point. There isn’t anything women can do to prevent rape, because most rape isn’t committed by women, and the victims can’t be blamed for not knowing there was a rapist present. At best, we can divert it so some other woman suffers, because we were walking confidently, wearing a gi and looking badass, with our keys in our hands and staying to lighted areas. Which does nothing to prevent rape, because the rapist still exists.

    The post is meant to put the focus where it belongs: on the people responsible for the problem, namely rapists. Therefore, if we want to prevent rape, then we need to focus on those responsible. Who are not the victims, obviously.

  50. Pteryxx says

    Gyatso: that’s why this post is “The risk factors for being raped”. It’s an (accurate) answer to the wrong question, the question you’re still asking: what are women supposed to do to avoid being raped?

    When the question ought to be: how can we, as individuals and society, stop rapists?

    And that question does have answers, one of the biggest being to stop assuming rapes just come about because of what the VICTIM did or didn’t do.

  51. says

    Yeah, I wrote this post totally recognizing that there’s a lot more reading between the lines (well, line) to get my point necessary when I get all compact like this. It’s sort of a post that requires all the context that came around it, that I omitted purposefully.

    Trust me, I’m no stranger to getting verbose. Normally this would have come at the end of a thousand word post at minimum. But I felt this would have the most immediate impact.

  52. Pteryxx says

    Gyatso, have another read of this, from #64:

    But up until the moment when consent becomes the determining factor, a person doesn’t know if she/he’s within fucking distance of a rapist.
    But I see what you’re saying – you’re saying the primary risk factor is being within fucking distance of a person who is touching you without your consent. Which seems an awful lot like saying the primary factor for rape is being raped (i.e. being touched without your consent).

    That is all accurate. Given that it’s accurate, what would you suggest be done about it?

  53. Pteryxx says

    as a tangent, to Jason #65: it turns out that in men’s prisons, rapists who rape other prisoners use exactly the same sort of victim-blaming after the fact. ‘The new guy was prancing around in tight pants so we knew he wanted it’ BS. In the military, it’s ‘he didn’t act macho enough, that means he’s gay and he wanted it’ if they bother to come up with an excuse at all. “The dog ate my homework” is more likely to be a valid excuse.

  54. Gyatso says

    No, my use of “women” there was intentional.

    Alright, so what you meant was that the primary risk factor for rape for women (i.e. not just anybody) is to avoid being within fucking distance of a rapist. Fair enough – but that doesn’t resolve the problems I pointed out with regard to what you wrote.

    And neither does pointing out the general truth that men are privileged because they do not grow up worrying about how they dress or how inebriated they can safely get (i.e. without ending up getting raped – which makes me wonder, what for men is the primary risk factor for rape – or is there more than one, and if so, why?) make your list of rape risk factors anymore helpful.

    I’m just sorry, but it doesn’t. But that’s alright, I trust people can figure out for themselves whether it’s helpful or not.

    (and even though I probably don’t need to say it, I do think it is a crime and a tragedy that anyone anywhere should ever fear for their well being in the presence of family, friends, acquaintances or strangers. My own belief is that everyone, but perhaps especially boys and young men, need to be taught how to empathize with others, to value compassion, and hold respect for oneself and others in high esteem – which definitely entails coming to a conviction with regard to the importance of consent).

  55. says

    No, I did not mean that the primary risk factor ONLY for women is to avoid rapists. It’s also the primary risk factor for men. The difference is, women are being told to do and not-do a lot of things and none of it works. Men are not being told much of anything, and they’re still getting raped too. In lower proportions, mind you, but still, they’re still being raped. Take this pictorial set of examples, for instance: http://www.buzzfeed.com/spenceralthouse/male-survivors-of-sexual-assault-quoting-the-people-who-a

    So you teach everyone about consent. That’s the solution. That’s the only way to make inroads on this.

    Meanwhile this list was never meant to be more helpful toward the end of avoiding rape than other lists. It was meant to be a more realistic depiction of the risk factors, and explain exactly why such lists are useless. It was meant to undercut other such lists because the very idea of there being risk factors that increase the likelihood of your being raped is wrong prima facie. And the reason they’re wrong prima facie is because the only risk factor is uncontrollable by you unless you withdraw from society entirely.

  56. Gyatso says

    God – the speed of the internet.

    I have to eat lunch in a moment. Want to point out that my last post @73 was being composed before posts 67 – 73 were posted (or, while they were being posted. No doubt by the time I finish this there wil be more.

    So, Jason @67 & 70 – I appreciate this answer, though need to read it more carefully before replying. Just want to acknowledge receipt.

    CatieCat@68 Yes, I am aware of the context – but perhaps lack the familiarity with Jason’s thought-page process to read his OP the same way a long-time reader would.

    Pteryxx@ 71 – good question; short answer in @73

  57. Pteryxx says

    – which makes me wonder, what for men is the primary risk factor for rape –

    Being near a rapist.

    That’s basically it. Being near fellow prisoners, fellow members of the military, fellow frat brothers, teammates, coaches, priests, teachers, scout leaders, older relatives, or friends who want to rape and don’t care what the guy has to say about it. It’s not that different for men except for the gendered social pressures.

  58. says

    Do you think that teaching rapists not to rape would stop them from raping?

    I think teaching PEOPLE not to rape would result in fewer PEOPLE becoming rapists. Rapists are not a separate species. Sorry to state the obvious, but it seems there’s a surprising number of people who haven’t got the memo yet.

  59. Jussi says

    @ Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- and Pteryxx

    What a set of strawmen! You both misrepresent my view so badly that you don’t really deserve reply. How about rereading what I have written and try not to put me into your imagined pigeonhole.

    Why should I reply to you when you don’t really read or try to understand what I’m saying? Instead you are focusing on incomprehensible, unconstructive and completely useless rage.

    I know what is typical rape, but less untypical rapes means less total rapes.
    And I agree with your study sources with exception of how Kate Allen interpreted the data. I don’t think the data is capable to support such conclusion.

  60. Jussi says

    Quick poll, who teach you not to rape and how many you raped before the education?

    My answer is; no one and zero.

  61. Gyatso says

    Jason @67, 70 & 74

    Thanks for clarifying your intention in 67, 70 and 74. Clearly context is useful. Even essential. My reading of your original post was that you were proposing a serious analogue to the imminently useful Rape Prevention Advice: “Men/People, don’t rape.” But actually you weren’t (although you do agree with that advice, as do I). You were being ironic or wry or just “compact.” In any event, I agree with you right up to these lines in 74:

    It was meant to undercut other such lists because the very idea of there being risk factors that increase the likelihood of your being raped is wrong prima facie. And the reason they’re wrong prima facie is because the only risk factor is uncontrollable by you unless you withdraw from society entirely.

    I’m not sure what you mean, so let me ask a clarifying question: why are you saying “wrong prima facie”? as opposed to just “wrong”?

  62. Gyatso says

    Caiticat @68,

    Thanks Caiticat. Your comment and what Jason wrote in 67, 70, and 74 was helpful with regard to appreciating Jason’s original intent.

  63. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault
    This is absolutely unbelievable. Where did I say there is something wrong with the information behind the links!?

    When I use words “you” or “you both” I don’t refer to links, I refer to people!

    Also how did you miss me saying “I agree with your study sources…” ?

    You guys have so strong preconceived notions that you are literally unable to read correctly.

    I give up, this is completely hopeless.

  64. says

    You said there was rage and strawmen. I asked you to point them out. You’re here having, apparently, a meltdown because of that request. If anything’s hopeless here, it’s showing you that this problem is not a simple one of “bad people” and “good people”, “monsters” and “saints”. Just… PEOPLE.

  65. Jussi says

    @ Jason Thibeault
    Can you get this? Think very hard and read them at least twice:
    I never said there are rage and strawmen in the links.
    I said there are rage and strawmen in the replies directed to me.

  66. Jussi says

    This is my final reply for the reasons I gave earlier (that you didn’t read).

    Here is example of rage and strawmen in same package.
    Rage part should be obvious (but in here it’s probably not), and the strawmen part is due; I have never claim rapes are caused by women making bad decisions. That is just twisted false interpretation what I’m (in vain) trying to say.

    See, that’s what makes me want to yell at my computer screen. Rape is not in any way caused by women “making bad decisions”.

  67. says

    Yes, people suggesting repeatedly that women’s decisions have any impact on whether or not they might get raped — with the one exception of withdrawing from society entirely — kind of make me want to yell at my computer screen too.

  68. says

    And just so you know, what I referred to — the pile of links that both Pteryxx and Giliell gave you — as “that pile of links” did in fact include all the text around them, and I was not saying there was rage and strawmen within the links themselves.

    I understand that English may not be your first language, and that nuance might be lost on you. So far, language seems to be the biggest barrier between us understanding one another, and I don’t know how much of it is because we’re speaking the same language differently.

  69. says

    Jussi

    What a set of strawmen! You both misrepresent my view so badly that you don’t really deserve reply. How about rereading what I have written and try not to put me into your imagined pigeonhole.

    Why should I reply to you when you don’t really read or try to understand what I’m saying? Instead you are focusing on incomprehensible, unconstructive and completely useless rage.

    You know, when apparently nobody’s getting you, have you considered the possibility that you might not be expressing yourself well?
    And seriously, if “it makes me want to yell at my screen” is rage to you*, you might try to understand why people are angry. Which I wasn’t much before but am getting now because right now you’re crossing the line from “decent but uneducated person” territory into “entitled dudebro who throws a tantrum because people didn’t applaud him for all those original things they never heard before”.
    But let’s get back to angry: Yes, people, especially men characterising women walking somewhere in the dark as “bad decisions on part of the victim” make me angry, because it shows that they have zero understanding about wyh women walk some place alone after dark.
    People talking about rape being done by “bad men” make me angry, because I’ve heard “he can’t have raped her, he’s a good guy” too often.
    People talking about rapists being “mentally ill” make me angry because I’m mentally ill but I don’t have any urges to ignore somebody’s consent and violate their bodily autonomy.

    *rage, I don’t think it means what you think it means. Because as anger goes “yell at my screen” is probably one of the mildest things I’ve got

  70. says

    Quick poll, who teach you not to rape and how many you raped before the education?

    Quick answer: I learned, starting in junior-high, from parents, teachers and news, that sex is supposed to be CONSENSUAL, and that coercive or other non-consensual sex is harmful and considered wrong. And since I learned this at a rather early age, of course I didn’t rape anyone beforehand — I wasn’t big enough to do it. I had tried my hand at bullying at an earlier age, but didn’t really get away with it much.

    Any other stupid-assed “quick polls” you need me to waste time with?

  71. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Quick poll, who teach you not to rape and how many you raped before the education?

    Answer: Feminists (here at FTB), and me.

    Growing up, no one bothered to teach me anything about consent. In the (patriarchal religious) community I was raised in, it reinforced that women were there to serve men. No court in the country would convict me, and the girl herself, raised in the same toxic environment, probably wouldn’t call it rape either. But there was no clear, enthusiastic consent. It was expected of her, so she did it. It was rape.

    Mine is not a unique experience. Sure, there probably isn’t anyone who will learn they shouldn’t rape random women in dark alleys, if you are that kind of person, education isn’t your problem. But there is a shit-tonne of people who need to to learn what consent means, and what rape really is. And I resisted it for ages, because it meant I had to admit what I had done. And dog knows I didn’t want to do that. But I respect the people here, they have taught me a lot about just how fucked up I was, and if I want to be their ally, and I do, I have to be willing to shut up, stop being an asshole, and learn.

    The list of risk factors is correct. Keeping women locked up indoors, under wraps is not a solution. Teaching people not to rape is.

  72. jimmy russell says

    Songs like you are blaming those who were around rapists as responsible for their rape.

    “No shit you got raped, what do you think was going to happen, hanging around a rapist”

  73. Pteryxx says

    http://hoydenabouttown.com/20131022.15319/advising-women-to-prevent-their-own-rapes-is-not-brave-or-edgy-or-helpful

    Rape prevention advice aimed at potential victims protecting themselves has failed to prevent rapists raping people for centuries, because such advice is essentially a manual for rapists of how to get away with plausibly denying that what they did was rape, full of guidelines for how to inveigle themselves into flying under the “commonsense” mythically-flawed “potential rapist” radar. We all know people who did everything “right” and were raped anyway, and people who did everything “wrong” and who have never been raped. The one common factor in whether a rape happens is being in the presence of someone who is willing to rape, and the two major factors that make potential offenders less willing to rape are

    when the ignorant learn that what they thought was not-rape actually is rape/sexual assault, and they decide to ensure that they have clear consent in future;

    when the predatory believe that they are less likely to get away with excusing their rape-perpetration as not-really-rape, because bystanders and facilitators and victims have become less ignorant about and less tolerant of non-consensual sexual exploitation, thus protective interventions are more likely, reports to police are more likely, prosecutions are more likely, and convictions are more likely.

  74. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Jimmy:
    Are you aware that there is no advice that women could follow that would reduce rape?
    “Dont walk alone at night”-what about women who get raped walking alone during the day?
    “Dont drink alcohol/get drunk”-what the women or children who have never touched alcohol, but still get raped?
    “Only socialize with people you know or trust”- what about the women raped by their husband/partner/lover or best friend?

    If a woman gets raped at work/church/supermarket, what advice should she, or other womn follow to avoid getting raped? Not go to work/church/supermarket?

    All of that advice is useless bc women get raped at home or church or supermarket or work.
    Women get raped whether they got super passout drunk or have never consumed alcohol.
    Women get raped by people they know and love.

    My point is that no advice directed at women will ever work.

    Why?
    1- if you can get raped at any location, by someone of any degree of familiarity, whether you drink or not, no matter how much or little you wear
    all this advice amounts to saying women should never participate in society. They should just go live individual, solitary lives.
    Not only is that a downright stupid idea, it is an impossibly stupid idea.

    Jason’s point is that there is no way for women to know what a rapist looks like. Rapists are not some offshoot of humanity identifiable by some characteristic. They are [largely] men, many of whom are unaware the assault they commited was rape. Many of these rapists do not understand consent or bodily autonomy.

    Therein lies the answer.
    People that rape need to understand these concepts.
    More importantly, across the world, children must be taught these concepts. Not in one single conversation, but in ongoing discussions.

  75. Stephen Grant says

    Yes, people suggesting repeatedly that women’s decisions have any impact on whether or not they might get raped — with the one exception of withdrawing from society entirely — kind of make me want to yell at my computer screen too.

    This is an absurd work of art in grey-tones. You’ve got some black, a dash of white and, well… that’s all.

    You are claiming the following:

    – with the exception of withdrawing from society entirely, a woman’s decisions have no impact on the chances of her getting raped.

    This argument is so ridiculously black-and-white, such an absurd generalisation, that I find it hard to believe some people actually think like this. If, however, I were to give you the benefit of the doubt, I would probably say something along the lines of:

    Why would you insist on focussing on women here? Well, when we look at the statement again, we can say that what you are saying here is –

    – women are victims
    – thinking about reducing their risk of rape is useless

    You’re not saying people are victims or we’re all victims, you’re saying that women are victims and that thinking about how to minimise your risk of being a victim to rape (or any crime for that matter) is pointless.

    The first implied statement (women are victims) is poisonous to society, whether you intended it to be or not. You chose to focus on women, when there was little reason not to use the more general term ‘people’. This is indicative of your general stance on things.

    The second statement was not implied, but overtly stated – thinking about reducing risk of rape is useless. This is objectively false, but if you really (really?) think this, you should contact RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). These are people, whose business is informing people about rape, supporting and advising victims of rape, giving advice on rape-prevention and much more.

    While you can never completely protect yourself from sexual assault, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted.

    They have a whole list of things you can do to minimise your risk of rape. For example:

    Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.

    That sounds a little bit like a dark alley doesn’t it.

    Don’t allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.

    That sounds a little bit like prison, doesn’t it?

    These are direct quotes. By your words, this is enraging at the very least. What’s even worse, is these malicious fuckers have purposefully gone out of their way to misinform women nationwide, telling them, not that they are victims, but that there are things that they can do to minimise the chances of getting raped. The nerve. Surely this would be the alien queen that needs to be taken down to cripple the hive of rape culture? Right?

    They’re the real rape culture, right? – the people who are empowering women nationwide with real support and advice. You’re the heroes, the people telling everyone (especially women and themselves) that they are victims to the big bad world, and there’s nothing they can do about it themselves. But maybe, with the help of feminists like yourselves (without you, they’d be nothing) they can set up campaigns to tell the big bad world not to be so big and bad any more.

    Do you people really not see why people like Jussi get fed up of you? Society is choking on your bullshit. We don’t need or want you. The world has no use for emotionally-fuelled sophistry.

  76. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Congrats, Stephen Grant, on winning the Dumbest and Most Dishonest comment on the Internet Today award. Truly spectacular, your inability to be honest or rational for even a few moments.

  77. Gyatso says

    Jason@83 (Pteryxx @ 98, Tony@99)

    Thanks. I understand prima facia to mean something along the lines of ‘at first glance’, i.e. without analysis; or ‘reasonable unless rebutted’. In either case, whatever is prima facia (insert abstract noun here) is subject to scrutiny and may (or may not) ultimately be shown to be otherwise. I’m not sure if you meant it that way. If you do, then I’ll agree with what you wrote – but will add that finding a solution to rape is not black and white; it’s not an either/or situation where either you provide vulnerable people a list of behaviour modification tips, or you teach a demographic not to rape. I think it’s a both/and situation. We need both to teach people how not to be rapists and how not to get raped, and how to prevent the formation of rape conducive environments. As such, a prima facia conclusion with regard to rape prevention may only produce superficially beneficial results, or partial results. I believe that a “second glance” is warranted.

    I’m saying this for several reasons. One is that I have two daughters, one of whom is on the cusp of puberty and I want to do whatever I can to help her and for her to be safe; another is that I disagree with the premises that (a) the single common denominator in rape is the presence of a rapists, and (b) advising women (and people in general) that there are preventive steps that could be taken is not helpful, or is wrong prime facie (which usage of the term I take to mean something along the lines of ‘it only requires one glance to see that it is wrong’).

    I disagree with (a) because while true, the presence of a rapist is only a necessary condition for a rape. Two other necessary conditions are a person who is at risk of being raped, and an environment/situation which supports the rapist. If all three conditions are present, there is sufficient cause for rape; if any of these causes are not present, there will not be a rape. This is so obviously true that to say otherwise would be so ridiculous as to make the possibility for further discussion impossible.

    On the other hand, accepting the obvious conclusion that there are other conditions that must be present for there to be rape in now way diminishes the importance of addressing each of the conditions. I will address them one by one below.

    The presence of a rapist
    As noted above, if there is no rapist, there will be no rape. No sane person could disagree with that. The best suggestion out there so far is just a slogan: “Men: don’t rape women” (or, “People: don’t rape other people!”). How do we do that? I’ve said, and others have said, that we need to teach people, perhaps especially boys and men, the meaning of consent – what it looks like and what it’s withdrawal looks like; we need to teach kids how to empathize, how to be compassionate, and the value of respect and personal boundaries. Similarly, we need to teach young people about sexuality, and about the physical and psychological changes they and their peers go through as their bodies mature and they begin to gain a more sophisticated sense of personal identity and agency. No doubt this list is incomplete. These are just some of the things I believe would help reduce instances of rape or sexual assault.

    Now what would it take to transform these ideas into actions? And in which environments would they be affective, and where would they not be? With regard to the first question, what I’ve described is education or training that happens either at home or at school, or both. But there are obstacles that, for as long as they exist, will limit the extent to which we can help people understand, value, and protect the importance of consent. In the public domain, where even evolution is deemed too political to teach in high schools, and where political and religious conservatives have radically defunded and, or revised health-ed curricula (think abstinence-only), there is and will be tremendous political and financial resistance to providing the resources necessary to support this change of outlook. In the private domain of family-life, there are obstacles as well, including the effects of patriarchal family dynamics which support sexism misogyny and rape culture, and the effects of Abrahamic religions with regard to the same. There is a huge demographic out there that has walled itself off from the possibility that there even is such a thing as rape culture, let alone that their beliefs or behaviours could contribute to its existence. We may never reach them.

    That doesn’t mean the sea change that is needed is impossible to bring about – only that it will take a long, long time (think generations – think, the time it has taken to get from Alan Turing being chemically castrated to the legalization of Gay marriage – and think about how even now, we’re not where we need to be with regard to full protection and equal rights for LGBTQ people). As a parent, I’m afraid I don’t have that kind of time. And neither do all the other parents out there with children who are part of a demographic that historically has been afflicted with high rates of sexual assault and rape. I hope you can appreciate how I also don’t have time to wait for a one-pronged approach to rape prevention (teach your children not to become rapists!) to succeed. It’s not practical.

    One final thought on preventing rape by teaching people how to not become rapists – everything I wrote above, addresses just one culture – North America, my culture. The usefulness of teaching people not to rape is, in my opinion, universally valid, and it is a noble goal. But there are innumerable obstacles that will make it difficult to accomplish in other countries as well, due to factors rooted in each of those culture’s social-economic-political-religious structure. Similarly, I am well aware that my own cultural demarcation lines and privilege radically circumscribes what I can do to teach people in other cultures not to rape. I’m trying to imagine myself in the mountains of Pakistan saying “Hey guys, raping women or girls because you think they’re behaving immodestly – yeah, don’t do that”. I’m not seeing that as being very effective – I’m sure you don’t either. But if nothing else, I want to point out that teaching people not to rape is not/will not be easy, and if it is to be successful at all, we need to get past mere sloganeering. Because, slogans don’t prevent rape.

    I’ve run out of time – I want to write more about the other two necessary conditions for rape; may take a while though.

  78. says

    See @21. People have told women how to avoid being raped since time immemorial without making the merest dent in rape statistics. Teaching people what rape IS, on the other hand, demonstrably decreases rape incidents.

    Which would you rather — a society with women being taught to do a rain dance of behaviours that make it their fault if/when they get raped, or a society where all PEOPLE are taught what rape IS, and demonstrably less rape? Because this actually is a dichotomy. There’s finite resources available toward rape prevention, and teaching women that they’re vulnerable and need to protect themselves from men makes them prisoners unnecessarily, and excuses the behaviour of the men who take advantage of those untoward situations to be able to say “bitch was asking for it”.

  79. Stephen Grant says

    People have told women how to avoid being raped since time immemorial without making the merest dent in rape statistics.

    Bullshit. To claim this you would first need to claim that rape statistics haven’t changed at all. If rape statistics hadn’t changed at all, then there would be a possibility that this were true. The thing is, rape statistics have changed. Have you heard of ‘history’? Rape was rife, Jason – the real kind. Roman empire ring a bell? Not to mention, the issue is so much more complex than the black-white bullshit you like to cough up, that it’s impossible to say what’s causing what in any case.

    Teaching people what rape IS, on the other hand, demonstrably decreases rape incidents.

    Demonstrably? You throw this word around like it means something by itself. Prove it. And no, on-line newspaper articles don’t count. Why you even tried that is beyond me.

    Because this actually is a dichotomy

    Yeah, it is a kind of dichotomy – a false one.

    teaching women that they’re vulnerable and need to protect themselves from men makes them prisoners unnecessarily, and excuses the behaviour of the men who take advantage of those untoward situations to be able to say “bitch was asking for it”.

    Nobody is using the existence of rape-prevention techniques as a way of excusing rapists. I can see it now. A cop comes up to a rapist, the rapist says “bitch was asking for it” and the cop’s all like “solid argument, you’re free to go”. IT. NEVER. HAPPENS. Nobody in their right mind would recognise that as a valid excuse, you moron – it is a fiction that you have swallowed and made your own.

    People are vulnerable, women and children especially. They do need to watch out for themselves. I’m not just talking about rape here, but about a whole host of other dangerous situations The world is a dangerous place, and people need the truth. They need real advice and support. They don’t need molly-coddling.

    Don’t tell me to lock my car, tell them not to steal cars! Don’t tell me to look when I’m crossing the road, tell them not to drink-drive! Don’t you get it yet? This argument is a false dichotomy. And for the record, by putting a lock on your car, in no way whatsoever are you affirming that stealing cars is fine.

    I don’t know how you manage to lose yourself in my arguments so thoroughly, but I’d be interested to see how much of what I say you will flat-out ignore, how much of it you will misunderstand and how much of it you will shamelessly misrepresent. Base.

  80. Gyatso says

    Jason@103

    See @21.

    Oh c’mon! – Did you really not read what I wrote? Go back and read every/any post I wrote and you will see I am advocating teaching people how not to become rapists to reduce rape.

    People have told women how to avoid being raped since time immemorial without making the merest dent in rape statistics.

    I understand what you mean – and I think that you (and others) are making a logical error.

    Let me explain. First, the probability of a rape that happened is 1. Because it happened. If you want to argue that for the rapes that happened, whatever preventative measures people took, whatever advice they were given, was ineffective, I will of course agree with you because it’s true. It’s definitely, absolutely, and obviously true. And it’s equally true that since rapes have happened in innumerable situations, that advice specific to those situations was ineffective in those individual situations. As the article Petryxx linked said We all know people who did everything “right” and were raped anyway.

    But since time immemorial there have been rapes that were begun but not completed, or rapes that were contemplated but not instigated in otherwise seemingly similar situations (e.g people have been raped in their kitchens – but people have also not been raped in their kitchens; people have been raped in Frat houses – and people have also not been raped in them; etc). Why? Because, as I said before, either there was no would-be rapist, or there was a would-be rapist but the subject was not deemed to be sufficiently at risk/vulnerable for the duration of the situation, or, the situational environment did not support a successful rape at all, or long enough. In many of these situations the person was not raped because the preventative measures he/she took or were advised to take were effective in that situation (and no, I am not endorsing the view that if a person gets rape they did the wrong thing or made a bad decision; nor do I believe such a view follows by necessity – sometimes we do not have choices, and so are not making ‘decisions’ per se; sometimes there is no way to bring enough elements of a situation within our control, etc.).

    Only if you conflate a successful rape (probability = 1) in one situation with the possibility of rape in another situation (probability < 1) can you make the argument that because the advice given in the first situation was ineffective in that situation that it will not be effective in any other situation. Similarly, it is also mistaken to argue that because the environment in one situation was conducive to rape, the environment in any other similar situation is not malleable, and so we shouldn’t bother trying to make it inhospitable to rape.

    In case this is still not clear, let me put it another way. You wrote People have told women how to avoid being raped since time immemorial without making the merest dent in rape statistics.

    What you write is true (as I wrote above), but you are conflating statistics for completed rapes (and we can be certain that rape is under-reported, and incidents of rape are higher than what statistics suggest) with rapes that were, as I said, contemplated but not instigated, or begun but not completed.

    How do we quantify these? I don’t think we can quantify the first type (although recent research shows a disturbingly high number of college aged men would engage in non-consensual sex if they thought they could get away with it), but there is no reason to conclude that the only times rapists contemplated rape they also completed a rape (and interviews with rapists bear this out). Instead, we have to conclude that rapists actually do engage in a sort of risk-return calculus (and yes, there is research that supports this http://ijo.sagepub.com/content/55/4/626.abstract). With regard to quantifying the second high-risk situation, where rape is attempted but not completed, there are at least two measures; one would be, obviously, the number of reported rape attempts (but in just the same way that rape is under-reported, so to may attempted rapes also be under-reported); the second is the rate of incidence of non-consensual sexual touch (I am guessing that under-reporting here is probably even higher than for completed rapes or attempted rapes).

    As such, I would argue that if the rate of contemplated but not instigated rapes, and the number of attempted but unsuccessful rapes is higher than the number of completed rapes, from time immemorial (or even from just last year), then we have to conclude that in least some instances, preventative steps by the subject (either to decrease her/his risk, or to alter the environment, or because other actors in the environment made it an inhospitable environment for rape) made a mere dent. Perhaps even made big dent.

    Are the rates for unsuccessful rapes higher than for completed rapes? Hard to say, for the reasons I gave above. However, in a 2010 study of sexual violence in the US, the CDC found that over the course of their lifetimes, 18.3% of women surveyed had been violently raped (their rapists are not likely the sort who are merely confused about what constitutes rape or consent, and who would therefore benefit from being taught that no means no and yes means yes); 8% were raped in situations where alcohol and/drugs were a factor (and violence or coercion were not factors); and 13% were coerced into uwanted penetrative sex. That’s a total of 39.3% of women. On the other hand, the survey also found that 5% of women had experienced violent, attempted (but not completed) rapes; 31% reported having received unwanted sexual contact, and 33.3% had had to endure non-contact, unwanted sexual experiences. Here’s a link to the survey: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf#page=27

    Given that 70% of women experienced unwanted sexual touch or intimidation, it is not at all unreasonable to conclude that for many of them, had some factor been different (e.g. how they were perceived by their interlocutor, or how the over-all environment was), the aggressor would have escalated his behaviour to rape. It’s ludicrous to conclude otherwise.

    And to the extent that any of those other factors were within the control of the woman who reported the sexual assault or harassment, it is also ludicrous to suggest that preventative measures are prima facia wrong.

    Which would you rather — a society with women being taught to do a rain dance of behaviours that make it their fault if/when they get raped, or a society where all PEOPLE are taught what rape IS, and demonstrably less rape?

    I would prefer a society where there was no rape; to accomplish that I think we need to be focused on all three factors in order to prevent rape. But to respond more directly to what you wrote, I think you’ve made a false bifurcation, and one laden with strongly felt, but ultimately unhelpful language.

    First, I do agree everyone should understand what rape is, what consent is etc. But I also don’t think that will end rape. Second, I absolutely believe that no one should ever be afraid to go anywhere or feel uncomfortable or wary simply for being themselves. I especially don’t want that for my children. But unfortunately, presently, the world is not a safe place for them. It’s a difficult balance I need to strike, between encouraging them to go forth with full force, and being alert to danger. If you have children I’m sure you understand.

    There’s finite resources available toward rape prevention,

    I agree that resources are finite, but there may be more resources than you realize, and what resources there are could be deployed or configured more efficiently.

    For example, teaching people about the necessity for consent and pointing out what rape culture looks like, what sort of behaviour should be condemned or refrained from and so on, is work that can and should be done – amongst other places – within the family. We need to teach all of our children, our nieces and nephews and our brothers and sisters these things. If we do not shrug this responsibility, then there are tremendous resources available.

    Similarly, if we teach our families what sexual aggression looks like, how not to be bystanders, or how to avoid facilitating sexual aggression or rape, we also are able to positively affect the over-all environment and make it inhospitable to rape. Again, there are tremendous resources available if we make it our own responsibility. If you doubt this, just consider how differently high school kids today view homosexuality versus how homosexuality was viewed a generation ago (yes, there is homophobia in high-schools, but there is so, so much more acceptance and tolerance).

    and teaching women that they’re vulnerable and need to protect themselves from men makes them prisoners unnecessarily

    I agree that if all we do is teach women over and over again to be afraid, to be dependent, to live in fear, then yes, you would be correct. There are definitely unskilful ways to go about it. But the fact that there are does not mean that there are also not skilful ways to go about it which empower women (one suggestion, re-frame the issue; not vulnerability, but risk management – note the passive connotations of ‘vulnerability’ in comparison to the active connotations of ‘management’).

    Also, the fact of being vulnerable in one situation does not constitute being vulnerable in all situations. Nor does knowing in what ways, or to what, one is vulnerable, make a person more vulnerable. Moreover, since we are all vulnerable to outside forces (colds, flus, muggers, being emotionally hurt, possible betrayals of trust, financial insecurity, etc.,), and do our best to protect ourselves from those forces, why would anyone suggest that when it comes to protecting oneself from rape, it is an unreasonable imposition to do our best to protect ourselves? It’s like you’re ‘othering’ this sort of vulnerability in a way that takes away agency. And that, frankly speaking, teeters dangerously close to disempowering women.

    and excuses the behaviour of the men who take advantage of those untoward situations to be able to say “bitch was asking for it”.

    I’m sorry, but that’s just doesn’t follow from the premise.

  81. PatrickG says

    @ Stephen Grant:

    A cop comes up to a rapist, the rapist says “bitch was asking for it” and the cop’s all like “solid argument, you’re free to go”. IT. NEVER. HAPPENS.

    Jesus fuck dude, you yourself linked to RAINN and you somehow missed this?

    The majority of sexual assault are not reported to the police (an average of 54% of assaults in the last five years were not reported). Those rapists, of course, will never spend a day in prison. But even when the crime is reported, it is unlike to lead to an arrest and prosecution. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 3% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.

    Massive, massive fail dude. Just wow.

  82. Stephen Grant says

    @107

    Jesus fuck dude, you yourself linked to RAINN and you somehow missed this?

    You got a laugh out of me here. You sound like you’re in college, all tits and ambition, so I’ll humor you.

    1. Linking to a site doesn’t require a person to read all content on that site (bizarre assumption to make)
    2. I didn’t miss it; it’s just not relevant to my argument.

    The majority of sexual assault are not reported to the police (an average of 54% of assaults in the last five years were not reported). Those rapists, of course, will never spend a day in prison. But even when the crime is reported, it is unlike unlikely to lead to an arrest and prosecution. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 3% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.

    The fact that rapists go free in no way whatsoever gives any support for the argument that saying “the bitch was asking for it” is a recognised excuse. None. Null. Zero. This was my argument. I never claimed that all rapists get caught. I never even claimed that most rapists get caught. As for the percentage of rapists that serve time, I made no claim whatsoever.

    Saying I failed doesn’t make it so. Here’s a basic strategy for arguing with me.

    1. Take something I said that you don’t agree with.
    2. Read what I say very carefully.
    3a. Find some evidence to contradict it (if you choose to contradict something I didn’t say, like in this instance, it’s called a ‘straw man’)
    3b. Create an argument that is so strong it requires no evidence other than logic alone, but remember to contradict something I said (as opposed to something I didn’t say)
    4. Tell me about it.

    You might be surprised at how receptive I am to logical argument and overwhelming evidence. Good luck!

    P.S. – The blockquote mistake isn’t a fail so much as it is indicative of your basic approach to argument (and dare I say, life in general). You wrote your post, and didn’t take the extra five seconds to preview it first. If you won’t take five seconds to preview it, there’s little hope of you taking the few minutes or so needed to review and revise it. This is the trademark of sloppy thought and loose argument.

    Slow and steady wins the race.

    If the little fishy insists on swimming out to these depths, he should expect sharks – we don’t bat an eyelid and we don’t miss a trick.

  83. PatrickG says

    Linking to a site doesn’t require a person to read all content on that site (bizarre assumption to make)

    /facepalm

    See, the point was that cops/judges/juries do actually dismiss rape victims on a regular basis, specifically because she flirted/seemed receptive/didn’t say no emphatically enough. RAINN isn’t the only source of information for this, just happened to be on the site you cited as Irrefutable Proof of Everyone Being Wrong, and I found that amusing.

    I didn’t miss it; it’s just not relevant to my argument.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    I’ll grant you one thing: I doubt rapists routinely go free because they explicitly stood up in court and claimed a “bitches” defense.

    How do you not understand that the scenario described by “bitches be asking for it” is not literally an exchange of the nature you describe? Reductive rhetorical devices aren’t hard, dude.

    You might be surprised at how receptive I am to logical argument and overwhelming evidence.

    I have more pressing things to do than attempt to educate someone who is wrong on the internet. But perhaps someone else will take you up on that.

  84. Pteryxx says

    A cop comes up to a rapist, the rapist says “bitch was asking for it” and the cop’s all like “solid argument, you’re free to go”. IT. NEVER. HAPPENS.

    Actually…

    http://skepchick.org/2013/08/when-i-didnt-consent-why-i-reported-why-i-didnt/

    A few weeks after that, the police called me at home.

    “Miss Wojnowski?”

    “Yes?”

    “This is ____ from the Decatur Police Department. Your rape kit came back. No semen was found. Evidently nothing happened. Please let your parents know.”

    [click]

    “But….”

    http://jezebel.com/the-student-athletes-guide-to-not-raping-anyone-1177994230

    After the rape, the woman left the Chi Psi house immediately. She called a friend who met her on the way back to her dorm. She was crying hysterically and she told her friend what had happened[7]. She reported the incident to the resident advisor of her dorm, to a university housing security officer, campus police and to Ann Arbor police.

    She was taken to University Hospital for a rape examination, which showed vaginal tearing.

    Brendan Gibbons admitted to having sex with the young woman but claimed that it was consensual. “She never asked me to stop. We were both into it.” He stated that his whole life would be ruined, the girl always wins[8].

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/08/23/i-am-a-false-rape-allegation-statistic/

    The detective looked at me. His whole demeanor changed; he tried to seem kind, avuncular. “Tell me you made the whole thing up. This whole thing will disappear. Nothing will happen to you. You can leave, if you just tell me you made it up. Tell me you made it up and you’re sorry for lying, and I’ll let you leave.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/08/13/2457991/virginia-law-enforcement-rape/

    Until last week, Norfolk, Virginia police classified sexual assault claims to be “unfounded” — or not valid — by default. According to the Virginian-Pilot, a 22-year-old woman’s case prompted Norfolk police chief Mike Goldsmith to update the policy so that officers must now assume rape victims are telling the truth.

    The woman reported the attack immediately to police, only to be told, “If we find out that you’re lying, this will be a felony charge.”

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2011/09/18/rape-myth-1-shes-probably-lying/

    The problem in Baltimore is striking, but Baltimore is hardly the only city affected. If you need to change your crime rate, deciding that more rape accusations are “unfounded” is a simple administrative solution.

    These examples are why we can’t trust raw law enforcement numbers, which provide the citations for “women lie” arguments. If a police force doesn’t know what is and isn’t rape, how can it decide which rapes are falsely reported? If a police force decides that in he-said, she-said situations, “she” is arbitrarily not to be trusted, how can we trust their decisions on whether or not she lied? If a police forces continue to endorse rape myths, why would we trust their reporting numbers uncritically?

    That last is citing research articles, by the way. Police departments misclassify rape allegations as false or unfounded at a rate ten to forty times the rate of demonstrable false allegations, if they bother to record them at all.

    …Yeah, you’re so far wrong it’s not even funny.

  85. says

    Nah Pteryxx, what’s funny is how quickly a self-identified skeptic whose first comment includes “people here get banned for disagreeing” has to start testing the waters by glad-handling other commenters with pompous self-fellating and abuse. So I threw him in moderation.

    Steven Grant, behave civilly toward your fellow commenters and actually engage with their arguments, rather than crying “strawman” and ignoring the evidence presented, and maybe your comments will make it through moderation. Protip: raging about how I’m curtailing your Free Speech (as though this blog is a public utility) isn’t going to get your comments published. Pushy assholes like you are a dime a dozen, and your arguments are not novel even in this very thread, much less the blog or blog network. You’re not saying anything I haven’t heard — but you are saying it with an intent on doing damage to discourse, and you don’t get to dominate someone else’s blog like this.

  86. David Marjanović says

    Yet a significant number of men do not recognize or acknowledge coercion as assault. AAUW research shows that 43 percent of college-aged men admitted to using coercion to have sex, including ignoring protests, being physically aggressive and even forcing sex, but none of them recognized or defined their behavior as rape.

    That is horrifying.

    Bullshit. To claim this you would first need to claim that rape statistics haven’t changed at all. If rape statistics hadn’t changed at all, then there would be a possibility that this were true. The thing is, rape statistics have changed. Have you heard of ‘history’? Rape was rife, Jason – the real kind. Roman empire ring a bell?

    You don’t have rape statistics from Roman times, and you don’t have statistics about how many women back then danced naked in dark alleys, so why do you shoot your mouth off like that? Have you no shame?

    And what’s “the real kind”? Is it “legitimate rape”?

    Don’t tell me to lock my car, tell them not to steal cars!

    I was shocked to discover last year that many people in the US do not, in fact, lock their cars. I think it’s because there’s little motive or opportunity for car theft in the places in question: everyone who could possibly afford even the cheapest car already has one, and you can’t move a car three countries over in a matter of days.

  87. JT says

    #60
    1. Rape is not committed by “mentally ill people”. There is nor correlation between being mentally ill and being a rapist.

    Umm, Im thinking if youre raping someone you sure as shit aren’t “mentally healthy”

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