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Meet The Predators

November 12, 2009

A huge proportion of the women I know enough to talk with about it have survived an attempted or completed rape. None of them was raped by a stranger who attacked them from behind a bush, hid in the back of her car or any of the other scenarios that fit the social script of stranger rape. Anyone reading this post, in fact, is likely to know that six out of seven rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. It has been clear for a long time, at least since Robin Warshaw’s groundbreaking “I Never Called It Rape,” which used Mary Koss’s reseach, that the stranger rape script did not describe rape as most women experienced it. It’s easy to picture the stranger rapist: a violent criminal, not much different from the violent criminals who commit other violent crimes. This guy was in prison before, and he’ll be back there again, though not for rape because reporting and conviction rates are so low. (See, generally, Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will.)

But who commits the vast majority of rapes, the nonstranger rapes? The acquaintance rapes? Anecdotally, we all know the answer — or an answer, or some answers. The tall guy, the short guy, the skinny guy, the fat guy, the frat guy, the nerdy guy, the jock, the geek, the date, the friend-of-a-friend, the drinking buddy, and the guy from accounting. Lots of different guys in lots of different circumstances.

When women note that the rapists don’t come with convenient notes on their foreheads and that therefore women have to entertain the possibility that every guy (even ones they know a bit) are rapists, folks get all sorts of upset. But the less women know about who these guys are, the less they know who to worry about.

It is notoriously tough to figure out who the rapists are. Reporting and conviction rates for acquaintance rapes are so low as to be useless as a diagnostic tool. And how else can we know? The rapists won’t just tell us that they are rapists, right?

That’s what I would have though. Turns out I thought wrong. If a survey asks men, for example, if they ever “had sexual intercourse with somone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual advances,” some of them will say yes, as long as the questions don’t use the “R” word.

I have taken a look at two large-sample surverys of undetected rapists. One is Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists by David Lesak and Paul M. Miller, published in Violence and Victims, Vol 17, No. 1, 2002 (Lisak & Miller 2002). The other is Reports of Rape Reperpetration by Newly Enlisted Male Navy Personnel by Stephanie K. McWhorter, et al., published in Violence and Victims, Vol, 24, No. 2, 2009 (McWhorter 2009). (I can’t link to either study because neither is available in full for free.)

These look to me to be the best available data on who the rapists are who have not been caught and incarcerated — which is the vast, vast majority. They are, however, limited, so that in talking about them it constrains the discussion of rape into a narrow range around a modal form of men raping women.*

Lisak & Miller

Lisak & Miller set out to answer two questions:

First, do a substantial number of undetected rapists rape more than once (i.e. repeat rapists)? Second, do undetected rapists (repeat or otherwise), like their incarcerated counterparts, commit other types of interpersonal violence …?

Lisak & Miller at p. 74.

Their sample was 1882 college students, ranging in age from 18 to 71 with a median age of 26.5 — so somewhat older than a traditional college population. The group was also ethnically diverse. They asked this group four questions about rape and attempted rape. I’ll paraphrase:
1) Have you ever attempted unsuccessfully to have intercourse with an adult by force or threat of force?
2) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone who did not want you to because they were too intoxicated to resist?
3) Have you ever had intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?
4) Have you ever had oral intercourse with someone by force or threat of force?

[Edited to add: I paraphrased the questions to make them shorter, but now the questions are being quoted, so I thought it was only fair to the authors to key in the full text of the questions they used:

(1) Have you ever been in a situation where you tried, but for various reasons did not succeed, in having sexual intercourse with an adult by using or threatening to use physical force (twisting their arm, holding them down, etc.) if they did not cooperate?
(2) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual advances (e.g., removing their clothes)?
(3) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with an adult when they didn’t want to because you used or threatened to use physical force (twisting their arm; holding them down, etc.) if they didn’t cooperate?
(4) Have you ever had oral sex with an adult when they didn’t want to because you used or threatened to use physical force (twisting their arm; holding them down, etc.) if they didn’t cooperate?
Lisak & Miller at 77-78.]

So without quibbling over the precise statutory definition, this equates to rape or attempted rape. 120 men admitted to raping to attempting to rape. This is actually a relatively slim proportion of the survey population — just over 6% — and might be an underreport, though for part of the sample, the survey team did interviews to confirm the self-reports, which tends to show if there is an undercount in the self-reports, and found the responses consistent. But the more interesting part of the findings were how those rapists and their offenses broke down.

Of the 120 rapists in the sample, 44 reported only one assault. The remaining 76 were repeat offenders. These 76 men, 63% of the rapists, committed 439 rapes or attempted rapes, an average of 5.8 each (median of 3, so there were some super-repeat offenders in this group). Just 4% of the men surveyed committed over 400 attempted or completed rapes.

The breakdown between the modus operandi of the rapists also tells us a lot about how wrong the script is. Of all 120 admitted rapists, only about 30% reported using force or threats, while the remainder raped intoxicated victims. This proportion was roughly the same between the 44 rapists who reported one assault and the 76 who reported multiple assaults. (What the authors call “overt-force rapists” committed more sexual assaults, on average, than the “intoxication rapists” by about 6 to 3, but the parts of the sample are so small that this result did not reach statistical significance and could be sampling error rather than a real phenomenon. I’d really like an answer to that, though.)

Lisak & Miller also answered their other question: are rapists responsible for more violence generally? Yes. The surveys covered other violent acts, such as slapping or choking an intimate partner, physically or sexually abusing a child, and sexual assaults other than attempted or completed rapes. In the realm of being partner- and child-beating monsters, the repeat rapists really stood out. These 76 men, just 4% of the sample, were responsible for 28% of the reported violence. The whole sample of almost 1900 men reported just under 4000 violent acts, but this 4% of recidivist rapists results in over 1000 of those violent acts.

If we could eliminate the men who rape again and again and again, a quarter of the violence against women and children would disappear. That’s the public policy implication.


Stephanie McWhorter and her colleagues completed a study just this year that in my view replicate the important results of Lisak & Miller, working with a very different population of young-ish men. She studied 1146 newly enlisted men in the U.S. Navy, asking them about their behavior since age 14. McWhorter’s participants were younger than Lisak & Miller’s sample, averaging just under 20 and topping out at 34, as one would expect from a sample of military recruits. The study was longitudinal, following up at intervals during the participants’ Navy hitch.

McWhorter used a Sexual Experiences Survey tool that has been in use for more than 20 years. Of her 1146 participants, 144, or 13%, admitted an attempted or completed rape — substantially higher than Lisak & Miller. But in another respect, her work very much matched theirs: 71% of the men who admitted an attempted or completed rape admitted more than one, very close to Lisak & Miller’s 63%. The 96 men who admitted multiple attempted of completed rapes in McWhorter’s survey averaged 6.36 assaults each. This is not far from Lisak & Miller’s average of 5.8 assaults per recidivist. Looked at another way, of the 865 total attempted or completed rapes these men admitted to, a staggering 95% were committed by 96 men, or just 8.4% of the sample.

McWhorter’s findings on modus operandi also confirm the basic finding of Lisak & Miller’s earlier study: 61% of the reported attacks were intoxication-based, 23% were overt force alone, and 16% were both. (77% of the pre-enlistment and 75% of the post-enlistment rapes or attempted rapes were, in whole or in part, intoxication attacks. But 34% of pre-enlistment and 45% of post-enlistment assaults involved overt force, a change in pattern that ought to be explained by further research.)

McWhorter’s research also indicates that rapists start young. Of the men who did not report an assault pre-enlistment, only 2% reported assaults while in the Navy, but 16% of those who admitted that they raped or attempted to rape between age 14 and enlistment also said they did it again while enlisted. 60% of rapists, however, said their first assault was after they turned 18. This implies that there is a window when rapists start raping, in their late teens.

Finally, in an entirely unsurprising finding, rapists who admitted assaulting strangers – ever – were less than a quarter of the rapist population. More than 90% targeted acquaintances some of the time, and about 75% said they only targeted acquaintances. Only 7% of all the self-reported rapists reported targeting only strangers. And, in fact, there was zero overlap between the men who said they targeted starangers, and those who used only force.

I’m going to repeat that, because I think it is important. As McWhorter wrote:

Of the men who used only force against their victims, none reported raping a stranger; all the men knew their victims… [T]he stereotypical rape incident characterized by a man violently attacking a stranger was not reported by any of the respondents. Instead, respondents who used only force against their victims reported raping only women they knew. men who trageted strangers exclusively reported they used substances only in the rape incident.

These findings may help explain why most self-reported [attempted or completed rape] incidents go undetected.

McWhorter, p. 212-13.


Lots of smart people will take a lot of different things away from this research on undetected rapists, and on more research that will hopefully follow. Here are my impressions:

First, the stranger-force rape is a small proportion of rapes, and is all but absent from the samples of self-reporters. Other research** shows that lack of prior acquaintance and use of the weapon are the only significant factors that increase the likelihood that a victim will report the offense. Attacking strangers with force or weapons is the only pattern of victimization at all likely to lead to incarceration of the rapist, let’s face it — so those who commit rape in the way that follows the script may be already in jail, not in college or the Navy filling out surveys. The rapists who are out there are mostly using intoxication, and mostly attacking victims they know.

Second, the sometimes-floated notion that acquaintance rape is simply a mistake about consent, is wrong. (See Amanda Hess’s excellent takedown here.) The vast majority of the offenses are being committed by a relatively small group of men, somewhere between 4% and 8% of the population, who do it again … and again … and again. That just doesn’t square with the notion of innocent mistake. Further, since the repeaters are also responsible for a hugely disproportionate share of the intimate partner violence, child beating and child sexual abuse, the notion that these predators are somehow confused good guys does not square with the data. Most of the raping is done by guys who like to rape, and to abuse, assault and violate. If we could get the one-in-twelve or one-in-25 repeat rapists out of the population (that is a lot of men — perhaps six or twelve million men in the U.S. alone) or find a way to stop them from hurting others, most sexual assault, and a lot of intimate partner violence and child abuse, would go away. Really.


I’m directing this to men who inhabit het-identified social spaces, and I’m not really limiting it more than that. Women are already doing what they can to prevent rape; brokering a peace with the fear is part of their lives that we can never fully understand. We’re the ones who are not doing our jobs.

Here’s what we need to do. We need to spot the rapists, and we need to shut down the social structures that give them a license to operate. They are in the population, among us. They have an average of six victims, women that they know, and therefore likely some women you know. They use force sometimes, but mostly they use intoxicants. They don’t accidentally end up in a room with a woman too drunk or high to consent or resist; they plan on getting there and that’s where they end up.

Listen. The women you know will tell you when the men they thought they could trust assaulted them; if and only if they know you won’t stonewall, deny, blame or judge. Let them tell you that they got drunk, and woke up with your buddy on top of them. Listen. Don’t defend that guy. That guy is more likely than not a recidivist. He has probably done it before. He will probably do it again.

Change the culture. To rape again and again, these men need silence. They need to know that the right combination of factors — alcohol and sex shame, mostly — will keep their victims quiet. Otherwise, they would be identified earlier and have a harder time finding victims. The women in your life need to be able to talk frankly about sexual assault. They need to be able to tell you, and they need to know that they can tell you, and not be stonewalled, denied, blamed or judged.

Listen. The men in your lives will tell you what they do. As long as the R word doesn’t get attached, rapists do self-report. The guy who says he sees a woman too drunk to know where she is as an opportunity is not joking. He’s telling you how he sees it. The guy who says, “bros before hos”, is asking you to make a pact.

The Pact. The social structure that allows the predators to hide in plain sight, to sit at the bar at the same table with everyone, take a target home, rape her, and stay in the same social circle because she can’t or won’t tell anyone, or because nobody does anything if she does. The pact to make excuses, to look for mitigation, to patch things over — to believe that what happens to our friends — what our friends do to our friends — is not (using Whoopi Goldberg’s pathetic apologetics) “rape-rape”.

Change the culture. We are not going to pull six or ten or twelve million men out of the U.S. population over any short period, so if we are going to put a dent in the prevalence of rape, we need to change the environment that the rapist operates in. Choose not to be part of a rape-supportive environment. Rape jokes are not jokes. Woman-hating jokes are not jokes. These guys are telling you what they think. When you laugh along to get their approval, you give them yours. You tell them that the social license to operate is in force; that you’ll go along with the pact to turn your eyes away from the evidence; to make excuses for them; to assume it’s a mistake, of the first time, or a confusing situation. You’re telling them that they’re at low risk.

I saw economist James Galbraith not long ago — an economist beloved of progressives everywhere. Galbraith said, among other things, “First rule of economics: incentives work.” He was speaking in another context, but this applies to rape. The overwhelming prevalence of acquaintance over stranger rapes and of intoxication over overt force, and the relative rarity of weapon use and physical injuries, is easily explained. Rapists know what works. They like to rape, they want to keep doing it, they want not to be caught. It is in their interest to be very sensitive to which accounts of rape are believed and which are attacked and to know which targets and methods are lowest-risk for them.

What they do is what works. They rape their drunk acquaintances because it works. They rape their drunk acquaintances because we let them.

We need to revoke the rapists’ social license to operate. We need to stop asking, “why do we think he didn’t know she wasn’t consenting,” which is the first question now, really. First as a cultural matter — leaving the legal matter aside — we need to adopt the stance that sexual interaction ought to always be had in a state of affirmative consent by all participants; that anything else is aberrant. If someone says, “I was sexually assaulted,” the first question should be, “why was a person continuing with sexual activity when zir partner did not want to?”

This is what it is: real rape happens when the attacker is drunk and the target is drunker and alone and isolated. That’s rape-rape. If he gets away with it, it will be, on average, rape-rape-rape-rape-rape-rape. If we refuse to listen, he can continue to pretend that the rapist is some guy in the parking lot late at night, when it’s actually him, in our friends’ bedrooms half an hour after last call. If we let that happen, we’re part of the problem.

The rapists can’t be your friends, and if you are loyal to them even when faced with the evidence of what they do, you are complicit.

*Big caveat here: The research in this area is still in an almost embryonic state, though. Since both studies only look at male attackers and don’t discuss the sex, orientation or gender identity of victims at all, I’m kind of stuck with discussing rapes committed by men and presuming that their adult victims are women, though I’m almost certain there are exceptions that are not broken out in this data, and that are probably too few in number to allow conclusions about anyway. I’m going to address rape within the constaints of the data, which is about male rapists, and speak as if the modal assault, which is against a woman, is all assaults. That ignores a lot in terms of topics and dynamics, if not raw numbers, and I’m aware of how much it ignores, but just having any data from a non-incarcerated sample of rapists is a huge improvement over having none.

**Lisak & Miller cite Frazier, P.A. & Haney, B. (1996). Sexual assault cases in the legal system: Police, prosecutor and victim perspectives. Law and Human Behavior, 20, 607-628. I have not read it.

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485 Comments leave one →
  1. Liz permalink
    November 12, 2009 1:32 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. It boils down really useful info for prevention work. It goes without saying that we need more research like this to shatter rape myths for the gen. population.

    • October 18, 2011 11:07 am

      How did WOMEN cause rape culture:

      • Chris permalink
        March 18, 2013 9:57 pm

        I really can’t take any “information” or “theory” that appears on a site called Manhood Academy: A Journey to the Center of Your Balls seriously.

      • Wordy Librarian permalink
        October 25, 2013 10:19 pm

        Yep. Response to an old comment. That’s what happens on the internet with topics that remain relevant. I planned to ignore the link until I read the comment where Chris shared the name of the site it linked to. One day I’ll learn that EVERY time I ask, “no… surely no one is that stupid?” the answer is ALWAYS, “SURPRISE! Here are loads of people that are THAT stupid. Enjoy your loss of faith in humanity!” Apparently, the title has been changed to Manhood Academy: A Video Game for Your Balls.

        Shockingly enough, such a carefully considered and maturely crafted name accurately hints of the true scientific brilliance hiding within. They wax defensive about how they can’t be called misogynists or blatantly wrong because they’re editing together a description of “feminism” compiled of female speakers. Because, you know, women can’t be invested in a patriarchy or just plain wrong or something? I think my favorite part of scanning this page was the link to a Feminist Frequency video with the extremely warped and twisted conclusion below that “women really are that stupid.” You know, because the writer and those he is speaking for are so enlightened and free from misogyny. You have to believe them because these women, whether wrong or completely stripped of context and deliberately misinterpreted, say stuff that could possibly agree with them if you try really hard!

        And you know this is all glowing with reason and logic because this is MANHOOD ACADEMY! Academies are only for smart people! It’s all SO simple! Why can’t you stupid feminists see it? Either women are as strong as men or they are victims who can be easily manipulated! Women are the ones manipulating MEN for our money and love!

        Hmmm… I think I see a flaw in the reasoning, but my silly female brain just can’t seem to pick it out without a man’s benevolent guidance.

  2. A girl permalink
    November 12, 2009 3:28 pm

    I hope this works. I hope enough guys get on board to bust the rape culture.

    But I’m not holding my breath. Not when I’ve watched my guy friends (who I love and adore, who would never rape a woman themselves) circle the wagons and oust one of our female friends before even being willing to say that an abusive male friend of ours was out of line. I’ve watched them walk the “we don’t really know what happened” line and the “she has her own issues” line. Not when I’ve watched otherwise progressive men allow a college woman to be berated to tears, not when I’ve watched that same man get hired in a role that gives him authority over her, not when I’ve watched the backlash against her when she consulted a lawyer about a restraining order because he just wouldn’t leave her alone.

    He didn’t rape her (as far as I know), but he sure seems to be trying, or at least trying to use the veiled threat of doing so to control her. At the very least, he’s instigating some pretty repugnant interpersonal violence. If my guy friends let this go on…I’m not holding my breath that they’d suddenly get some cajones if there was reason to believe he raped her. If friends let friends be violent stalkers, why wouldn’t they let friends be rapists?

    Prove me wrong. (Please!)

    • osoborracho permalink
      November 13, 2009 8:44 am

      I suggest (politely?) confronting them about protecting the asshole and finding new friends if they don’t see a problem with what they did after some discussion. What are they afraid of? Do they think women go around accusing perfectly innocent men of awful things for the lolz? Or are they really not that innocent themselves?

      I was in your position once… my supposed guy ‘friends’ treated me like shit just the same as the other girl who was ousted for saying the r-word against one of their own.

      Another group of “friends” (m/f) banded around my ex and ran me out of town after we broke up and I filed a restraining order (he got really creepy, started threatening me, and my tires were slashed repeatedly). He lied extensively about me to everyone we knew and suddenly nobody was speaking to me, without ever asking my side of things. I would have never known what happened, except that my ex was also lying about me to my new partner in an attempt to convince him to dump me.

      I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that in “he said, she said” disputes everyone always sides with the male, no matter what horrible things they know he’s done or how much of a jerk he is.

      • GirlinZA permalink
        December 3, 2009 10:01 am

        “What are they afraid of? Do they think women go around accusing perfectly innocent men of awful things for the lolz? Or are they really not that innocent themselves?”

        Actually, I find that THIS is exactly the problem I have! Whenever I try to talk to the males in my life about rape, I ALWAYS, ALWAYS get the “Yes, but women just go around rooning the puir menz’s lives by crying “rape” left and right”.

        How can one respond to THAT level of harmful ignorant self-deceiving self-interest?

      • May 8, 2012 4:41 am

        Yes, I’ve had this experience also, as well as being stalked by a group in front of their clique who knew it and did nothing. No one ever asked for my side of the story.

  3. osoborracho permalink
    November 13, 2009 7:58 am

    A++ would read again.

    Everything pretty much corroborates what I’ve seen in my life. I’ve only experienced threats or violence from men I know, not strangers in bushes. The same is true for my female friends. Also seen friends protecting rapists. I’ve done a lot of bridge burning over that, but the men never seem to get it or change.

  4. derek permalink
    November 13, 2009 1:14 pm

    Rather than “paraphrasing” the questions from the study, can you post what the participants were actually asked? It’s sort-of an important point. Thanks.

    • November 13, 2009 2:07 pm

      Before I even saw your comment, I concluded that because people were quoting my paraphrase I should put in the full text. Edits above.

  5. November 13, 2009 6:45 pm

    Wow, this is some amazing stuff. I’m really thankful that you posted studies and statistics like these, because there’s really a shortage of information on who is a rapist, and a glut of information on who they are raping (as if being someone or acting in a certain fashion forces the hand of rapists).

    Do you terribly mind if I quote some of this information on my blog and in a research paper I’m doing?

  6. November 14, 2009 12:58 pm

    Thanks for doing this. It’s not really new to me… but it’s important to have out there, explicitly. ‘Cause you know the people who ignore anonymous surveys where women report what happened to them might take it seriously when men report what they did.

  7. sayfin permalink
    November 15, 2009 6:14 am

    This is a very well written piece about the issue. I have spread it around amongst my friends – men and women. Thanks.

  8. Lyndsay permalink
    November 15, 2009 10:57 pm

    So informative. I wonder if they asked the men any other questions about themselves. Although it’s less than 10% I wouldn’t be surprised if these men are more likely to be at bars and clubs purposely talking to women. Scary. I also think we have to insist that information like this not be used to blame women. It would be easy for someone to say that this shows if drunk women weren’t alone with men, there would be a lot fewer rapes. 😦

  9. JayKay permalink
    November 16, 2009 3:26 am

    You know, Thomas, you *could* have also said that this research is basically saying that not every man is a potential rapist. That rapists are in fact a rather small part of the population and they’re ruining it for everyone.

    But I doubt those men you describe are primarily motivated by implicit social approval. If that were the case, one would have to wonder why the rest of men apparently don’t become rapists. Are they too decent people to fall for the lures of the alleged rape culture? All this does add up to two main conclusions: one – not all men are rapists. two – those who are, don’t seem to be motivated by homosocial approval.

    I’m all for speaking up about these matters. But what you have here is a deconstruction of “rape culture” rather than a confirmation….

    • November 16, 2009 7:26 am

      Depends on what you mean by “potential.” From the point of view of a woman who knows you but not very, very well … you’re a potential rapist. There’s about a one-in-ten chance you’re a rapist, and somewhere between one in twelve and twenty-five that you’re a recidivist. You can say you’re not, but how does she know that?

      Also, to be blunt, if your first concern on reading about hundreds of self-reported attempted and completed rapes is whether the research supports the proposition that most men are in the clear … you need to get your head screwed on straight. Women worrying that you might be a rapist is not a bigger problem than women getting raped.

      About homosocial approval, I just think you don’t understand. They get homosocial approval, through people bending over backwards to reinterpret what they do as something other than rape. About deconstruction, it’s not clear to me that you’re using that term in any way I recognize … or that Derrida would recognize.

      • JayKay permalink
        November 16, 2009 3:23 pm

        I’m not worried about women worrying about me being a potential rapist. Being careful is just good sense. I also don’t leave my computer in my car and don’t lock it although I know that most people would not take it.

        The thing is that you’re trying to talk to men about relating to other men. And instead of acknowledging that this research is basically falsifying the usual feminist message that all men are potential rapists and telling them that this means there’s no real reason to be defensive because *it’s not about them* (even though that’s not immediately obvious) you reiterate the notion that there is a cultural thread somewhere that makes people rapists while the research you quote actually seems to indicate the opposite. Some people are sexually violent regardless of the culture. Again, why wouldn’t 90% of the men become rapists in a truly rape approving society if the social approval were actually a) there and b) morally decisive in any way. I think, again, this is a pretty good argument against the notion of a “rape culture”.

        The only people not calling it rape are apparently the researchers who used euphemisms to get an answer. And I wouldn’t call that approval.

      • babaganusz permalink
        March 28, 2013 6:28 am

        “Also, to be blunt, if your first concern on reading about hundreds of self-reported attempted and completed rapes is whether the research supports the proposition that most men are in the clear … you need to get your head screwed on straight. Women worrying that you might be a rapist is not a bigger problem than women getting raped.”

        holy shit am i stealing that. thank you.

    • November 16, 2009 5:11 pm

      Look, if you are just here to argue that there is no “rape culture” and feminists have it all wrong, you’re wasting time. I don’t care about your time, waste it all you want. But you’re not going to waste my time.

      roughly 13% of the population are rapists. Between 4% and 8% are recidivists. About 15% of women will be raped in their lifetime. That’s about 23 million US women.

      23 million.

      At least 4% of the population have raped women more than once. That’s 6 million US men. 6 million with an average of 6 victims each (which implies that many women have been raped more than once; which is sadly consistent with my experience).

      That’s a giant public health crisis. That that goes on and is not the major story in the news regularly; doesn’t have public campaigns the size of the pink ribbon campaign, that — that _is_ a rape culture.

      • JayKay permalink
        November 16, 2009 5:34 pm


        “That that goes on and is not the major story in the news regularly; doesn’t have public campaigns the size of the pink ribbon campaign, that — that _is_ a rape culture.”

        No, I’d say it’s resignation given that there really isn’t much that you can do about the numbers – as this research demonstrates. Are we a theft culture because there is a basic acceptance that theft will occur? Are we a murder culture because murder will occur? Do you think that rape is less acknowledged as a social problem than murder or theft? There’s usually an evidence problem in rape cases, but that doesn’t mean rape is in any way culturally condoned. I just don’t see where you get that. And again, if rape were socially incentivized, why do only about 10% of all men become rapists, using your numbers? If, as you mention by quoting Galbraith, incentives work, and there were incentives encouraging rape, wouldn’t one expect a much higher number? So, assuming that incentives actually work, and assuming only social variables at work, the disincentives to rape do apparently outweigh the incentives 9 to 1, c.p.. Why would you call *that* a rape culture?

      • November 16, 2009 6:59 pm

        As long as I have the power of the banhammer here, this blog will never be a place where men can make the argument that a culture where one in ten men rapes women is not a rape culture.

        Banned. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

      • February 7, 2011 9:03 am

        i reckon only a small percentage of rapists, even when phrasing without the ‘r’ word, are ever going to recognise that they were even using force.

        i feel that the statistics out of these studies are well below the true numbers.

        i am interested to see more research being done on psychological rape – even if the perpetrator did not use physical force, their manipulative nature & trusting relationship with the victim led to sexual activity that would have otherwise been nonconsensual. i also wish i had more access to information about female rapists.

        my current partner confronted a female person who’d raped them repeatedly for over 4 years, but because of their long-term drug addiction, compounded with her (forcefully) manipulative behaviour disguised as friendship, my partner was not able to tell that they had not ever given consent, or felt right in the situation, until they were off drugs & had someone point it out to them. that ‘no means no & silence does not mean yes’.

        she was also a repeat offender & had attempted to rape at least 2 of my other friends in the few months i knew her. even when confronted she did not admit she was forceful. i think these psychological rapes are among the most concerning, because i fear that the victims might never know they were manipulated & coerced by someone taking advantage of their trust. i know my partner is still taking a long & painful recovery from years of abuse by someone they had until recently considered their ‘good friend’.

    • ginmar permalink
      October 5, 2010 4:45 pm

      How do you explain the countless, numberless men who defend rapists and attack women, though? Rapists have a lot of defenders. Victims have far far fewer champions. Why are so very many men eager to attack women for so much as mentioning rape, and to derail any serious discussion of rape at all?

    • ginmar permalink
      October 13, 2010 5:52 pm

      While you’re getting all upset, you might want to spare some time to the enormous number of men who defend rape, rapists, the sexist myths about rape that harm men, the idea that women lie about rape, the idea that rape is only in an alley with guns, and how they do while simultaneously attacking any woman who dares to say anything about rape or rape culture that isn’t loaded with qualifications to coddle male perceptions.

  10. Kate Sederholm permalink
    November 16, 2009 11:29 am

    Great article, but I really need to point out a spelling mistake — in the third sentence of the fourth paragraph after the edit where you added the actual questions asked by the Lisak study, it reads ‘chile’ instead of ‘child’, which kind of changes the impact of the sentence.

    Otherwise, I really like the article — I’m part of a campus sexual assault awareness org and we refer to these studies pretty often during our events.

  11. Nathanael permalink
    November 16, 2009 1:02 pm

    This is an astoundingly important pair of studies.

    If we could separate out the habits of the “force-using” rapists from those of the “intoxication-using” rapists it might make them even easier to identify.

    “. These guys are telling you what they thing. When you laugh along to get their approval, you give them yours. You tell them that the social license to operate is in force; that you’ll go along with the pact to turn your eyes away from the evidence; to make excuses for them; to assume it’s a mistake, of the first time, or a confusing situation. You’re telling them that they’re at low risk.”

    However, there’s an added aspect — if you challenge them immediately at their creepy comments and tell them that the license is *not* in force, that you will *not* go along, etc., they may quickly learn to censor themselves around *YOU*. And so do many of their enabler friends. They just treat you as an exception to ‘look good’ around and keep going.

    Frankly, I’m thinking it’s best to just report them as dangerous to any women you know, immediately.

    • November 16, 2009 2:38 pm

      But if they find they have a lot of exceptions to work around, then the assumption that they will generally get favorable treatment begins to break down, and their perceived risk level rises — which is the only brake on their behavior. Telling your female friends to avoid them helps your friends. Showing that not every man will tolerate their conduct helps every woman.

      • February 5, 2011 7:35 am

        If only more people would read what you say and understand and agree with it. If only I could write on the same intellectual level that I can read…

        I grew up with women who justified the actions of men – alcoholism, domestic violence, inappropriate sexual comments – out of loyalty, out of pity for the men.

        An example: “He had a hard life as a roughneck on an oil rig. Or in a machine shop. You couldn’t do the type of work he’s done, or handle what he’s been through. So who are you to judge?”

        Of course, it would have been better if my relatives had understood and agreed with feminist theory because it would have helped the men grow. Or if I had been an adult at the time, or more educated beyond inarticulate anger. For me it was a fine line between acceptance and outrage. And it’s easier to just be alone.

        In summary, there needs to be more discussion about the reason women defend these men.

        I say it’s a combination of traditionalist upbringing, loyalty, love, fear, and anger. Older women who have put up with it their entire lives’ anger at younger women who assert themselves in ways they could not.

  12. Nicolai permalink
    November 16, 2009 5:03 pm

    Because there was no automatic trackback (used?) as far as I can see:

    The Mädchenblog (a German feminist blog) linked your text and is citing you. Just for the record. Maybe that encourages you to post more such revealing articles : )

    I’m just reading the Mädchenblog and sharing its agenda but I’m in no other way affiliated to the Mädchenblog.

  13. Nick T. permalink
    November 16, 2009 8:41 pm

    this is an interesting story to read, but i can’t as the white type on black is just very uncomfortable for my eyes…

    • Lee permalink
      December 2, 2009 9:58 pm

      I have a lot of trouble with the grey-text-on-black myself. Highlighting is your friend.

      • June 27, 2010 12:58 am

        Readability is an even better friend. It reformats any webpage into your preferred reading appearance. (It’s easy to setup, you drag it into your bookmark bar, and then click it any time you want to make a page more readable. Disclaimer: I’m not in any way affiliated with Readability, I just use it. 😉 )

        Thomas, thanks for an excellent article. I grew up in the “It never happens, and if it did it’s your own fault” culture. Reading your article helped me. 🙂

  14. November 17, 2009 11:00 am

    What really amazes me is that so many rapists will admit to raping! Do the studies’ authors have any comments on why the respondents would admit to assaulting and raping? I realize the questions were careful not to use the word ‘rape’ but surely they still know they are self-reporting crimes?

    • November 17, 2009 12:02 pm

      As to the crime part, assurances of confidentiality. They know they won’t be prosecuted. On the ethics front, I think the answer is that the rapists don’t believe it’s wrong. I think the important part is that, as someone on the Jezebel thread pointed out, there’s general agreement that there is something called “rape,” and that “rape” is wrong, but these guys neither believe that penetration of an intoxicated woman who cannot resist is rape, nor that it is wrong.

      Lisak has other research on this, and I’ll probably write another post.

      • osoborracho permalink
        November 20, 2009 3:01 am

        I agree with Thomas… many rapists don’t consider their less-than-consensual encounters “rape.” They think it has to involve dark alleys and guns to be rape. They assume consent unless a woman breaks your nose and tasers you, basically. (This was true of a couple rapists I used to know, anyway.) I think this problem stems from the “No means no” model of consent in combination with a mindset that women aren’t on the same level of humanity.

  15. November 19, 2009 9:36 pm

    This is brilliant and I’ve linked it. Thank you for such a powerful and helpful post.

  16. November 20, 2009 12:41 pm

    This is great, I will go read these studies ASAP.

    Two thoughts….

    Surveys that just ask men whether or not they’ve raped anyone are not at all new. Kinsey was doing it in 1948 and there have been many other studies since then. And I think the usual finding is that unlike other crimes, rape doesn’t carry much stigma (to rapists, anyway), so people are much more likely to self-report than they are to self-report stealing a car, say, or cheating on their income tax. But IIRC child molestors typically do not self-report in surveys.

    As you say, this study looks at male-on-female rape. And the usual way that we justify this narrow lens is to presume that other versions of rape account for only a minor slice of all rape. And that assumption seems safe…but I think that that assumption actually reifies a certain “framing” of rape as an act that occurs between individuals in civil society. I’ve seen studies (cited in “Bound and Gagged,” I don’t have a direct refernence OTTOMH) that suggest that male-on-male prison rape would account for a large fraction of total rape in the US, if not a majority. I remember running the DOJ numbers myself, and feeling like prison rape can’t be a majority. But how much prison rape ever gets reported?

    Point is, if we drop the civil-society framework, rape probably occurs largey in the contexts of war zones, human trafficking, and prisons. I think reforming or abolishing those spaces has to be high up on the agenda for ending rape.

    • ginmar permalink
      October 5, 2010 5:15 pm

      “Male-on-male prison rape would account for a large fraction of total rape in the US, if not a majority.”

      That’s absurd. The prison population—not all of which is male—is about two million. The general population in the US is about three hundred and some million people. Ten percent of half of that three hundred and fifty million people are rapists, and they’re not committing one rape and moving on.

      Your view that rape is a war crime or a prison crime is shockingly privileged and ignorant of what womens’ lives are like under rape culture. What you think of as war is what women have to live with every day.

      • FordPrefect permalink
        May 10, 2011 11:50 pm

        Actually, it’s not totally absurd when you realize that the prison population is two million *at any given time.* The fraction of the population that has ever been incarcerated, however, is much higher–one estimate I saw said 13% of all black men had lost their right to vote due to being in prison, on probation or on parole for felony convictions ( There’s something like 5 million Americans currently on parole or probation ( So figure a very good sized fraction of the population has done time of one sort or another–probably as high as 5%, maybe closer to 10, though I don’t have hard numbers. Given that 1/6 of women have been sexually assaulted (i.e., 1/12 of the population), truly epidemic proportions of prison rape could produce numbers of victims comparable to that. Also note that while the majority of rape victims may not be prisoners, the higher frequency of rape in prison (i.e., much repeated victimization and perpetration) should also be considered. So long story short I doubt the majority of rapes take place in prison–but it’s not completely implausible.

        Also, fantastic article, would read again.

  17. Anonymous permalink
    November 21, 2009 3:49 pm

    I have a question and I found this website/community online and I really feel that I would get supportive, honest answers if I ask, so here goes:
    If a guy that I had met a couple times and did think was cute, and had considered the possibility of having sex with saw me at a party and I was blacked-out drunk for large portions of both the party and the sex and I don’t remember at all what I said or did for most of it but we did have unprotected sex, was it consensual? I don’t remember anything except waking up during and not knowing what was going on and then waking up the next morning in my bed naked. I can’t imagine I did say no even though I would not have actually wanted to do anything with him if I was sober since I am seeing someone I really like. I had thought about it though since I thought he was attractive, but I did not actually want to go through with it. What if he didn’t realize how drunk I was or he was too drunk himself to know? Is it my fault for drinking too much? I am dealing with tremendous amounts of guilt for cheating and I feel like I need to tell the guy I am seeing but I know he would blame me 100 percent, we have talked about it before and I know he thinks blacking out doesn’t give you any excuse for anything, which is probably true. What do I do?

    • denelian permalink
      November 22, 2009 3:20 am


      that sounds very horrible 😦 i am sorry you went thru that.

      technically, legally, if you were intoxicated, it was rape. if you were UNABLE to consent, it was rape.
      if he was drunk too? still rape.

      “having sex” with a person unable to consent – whether they are too young, too scared, too drunk – is rape.

    • November 23, 2009 5:19 pm

      Anonymous, thanks for sharing your story and I’m glad you feel safe talling it here. What happened was not your fault. Lots of men and women drink too much; drinking too much does not cause rape. Rapists cause rape. As to whether he realized you didn’t consent, if you were blackout drunk I have a hard time believing he didn’t realize you were too drunk to make a meaningful decision. If he knows that, it doesn’t really matter what came out of your mouth — too drunk to give a meaningful answer is too drunk to say “yes.” Anyone whose “yes” is not meaningful has to be a “no.” Also, statistically, if he’s penetrating someone too drunk to resist, it’s somewhere between 90% and 95% likely that this isn’t the first time.

      I don’t think you cheated. I think you got raped. I think your partner ought to understand that. I think if your partner doesn’t understand that, he’s the one with the problem. If you’re so drunk you can’t remember what you said, why is he assuming you said yes?

      Finally, about the law: whether it’s legally rape depends on where you are. Unless you’re pressing charges, that really doesn’t matter. As a social and moral matter, legal definitions that vary can’t be taken as gospel — the same events on one side of a river are rape and on the other side are not a crime? That’s the law, but in terms of how we talk about experiences, that’s a silly result. Don’t worry about what the statute says.

      Take a deep breath and remember to be fair to yourself. I don’t know much about recovery, and what I do know doesn’t offer any easy, one-size-fits-all advice. Find someone you can talk to and be good to yourself.

    • Rachel permalink
      November 23, 2009 6:51 pm

      Anon, you should go to your local rape crisis center. You said yourself, you would not have had sex with this man if you had been sober, because you are already seeing someone in a monogamous relationship. You need to report. Hugs offered.

    • Lee permalink
      December 2, 2009 10:06 pm

      Anonymous, did you ever set your drink down and look away from it while someone else was nearby? If so, there’s a very good chance that you were not “blacked-out drunk”, you were DRUGGED with rohyphol (“roofies”) or another date-rape drug. Even if you had your drink in hand at all times, you could have been distracted enough for someone to sneak something into it.

      Drunk or drugged, if you couldn’t consent, you were still raped. But if you were drugged, it was PREMEDITATED rape — someone gave you that drug with the specific intent of rendering you incapacitated, so that they could rape you later.

      • Carol permalink
        March 21, 2013 2:33 pm

        I have been considering this for a while. The difference between being drugged and being drunk is just semantics. Alcohol is a drug. It acts on the body just like roofies in a large enough dose. I would like to see an addition to this study that checks if the rapists were not only targeting women under the influence of alcohol, but also facilitating and encouraging further inebriation.

        I see no difference in drugging a victim, man, woman or child, with rophypnol or with too much alcohol. I am coining the term Inebriation Rape and Inebriation Rapist. This would be someone who, with premeditation, gets their victim too drugged or drunk to resist. This may be a more a question of drinking culture than of rape culture. At my college everyone was under social pressure to drink to excess, if you passed out, you were considered fair game and at blame for anything that happened to you as a result. There are thousands of “funny” videos out there of people who have had “pranks” pulled on them while passed out drunk. I bet you have seen some and gotten a laugh. This idea that someone deserved whatever happens to them when drunk is the rationalization these rapists tell themselves. It is the pass their friends give them, It is the pass society gives them. It is the core belief that fuels this “debate”. It is the fuel for self shaming and blame.

        I have read threads where people blaming the victim of of the rape suddenly do a 180 when it comes to light that the she/he was drugged instead of drunk. BULLSHIT! Drugged is drugged! All of sudden instead of blaming the victim, they are outraged that it was in fact premeditated? It was Inebriation Rape in either case the victim was targeted, the act was premeditated. The rapist was looking for the opportunity to rape. We can’t change these men. We can quit giving them our tacit approval and enabling this crime. Bring up this discussion. That there is NO difference between drugging a victim and getting them drunk. There is no excuse for societal complicity in making a judgement on a victim of this sort of crime.

        Thank you for bringing this subject the attention it deserves OP.

  18. denelian permalink
    November 22, 2009 3:41 am


    where was this post 3 weeks ago?
    that’s a joke i have to explain.
    in one of my Communication/Journalism classes, we each have to develope “PSA Campaigns” that address health concerns.

    i chose the topic of rape in the US military.
    the numbers are staggering – in 2007, the “rate” of rapes reported for that year in the US was 33/100,000 [the UN feels that this is less than half of the actual rapes that happened…]. in Europe, the average across the various nations in the EU is around 8/100,000. in the US military the rate is 193/100,000.
    not a typo. in the year 2007 the rate of REPORTED rapes in the US military – rapes OF a person serving in the US military BY a person serving in the military – was one hundred and ninety-three per hundred thousand people.

    the first paper for the project was due Nov 10. the second study you are speaking about would have been REALLY useful for the first paper – but it is STILL useful for the rest of the project.

    as part of the project, we had to give “presentations” of our papers. and i stood in front of my class of 19-22 year “peers” [i am 32] half of whom are male, and presented my paper.
    and THEN i had to EXPLAIN that it was NOT “man-hating”.

    numbers in the US:
    99% of all rapes are committed by men
    91% of all rapes are committed against women
    25% of all women will, at some point, suffer a sexual assault.
    17% of all women will, at some point, suffer a SUCCESSFUL sexual assult
    73% of all women will be sexually harrassed

    i had to explain to the male students in my class, over and over again, that RAPE IS RAPE. i explained “enthusiastic consent” multiple times. and i WAS TOLD, out loud by a guy in front of a class of 60 students an a professor, that men slept with drunk women “to save time”.
    “they’re going to give in and give it up eventually – all women are whores at heart. they just want something in return. we don’t always WANT to give them something. sometimes we just want sex now. and it’s a lot easier to get “no-strings sex” from a drunk girl than a sober girl. what’s wrong with that?”
    “what wrong with that,” says I, trying to not explode all over the classroom “is that IS RAPE”
    “no it isn’t”
    “yes, yes it is. if a person does not want to have sex, and you make them have sex anyway, that is sex. whether you make them with a gun to their head or by too many shots, you are *still* denying their agency and not getting their consent. no consent equals rape”

    and he says, and i am quoting exactly “if they didn’t want to get f*cked, they wouldn’t get drunk”.

    i gave up. well, i said “you heard it ladies – never, ever be alone with [guy’s name]. he’ll rape you and then say it was your fault”. THEN i gave up.

    i’m tired. ya know? i really want to kill the hydra-that-is-rape, but it’s immortal and keeps sprouting new heads. the biggest anti-rape push campaign i ever saw was the “No means No”; and all it managed to do was encourage rapists, who now believe that if the word “no” isn’t said, it wasn’t rape. so what if he gagged her before she could say it? she didn’t say it so it wasn’t rape. 😦

    thank you. so much. thank you.

    • not a gator permalink
      November 23, 2009 3:07 am

      Hm, actually I don’t think that campaign was a failure. I think it raised a lot of people’s awareness about acquaintance rape, which had been a dirty secret and even glorified in movies (such as “Goldfinger”).

      Before everyone gives up, please remember that cultural changes–and legal changes–can lower the incidence of rape. Southern Africa has a much worse rape problem than the US, and the US a much worse problem than Europe. Only decades ago in the US marital rape was not a crime and there was little legal protection (or social protection) for abused and stalked women. My mother was being stalked by a crazy guy in college in the late 70’s and the authorities laughed it off. A woman I work with today just ended an abusive relationship and the supervisors have bent over backwards helping her out, plus she’s getting assistance from a woman’s shelter to move. It’s incremental changes. Change the legal framework, change minds, educate teenagers, educate criminologists.

      To OP, I don’t think it’s an accident that there was double the number of rapists in the Navy group as the college group. Remember that the college group and Navy group come from somewhat different walks of life. The college group requires a certain degree of discipline and also prior opportunity in life. The Navy group is going to draw heavily–or at least more heavily–from the ranks of the impoverished. From broken homes. From former juvenile delinquents looking to “straighten out”. (Though to be fair, if you have too much of a record, the military won’t have you.) There is a correlation between poverty and domestic violence. This is certainly not going to account for all rapists (in fact, I think there are quite a few among the ranks of the privileged, because they have no empathy for others, can’t imagine anything being denied them, and know they can use their position and power to get their way and roll the other party), but you are going to find more rapists–as well as all anti-social behavior–among the poor as opposed to the middle class. This certainly is not new news.

      There may be some methodological differences, too, but I think you might find a higher self-report of all kinds of anti-social behavior (theft, assault, vandalism)–except drug use, which is well documented to be higher among those who can, well, afford to buy them–among the Navy group as opposed to the college group.

      • denelian permalink
        November 27, 2009 3:36 am


        i suck – i someone didn’t get email notification for “follow-ups” and i never came to look. sorry 😦

        that said – thank you. reminding me [and everyone who reads this far down] that hope isn’t naive and that change CAN – HAS! – happened. i get “tired” because, well, it’s hard. not quitting. just whining.
        thank you.

      • July 14, 2012 9:07 am

        Yep, dumb poors are a bunch of rapists and horrible bad antisocial bad people. Ugh.

        This is why I hate rich people, folks!

      • August 8, 2012 4:52 pm

        Not a gator

        I find fault with your logic that there are more rapers among the poor. I think that the college group may be more likely to not self report behavior that they participate in and recognize as abhorrent. This might simply be a function of sophistication and learned behavior of the middle class to support the appearance of conformity and conceal behavior that is not seen as positive.



    • Madeline permalink
      December 14, 2013 4:12 am

      i realize I am replying to a four year old comment, but as I have just discovered this article and the resulting comment thread tonight, perhaps I can add to the discussion for other johnny-come-latelies like myself.

      Regarding the higher number of rapes in the US military as opposed to the general US population: The US military has a formalized sexual assault reporting system with codified protections in place for the victim/accuser. That is not to say the system always works or the rules are always followed– it often doesn’t, hence the current (as of Dec 2013) DOD/Congressional push for reforms to it. That being said, the system as a whole and specifically the victim protections that are in place do work exponentially better than what currently exists in the US civilian justice system. Which is comparatively nothing. Additionally, service members who are found to be complicit by withholding knowledge of or covering up for assaults and assaulters are also subject to professional and criminal penalties. So I have a strong supposition that the higher numbers in the military are due to higher reporting rates than the civilian population, not higher occurrence rates. The occurrence rate as reported in the military is probably a more accurate reflection of true assault rates in the US as a whole.

      It could be great research work for someone so inclined.

      • Croker permalink
        February 8, 2014 10:56 am

        Hi, I also just found this article myself.

        As a vet who got out just a few years ago, I have absolutely no doubt that there is a higher incidence of rape in the military. Not only does the drinking culture play into the hands of the attackers, the power dynamics present in the military do as well. The possible repercussions to both career and social life, real or perceived, for the victim play a role too. It is important to remember that in the military you are told where you will be living, who you will be working under, and for how long you will continue to do so with very little chance of changing those conditions. You have very little power and control over your own life. There is also the way that the military is structured. The closer the attacker is to victim within the structure (ie squad, platoon, company, battalion) the more likely they are to share the same friends. All of this enhances fears of reporting a rape, especially if the attacker is of a higher rank and is within the victim’s command structure. If you are disliked by those higher up in your command, life can quickly become very unpleasant and you have nowhere to go.

        In both instances where a rape was reported in different units I was serving in no real legal action was ever taken against the alleged attacker (by “real,” I mean trial, though there may have been a private reprimand). This is because both women withdrew the accusation within a matter of days. Both women reported being raped by someone of a higher rank than themselves in their unit. I don’t know to what point alcohol played a part but I don’t think either involved being drunk to the point of not remembering the incident. The majority of the lower enlisted (E-4 and below) in both units, as far as I could tell, believed that the women were lying about being raped. I can’t speak to the opinions of those who were in command, not that I would expect them to express one since making a personal opinion type statement to those under their command in these sort of matters could land them in hot water.

        Something Interesting I recently found is according to the pentagon, in around fifty percent of reported rapes in 2012 the victim was a male. I personally believe I might have very narrowly avoided being a victim myself while in the military. I, along with maybe 15 other people from my unit, went out to get drinks on a weekend night. After two drinks I quickly started to become disoriented. I managed to make it out of the bar alone already stumbling at this point and hop in a cab. Luckily, the bar wasn’t far from base or else I wouldn’t have made it back before passing out.

        A few more quick points. I’m not sure how many civilians know this but adultery is a crime in the military. This can create fears of being charged if the victim is married and thinks no one will believe them. I remember hearing of a case of it being used as a legal defense by an attacker who claimed the victim was trying to avoid being charged with it. And here is a report of it being used to silence a victim.

        There are also no rape shield laws in the military. This can make coming forward an extremely painful and humiliating to a level that truly is shameful. It is actually punished so little that the PolicyMic article states that only 2.5% of rapes are punished in the military.

        There are also a whole bunch of sex acts that are technically illegal in the military whether consensual or not between adults. Even though they are rarely the sole reason charges are filed and, like adultery, can be used to cast doubts on the motive for accusing someone of rape, or more accurately sexual assault since the military’s legal definition of rape requires vaginal penetration, if I am remembering correctly.

        So, what I am saying is: YES women in the military really are getting raped at a higher rate of occurrence. And given the studies shown in the article, and the fact that women are highly outnumbered in the military there really isn’t any reason to doubt this. Frankly, the military has so shown that it is incapable of handling this issue that I believe it is time to create a body that exists outside the traditional command structure for victims to report the crime to. Furthermore, if a sexual assault/rape victim does report a crime to someone in their chain of command and that person does not pass this report on up through proper channels they should face charges themselves.

  19. Erin permalink
    November 23, 2009 6:33 pm

    Linked in a couple of spots and discussed. Thank you.

  20. January 18, 2010 1:53 am


    Fascinating article – and I agree with your conclusion that men have to do something to discipline the rapists within our ranks – those 4% of guys who cause so much harm and pain.

    My question is – what exactly do you expect men to actually DO to stop these rapists?

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I get the impression you want us to not laugh at their jokes and say mean things to them – and honestly, that just does not cut the mustard – it’s like treating a severed leg with a bandaid!

    Maybe we should key into traditional masculinity and the old idea of men being protectors of the weak – that is, maybe, if a group of guys find out that a man in their circle is a rapist, they should beat the crap out of him, and make it very clear that he is expelled from their common community, and will get the crap beaten out of him if he returns.

    It sounds harsh – and, quite frankly, it pretty much IS harsh!

    But we’re talking about stopping rape here!

    Traditionally masculine men are taught that “feelings are for girls and gays” so saying mean things to them won’t help very much – but a community beatdown is within the language of traditional masculinity and a man being “jumped out” of his community for a transgression would fit well within traditional masculine ideals.

    It would also let men know that there is a social price to being a rapist.

    • Gyatso permalink
      January 21, 2010 9:43 pm

      For Movie, Reviewed,

      I’m not sure if you were aiming for satire, or what. But on the off chance that you weren’t, violence is not a solution to anything. And equating violence with traditional male values (or :ideals”) – which I think you do here, intentionally or not – only reinforces the notion that violence is a a real solution. It’s also simply not the case that all men, or even most men idealize violence.

      Also, the notion that the role of men is to protect, (and that women are to be protected by men) also only strengthens gender stereotypes.

      • January 21, 2010 10:58 pm


        No, actually i wasn’t going for satire at all.

        You see, contrary to the nice pacifist myth, violence actually DOES SOLVE PROBLEMS.

        If violence didn’t solve problems, why would cities have police departments, and why would countries have armies?

        Violence and the implied threat of violence can be, and often are, very effective solutions to all sorts of problems – in particular, problems based in dysfunctional male acting out (like in this case, rape).

        The reason I suggested violent peer discipline as a means of deterring rapists is because I felt Thomas’ “solutions” were grossly inadequate to the severity of the rape problem.

        You see, that small percentage of men who commit rape on a regular basis are men who really believe in violence, and use violence on a regular basis in their interaction with women.

        You aren’t going to deter these guys with fine words or appeals to their consciences.

        You MIGHT be able to deter these guys if it became common social practice for the male peers of rapists to beat the crap out of them and ostracize them socially after physically chastising them.

        Bottom line, the implied threat of violence DOES solve LOTS of problems.

        In this case, if rapists feared the implied threat of peer violence against them if they raped, it might prevent them from raping, thus providing an solution to the rape question.

        Let’s not let silly pacifist dogma and feminist idealism get in the way of providing safety for women and children.

    • Lenoxus permalink
      January 4, 2013 8:11 pm

      There’s a definition of “rape denialism” whose original source seems to have moved, but I can quote a small part of it here because it seems relevant (yes, I know this is a reply to a post from two years ago):

      “Because rape denialists acknowledge the seriousness of rape, they frequently make extravagant assertions about how rapists should be dealt with; often through torture. The severity of proposed consequences, however, can be pressed into service in (1) defining rape as so aberrant that only the non-functional mentally ill would commit the act; and (2) that it is quite rare.”

      To put it another way, if “beat the shit out of him” is the proposed solution, then it’s simply not going to be applied in the case of most rapes, because your average group of guys won’t do it to someone who “merely” had sex with a passed-out woman, or a woman who gave consent but withdrew it later. ( The impersonality of the law is a better tool than vigilante justice for this reason among others.) That’s the problem that has to be addressed first. Rather than go to extremes in defining the heinousness of rape, we need to go to (what our culture would currently call) “extremes” in defining rape itself, eg, the “yes means yes” model.

      Raising the degree of punishment also ends up raising the standard of proof, and increases reluctance to punish in the first place (incidentally, that’s a problem with minimum-sentencing laws for various crimes; the jury/judge thinks the crime was indeed committed but doesn’t think the sentence is warranted, so they say not guilty). This relates to what Jen and others said about being unwilling to report a rape if that meant the rapist gets murdered and the murderers in turn face punishment.

      (And that’s setting aside all the other problems, such as the way that a pro-violence culture is likely to be pro-rape as well, and that all mixes in with patriarchy, etc.)

      • Becky permalink
        June 11, 2013 3:52 pm

        “Because rape denialists acknowledge the seriousness of rape, they frequently make extravagant assertions about how rapists should be dealt with; often through torture. The severity of proposed consequences, however, can be pressed into service in (1) defining rape as so aberrant that only the non-functional mentally ill would commit the act; and (2) that it is quite rare.”

        My FIL used to say that child molestors should have their balls nailed to a chair, then the chair should be set on fire. He’s now finishing up his prison sentence for aggravated indecent liberties against a child, for fondling his own granddaughter. But what HE did (against numerous women and girls, for 40+ years) wasn’t real abuse. Not at all. Everyone just needs to lighten up.

        Really, his proclamation of exaggerated and violent punishment was a way to cover up his own actions.

    • Carol permalink
      March 21, 2013 2:59 pm

      Go for it. I for one am behind this approach. What do you WANT men to do if they find a rapist in their social circle? Ostracize them? They will just find another group. Shame them? Well yes I approve of that but I don’t know the effectiveness. Sit them down and explain why rape is wrong? Again not sure how effective that is. Beat the crap out them while doing the last two things? That might have a more lasting impression. Sorry but as a rape victim I have very little empathy for these guys. I have beaten two attempted rapists myself (yeah I learned martial arts to protect myself) and it is an effective deterrent. The BEST thing that you can do however is warn every woman you know about them. Tell them to report in mass if it is too late. When men stand beside us and support us, no matter in what capacity, the world gets a little better. I don’t know if your method would work Lenoxus, but I appreciate the sentiment and the effort.

  21. Gyatso permalink
    January 22, 2010 7:42 am


    You are essentially arguing in favor of vigilante justice (also sometimes known known as lynch mobs). Vigilantes and lynch mobs appoint themselves as cops, judges and jurors – they know who is guilty. And they know what punishment to mete out – and they do so.

    If they have been empowered to beat some people for a certain class of crimes they think those people may have committed, what wrongs do you think they would feel entitled to right? Think roving gangs of thugish men who take it upon themselves to enforce their version of moral conduct, to keep people in line.

    If a group of friends knew – i.e. had reason to believe – one of their own had sexually assaulted another person, why would you encourage them to beat the crap out of the alleged suspect instead of encourage one or all of the group, anonomously or publically, to bring that possibility to the attention of the cops (assuming the person who was attacked was psychologically prepared to enter into the legal system)? Being arrested, tried, and serving a sentence is definitely a social consequence, so why not go that route?

    Furthermore, this sort of action, nay, mindset, takes control out of the hands of the person who was raped. I have not ever been sexually attacked, so here I can only echo what I have heard or read from people who have been. The consensus seems to be that people process their rapes in their own unique ways, and on their own individual time lines. Various survivors have mentioned that male acquaintances of theirs, upon hearing of the rape, wanted to beat the crap out of, or ‘kill’ the attacker. However, none of those people who were attacked said they wanted that to happen, or in any way suggested that violence against their attacker would make things better for them or anyone else (and to be sure, I haven’t read all the literature on responses to being attacked).

    The point I am trying to make is that support for people who have been raped, does not begin with making decisions for them – including to beat-up their attackers.

    Finally, an after-the-fact beat-down does not prevent a rape that has already happened. And shunning someone from your group is no guarantee that they will behave better as a member of the next group they join, or that the next group they join will hold the same values or respect all beings as having the right to live free from fear. In other words, there’s no reason to think a violent response to a violent act would prevent violence in the future.

    It would make more sense for people to talk more openly and more frequently about how they experience and relate to sexual (and other emotional) energy. If guys “don’t get it,” and if it’s not because they’re incapable of getting it (since many men do get it, there’s good reason to think that most men can too) – it’s possibly because they don’t feel they’re engaged in a conversation about themselves or people they know. They need then to feel like they have a part in the conversation and that the conversation could actually enrich their lives, and the lives of people they know and care about, significantly in so many ways.

    • January 22, 2010 11:01 am


      Yes, I do believe that, in many cases, vigilante justice can be a good thing.

      Armed force is an effective deterrent to anti social behavior – which is why societies have police departments in the first place!

      Incidentally, in your earlier post, you stated that you think that violence does not solve problems.

      But your solution to rape involves police, courts and jails.

      All of which are based on INSTITUTIONALIZED VIOLENCE.

      So, in effect, you agree with me that violence does solve problems – but you believe in the organized state violence of the capitalist government, rather than the organized people’s violence of working class vigilantes.

      Basically, we just believe in different types of organized violence.

      And that’s fine – as long as you’re willing to admit that.

      As for your apparent contention that government violence is somehow more fairly administered than the violence of the people, I think you are totally wrong.

      Organized governmental violence in America is notorious for it’s open and blatant racism – and, worldwide, judicially sanctioned violence is well known for it’s capriciousness and how it is unequally applied to people based on race, class and status.

      This is especially true when it comes to rape and other forms of violence against women.

      As for your other idea, which can best be summarized as no rapist should be punished unless his victim thinks it’s OK, I have to disagree.

      Women are socialized from earliest childhood to be submissive to men, to not cause trouble or inconvenience others and to take ill treatment meekly and without complaint.

      Not surprisingly, many women tend to be overly forgiving of men who abuse them – including men who rape them.

      This is precisely why so many men get away with raping women for so long.

      We really cannot let that sexist socialization get in the way of punishing rapists.

      The need to protect women as a group from rapists is far more important than the individual wishes of one particular women to forgive her rapist – especially when those wishes are themselves deeply rooted in institutionalized sexism!

      Indeed, as you point out, a post rape beatdown will not stop the rape that has already happened – but it can prevent future rapes, especially if it became a widespread and common practice for rapists to suffer vigilante attacks.

      As far as all of this talking-about-your-feelings stuff that you and Thomas are so enamorate of – GET REAL.

      In a society where the vast majority of men are socialized to not talk about our feelings, do you even think that’s realistic?

      I do not.

      A bunch of men sitting around and ‘talking about their feelings’ is NOT going to stop rape.

      A bunch of men in a circle stomping a rapist into the dirt, on the other hand, might actually help.

      Look, men (and in particular working class men and men of color) are socialized to be the protectors of our loved ones and our communities – why not use that socialization for a good cause?

      • May 8, 2012 5:12 am

        I used to be an idealist, but I’ve come around to this way of thinking. The thing is, how quick will most groups of guys be to turn on one of their own friends in this way? If anything, it would probably be easier to recruit some of them into a gang assault on the woman. I think it may be difficult to reach consensus among the men about who needs to get jumped out because not all men can be counted on to harshly judge the crime. Young men often have stronger bonds of loyalty to each other than to their female acquaintances. An interesting option is for the *women* in the social group to jump the guy with tasers, something I can hardly believe doesn’t happen already. There are problems with that idea also though, namely male-vs-female mentality getting reinforced.

    • Shelby permalink
      June 14, 2011 6:57 pm

      I don’t care what you say about the wrongness of violence… if I found out someone was a rapist, I’d want them dead. Rapists deserve to die. End of story.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 27, 2011 12:55 am

        Movie & Shelby – I agree 100%. When a friend of mine left me with a friend of his (whom I didn’t know) when I was drunk in a city I had never lived in, I was so touched that my boyfriend and other male friends wanted to beat the hell out of both guys. I would’ve gladly let them. (I did not end up being raped as the friend apparently didn’t expect me to actually say no, and respected it when I did. But I do believe he intended me to do something I wouldn’t have done sober.) So Gyatso, you can add that data point to your assertion that women wouldn’t want attackers treated violently.

        If the legal system treated victims with justice, gravitas, and dignity, then I might think differently. As is, the way victims are treated in courts is shameful. I wouldn’t be sorry if vigilantes started shooting these people. There are too many decent people to feel sorry for.

  22. Gyatso permalink
    January 24, 2010 8:05 am

    Movie, this doesn’t seem to be very productive – I don’t think you’ve thought through the implications of what you’re suggesting. I also haven’t seen you give any examples or evidence which would support your view, and moreover, show it to be preferable over any and all alternatives.

    Secondly, to suggest that involving the police, the courts and legal system in reporting alleged rapes is participating in institutional violence is ridiculous. If it were true in the case of reporting rape, it would also be true in instances of reporting, oh I dunno, bike thefts, paying parking tickets and so on. And to suggest that those sort of interactions with the legal system are in anyway equal to or similar to the sort of physical and psychological violence that goes with and results from raping someone, or having a bunch of people beat the shit out of another dilutes the meaning of the word violence and demeans those who have been raped or beaten.

    Thirdly, you talk about how men are socialized yet exclude from that process the ways we interact with each other that don’t involve beating people up. In other words, you do not seem to include as social forces the sorts of conversations fathers might have with their sons, or older brothers with thir younger brothers. You likewise don’t seem to include the ways in which young people are socialized through their school curriculums and so forth (and that curriculums are fluid).

    Finally, you really didn’t address what I wrote. I didn’t suggest that men sit around and talk about their feelings. I didn’t even use the word “feelings”. You’ve basically set up a straw man and knocked it down. What I had in mind while writing, were the myriad ways we men socialize each other without necessarily thinking about it. If we did think about it a little more, I’m sure we could make several small, but nonetheless meaningful, adjustments to how we think and react around other people, especially women. And out of those small conversations and attitudinal changes, a few rapes might be prevented.


    • January 24, 2010 11:15 am


      The government itself is an institution of organized violence, through which a class maintains it’s power over all the other classes in a society.

      Police departments are the purest reflection of that, what with the guns and nightsticks and all. Jails, which are facilities where people are denied their freedom on a systematic basis, also are a pure reflection of this as well. And, of courses, I’m sure you’re familiar with the institution known as the Armed Forces – because there’s nothing quite so violent as an army.

      That’s what I mean by “institutionalized violence” – it’s a pretty common term, and I didn’t make it up, scholars have been talking about the government in those terms for a long long long time (think Karl Marx …or Vladimir Lenin).

      So yes, parking tickets are a reflection of that institutionalized violence of the state – it’s embodied in that loaded 9mm Sig Sauer automatic on the hip of the police officer writing the ticket, and the authority (both legal and social) that she has to use that side arm to shoot and kill you.

      Without that 9 mm, and the authority to use it at will, and the fact that that officer is backed up by thousands of other officers, and a judicial system, and a prison system, that parking ticket would just be a piece of paper, rather than a warrant that demands your money.

      All relations between police (and the government in general) and the rest of society are fundamentally rooted in the government’s authority to be the sole legitimate source of institutionalized and organized violence in a society.

      And yes, that is, at the end of the day, really not a whole lot different than any other kind of violence.

      If you don’t believe me, just ask Rodney King.

      Or Abner Louima.

      Or get out the Ouija Board and ask Amedu Diallo.

      As for your theory that we can abolish rape by changing school curricula and getting men to think about how we treat women.

      Gyatso, rape has it’s roots in private property.

      Let me give you a simplified explanation of what property and rape have to do with each other.

      When private property as we know it today emerged about 5,000 years ago, and, like today, the bulk of the private property was in a few (male) hands (because that’s how private property works) suddenly the question of paternity becomes really important.

      Before, nobody really cared that much about who the father of a child was – but now that there’s property and inheritance at stake, it suddenly becomes an earthshaking question.

      They didn’t have DNA testing yet, so, the only practical way to determine paternity was to restrict female sexuality.

      That’s when we get customs like marriage and taboos and laws against extramarital sex (which, as a practical matter, were always taboos and laws against FEMALE extramarital sex, because the whole POINT of monogamy was to restrict who WOMEN had sex with so you could always know with certainty who the father was).

      This reduces women to the status of property, and women were often brought and sold as commodities (customs like arranged marriages and fathers “giving away the bride” are the historical legacy of this).

      Of course, when you have property, and when property is held unequally (which is always the case in any society where there is private property) you will have theft.

      Rape, in the classical legal definition of the crime, is when a man steals sexual access to the body of a woman who doesn’t “belong to him” – and before you get mad at me for saying that, remember that English common law (the origin of the American legal system you believe in so much) defined rape as a PROPERTY CRIME AGAINST THE FATHER OR HUSBAND OF THE VICTIM until well into the 19th century.

      Once male/female sexual relations become commodified in the form of marriage, the emergence of rape was inevitable (as was the emergence of prostitution – and prostitution’s younger sister, pornography).

      There’s a truly awesome book by Frederich Engels called “The Origin of The Family, Private Property and the State” that does a much better job of explaining this than I do.

      You can get it on and I think you should read it.

      Because if you read it, with an open mind, you’ll understand precisely WHY your methods of trying to end rape (while leaving the social and economic forces that create rape intact) are doomed to failure.

      Upon reflection, even MY methods are, at best, triage, because they too leave the unholy trinity of marriage, rape and prostitution/pornography – and the private property system from which they emerged – untouched.

      But at least my methods are backed by armed force (and not just any force, but the armed force of the community, which is far better than the armed force of an alien and coercive government) – while, with all due respect to you and no insult intended to you as a person, yours are rooted in good intentions and hot air.

      • Emily permalink
        February 7, 2011 3:46 pm

        Hi Gregory,
        I agree with your assessment of the relationship between private property and the oppression of women. I’m not really a Marxist in that I don’t think that oppression always arises from capitalism and class distinctions, and that patriarchy and other forms of oppression (homophobia, transphobia, racism…) can thrive in communities that are otherwise egalitarian. So I think it’s dangerous to focus on economic/class distinctions to the point of dismissing concerns about other forms of oppression as mere identity politics (otherwise known as “once the revolution happens we won’t have to worry about that anymore” syndrome) — not that I’m accusing you of doing this, just voicing a general concern.
        I do not think that women shouldn’t go to the police if they’ve been raped if that’s what they want to do. Any attempt to bring the rapist to justice is a-ok with me regardless of my feelings about the legitimacy of the criminal justice system. But given the conviction rates — hell, given the being-taken-seriously rates — I do not trust the “justice” system and I don’t think any amount of reform or proposed laws will do crap. I mean, this isn’t Roe v. Wade — rape is already illegal! This, combined with the statistical likelihood of someone who raped once raping again, means I have no objection to community violence against a rapist if it is clear that a. they’re guilty and b. they’re not going to change. If we lived in small tribal societies then ostracism would be sufficient (and quite possibly the mere threat of it, as well) but in society today kicking someone out of your group of friends is a laughable punishment as there are plenty of other people to rape…

        tl;dr: I basically agree with you and am using your comment as a jumping-off point for my own pontifications, which you are under no obligation to reply to 🙂 if you *would* like to have a conversation my e-mail is ana.ng64 (at) gmail (dot) com.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 27, 2011 1:04 am

        I totally agree as well, and I would add that the institutionalized violence represented in government institutions is made all the more frightening by the fact that there is no higher authority to appeal to for redress. This is more stable than vigilante justice (since opinions can change faster than institutions can) but when these institutions don’t work the way they should, they’re also much more dangerous.

    • May 8, 2012 5:16 am

      What if rapists were “socialized” by getting raped by adults when they were children? Perhaps this is why rapists don’t see what they’re doing as wrong; it was graphically role-modeled to them, either directly or vicariously through witnessing assault.

      • Amanda permalink
        January 9, 2013 1:51 pm

        der Morgenstern, your comment hits the nail of my discomfort with the vigilante justice narrative on the head. I am a social worker and a rape survivor, and while I would love to see the heads of the men who raped me stomped into the ground with golf cleats, I know that the men in question were abused as children. I have been wrestling with the implications of their intersection for about ten years, and while I no longer believe that their past abuse excuses anything they did, I no longer believe that actually beating them up would be helpful. I think it would increase the amount of pain they care and try fruitlessly to get off their chests by hurting others.

      • anoymous2 permalink
        March 10, 2013 12:42 am

        a person is sometimes doomed by their first sexual experience
        if it was abusive
        either you become a victim or abuser
        I was sexually abused by a parent; found myself in bad intimate relationships trying to fix them and get love where there was absolutely none; and then for the finale, date raped.

        I woke up, from a dream so vivid that had connected my childhood abuse at age 9 in which I was pleading no no no and then passing out with a perfect continuation of me pleading no, no, no to the date rapist, who was a friend and I had trusted, I ultimately submitted as I did to my abuser and did not run away, even though the option existed, it did not exist at that moment in my head; not one bit. The date rapist acquaintance became strongly connected one in my dream with my childhood sexual abuser. There was no love, no respect, it was all about exerting power. TDDDI-what I got from the date rapist and the childhood abuser: total dismissal, disrespect, disregard, invalidation. My only option was to plead no, scream no, and have it denied; both times.

        The date rapist announced with a creepy smile afterwards “Persistence overcomes Resistance. He knew I said No, he heard it loud and clear, he ignored it entirely, it was all about what he wanted.

        There is also a good chance he has done this before and has sexually abused his daughter, or is. He took something from me, I didn’t want him to have, I wasn’t drinking or drunk to blame, I could only blame my childhood past for letting this happen. I would have realized I could have run out the door. I kept expecting him to say I’m sorry, I got carried away. He never did. I kept trying to get love from the childhood abuser well into adulthood and never did, abuse was not love. I have never known intimate love, always being the doormat or one to try to earn love from another, by what I did or gave and never getting it. I have let go of love, it doesn’t exist and is a lie.

        Was he abused by a parent, relative or sibling? Who knows? He would never tell. Some become abusers and other’s victims, victims at the hand of others and themselves. I became a victim, he became an abuser; becoming the perfect match for a dysfunctional disaster.

        Even though this happened almost a year ago, once it came unrepressed, it is still going through a process like the death process. Death of delusion that you can trust anyone. It went through denial and repression for months. The day it became unrepressed I broke out in a sweat, was anxious and suffered from anxiety and couldn’t focus as well for months. It was a obsessive replay of the event; then the anger stage, now I am in the depression state and to slowly working into the acceptance stage. Sometimes, it seems like I also jump into the different stages back and forth, and some days it seems like I go backwards. This is what happened-no shoulds or coulds or woulds. I have to accept it and what did I learn; about myself, the world. Interestingly after I was date raped, I have wanted nothing to do with the childhood abuser, I was slowly figuring out myself. I don’t need to figure out the date rapist,he is an ultimate liar, cheater and manipulator. I could never figure him out because he would only do two things: lie or deny. I can only attempt to figure out my own life, I am responsible for my actions or lack of, and not responsible for his actions. The mutual friends I have dropped also; they said totally false things to encourage his behavior. I never told them and grew apart from them and broke off all contact. I find myself withdrawing from friendships somewhat, the sense of betrayal runs very, very deep.

        I’m not dating anymore, as time goes by my interest in it is dieing, and I generally do not trust heterosexual men. I do have a friend that has respected my boundaries and this has helped, so men or people that give me any doubts, I don’t ever give them the benefit of the
        doubt. The date rapist still lives in my area, knows where I live. I avoid places where I might see him entirely. I saw him going into a store months ago and I was in my car getting ready to leave and it had me upset for hours just seeing him. I want to think, yes it existed, acknowledge and accept it, but go into a different form of denial and never have to see his face again. For time, to make it a distant foggy memory, but seeing him made alot of things rise to the surface again.

        Ironically, my ex-friend had persisted in setting me up with this guy. I told her atleast ten times I had absolutely no interest. The first time, I met him by accident, or perhaps this ex-friend, set up the accident, he grabbed my phone out of my hand, to have my phone call his number, so he would have my number and I would have his number. It was so abrupt, but it was a major clue of what type of person he was. He texted me three days later and I had decided after he grabbed my phone that I would not contact him if he never contacted me. I responded to his text, had doubts, and that was my second bad move. He is involved in financial scams, so this personality type, does not just date rape; more likely to rape others around them in different forms of rape: his rape resume includes such skills as date rape, child sexual abuse rape-soul rape, financial monetary rape.

        I have no one and need to protect myself. Women cannot be naive anymore. We need to protect ourselves, watch out when you drink, don’t trust any guy, especially mutual acquaintances that you may trust more , more than what they might have earned otherwise.
        Men are not the same as women. Who knows deep down amongst other men, men that rape might be looked upon admirably.

        It also reminded me of the story in the Bible, a woman does not want sexual intercourse with a man she knows who persists in it , he eventaully rapes her and then he despises her afterwards, and she lives out the rest of her days as a desolute woman. Men that date rape, despise their victims, their victims might represent their misplaced childhood abuser perhaps? or their victims represent the evil within them that is not controlled. Who knows? I have become better at identifying who people are with the clues they give and not keep giving endless benefits of the doubt leading to nothing but some form of disaster.

        I hope to heal one day, and can only do this by not getting involved with anyone, and may chose tragically to never get involved with anyone again. I just don’t know. I’ve had enough betrayal, pain and hurt in my lifetime, reached my limit and no longer long for something that is delusional and does not exist , something called love between a man and a woman that involves sex.

  23. February 16, 2010 7:17 pm

    The need to protect women as a group from rapists is far more important than the individual wishes of one particular women

    Tells me all I need to know about you. Wish I knew who you really were…you’re not the sort of person I’d associate with willingly.

    You’re more like the men you condemn than you realize.

    • February 17, 2010 9:46 am

      I’m not interested in concealing my identity my rl name is Gregory A. Butler – that’s who I really am (google me), and I’m sorry you feel that way about me, but I can’t control that.

      Gregory A. Butler

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 27, 2011 1:07 am

      Sorry, A, but I agree with Gregory. Reluctantly – but in the end I do agree. It is painful for me to say that the wishes of a particular victim should be disregarded under any circumstances. It truly is. But when you think that there could be a long string of victims – and probably will be if the attacker is not caught and brought to justice – I think it’s just the best you can do in a bad situation. Rapists need to be prosecuted, and God bless any victim that has to go through that process, but I don’t think we, as a society, can justify failing to prosecute a criminal with a high likelihood of recidivism because one victim doesn’t want him prosecuted.

  24. February 17, 2010 11:40 am

    I assume Gregory Butler the writer and construction labor activist and not the Canadian computer engineer?

    • February 17, 2010 1:18 pm

      Yes, I’m THAT Gregory A. Butler, the writer and Carpenters Union activist from New York City, author of “DISUNITED BROTHERHOODS …race, racketeering and the fall of the New York construction unions”.

      Not the Canadian computer engineer, or the Baltimore ophthalmologist or the former New York Knick.

  25. Allison permalink
    February 18, 2010 4:14 am

    While I don’t agree that men should respond to rape by beating up the offender, and while I think “protect” was a poor choice of words, I agree that women who have been assaulted often continue to obey their socialization when responding to the aftermath of rape.
    When I was assaulted, I knew that if I talked about it nobody would believe me. I didn’t want to be blamed or ostracised. I saw and heard of the guy continuing his actions, but I didn’t intervene. I evenutally told close friends and they stuck up for me, but they couldn’t do much without mentioning my name–it just sounded like a nasty rumour.
    And I *do* think that the same reasons that I was raped are the same exact reasons I didn’t go to anyone afterwards–my conditioning as a woman not to stick up for myself, to avoid conflict, to appease everyone. I wish I’d told my friends earlier, I wish I would have felt comfortable telling the truth to everyone, and I especially wish that people would have believed it instead of trying to keep it hidden.

    • February 18, 2010 9:15 am


      I’m really sorry that somebody hurt you.

      And thanks for sharing your “insider’s” perspective on why women don’t tell – because, as you know far better than I do, there is a reality that a woman might not be believed and/or that she might be blamed for the crime the man committed against her.

      Question – how do you think men should respond when they find out that a friend or family member has been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted?

      What I talked about above – the whole beat up and ostracize the guy – draws from my “gut” – how I as a blue collar working class African American straight man would react, based on my socialization and the social mores of my community.

      I know it’s important to support the woman emotionally, let her know that it’s not her fault, it’s his and be there for her (but I also know that most guys like me basically aren’t emotionally equipped to do that – the whole “real men don’t talk about their feelings” thing – but they ARE emotionally equipped to aggressively protect and defend)

      Gregory A. Butler

      • smally permalink
        February 18, 2010 11:59 pm


        The problem with your proposal is that you can’t even get there without getting to the point the OP has suggested (and which suggestion you rejected). That is, you can’t a culture where men beat the crap out of rapists of their acquaintance without first having a culture where men don’t tend to defend their rapist friends, make light of rape, deny that acquaintance rape is real rape, etc. How do you propose to convince men to beat their rapists friends when they won’t even admit that rape has occurred?

        If we got the point where your solution was even feasible, I think it would no longer be necessary.

      • denelian permalink
        December 14, 2010 2:25 am

        Gregory/Movie –

        if you’re still watching this page…

        i’ve been doing research [as i said above] about rape, rape myths, rape prevention – the whole host of “Rape issues”

        i think you’re the first person i’ve heard [or, i guess, read] who advocates community violence.
        i… don’t know if i agree with you [i think, as a whole, i do not] but not only am i not sure, even the act of discussing it could bear fruit in other ideas, other tactics and strategies. i would like to try, at least 🙂

        so, if you’re around, and willing to talk – please email me, either denelian1 at gmail, or denelian at yahoo

      • Jen permalink
        June 29, 2011 11:58 pm

        I am way late to this conversation, but I wanted to address some of the points you’ve raised here.

        First of all, I just want to say I agree with you that the cops/the State/the “justice” system aren’t actually any less violent than armed vigilantes, and quite possibly have more potential for abuse, especially of the racist variety (which is not to say that I think roving bands of vigilante dudes are, you know, problem-free).

        I am actually in favor of community-based (rather than law-enforcement-based) responses to sexual assault, although I think enforcers should be more accountable and less summarily violent than vigilante ass-kicking squads. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence and GenerationFIVE have done some great work around organizing community responses to violence against women and children, and figuring out what works. They leverage all kinds of different tactics, usually starting with social and economic pressure (losing your family support, you job, your housing, etc.) which can actually be pretty damn effective–it’s not all touchy-feely “we won’t be friends with you anymore” type stuff.

        One important thing is that it’s survivor-led and woman-led on a broad bases, and they do their best to respect the needs of individual survivors, but they don’t let rapists off the hook just because the person/people they raped does not want to pursue it. The survivor can be involved/uninvolved as much as they want, and if they have specific requirements the accountability teams will work for that (like, keep that man away from my workplace, or I want a public admission of guilt, or whatever). But if someone is a danger to the community, that person is going to be watched and held accountable and brought to justice. But it’s not just a bunch of men who have never been raped deciding what is best for the people (mostly women and children) who have been.

        There are a couple of benefits to this. One, fear that the men in their life will commit violence actually deters a lot of women from reporting. One reason I never told my dad that his friend raped me is because I knew dad would kill him and probably go to prison. The idea of my dad getting locked up was a lot worse than the idea of keeping it a secret for the rest of my life. And some women do care about or depend on the people who rape them (maybe their abusive ex pays them child support, or their rapist is the father of one of their best friends, or they were raped by a family member, or something). So threats of violence can actually keep women and children from reporting, which we definitely don’t want to do.

        Also, there’s a huge potential for legal & violent backlash against communities who engage in vigilante violence. Obviously poor communities and communities of color, which are especially vulnerable to sexual violence, are also vulnerable to backlash from the criminal “justice” system and imprisonment, etc. It doesn’t help women or survivors to have the men close to them locked up (and subsequently unable to vote, find jobs, see their families or kids, etc. because of their felony convictions).

        I also see a lot of potential for this to actually increase men’s resistance to believing women–so many guys are already reluctant to admit their buddies might be rapists, even when it just means they might have to quit inviting them to parties–how much more reluctant will they be when believing that their best friend/brother/father/business partner/son is a rapist means that they’re then morally obligated to beat the shit out of him (or at least let a bunch of other guys beat the shit out of him)? I see a lot of potential for sweeping it under the rug.

        And obviously there is always potential for things to get enormously out of hand, as with lynching in the South, which largely used the alleged rape of white women to justify racist violence against black men. While I don’t think the legal system is a useful or safe option, we have to face the fact that any group with license to commit violence is open to abuse. What happens if one of the men who regularly beats up rapists is himself a rapist? Who will his victim go to? Or what if gay men get beaten because they’re assumed to be pedophiles? What if it just becomes an excuse for violent men to commit more violence? All these things need to be addressed before they become problems, not afterward.

        Believe me, I understand the gut response of wanting to hurt a rapist. Hell, I fantasized about it like most teenagers fantasize about their crushes, in vivid and satisfying detail. So while I will not be shedding any tears over the spilled blood of rapists any time soon, I think it’s valuable to consider community-based responses that don’t rely on overt violence, especially as a first resort. And that take their cues from women and those who have actually experienced rape. Yes, individual women are often unable/unwilling to confront their rapists for whatever reason, but there are plenty of women and survivors working in community to address these issues and I think men who want to stop rape should be willing to follow their lead. Dismissing the expressed needs and desires of women and survivors, trying to control the way their rapes are addressed, and relying on stereotypes of women as weak and in need of protection from the men they “belong” to…that is a really dangerous way to try to address rape. Any response to rape should respect the boundaries of those who have been raped.

        So that would be my answer to your question about how to respond to women who have been raped…respect their boundaries, support them, but don’t make it all about you and your anger. They are the ones who have been violated. You have a right to be angry and upset, but they have a thousand times that right. Don’t be macho about it. Machismo is the last thing a rape victim needs, you know? They deserve not to have to spend their emotional energy soothing you and trying to make sure you don’t end up in prison in addition to dealing with their own shit. And they definitely don’t need you implying that you have the right to take matters into your own hands because they are too weak and submissive to respond properly.

  26. Anon. permalink
    February 22, 2010 10:23 am

    I think that the conclusion needs to be directly, at least to some extent, to women, too. There are women out there, too, who hold the beliefs that you refer to, and I think that limiting it to men ignores the undetected anti-feminists out there.

    • February 5, 2011 9:11 am

      You are right there. You are talking about my family. Ironically, my father, the most liberal and supposedly feminist of us, would put my mother down for never fully recovering and getting on with her life after the divorce. And for making – in his opinion – a bad choice in the man she chose to marry.

      My mother hold strict fundamentalist Christian beliefs that she believes will not allow her to assert herself. Ironically, the main way she asserts herself is in her right to believe that men should be the head of the household.

      So which is more feminist? I have decided to not have contact with her as much as possible.

  27. Politicalguineapig permalink
    March 7, 2010 5:54 pm

    In colleges, I think one of the best solutions would be to dissolve fraternities, ROTC programs and some of the sports teams. For example, football and rugby which cause brain damage. Sports teams and fraternities tend to encourage rape culture and offer safe havens for rapists. So if you eliminate those ‘safe havens’ a safer environment is created. (And the last thing society needs is brain-damaged young men running around.
    I hate to admit it, but I kind of agree with Movie Reviewed. The language of violence is the only language some men will ever understand. And yeah, police departments don’t take rape seriously, so it’s a waste of time to involve them.

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 27, 2011 1:13 am

      Do you have citations for those facts about fraternities, sports teams, and ROTC? Obviously those are stereotypes we’ve all heard, but I haven’t seen much in the way of evidence that what you’re saying is true. I’m not saying it’s not – I’m just interested in sources.

  28. Spectral permalink
    March 9, 2010 1:52 am

    We should also add in those men who rape by taking advantage of women who are in bad situations other than being drunk, for example being a teen who ran away from home or was thrown out by their parents and has no place else to go, or a woman who is just afraid to walk home by herself. Ditto for those men who use the threat of economic force or humiliation rather than violence when committing spousal rape.

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 27, 2011 1:15 am

      I agree completely – when I saw those questions in the study, I wondered why this kind of situation wasn’t covered. In Oregon, we recently had a case where a police officer demanded oral sex from prostitutes in exchange for not arresting them. He was charged with “coercion,” a misdemeanor. I’m sorry, but that’s rape, not coercion.

  29. March 31, 2010 1:37 pm

    Thank you. Let’s keep talking about it and shine light on this issue.

  30. Nameless permalink
    May 14, 2010 10:31 am

    The thing is we need to get law enforcement to take this more serious and STOP with their judgements on senerios. We need to get the laws changed that when there is drug suspected rape that the sceening is done by an FBI lab and that specially trained law enforcement is called in. I know a rapist is walking free today because the victim is being blamed.

    • February 7, 2011 9:22 am

      ALWAYS, by default, take the victim’s word over the perp’s. as a default. any cracks in the story will more than likely appear later on during corroboration. ‘& what about the people who lie about rape to get people prosecuted’, you ask? well, i say if someone wants to get somebody else into jail badly enough to lie about something this serious, there must be a reason for that – a reason beyond petty revenge or other social politics.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 27, 2011 1:17 am

        Not to mention, the DOJ says false rape reports are much less common than false reports of other crimes. So if somebody tells me they were raped and I want to answer, “How do I know you’re not just saying that to get him in trouble?” then I should ask the SAME question if somebody tells me their purse was stolen, house was burglarized, they were defrauded, etc.

  31. es_ permalink
    May 28, 2010 2:58 am

    Lisak & Miller’s article is available online here:


  32. May 29, 2010 1:49 pm

    The unassertive, shy, sweet, gullible woman is usually the prime target for a fraternity rapist. Her silence is golden.

    • February 5, 2011 9:16 am

      This sounds like blaming the victim to me.
      At the same time I recognize the truth in this statement, as much as it hurts.
      They say “nice guys finish last,” but all it means is that they don’t get the girl. This must be the nightmarish gender double standard: “nice girls finish last.” They either end up with a controlling, abusive man, or alone in an apartment with a cat and a well-stocked bookshelf.

      I don’t mind being challenged on this. Like Movie Reviewer, I am just speaking from my place in society.

  33. Mike permalink
    June 2, 2010 11:19 am

    “(2) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual advances (e.g., removing their clothes)?”

    I’m not sure I’d want that to be the definition of rape. Obviously, if someone is passed out, they can’t have consensual sex. But there’s a lot of room between “physically incapacitated by alcohol” and “having had enough alcohol to lower her standards”. I find it easy to imagine a 20 year old guy who has had consensual sex with a girl after she’s had a few drinks answering question 2 in the affirmative. Especially if she regretted it afterwards and said so. In fact, I’d bet if you asked 1880 women of the same age that question, you’d get a few positive responses.

    In order to get people to admit to rape, these questions have been designed to hide the essential question: Have you had sex or tried to have sex with someone against their will?

    The thesis of research, which seems to be some guys just don’t think it’s wrong to have sex against their partner’s will, would be better investigated by being more blunt.

    And since we’re dealing with such a small percentage of the population (6 – 13%) we have to consider the possibility of usual sexual dynamics affecting the sample. I’m not saying that rape victims are asking for it, I’m saying that some sexual behavior may look non-consensual to the casual observer. None of the “victims” in either of these studies was contacted to find out if they felt they had been victimized.

    “They don’t accidentally end up in a room with a woman too drunk or high to consent or resist; they plan on getting there and that’s where they end up.” I didn’t see anything in the questions asked to validate this conclusion. Premeditation is another area that should be investigated but wasn’t.

    • June 2, 2010 12:17 pm

      The question specifically asks, “even though they did not want to …” That tells us not only that it was against the victim’s will, but also that the self-reported assailant knew it was against the victim’s will.

      You’re full of shit, you’re a rape apologist, and you’re banned. I only let this comment through to make an example of you.

      • Robert permalink
        January 31, 2013 1:20 pm

        Right Thomas, and that’s precisely why we can’t generalize too much from this study.

        The questions Lisak asked his samples were narrowly tailored to only identify men who’ve raped deliberately. It would be interesting to replicate Lisak’s study with a few additional questions added to his survey. Questions like: “Have you ever had sex with a woman who you thought wanted to have sex at the time, but later found out did not want to have sex with you?” Or some similar question(s). Even then it wouldn’t provide a complete picture, as there is undoubtedly some underreporting on these surveys, and men who were mistaken as to consent and never learned the truth would still answer “no.”

        The stereotype of acquaintance rape as a drunken misunderstanding isn’t convincingly debunked as fallacious by Lisak’s study. Such incidents may still happen. They may even be common. We have no way of knowing. Lisak, by virtue of the narrowly tailed questions he asks, and by virtue of his reliance on self reporting, has nothing to say on the question of whether genuine mistakes as to consent are actually a common occurence. When you only look for deliberate rapists, then that’s all you’re going to find.

        I also think it likely that Lisak’s survey underestimates the number of one time rapists. As someone who raped a woman a single time, identified his behavior as rape, and felt remorse for his actions would be less likely to answer “yes” to Lisak’s questions than a serial perpetrator who felt no remorse and didn’t identify his behavior as rape. Relying on self reporting always carries such limitations, as only men of a particular mindset would be readily willing to answer “yes” to Lisak’s questions. I don’t doubt that these serial predators exist and I don’t doubt that they are responsible for a substantial number of rapes, but it seems likely that they are overrepresented in Lisak’s study.

        I’m therefore skeptical of the some of Lisak’s conclusions. There’s no doubt that there exists a cadre of men who rape deliberately and repeatedly. This is something we’ve known for decades, but Lisak’s survey is so limited and narrowly tailored that we can’t generalize from it universal facts regarding the commission of non-stranger rapes. It’s a virtual certainty that his survey hasn’t identified the complete picture of sexual violence on college campuses. Relying on voluntary admissions from deliberate and unrepentant rapists doesn’t lend itself to reliable conclusions about the larger issue of sexual violence.

        Lisak’s predators exist, they are responsible for a great deal of harm, and they need to be identified and incarcerated. That said, we don’t anywhere near the evidence required to make bold sweeping claims like: “91% of rapes are perpetrated by deliberate serial predators.” It would be far more accurate to claim that: “91% of the rapes we learned of through the voluntary admission of deliberate and unrepentant rapists were perpetrated by those members of our sample who admitted to multiple rapes.” Doesn’t role of the tongue as easily, but it’s far more accurate.

      • February 26, 2013 7:14 pm

        Thanks for saying that. That guy set off my creep radar like crazy.

    • ginmar permalink
      October 5, 2010 5:23 pm

      Why is it so hard to pass up a chance at sex—or rape? If he’s wrong, he rapes her. Why is that never important enough to the guy—and to all the other guys who ask that damned question—to just stop?

      They’re basically branding themselves horrible losers who can only get laid by committing something very close to rape—if not actual rape—on unconscious or incapacited women. And they’re desperate to keep that avenue open.

      • October 5, 2010 8:01 pm


        In our society, men are judged by how much sex they get. It really doesn’t matter if the sex is consensual or not – and actually, the widely held view under gatekeeper sexuality is that women don’t like sex anyway, so all “consent” has to be in some way coerced.

        Passing up at a chance at sex is considered unmanly and gay under this standard.

        On the flip side, acquaintance rape is, de facto, socially acceptable because it leads to getting laid and getting sex from a woman, no matter how it happens, even if a man actually rapes her, is always manly and never gay under that standard.

        In other words, the date rapists are not considered losers at all – the guys who choose not to rape are.

        That is because the rapist got laid, and the guy who didn’t rape did not get laid.


        Under this brutal standard, female consent is pretty much irrelevant.

        I am NOT defending this barbaric view of male female relations, I’m just explaining the mentality.


      • ginmar permalink
        October 5, 2010 8:36 pm

        Yeah, Greg, I get that. I just don’t care. If men don’t care, however, they can scarcely complain about feminists, period.

      • March 16, 2011 5:22 pm

        Bingo. This is the lesson people need to teach their sons – the worst thing that will happen if you question whether or not a girl is too sober to have sex, and decide not to have sex, is that you will not have sex. The worst thing that will happen if you continue on is rape.

    • Morgaine Pendragon permalink
      June 17, 2011 8:27 pm

      “I’m not sure I’d want that to be the definition of rape.”

      Well, that’s just TOUGH! YOU do not get to make the definition. The law does.

      I know he’s been banned, but I just couldn’t let that pass.

      • Kal permalink
        March 3, 2012 10:55 pm

        Um, from how I read it, it seemed he was making more a methodological point than one about what rape is. Most of what he was talking about was how the data was collected/processed- as a (future) scientist, I get the importance of that. It’s what lends credence to the studies.
        I don’t think he was saying that shouldn’t count as rape- I think he was saying that he wouldn’t want that to be the definition in a statistical survey, because he felt it allowed for too much error. I disagree, actually. I think the “did not want to” shows quite clearly that this isn’t drunk-consensual, it’s non-consensual.
        Also, I don’t think there IS anything in the report that mentioned premeditation (I might have forgotten after reading the comment thread, and if so I’d love for you to correct me).

  34. arnora permalink
    June 12, 2010 10:04 am

    This is an impressive, and important post. I’m a therapist intern at a social service agency in Kitchener Ontario, and training with an outfit called Community Justice Initiative to work as a facilitator with groups supporting both victims of sexual abuse… and those who have offended. Something we’ve been reinforcing from the get-go is that education for men is critical to strengthen prevention tactics. I recently came across this book:, aimed at high school and college-aged young men as a peer support approach to teaching prevention. I haven’t managed to get my hands on a copy yet, but I think, like this post, it’s the kind of thing to be hugely important in “changing the culture”, as you put it.

    Thanks again; I’m book-marking this post for future (and probably frequent) reference.

    • June 13, 2010 6:37 pm


      When you do get your hands on the book, please tell us.

      And I suggest bookmarking the site in general. Thomas posts some very good stuff, and some of what I’ve learned here has helped shape my own (rather strident) views on consent.

  35. Anne permalink
    June 12, 2010 7:21 pm

    Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

  36. June 30, 2010 4:57 pm

    Fascinating and scary

  37. July 18, 2010 3:01 pm

    I have two comments:

    1. This is partly why I never get drunk and seldom drink. (Not that I think it is right to blame the victim, just that I remember reading about how victims of rape were often drunk, being afraid and resolving not to let that happen to me.)

    2. One problem with vigilante justice is that it can get out of control or be abused. For example, in the American South there used to be vigilante justice against so-called rapists: it was called lynching. Black men were falsely accused of raping or insulting a white woman and then lynched. Meanwhile, many white men raped black women without consequences. I realize race is a complicating factor. But real life is complicated and messy and that’s why we need legal trials. Sometimes there are false accusations. Sometimes the truth can’t be proven. Sometimes rapists deliberately choose women to rape who they think wouldn’t be believed by the police: drunk women, women with a bad reputation, the mentally disabled. Is it awful that rapists choose their victims this way. Yes.

    If you want to help, I suggest being the designated sober man or woman who helps look after the drunk women in your group.

    But I agree the larger solution has to be changing the overall rape culture, that thinks it’s ok to rape some women and in some situations.

  38. Jaedor permalink
    September 8, 2010 3:08 pm

    I was molested by my grandfather at age 2, which continued for the next 13 years. I was raped by a peeping-tom stranger at age 26, who broke into my house, beat me up and robbed me. And I was drugged into sex at 33 by a teacher. Nearly every man I’ve ever known has tried to get in my pants.

    Now that I’m almost 54, I really wonder about the karma of it all. I can see the personality setups that occurred long before I was old enough to talk about it or question it. And I can see how opening up those hormonal channels too early can have untoward effects later.

    In the culture of young men I am acquainted with today, “rape” is the word of choice used to describe any event where someone is not only conquered but also thoroughly humiliated. So I find it interesting that the result of rape is quite clearly known, yet the adrenaline rush of victory is worth far more than the burden of conscience.

    • Arioch permalink
      January 27, 2013 2:34 pm

      My god… That’s so awful!!!
      For what it’s worth, I really am sorry you had to live through all this. I hope you’ve managed to… well, to still live despite it all, and I wish you well.

      A loser, proud to be one, for once 😀

  39. Jeff permalink
    September 9, 2010 4:29 pm

    Just so you know, recidivism is defined as the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after they have either experienced negative consequences of that behavior, or have been treated or trained to extinguish that behavior.


    As the men you write about in your article have never been either disciplined or educated about their behavior, they cannot be classified as recidivists.

    This is important because you are stating that they are knowingly perpetrating a wrong and supporting it with evidence; unfortunately, the evidence does not support whether they fully understand that what they are doing is rape. In fact, the evidence may even support that they are ignorant of this fact, as they readily admit to what they are doing when the word ‘rape’ is obscured or disguised.

    In the absence of a control group where a similar subset of individuals are asked the same questions, posed with the word rape in them, your opinion that they are recidivists is unsupported.

    Of course, I agree with the view that ignorance of the law is no excuse. I simply (and it seems many of your commentators feel similarly, although due to your misapplication of the word recidivist, have condemned the ignorant along with the cognizant rapists) believe that someone who is punished for a crime and commits it again (a true recidivist) deserves to be punished, while someone who, understanding or being educated of the criminality of an act, can suppress their urges, belongs in society.

    You’ve also confused incentives with an absence of consequences. Incentives promote behavior while consequences deter behavior. An analogue can be found in the phrase “the absence of no does not mean yes”: the absence of consequences and incentives are very very different.

    • September 9, 2010 5:22 pm

      So your argument is that they don’t know it’s wrong to force women to have sex with them? And that if they knew it was illegal they would stop? Is that your position?

      • Jeff permalink
        September 9, 2010 5:47 pm

        I apologize if you took it as an argument. I’m simply stating that you’re painting them the wrong color, and that you end up with a far bleaker picture of human nature. I’m also stating that in your article you set their recidivism forth as fact when your evidence doesn’t support it.

        I certainly am not defending them, and agree with you that their actions are wrong.

        They just don’t all belong in the same category. Everyone has wants that they suppress– Freud’s ego and id. The entire premise is that suppression of the id makes someone fit for society. If societal norms have not evolved to the point where it is widely accepted as common sense that what they are perpetrating is considered rape (and I believe this is the end-result you are fighting for), wouldn’t you agree that it is premature to condemn the ignorant?

      • ginmar permalink
        January 4, 2011 3:44 am

        HE’s kind of ignoring this big huge elephant in the room: rapists like non consent. They’re not mistaken. They’re not misunderstood by anybody except anybody who thinks they’re fluffy bunnies.

      • babaganusz permalink
        March 28, 2013 8:47 am

        it was sloppy use of the term ‘recidivist’, but so what? it doesn’t change the substance of your message.

      • babaganusz permalink
        March 28, 2013 9:02 am

        that being said, what was completely glossed over was the “keeps getting away with it” aspect of not ~technically~ being recidivist. i also think that anyone who uses the phrase “human nature” (in reference to anything beyond the need for food and water) is automatically suspect and in this case very much hoists Jeff by his own petard.

        even so, all i thought on first read was that he wanted your arguments to be strengthened, even if only cosmetically. i’ll go on to reading the piece Howard mentioned.

    • February 17, 2011 10:06 pm

      Eh, my sense is that you’re making excuses Jeff. Certainly in this context you are quibbling over the def of recidivism. The research highlights the basic general concept that of the men who rape, they repeat their actions.

      What you’re trying to say, is that there is some great distinction in someone who rapes once out of ignorance and someone who rapes repeatedly out of ignorance. And yet, it’s pretty obvious when the person in front of you is not enthusiastically consenting — so “ignorance” cannot be a valid excuse for ANY number of rapes.

      Anyway, excellent article (and blog), much thanks to Thomas!

      • Howard permalink
        February 18, 2011 3:57 pm

        What’s that, Jeff? The legal definition of recidivism is really important to you?

        Thomas wrote about terminological bullshit. Where we suddenly cling to a legal definition when a common-sense spoken-word understood version exists… to soften up the message. To avoid dealing with the plainly spoken argument.

    • Arioch permalink
      January 27, 2013 2:38 pm

      And that’s the whole point, as I see it.

      These guys rape, and they get no negative consequence out of it, despite the fact that they should.
      In fact, they sometime get positive approval, because they “scored”.

      This needs to change, although I ain’t holding my breath.

  40. Spencer permalink
    February 8, 2011 8:27 pm

    I woke up one day with a woman i met the night before i remember her hitting on me but not much else. Did i rape her or did she rape me? Men are very easily wooed esp. while drunk I read some other comments on a story similar to mine is it my fault automatically because i am a man?

    • Virginia permalink
      February 28, 2011 3:21 pm

      1) “Men are very easily wooed esp. while drunk”

      So in your own opinion, would you say your experience was non-consensual or not?
      Also, there is a clear difference between wooing someone while he or she is influenced but conscious (the person can still say yes or no), and putting your body parts on or into someone WITHOUT permission while he/she is unconscious.

      2) “is it my fault automatically because i am a man?”

      Where did you pick up anyone claiming that? Could you point them out to us?

      Articles against rape tend to focus more on women victims, because non-consensual sex happens to them much more often than men victims, AND victim-blaming against female victims is generally more pervasive and male-excusing (e.g. men physically cannot control themselves from trying to take sexual advantage of women, so she should never have gotten drunk/gone to a bar without another man to watch over her, etc.)

  41. February 19, 2011 3:54 pm

    You mention in passing that the respondents to one of the studies were representative of the general population, but you don’t address whether the 4-8% of respondents who come out as habitual rapists were similarly representative. Were they? It seems crucial to both the narrative and the possible solutions to know whether the rapists are representative of the general population or whether there’s some statistically significant factor that correlates with propensity to rape. Indeed, given the sample size it would be statistically bizarre if some factor – be it age, profession, income, education, ethnicity, location or whatever – didn’t happen to cluster amongst the identified rapists.

  42. February 19, 2011 7:08 pm

    Seamus, I read your comment 3 times, and have NO idea what point you were trying to convey. Take another stab at it?

    • February 23, 2011 8:49 am

      Sorry, my bad. Will try again. You start with a bunch of guys who are representative of the wider population – so they’re not all rich, or all white, or all from Jersey or whatever. It’s apparently a valid sample. And then you find out that 4-8% of them are habitual rapists. Is that 4-8% of the sample similarly representative, or all they all – say – the guys whose names began with “B”, or the guys who earn a million dollars a year, or the guys who come from Jersey? If it’s the first one, then you’ve got one conclusion – in any population of men 4-8% of them are habitual rapist. If it’s the second, you’ve got a completely different conclusion – guys called Bob are all rapists and guys called Steve are not.

      • October 12, 2011 4:52 pm

        Seamus, I’m late replying to your reply of 8 months ago, but thanks … I get it now. lol

        Also would like for everyone to know that I shut my blog down over 3 months ago due to a Cease & Desist letter from a lawyer representing 6 of my rapists.

        I republished it a few days ago because I am so tired of feeling intimidated.

        “Meet the Predators” has had the most profound effect on me … it has given me just enough courage to speak my convictions. Thank you always!

  43. March 23, 2011 7:06 pm

    My rapist turn out to be a man who presents himself as the ultimate All American Man! Oh yes! Mr. Perfect! Good looking, successful, church going, soft spoken, even keel, and so in control! This man told me over and over again through out our entire (and short lived) relationship how much he loved me! Told me he loved me over and over again! and rigth before he raped me like a dog, or even worse!!!

    …..And then one night out of nowhere, he violently raped me anally! Showed no remorse whatsoever after doing so, and even until this date (3 months later) has not once admitted to ever raping me!

    He turned out to be a sociopath, a sadist, a narcissist, and a pathological liar!

    Ladies! Be careful with whom you date…Think you know your man? Think again!
    Do not ignore the signs, that little voice which guides you….It is true that ‘evil comes into your life with a smile on their face!’

  44. March 24, 2011 11:48 pm

    Yenny, our stories are very similar, although yours is like an open womb (so recent). So sorry for what you had to go through. I know all too well about ignoring that little voice inside.

  45. R_M permalink
    May 17, 2011 6:19 pm

    A very belated thank you for this. And especially for saying: “The rapists can’t be your friends, and if you are loyal to them even when faced with the evidence of what they do, you are complicit.”

    Just, thank you. This should be made into stickers.

  46. October 12, 2011 4:55 pm

    Uh oh, I put that post in the wrong place. Here’s part of it again:

    Would like everyone to know that I shut my blog down over 3 months ago due to a Cease & Desist letter from a lawyer representing 6 of my rapists.

    I republished it a few days ago because I am so tired of feeling intimidated.

    “Meet the Predators” has had the most profound effect on me … it has given me just enough courage to speak my convictions. Thank you always!

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 27, 2011 1:31 am

      Thank you for doing this, GeorgiaGirl.

    • August 8, 2012 7:19 pm

      Wish I can get my one sis to read this….

    • Arioch permalink
      January 27, 2013 2:50 pm

      This is disgusting and infuriating and…. Aaaaargh!!! I just feel like vomiting.
      I hope you managed to fend of their lawyers and get back at them, although, sadly, I am pessimistic on both accounts.

  47. Nick permalink
    October 12, 2011 6:29 pm

    6 rapists?..good lord, what sort of ordeal did you go through?

  48. October 17, 2011 7:35 am

    The C&D letter mentions only six. There were at least 6, perhaps 3X that number. It was gang rape, involving several members of the Georgia Tech chapter of Theta Chi by at an off-camplus apartment. I had nothing to drink prior to the moment I was drugged.

  49. Boy permalink
    October 19, 2011 12:32 am

    I have a question. And I’m being entirely honest here, in my best capacity to remain anonymous,
    I’ve been accused of “taking advantage” of a friend. We were both highly intoxicated at a party. I walked her home. She couldn’t find her house. I didn’t know where she lived. She stayed at mine. We stayed up late talking. Had sex a few times. She woke up, left, and I get a phone call from a friend saying she felt there was foul play. I tried talking to her but to no avail. I’ve since dropped it. It spread to my work, it’s spread to my social circles, it’s gotten everywhere. This thing, except the reverse, has happened to me before. I’ve woken up next to a girl and felt that because I wouldn’t have slept with her sober, she must have taken advantage of me. I said nothing because I thought the sentiment stupid; couldn’t she have said the same?

    I am confused about the gray area. What happens when two people get drunk and have (in that state) consensual sex? We were talking, we had fun, I didn’t push anything, we were drunk, we laughed, we slept together, and we BOTH woke up thinking, god that was a mistake. And yet she took that sentiment and ran with it. How is this OK? Which one of us is responsible? Is it right to call me a bad person? And if so, how is that even remotely reasonable? Every time a girl decides, “So I probably wouldn’t have slept with him sober, so he must have taken advantage of me,” we’re bad guys? Couldn’t I say the same thing?

    In any case, I encouraged her to press charges. I felt it would clear my name. She refuses, and goes on seeking counseling from our mutual social support network. This has emotionally destroyed me these last two months. I’ve cleared everything up with immediate friends (there were others there that agreed we were both falling down drunk, also past boyfriends of hers that sat down with me and heard my side and agreed that given what I described–in the way we had sex and certain things she does–she would have had to have been entirely conscious–although she’s not saying she wasn’t, only that I “should have known better”) but it still pains me to think there’s someone out there that thinks this about me. Is there anyone that can give me advice?

    • October 19, 2011 9:13 am

      Sure, I’ll give you advice. Be personally accountable for your conduct. Accept that she feels how she feels. She’s not seeking to prosecute you — for her own reasons, but that’s to your benefit. If you think that being prosecuted criminally to “clear your name” is better, you’re delusional.

      The two of you have mutual friends. Talk to them, but not to try to convince them you did nothing wrong. Tell them that you never want anyone to leave a sexual encounter with you feeling that you took advantage again. Ask them how to do that.

      This woman may never want to talk to you again, and that has to be okay. You also have no way to control what she does or does not say about you. She can say what happened. She can say how she feels about that. You can’t control that and shouldn’t try.

      You can’t go back in time, you can only go forward. Here is a very practical, short-term solution: Don’t drink enough to impair your judgment. If you have been drinking and can’t read potential partners as well as you usually can, recognize that you’re impaired, tell them you like them and would like to spend more time with them, and get a number. (Call the next day, none of this three day bullshit. That’s how I got my first date with my wife.) If they are impaired so that you think their judgment is affected, you need to tell them that you’re very tempted but you want to make sure they’re making the same decision they’d make sober. Get a number. Call right away.

      If you seek and find enthusiastic consent (not impaired acquiescence) in your partners, you’re never going to go far wrong, and you’ll never again have to deal with what’s going on now, and in the long run that’s going to make everyone — not just you, but everyone — happier and better off.

      • Carolyn permalink
        November 12, 2011 10:10 am

        I have found this site to be so healing. Because men are usually physically stronger than women, the burden falls on them to make sre they themselves are clear-headed enough to know if a woman is even capable of giving consent. The guy who assualted me went so far as to grab me andlift me out of a chair toward the bed with him. He was laughing, like my resistance was some game. After, he blamed me by saying, “You placed yourself around me at 2 a.m.” He took no responsibilty for tricking me; he asked if he and his friend could crash in my hotel room so they wouldn’t drive drunk. Somehow, my reluctant agreement to allow he and his friend to sleep in my room gave him a sense of entitlement for having sex with me! For so long, I thought it was my fault because I had been attracted to him. This site has helped me to see clearly that this guy’s actions were not spontaneous; I was a game animal, hunted like prey. ‘Cause that’s how they operate. The fact that we were already friends made me an easier target. And I wondered why he kept avoiding eye contact! Thank you so much for this site.

  50. Frodo Baggins permalink
    October 30, 2011 9:08 pm

    “That’s what I would have though”

    thought. Not though.

  51. November 12, 2011 9:45 am

    I used to be recommended this web site via my cousin. I am now not positive whether this publish is written through him as no one else understand such targeted approximately my problem. You are wonderful! Thanks!

  52. November 15, 2011 11:18 pm

    Carolyn’s observation —
    ” I was a game animal, hunted like prey. ‘Cause that’s how they operate. The fact that we were already friends made me an easier target. And I wondered why he kept avoiding eye contact! Thank you so much for this site.”

    AMEN to that! First, they seek out an easy prey. Then they decide on the type lure their prey will fall for. Then they synchronize the day, time, and location. In the case of gang rape, a group of men will gather and wait for the phone to ring (notification that the girl is ready). You’d be surprised at how much advanced planning is required for a successful ambush.

    The girl, of course, is left totally confused and devastated, and winds up blaming herself. Why does she blame herself? ….. how do you protect yourself if you’re the only person who is not privy to the PLAN?

    Carolyn, lack of eye contact is a huge indicator that somethin’ ain’t quite right. Like you, I missed it along with dozens of other red flags.

  53. December 15, 2011 5:25 pm

    The only justification for vigilantes and lynch mobs is when the Statutes of Limitations have run out.

    I’d better add an lol to that.

  54. Peter permalink
    December 17, 2011 8:49 am

    A google search bought up the original papers, they seem to be both complete and free:

    Click to access 134851.pdf

    Click to access McWhorterVV2009.pdf

    I followed this link from

    I found the notes about “hypermasculinity” and the “need to dominate women” points they made in the paper very illuminating.

    Keep up the good work.

  55. Ariel permalink
    December 26, 2011 4:02 pm

    I agree with Movie, Reviewed personally. But I don’t think it should be groups of men attacking men. There is enough of that. I personally think that it should be women getting back at the rapists. Even if none of them are a woman that was raped by them.
    In my view, if a guy rapes a woman and she and her girls all gang up and beat the shit outta him, he will learn to fear such actions from his victims or other women. And if he doesn’t have it in him to kill (I highly doubt that it is such a big leap from rape to murder) then he might actually understand that he is no longer going to be allowed to rape women. Not by the women of the world. (I don’t blame women for getting raped in my last sentence, or at least I’m not trying to come off like that, I’m trying to say that when women do nothing to help other women who have been raped, or themselves, they are not punishing the rapist and therefore, kinda letting him get away with it.)
    Though I understand that any vigilanty justice-isms could easily get talked about and then rapists who rape would then be more likely to start killing the women they rape, which would be terrible, to hide their identity.
    I think the answer is in both the government and the people. We need people to make the cultural change and the gov needs to start freaking funding rape kit analisis a lot more. There are so many unidentified rape kits and so few people to deal with them that it is stupid. If all of those kits were tested and such soooo many serisl rapists would be in jail, like, now.
    Until then we need all of us to join in and tell the government, the next president, everyone who is involved that they need to listen to us and make some changes for the safety of the women and children and men of this country who aren’t getting any help.

  56. Anon permalink
    January 14, 2012 6:01 am

    What are the effects of male fear of being wrongfully accused of rape?

    As a male, if a male acquaintance is accused of rape, your first instinct is give him benefit of doubt, because you think of how you would feel if you were (wrongfully) accused of rape, you sure hope people would give you the benefit of doubt.

    The fear is real and affects behaviour, even if wrongful accusations are rare and people failing to stick up for the accused is even rarer.

    • Lenoxus permalink
      January 4, 2013 10:54 pm

      Very good point; it’s a bit of a game theory problem, like the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

      The solution is to recognize that, contrary to received wisdom, being accused of rape is generally caused by actually committing rape, just like with any other crime. (People don’t just go around accusing each other of counterfeiting or murder or other crimes for no reason; why would it be different for rape? The assumption that it just is different is an element of rape culture.) Ergo, if you are not at risk of committing rape, then you are also at essentially-zero risk of being accused of rape, and have nothing to worry about.

      Of course, people in the same circle will often defend each other when accused of similarly heinous crimes for which there isn’t a similar assumption that accusations are probably false, so maybe I need to rethink my position.

      • July 13, 2013 4:21 pm

        The reason it would be different for rape — notis different, mind you, but would be different in the minds of people who worry excessively about the rare phenomenon of false rape accusations — is that actual rapes, unlike such crimes as murder, theft, counterfeiting, drug possession, etc. often don’t leave any conclusive physical evidence that a crime occurred. In practical terms, what that really means is that rape is a hell of a lot easier to get away with than those other crimes (there are numerous other reasons for that as well, of course, which are discussed extensively on this blog and can be summarized under the heading “rape culture”).

        However, it is theoretically possible for a man to be convicted of rape based on the accuser’s testimony alone,* whereas you can’t generally convict someone of murder without an actual corpse whose cause of death appears to be murder (hence the legal term “habeas corpus,” which literally means “produce the body”), nor can you generally convict someone of theft, counterfeiting, or drug possession without having stolen property, counterfeit currency, or illegal drugs in evidence.** Hence the infamous “Hale warning” that was frequently given by judges to juries in rape cases up into the 1980’s, that “rape is an accusation easily to be made, hard to be proved, and harder yet to be defended by the party accused, tho’ never so innocent.”

        The “easily to be made” part is obviously false — there’s all sorts of stigma and social pressure that discourages women from making accusations of rape even when they actually have been raped, most of which applies equally to a woman contemplating making a false accusation. “Hard to be proved” is somewhat less true now than in Matthew Hale’s time due to rape kits and DNA profiling, which can conclusively prove or disprove two of the three standard defenses against an accusation of rape: “it never happened” and “some other dude did it.” Where forensic evidence conclusively demonstrates that the accused did in fact have sexual intercourse with the accuser, the only defense left is “it was consensual.” However, such evidence is not available in every rape case, and, as I said before, it is at least theoretically possible to win a conviction without it (though it’s a lot more difficult than those who go on about false accusations claim to believe — convictions for rape based on the victim’s testimony alone, without supporting physical evidence, are probably even rarer than false accusations, and the great majority of the accusations that don’t result in a conviction are almost certainly true).

        *It becomes much more likely when the accuser has a higher social status than the accused on one or more axes other than gender, — e.g. a white woman accusing a black or hispanic man, or a wealthy woman accusing a poor man, or especially a wealthy white woman accusing a poor black or hispanic man.

        **Unless you’re black and live in a small town in Texas, in which case apparently all it takes is the perjured testimony of an undercover police officer with a long resume of short periods of employment at various police departments that ended due to his dishonesty and/or incompetence.

  57. January 14, 2012 11:15 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I feel like this offers a real tool to fighting date/aquaintance rape like nothing I’ve read before. As a survivor of aquaintance rape, it gives me new hope. I just passed it on to my father, who is a dean of students at a university and deals with policy/prevention/dicipline regarding sexual assult and harrassment. Despite my dad’s job, I still wound up a vicitm of an alcohol-related assult in college.

    Thank you, also, for highlighting the problems with the “no means no” campaign. I was unconcious, and I never got the chance to say no. That was the hardest thing to get over for me: losing my voice and not being able to fight my attacker.

    I think it’s important, too, to point out that, while I’m not sure whether there was something in my drink or whether I was just really drunk, that alcohol itself can be a date rape drug. I believe I was intentionally plied with alcohol with premeditation by my rapist and his friends. Luckily, one of his friends, who I reported to the housing director for possibly intentionally getting me drunk, was deeply upset at his complicity, and was very apologetic. He made no attempt to blame me or to justify his friends’ behavior. I think part of it was because he was scared shitless by the housing director, but if that’s what it took to open his eyes about the rape culture he was involved in, then I’ll take it.

  58. January 30, 2012 3:05 pm

    Wow powerful reading, I just stumbled on this post literally and spent the past 20 minutes pouring over it. I always find rape in movies very offensive but somehow it’s okay to leave it in movies edited for public TV but they cut out gory death scenes. This really bothers me. I am a man and it disgusts me that other men abuse like this – it is childish, ignorant, and uncaring people like this that make me see red. I’m not a supporter of capital punishment and I feel a hyprocrite but this kind of activity makes me feel hatred which creates fantasies of hurting these people in an effort to protect those they prey upon.

    Anyhow, great post I will be back to read more when I’m not supposed to be working.

    • Ariel permalink
      January 31, 2012 2:19 am

      For voicing how much you hate rape. For admiting it causes an emotional reaction that isn’t laughter or numb uncaring. Thank you. You, are awesome.

      So is everyone else who cares.

  59. arno permalink
    March 5, 2012 6:59 am

    can you please put a triggerwarning OVER this article? thank you!

  60. dragonfly permalink
    March 12, 2012 12:20 am

    I recently got into a big debate on a similar topic on a chess website:

    I was astounded by the direction it took, with several men making very demeaning comments, and others making equally derogatory arguments in a more subtle manner. It was revolting.

  61. Cassie permalink
    June 14, 2012 7:50 am

    That’s what I would have though. > *thought
    two large-sample surverys > *surveys
    120 men admitted to raping to attempting to rape > *or attempting

    Fascinating piece. I’ll share it for sure.

  62. July 23, 2012 2:25 pm

    I have to wonder how many respondents to these surveys simply didn’t admit to raping or assaulting women. I read somewhere, some time ago, that 20% of college males surveyed in some anonymous survey admitted that they would rape if they thought they could get away with it (and this one, too, I wonder how many just didn’t want to admit it). I’m male, so I’m definitely not prejudiced against males, but as the father of a daughter, I want the truth. Is it really just 4 to 8% of men who will rape, as suggested in your surveys? Or is it considerably more than that? It’s a scary thing to think about.

  63. Egalitarian permalink
    July 26, 2012 9:17 am

    “99% of all rapes are committed by men. . .”

    That is not true if you properly define rape. According to the latest CDC survey, 4.8% of all men have been “made to penetrate” and 79.2% of the perpetrators were women. Examples of “made to penetrate” are: a woman who has sex with a man who is passed-out drunk, or a woman who forces a man to have sex with her through blackmail or physical force. There is some confusion due to the fact that their definition of rape excluded “made to penetrate” and only included men who had been penetrated. That was far less common (1.4% of men) and was mostly perpetrated by men. However, if you include “made to penetrate” as rape, which you should, since it is forced sex, women are a significant percentage of rapists.

    • August 6, 2012 3:28 pm


      • Egalitarian permalink
        September 3, 2012 12:32 am

        Nope, look at these direct quotes from the following CDC (US Government) survey, here:

        “Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime”

        “For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%).”

        It’s true that the lifetime stats show a lower percentage of male victims (up to 6.2% of all men if you properly include “made to penetrate”) than female victims (18.3% of all women) although this is far more than commonly believed. However, if you look at the report’s stats for the past 12 months, just as many number of men have been “forced to penetrate” as women were raped, meaning that if you properly define “made to penetrate” as rape, men were raped as often as women.

        Here are some stories from male victims:

      • Nathanael permalink
        December 3, 2012 8:03 pm

        I’d like to see a similar study (to the one described in this article) which is more comprehensive. ‘Cause you know what? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that most of the sexual assaults committed by women were *also* committed by a tiny group of brazen repeat offenders, just as the vast majority of sexual assaults committed by men are committed by a small minority of brazen repeat offenders. (Small-scale anecdoctal evidence from Lesbian communities does suggest the same pattern: a minority of repeat abusers.)

        The fact that most of the trouble is caused by significantly less than 10% of the population is something, isn’t it?

        It’s also becoming very clear that the alcohol “get wasted” culture is the main tool of most would-be rapists. If the alcohol isn’t enough to subdue the victim, the rapist can drug it and pretend that it was the alcohol. Then the rapist can excuse his or her own behavior by claiming to be drunk (not an excuse IMO). If any potential witnesses are intoxicated, that helps the rapist too.

  64. August 8, 2012 7:12 pm

    Very informative article and so true. Two of my sisters have been sexually assaulted, both by acquaintances. The one never reported it and my older sister fought for her life and somebody called the police. In the latter case the rapists wanted to use the insanity defense. But miraculously they all pled guilty during the first few days of the trial and is serving long sentences. And my younger sister said that she thought nobody would believe her, because the guy told her she asked for it.

  65. August 17, 2012 7:35 pm

    Thank you.

  66. August 20, 2012 7:11 am

    Great breakdown of the studies! I will certainly refer people to this post. However, one thing I would like to point out that the 0% overlap thing may in part be explained by the very obviousness that it is rape, so that people may underreport in the same way that if the question had been put “have you ever raped anyone”.

  67. August 23, 2012 7:37 am

    I do not know whether it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing issues with your site. It appears as though some of the text within your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This might be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen previously.

  68. ali-bye permalink
    August 28, 2012 11:59 am

    Thanks so much for the article, as a psych grad and also a victim myself this is the most accurate and compelling research i have read to date on the topic. My thoughts on this topic are too big for this box, but every case where the perpetrator is known to the victim becomes so complex, it is a moral minefield for everyone surrounding the rape; friends, family etc.

    The incidence of rape in my city is huge; i am not the only victim. The problem is that the victims often go for the ”dont ask don’t tell” approach, and the perpetrators use that knowledge and the boys locker room/ grapevine to advantage and to intimidate into silence. This makes the assault SO much worse! I completely changed my lifestyle soon after this unfortunate traumatic time and have an entirely new perspective on romantic relationships; even friendships. Those are psychological scars that are with me for life.

    My situation ruined many lives besides my own which is terrible, but i eventually had to tell the truth because i was being intimidated on an ongoing basis after the event by my social circles, work, even the media, when i would have preferred to keep it to myself. Thank you so much for the article Thomas, and the comments people, i am surprised by the supportiveness of the responses on this issue. Well done.

    • Arioch permalink
      January 28, 2013 1:51 am

      I know this is very self-centered, but this is something I hate with both the rapists and the pedophiles: As a single male, I feel always suspected by females of being one or the other.

      I understand the feeling, and don’t blame it on women (How couldn’t I understand?), but I do blame it on these men, who force us to have this between us that makes it difficult for a woman to trust a man.

      Of course, worse thing is, as unsettling as it may be, it is nothing compared to what you describe, that is, the scars left by rape and the difficulty to trust again.

  69. September 4, 2012 3:20 pm

    Ali-bye, you speak for all of us and you said it so well, thank you.

  70. November 7, 2012 5:27 pm

    Reblogged this on Your Body Is Perfect Intelligence and commented:
    This isn’t a recent post, but a great one nonetheless that discusses some preliminary studies on what proportion of the young male population has engaged in rape. Two studies are discussed where men were surveyed about past sexual activities that involved the use of threat, force, or intoxication to gain compliance of their victims without consent. The word rape is not used in the survey, and that is likely why the men felt comfortable self-reporting these activities, though it’s unclear if any men declined to report truthfully. The conclusions of these two studies were that roughly 13% of the male population have raped, and between 4% and 8% are serial rapists. These numbers could potentially be even higher if some men declined to answer truthfully. Of those admitting to rape, only about 30% reported using force, while the remainder went for intoxicated victims in what are likely to be socially sanctioned acts of rape, since the guy can easily claim confusion about her consent since she was not in her right mind. That means a large proportion of guys opportunistically take advantage of intoxicated women because they know their friends won’t question them about it. Anyway, have a read, this is a great post.

  71. Lizabeth Judice permalink
    December 18, 2012 1:43 am

    Hi, I do believe this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back once again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

  72. December 21, 2012 12:21 pm

    Just an FYI, the articles are available for free:

    Repeat Rape:

    Navy Personnel:

  73. Brooke permalink
    January 9, 2013 12:09 am

    Agreed. Many times over.

    Now: How?

    *How,* exactly, do men go about learning how and when to out their raping buddies, or at the very least to shun them? How do we teach them that? What do we even begin to say?

    I had very little sympathy for the bro-friend, the “good guy” who knows his buddy gets a little too hammered a little too often and is liable to put his penis anyoldwhere, but who stays loyal no matter who the guy hurts. I’ve known a lot of good guy friends like that. I’ve even known a lot of them who specifically set out to watch their drunk, rapey friends like hawks at any and all social functions that involved both liquor and women, trying to police the situation, to make sure their buddy didn’t get out of hand. But those friends never, ever go so far as to repudiate said buddy. And I didn’t have any sympathy for that at all, until very recently.

    But a few weeks ago a male friend of mine told me a story about his ex-girlfriend, also a friend of mine. She’s a drunk. A very high-functioning drunk. All her friends know this. She never tries to drive home drunk, keeps her well-paying job, keeps it together. So no one interferes. But apparently, while shitfaced at a party a few weeks ago, she climbed on top of her equally (or perhaps more; he was passed out at the time) drunk ex-boyfriend and, to quote him, “jerked him raw,” pleading with him to have sex with her while he refused, until he finally gave in and did it. When he told me the story, he said, “To be honest, I felt a little raped.”

    Yeah. No shit. Because he was. But heteronormativity being the beast it is, it’s easy for people not to see it that way until you reverse the genders. So imagine a male person climbing on top of a passed-out female person and fingering her hard enough to leave her raw until she woke up, then badgering her to fuck him while she repeatedly refused, then fucking her after she exhaustedly and drunkenly just gave in. At the very, very least, it’s sexual assault. End of story.

    And now I’m in the same position those good-guy-friends I’ve never had any sympathy for are in. And I have no idea what to do. None. I talked to my friend, gave him support, gave him resources. And I will continue to. But what do I do about her? Do I talk to her? Shun her? Talk to other people about her? This is unacceptable behavior, and I cannot accept it. But how do I go about making it clear that this is unacceptable? Like, literally … what are the steps?

    So, Thomas, again — this is an incredibly valuable article. And I agree with it wholeheartedly. But I can say now with more sympathy than I’ve ever been able to in my life: men will have a hard time doing this, because it’s hard. They need tools. How do we teach them to do what you’re advocating here? What, exactly, should they do about their rapey friends?

    And what should I do about mine?

  74. Linda permalink
    January 9, 2013 12:47 pm

    Two words omitted in this post: marital rape

  75. Anni permalink
    January 11, 2013 9:19 pm

    Reblogged this on fragmentaryworlds.

  76. danielleparadis permalink
    January 21, 2013 11:35 am

    Such an important and well documented piece. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

  77. Zorbitor permalink
    February 17, 2013 10:54 am

    Good luck getting drunks to rat out other drunks. Also the legal definitions of victim & responsibility are sober constructs that remain artificial within the Drunk Culture.

  78. February 21, 2013 3:25 pm

    What genuinely moved u to post “Meet The Predators ”?
    Icertainly adored the blog post! Thanks -Caren

  79. February 26, 2013 11:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Lady Parts and commented:
    The research presented and discussed in this article can help us understand more about predators and their behaviors.

  80. March 1, 2013 10:44 pm

    The Plaintiffs’ pressure to remove my blog was overwhelming. Truly a David vs Goliath situation (Goliath and all his brothers). Proud to say I went down kicking and screaming. That was not a pun! Thanks to you guys for listening and supporting me, and for offering to help me start a “legal fund”.

  81. March 2, 2013 12:33 pm

    Reblogged this on ~Taken by the Wind~ and commented:

  82. Little Magpie permalink
    March 2, 2013 8:27 pm

    Great post. I’d be fascinated to know, if someone ever does similar studies on the question, if these findings hold true for sexual assaults other than male-on-female.

  83. March 6, 2013 9:53 pm

    I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but
    your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road. Many thanks

  84. Chris permalink
    March 18, 2013 10:11 pm

    It’s indicative of the extent of the current rape culture, but it’s important to notice that in hetero circles, men are not the only apologists, not the only friends of a violated woman who shy away from saying “rape-rape” about an incident. And, at least among some that I’ve known, they may caution other women about the “creepiness” factor of a certain guy (it’s never really clear what that really means inasmuch as no specific incidents are talked about in detail), but they remain unreserved and friendly toward him. I acknowledge that men sort of have the greater responsibility of being a “new voice” of non-compliance in this culture but in the end it’s up to everyone to help each other.

  85. margoGo permalink
    March 28, 2013 4:50 pm

    Yesterday I was part of a discussion in a graduate level literature course that is still troubling me. We were discussing a scene in a play in which a teenage girl expresses conflicting emotions about being raped. It was somewhat unclear, but part of her may have enjoyed it. I expressed a certain amount of skepticism about this scene. Though I did not disclose this to the class, I am a rape survivor, and I am aware of two other young women in the class who are in the same situation. A man in the class asserted that he had read about cases in which rape victims found some physical pleasure in what happened to them; feelings which they struggled with greatly. I was offended, and I assumed this man was coming from a place of ignorance. He kept insisting that this was a well known phenomenon, one of my fellow students got upset and left the room, everyone else became very uncomfortable, and the professor somewhat angrily told the student he was mistaken and to leave the subject alone. After class I learned from a third party that the man may have been speaking from personal experience. I am now very confused about the incident and can’t stop thinking about it. Can anyone shed some light on this issue? Is it indeed a well known occurrence? Were we in the wrong for shutting this guy down?

    • March 28, 2013 7:01 pm

      Might he have meant to say that some rape survivors may experience signs of physical AROUSAL? Which is not really the same as “pleasure” per se (though some people may conflate the two, perhaps because for many people who have thankfully never experienced rape the two may frequently go together).

      I gather that to at least some extent, certain arousal responses are physiological and do not always necessarily reflect pleasure or other psychological reactions. Where the conflict, shame, self-blame, guilt etc. may come in for survivors is that they may have bought into the message that (physical) arousal and “pleasure” are necessarily the one and the same or necessarily go together. They have to unlearn those messages before they start to understand and believe that the rape still was wrong, and still was not their fault, and still wasn’t something they “wanted” or “asked for” no matter how physically aroused they may have been.

      I should insert disclaimers here that I am not at all an expert in any of this (rape survival, the biology of arousal as a physiological response, etc.) so I may have gotten some things wrong in this. I’ll let more knowledgeable minds correct me as needed.

    • March 28, 2013 7:34 pm

      to go totally TMI, i was raped. and my body orgasmed.

      it was NOT “pleasurable” by *MY* standards, but there are people who would think it would have had to be. na da?

    • April 23, 2013 3:29 pm

      To go extra TMI, when I was raped I was completely unaware of what was happening to me. I was asleep, not intoxicated, just extremely tired and trusted the wrong person to let me take a nap at their place for my lunch break in the middle of the day. What my body did and how I responded are things I will never know. All I know is that when I woke up I was undressed, miserably sore, covered in the mess of it, feeling utterly helpless, used, and desperately horrified by what happened. I was later informed by my rapist that it was terrible sex.

      I talked to my rapist about it. I used the R word. I confronted him in tears to say that if I’m not awake to give consent then it’s not something he could just assume. He confessed that he didn’t think of that. I seethed, but I kept my silence because I wasn’t sure anyone would believe me or take my side. I thought, hey, you usually consent with him and you might have that day if you’d been awake for it, nobody’s going to see it as such a bad thing like you do. Nobody’s going to take you seriously, nobody’s going to call that rape. I was too horrified to say anything to anyone else for years. I’m still terrified to explain what happened to hardly anyone who knows me. I don’t talk about this publicly. But it happened, and I can’t fix that.

      Each person’s rape experience is going to be different. He may have been fumbling for the right words, or he might have actually enjoyed it on some terrifying level that he didn’t understand and have conflicting emotions. Every experience is different. None of them are good, and some of them are going to be very confusing. We don’t all fit the victim image, and the scenario doesn’t always play out in the obvious ways. So in the end, yes, you were probably a little in the wrong for silencing his voice assuming that was his experience to tell. He also doesn’t fit the usual victim image, so it’s also likely that being shut down is more common a response to his story and was doubly trying to defend his thoughts. He, however, would have had to have been voicing these things in ways that were not actually offensive, which is difficult on the best of days. It’s not wrong to defend your own voice against that.

      • Georgia permalink
        May 26, 2013 10:37 pm

        I suspect that you might have been drugged because the pain you felt “afterwards” would have awakened you during the rape. At any rape, I’m so sorry you were put thru such horrible trauma.

      • Georgia permalink
        May 26, 2013 10:40 pm

        typo, sorry …. should have been “At any rate …. “

  86. Ms World permalink
    April 11, 2013 2:46 pm

    This is by far one of the best articles I have ever read. ever. Thank you.

  87. April 15, 2013 8:43 pm

    Love your article. Thank you. I’d like to add that the average of “6” rapes refers to young recidivist rapists. Do they stop as they hit late 20s? I’d be surprised….

  88. May 17, 2013 5:40 am

    The focus of your article was men, and rightly so. But this has been happening to women at all times in all cultures. I accept that they cannot speak out because of social penalties, which can be huge, but as a teenage girl who learnt from experience, be within arm length of any male and you can’t rely that he will keep his hands to himself, I wonder why women don’t tell their daughters how men behave, instead of leaving them to find out by their own, awful, experience.

    • May 17, 2013 7:31 am


      I am sorry to hear about you experience and as a grown woman who is raising a daughter, I have to tell you that communicating that SOME men will feel entitled to touch women without their permission is a difficult message to communicate. I see it like this, my daughter is going to have to live in a world made up of both men and women. Some of those people, regardless of gender, are going to feel the coercive sexual contact is an acceptable behavior to engage in. I am committed to teaching her to not be one of those people. However, I am not sure that I can provide her with the tools to spot who those people might be. If it were easy to do we would find rape prevention simple, avoid those people. But the fact is, our society has conditioned us, all of us, to cover for them. Some of us have been more successful than others I overcoming that conditioning. What I don’t want to do is tell her that all men are potential rapists or that all women will stand by her in sisterhood, because that is simply a lie. I am hoping that open honest communication about her personal physical soveriegnty, positive relationships with male peers and role models with like minded values, and the marial arts training will provide her with tools to navigate and change our society as a woman.

      All the best,

  89. June 5, 2013 4:32 am

    HEY THERE!!! i really hope its a male that wrote this
    that would actually make me feel better
    im a male myself, and i know how rape victims feel
    i was wen i was 10 raped by my cousin

    now u wanna talk about busting the rape culture
    im making an animation dedicated to that cause
    but its not just rape
    theres other problems
    corrupt or lazy cops
    justice system that gives rapists more rites than the people they victimise

    the animation is called the balancing
    if ur interested ill be back wen its done and post a link

  90. Meira permalink
    June 11, 2013 12:55 am

    I found it interesting that the study didn’t seem to note that if a man has physically harmed a woman In the past it makes all of her subsequent “consents” highly suspect.

    I think physical violence toward rapists is the only thing that would show them how wrong their actions are.

    I think that in our culture in general we blame the victim. Not just rape. We have victims of predatory lending, they are called stupid. As are people in low wage jobs. Welfare moms who receive a pittance of help are somehow ruining the economy.

  91. brokenbowl permalink
    June 29, 2013 12:09 am

    Reblogged this on brokenbowl.

  92. silkyvelvet permalink
    July 4, 2013 9:54 pm

    I was perturbed to read the author of this essay stated stranger rape is non-existent. That’s not true. Not true at all. Last year, I was kidnapped and raped by a man who was a stranger to me. He was a homeless transient from out of state. Thankfully, the police were able to arrest him, he pleaded guilty, and he’s now serving time in prison. So, yes, women – such as me – can be raped by strangers. Stranger rape does happen – it does exist. Otherwise, this is an excellent article.

    • Kari I. permalink
      May 2, 2014 3:42 am

      Thank you. I too was raped by a stranger. And personally, I am frustrated by this trend of seeming to not even recognize stranger rape anymore. It’s like I don’t exist, as if it weren’t bad enough that I went through something violent and NO just because it was a stranger doesn’t mean the police decided to go forth with the investigation. That has a lot to do with what socioeconomic class you are in too. Being a VERY poor 17 yr old with no parents around, the cops looked at me and said, NOPE. So, I am VERY VERY sick of this trend in rape articles of dismissing stranger rape as if it never happens.

      • September 8, 2014 6:47 pm

        Thank you for confirming that stranger rape really does exist – and I feel for you regarding the terrible ordeal you went through. I

  93. July 18, 2013 8:19 am

    Reblogged this on THE VENUS ENVY.

  94. Lynwood permalink
    July 18, 2013 2:02 pm

    I’m actually glad to find this site on yahoo, just what I was looking for. Saved to bookmarks.

  95. purpleflow permalink
    August 13, 2013 1:54 pm

    Reblogged this on Flip It Right Side Up and commented:
    Yes it is EXTRAORDINARILY to have to accept the every single man on planet earth is a potential rapist. *sigh* no wonder we don’t like to report or convict even we the victims can’t believe we were raped.
    When will it end

  96. Wilfred permalink
    October 16, 2013 2:05 pm

    Late to the party, but a thought…
    Since most of these men are repeat offenders isn’t there a way that they could get track record without being directly accused? Maybe a website where an incident could be reported anonymously (with guards against abuse).
    The first report would be noted only, but succeeding reports from different people about the same individual ought to raise a red flag.
    At some point that person’s identity would would appear on a list of people ‘to be careful around’, maybe with a score indicating the number and severity of the accusations.
    This would not expose the accuser, yet if done well, it could shine some light on those most needing to be identified.
    It would not have to make direct accusations, and, given the intensity of attacks that have been launched anonymously on identified accusers, would be a relatively benign way to establish a person’s reputation in a negative way.
    This is all pretty vague, but I think it could be turned into tool to help protect one group of people and expose another group.

    (Please feel free to edit this in any way that still preserves my intent.)

  97. October 31, 2013 8:35 am

    While there were no dark alleys, I was informed enough to avoid those, I experienced MANY stranger rapes while travelling and working long term in foreign countries and only a couple of acquaintance rapes. Surprise and weapons were often involved in both! I was never intoxicated in any way and the rapes I experienced happened in daylight as well as night. Although most often early evening on the walk from public transit, which was just far enough time to follow me. I’m 60 now and don’t walk in fear as I did for so long, knowing what I know. Mostly because there are many stranger rapists who’s target is that young “unattainable” woman, based on her appearance and aloof attitude, they want to take her down and get what they could never get for “free”. One who was a hardened con and habitual offender relished telling me this as it was his attitude too. Polar opposite to rapists of opportunity in a drinking setting, But, unsolved, by our legal system and society as well.
    I was never treated like my rape was an obvious crime because they were strangers and often had weapons. Once I had more than one similar experience I was dismissed as “looking for it”. 😦 While this was between 1969 and 1989, this STILL happens, though not always as often.

    Thank you for this … “Women are already doing what they can to prevent rape; brokering a peace with the fear is part of their lives that we can never fully understand. We’re the ones who are not doing our jobs.” You are so right about “brokering a peace with the fear is part of their lives that we can fully understand.” Standing up for us would go a long way to compensating for that area of understanding that will always be, at best, second hand. I appreciate you encouraging men to do stand beside and UP for us.

    • Georgia permalink
      November 7, 2013 4:51 pm

      Page Turner wrote, ” … there are many stranger rapists who’s target is that young “unattainable” woman, based on her appearance and aloof attitude, they want to take her down and get what they could never get for “free”. One who was a hardened con and habitual offender relished telling me this as it was his attitude too. Polar opposite to rapists of opportunity in a drinking setting …. ”

      ‘Polor opposite to rapists of opportunity in a drinking setting’ … not necessarily true, especially in organized sexual abuse. I think my appearance and shyness (mistaken for aloofness) combined with my unattainable attitude may have been the reason a certain man orchestrated a gang rape to take me down. He had no power amongst his fraternity peers until that point. His mentality was the same as the “habitual offender’ you describe, and he was indeed a repeat rapist.

      These men were no better than the thugs who stalked the public transit area you mentioned. The frats (in my experience) just had more money, looked preppy and drove fancy cars.

      • georgia permalink
        December 13, 2013 7:28 pm

        Well, I sure botched that one, didn’t I ~~!

    • September 8, 2014 6:51 pm

      Stranger rape still occurs, every bit as frequently as acquaintance rape and date rape. I should know: I was a victim/survivor of three stranger rapes and one acquaintance rape. Unfortunately, these days it’s become a hip fashion trend to say that stranger rape is either non-existent or extremely rare – totally false, of course.

  98. November 14, 2013 3:52 pm

    AMAZING article and insightful comments – THANK YOU – I LOVE men, I have 2 boys and a husband I love more than life! But, I do need to say the beginning of it all needs to start IN THE HOME in my opinion. If we can start to teach our SONS that it is NEVER okay to do anything to another person without their SPECIFIC CONSENT then we can start the ball rolling for a new generation that sees things differently. I am a traditionalist AND a feminist, I like to think myself a HUMANIST because I want men to be treated with humanity too and not to be ASSUMED out-of-control sexually or to be ASSUMED rapists just because of their gender. I want this to become a crime that is looked as in such a finite matter as many other terrible crimes are .. where once outed as a rapist either by self-proclamation to his buddies as “scoring” on a woman too inebriated to be able to consent or actually being accused by the victim then the criminal should be treated as a morally corrupt individual who has no place within the social group anymore and, although I am wary to promote violence toward the perpetrator, I do hope that the former group of friends of the criminal can exude a sense of THREAT of violence to anyone who would be capable of doing something of this sort to another person. I want to teach my sons and even to gently guide my husband in HIS social circles to KNOW that if someone jokes about rape or demeans women in his everyday conversations there is a HIGH possibility that this individual IS the type of person who has likely, or would likely commit these crimes. I want my boys and my man to realize that it IS not emasculating but rather the very definition of a STRONG MAN to audibly shame the man who is keen to make women sound like meat for their hunting.. I want my sons to know that their sister, their mother, their aunts, cousins, GRANDMOTHERS, their someday wife, their someday daughters are AT RISK by the terrible sexualization and objectification of women we find in society today and it is up to them to try to make a small ripple to change the face of the generations to come.. If they have sons and can teach their sons the same principles and teach their sons to pass on this knowledge someday would we somehow start shaping a better tommorrow for both men and women? Wouldn’t the truly kind, intellectual, loving, respectable male of our day and age wish that he could be seen in a PURE light instead of always being suspect of sexual addiction purely because he is male and purely because some “P.O.S” (look it up 😉 ) “men” as if they are even merited to be called that have tainted the waters for all men of our day?? I wish we could just finally create a society where it IS the very exception to the norm for a woman to have had something terrible like this happen to her, where the criminals are ostracized by society and taken to punishment to the furthest extent of the law, and where ALL little boys grow up LEARNING and KNOWING that hurting, forcing, or coercing anyone to do anything or to have anything done to them without their enthusiastic consent IS a travesty and to be looked on as the dregs of society not to “be the man” not to see it as any sign of manliness! Sorry such a long rant.. my thoughts run quick and hard to filter as I write them down sometimes!! GREAT POST thanks Thomas – (I am now a new follower!!)

  99. December 5, 2013 8:52 am

    I agree with so much in this article.
    Being a male that has been preyed upon, the one improvement I have to advise is please read the CDC National Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner something or other study with regards to annual rape stats by gender (i’m including unconsenting penetrative vaginal intercourse as rape here)
    Atleast there is some hope of getting male rapists to stop, there’s pretty much nil at getting females to stop.
    This has to change. I love your writing, I think you have wonderful arguments about how to lessen rape culture, I just feel kind of internally defeated at looking at a culture where what happens to males at a pretty incredibly high rate is non existant and there is no support or recognising of this, and to mention rape as a male or lobby for change is to immediately be looked at like one must be a rapist.
    That’s how it feels to me anyways.

  100. Sarah permalink
    December 29, 2013 1:13 am

    Rape happens to men too. RAPE HAPPENS TO MEN TOO. Stop assuming rapists are all male. Stop assuming rape victims are all female.

    • Cee permalink
      January 24, 2014 2:45 pm

      Nobody assumes that. But the overwhelming–OVERWHELMING–majority of rape is male on female. Come on, don’t be naïve and don’t derail the conversation.

      • Kari I. permalink
        May 2, 2014 3:45 am

        No, she’s right and it’s fucked up that only the majorities are being addressed here. Would you tell a female victim to stop being naive? Do we want equality or to just put men down for no reason…

  101. December 29, 2013 1:38 pm

    Reblogged this on Beautiful Cocoon.

  102. Kari permalink
    February 11, 2014 2:21 am

    by a

    I am very very sick of being ignored in a community of people who are supposedly speaking on something that happened to me, rape, and yet- leaving my situation out. Saying it doesn’t happen. It is SO common, no need for you to reiterate, trust me. I’m fed up.

    • September 8, 2014 6:57 pm

      Yes, I completely agree with you, 100%; it’s extremely insulting, annoying, and false when some folks these days claim there’s no such thing as stranger rape. This foolish and extremely inaccurate belief has become quite the hip fashion trend these days, and that’s a shame – if for no other reason that it lulls women into thinking 100% of all strangers are super-nice and would never harm women. With that weird belief system, one might just as well take up hitch-hiking.

  103. Amy permalink
    March 24, 2014 4:16 pm

    Interesting. When will it ever stop? Men forcing themselves on naive, scared, drunk aults (men and women), kids, and animals has been going on for eternity. I myself was raped by my boss when I was an 18-year old virgin, all because I was beautiful and naive. He took advantage of my naïveté, and I was in shock and never told anyone for years. I eventually left the job but not for several months. And then for the next several years, I went out often and got drunk and was raped on numerous occasions. I didn’t care about much back then but that didn’t give anyone the right to take advantage of me. Some men prey on drunk/stoned women and it’s disgusting.

  104. Thaddeus Blanchette permalink
    July 22, 2014 8:44 am

    I have to say, this is one of the most useful articles I have read about rape in the past five years. It is soooooopp good because the author actually shows their homework and links us to the original studies. I have lost track pf how many times in the past few years I have cited this blog post and those studies.

    So please take what I am now going to say as a critique that I hav spent a lot of thought upon. It might also help to know that I am an academic who studies socially inacceptable sexual practices, most particularly prostitution (this is relevant to an experience I will relate below).

    Thomas, what makes you thhink het men all share one big rape-happy culture? That we can attack this problem if we just become aware of it in our social circles?

    Look, maybe this is your case, I don’t know. What I do know is that most of the guys in my social circle – and, indeed, in my social circles when I was an undergrad – DON’T brag to me about how they get women drunk in order to have sex with them.

    I have never heard a guy say this in real life, not once.

    In fact, I will go one farther: even in communities most feminists would find extremely misogynist – I’m thinking sexual tourists here – “yes means yes, no means no” is a pretty well received meme.

    A couple of years ago, there was a big kerfluffle on a virtual community I use for research. This board was made up of self-proclaimed sex tourists: guys who go overseas to engage in prostitution. One of the men there claimed that he forced a prostitute to have anal sex after she went back on an agreement to do so.

    Now think aboutt his: this is one of the most stigmatized female groups we are talking about here. Prostitutes are so routinely dismissed as rights-bearing individuals that I have even heard some FEMINISTS claim that they are “enemies of women kind”. And no one can accuse ‘mongers of being feminists or feminist-supportive men (by and large, of course).

    And yet even in this community, when one guy admittd to forcing a woman to have sex -even after she agreed tod o so and then changed her mind – practically the entire community dumped on him and called him a rapist. Peole called for his perma-banning, people stiffled him, etc. etc.

    And the funny part of it was that all these guys, who generally have no use for feminism, sounded completely, 100% feminist in their denunciations. Every Take Back the Night slogan you can think of was aired by these ‘mongers in their attempt to convinve the moderator to kick the rapist off the board.

    So Although I love your article, I am skeptical about your conclusion that it is men’s unawareness of rape culture which enables this problem. Most men do not have the slightest clue that these 4% are doing anying like this. Those that do probably don’t share the same social circles as you and me.

  105. Jack Strawb permalink
    October 2, 2014 4:24 am

    I was recently channel surfing, waiting for a friend in her apartment to change for dinner, and I paused at a 2011 episode of Law & Order. In it, our hero cop, played by Ice-T, threatened gang oral rape against a citizen who had a list of names the cop wanted. This passed entirely without incident. There was no deathly urgency involved in obtaining the list.
    See, this is “rape culture.” The citizen threatened with gang rape, if you thought about it for even a few seconds, was a man.
    A woman has never been threatened like this, casually (or otherwise), by the good guy, in the history of mainstream U.S. media. Never. This is, on the other hand, an ordinary occurrence for men. This is merely one ingredient of the pervasive rape culture men in the US are faced with. If a showrunner let something like this, where a woman was so threatened, go on the air, s/he’d be fired. Male suspects in media and in fact are threatened with prison rape if they don’t cooperate or confess. Outside and inside men’s prisons, rape is a coercive instrument, explicitly so. A woman in the U.S. will never face this, and yet you somehow imagine that you’re the ones living in the middle of rape culture.
    For shame.

    Counting prisons, more men are raped in the U.S. than women. And why wouldn’t you count those men, unless you were engaged in rape grading, and discounted the suffering of those men? But you don’t. I doubt for 99% of you ever even think about it. Think about it, and think about those men. Consider the possibility that your indifference contributes to those rapes. After all, if you cared about victims, and not just the gender of victims, you’d raise you voice at least a little in protest.

  106. squirrelygirls permalink
    October 2, 2014 2:18 pm

    Click to access RepeatRapeinUndetectedRapists.pdf

  107. Pat permalink
    October 19, 2014 12:35 pm

    Most of the survivor stories on here seem to describe how the woman said “no” and the guy forced himself on her. I don’t see what this new (yes means yes) definition of rape really changes. I don’t buy that argument it will protect unconscious people from rape. I’m pretty sure that was already illegal. No judge with any common sense would accept she didn’t say “no” so it ok, if she was passed out drunk on the floor.

    It seems to blur the line between rape and drunken regrets. I have slept with people I regret before. But it would be pretty greasy for me to call the cops and say, “I wasn’t verbally asked”. This woman raped me. But I could theoretically do this under this law couldn’t I?

    It’s causing people to come out with smart phone apps and forms for consent. It’s rather ludicrous and beating the bush with a lot of grey area. To change “rape culture” peoples attitudes on sex, marriage, drinking, partying and portrayal of woman in the media need to change.

    California brought the world rape culture with Hollywood frat movies and the porn industry. It was defended as “free speech” by all the so called rights groups. Now they have to try and legislate morality back to people with a law that is unfair to men.

    • October 20, 2014 4:33 pm

      No. No, you could not. Under the California law, nothing about California’s criminal statute changes. It only tells colleges what standards they must use for conduct counsels. That means the stakes are much lower. Criminal trials typically result, on conviction, in rapists going to prison. Colleges most often don’t even expel students found to have committed sexual assault. Further, under the California statute as written, the policies adopted turn on the reasonableness of the accused in determining consent, and don’t actually require a verbal yes. It is a defense that the accused acted reasonably in assessing whether they had consent. So if, for example, you’re kissing and fondling someone, and you’re walking fine and clear-eyed and not falling down, and you’re capable of communication and know who you’re with and what you’re doing, and they are reasonable in taking your nonverbal cues as actively consenting, then they’ve done nothing wrong, no matter how you feel about it in the morning, under the California statute. If, OTOH, you don’t know where you are or who you’re with and you’re just sort of trying not to toss your cookies, you’re too drunk to consent and any person you’re with should not be doing sexual things to you when you’re in that state.

      • Pat permalink
        October 20, 2014 10:25 pm

        Maybe… People are talking about incorporating this into the criminal code though. Which means even married people might have to follow, “yes means yes”.

        SNL did a parody on this when Antioch college tried it in the 90s. This is a perception a lot of people have about this policy. See transcript.


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  38. This Rape Denialism Was Brought To You By The Scaife Foundation | Change Happens: The SAFER Blog
  39. for anarcha « guerrilla mama medicine
  40. The awesome thing about not having privilege (and dealing with people who do) « Binary Subverter
  41. Rape- hilarious! « Binary Subverter
  42. Full Frontal Politics » Rape, Assange, and Consent
  43. American Prospect Article: American Feminist Jaclyn Friedman Says Society Should Take Julian Assange Rape Allegations Seriously. « GayBlackCanadianman
  44. Conversations With Privilege Denying Dude: “Women Lie About Rape Because They Regret Consensual Sex” | Change Happens: The SAFER Blog
  45. “Equal” « Chroanagram
  46. GOP’s Newest Anti-Choice Plans Would Deny Rape Victims Abortions – Left Blog Feeds- Progressive News
  47. GOP’s Newest Anti-Choice Plans Would Deny Rape Victims Abortions | Northern Barbarians's Blog
  48. Because sexual assault is more common than you think | Geek Feminism Blog
  49. My bookmarks for February 9th through February 15th | her divine shadow
  50. Day 176: One in Three | Whitney T. Photography
  51. A Few Good Men in the Tundra « Rejects of Guyland
  52. Rape is not an Accident | Spread Information
  53. Domestic violence and rape « Psyche & Soul
  54. Polyinpoland
  55. Sexual Assault Statistics « SHW
  56. Book Review: Inexcusable « Anytime Yoga
  57. Reader question #68: My “friend” is insanely creepy and not getting it. «
  58. Sex Positive St. Louis » Blog Archive » Intention, Attention and Awareness: Figuring out Consent, pt. 2
  59. Variations on a theme: How can I get my “friends” to stop touching me? (Question #76) «
  60. Meet The Predators | The Art of Zicon
  61. Yes Means Yes « Caught in the Cogs
  62. Sexual harassment, assault, and rape | nerdgirlfromcamelot
  63. “Fauxminists”, Season 2 « stop! talking.
  64. לבטחונכן « משהו לנשנש כשהאורחים יגיעו
  65. » Get to the choppah! Epicene Cyborg
  66. | Buffalo City Sceptics Society
  67. » One in Twelve(ish) London Feminist
  68. Noli Irritare Leones » There isn’t really such a thing as being an accidental rapist
  69. Writing a Brutal Enough War
  70. [kinsey] 9 of 10 Campus Rapes Are Committed By Repeat Offenders « eGrollman
  71. UK PSA: “Sex with someone who doesn’t want to is rape”
  72. DakotaWomen » Blog Archive » News Roundup
  73. The Guys You Don’t Want to Talk About « Damned Hippie
  74. An Addendum to Our May 9th Letter to the Board of Trustees, Deans, and Students of Pomona College | College Justice
  75. How to Handle a PR Crisis: Mongoose Edition | Quid Quid
  76. How to Handle a PR Crisis: Mongoose Edition | Quid Quid
  77. The Girl Who Played With Fire « Dissent of a Woman
  78. Former soldier demands military track sex offenders « Sexual Health for Men And Women
  79. Former soldier demands military track sex offenders | The XMilitary Blog
  80. SPEAK: a book review of sorts « How to be Still
  81. Link Round Up: SA resources and Rape Culture | Erin Basler-Francis
  82. George Zimmerman Molestation Accusations Are Relevant « Sexual Abuse Experts
  83. Doug Wilson on The Gospel Coalition: How Christian Patriarchy Turns Sex into Rape and Pregnancy into Slavery « The Phoenix and Olive Branch
  84. A Fate Worse Than Death… « Caught in the Cogs
  85. Angry Feminist is Angry About Rape Culture (sky also blue) « syrens
  86. The Wednesday Weigh-In: Reddit rape thread edition
  87. Giant Comfort » Rapists Know The Answer Is “No”
  88. To you it’s a joke. For women, it’s life. « The 19th and I
  89. [link] Follow-up: Rapists Know The Answer Is “No” « slendermeans
  90. #322 & #323 “My friend group has a case of the Creepy Dude. How do we clear that up?” «
  91. #324: “My friend, the rapist.” «
  92. To our male friends « blue milk
  93. [TW] You can stop r***: Schritt 4 – Warum seid ihr Freunde? « High on Clichés
  94. Serious Post: Some Damning Data « Marshall's Excellent Blog of Excellence
  95. The Power of Responsibility « Caught in the Cogs
  96. “My Friend, the Rapist” « Caught in the Cogs
  97. Great Sex 101: Lesson 3 – Communication and Consent « Ashes
  98. Vad är en våldtäkt?
  99. Responsible Community Response « Caught in the Cogs
  100. Excuse Me, Your Misogyny Is Showing. « stop! talking.
  101. In the news - Page 327 - London Fixed-gear and Single-speed
  102. Rape a Half a World Away: Rape Culture 202 « HaifischGeweint
  103. 5 Reasons Not to Tell Rape Jokes, Even If You Think They’re Funny | GirlAggro
  104. Understanding Consent: A Guide to Not Raping People « whitmanradicals
  105. All these double knit strangers, with gin and vermouth and recycled stories |
  106. The “Great Man” Theory of Rape
  107. “My Friend the Creepy Dude” — SJSU Women's Studies
  108. American woman (αχ, μαρή κακομοίρα) « Attack Of The Quasars
  109. Rape – Victim Blaming 101 « Dead Wild Roses
  110. #350: Let’s crowdsource some feminist sex ed for frat guys. «
  111. Kate Middleton and Closer magazine: It’s the Patriarchy, Stupid « FeministActionCambridge
  112. The problem with Amethyst - Nerdcenaries
  113. Falsely Accused « Caught in the Cogs
  115. Our Ladies of Action: What I Want From An All-Female Expendables And What I Really Don’t Want « The UnLady
  116. Stop the Violence | Katherine Phelps
  117. Degrees. | The Heresy Club
  118. Not-So-Good Men Project & Enabling Rapists « Caught in the Cogs
  119. Hotline Miami and America’s narrative of masculinity and violence - Laser Orgy
  120. Is Drunk Sex Rape? – Ozy Frantz's Blog
  121. On careless conversations about rape and the Good Men Project debacle « Trial of the Century
  122. Good Men Project, “nice guys commit rape too”: rape-apology, nice guys and bad girls. « Sarah Gets Critical
  123. Consent and Coercion « quiteirregular
  124. Badass Deserving Of Your Respect: Rape Protesters in India « The UnLady
  125. Rape of the Rape Statistics « elcidharth
  126. Noli Irritare Leones » Things I don’t get: alcohol and sex
  127. The Facts About Rape Are Bad Enough - Circles of Fire Productions | Circles of Fire Productions
  128. Infographic on Rape Epidemic & How Reality is Actually Worse « The FrameLine
  129. Just Listen: What can we do about our attitudes to rape? | My Blog
  130. Just Listen: What can we do about our attitudes towards rape? | Talking to Myself
  131. Last Rape Stats, &c. Post (for now) | &persand
  132. useful feminist and online conversational references | Commonplace Book
  133. Os estupradores estão contando com você
  134. Preventing Sexual Violence – Rethinking Lisak & Miller « Change From Within
  135. New Amherst College Report on Sexual Violence: “Something [Went] Wrong” « it happens here
  136. Τι είναι η κουλτούρα του βιασμού; | ΚΑΜΕΝΑ ΣΟΥΤΙΕΝ
  137. Would Limiting Men’s Freedom End Sexual Assault? | My Sex Professor
  138. Opinion: Rape is not an accident | YNaija
  139. A Whole Lot of Sunday Night Links « Gerry Canavan
  140. Een erectie heeft geen geweten | Asha ten Broeke
  141. Victim Blaming, "Asking For It" and Baiting Outrage-On the Radio - Shaping Youth
  142. Rethinking Lisak & Miller – Checking the Math | Change From Within
  143. Links | Nation of Beancounters
  144. That Moment That Says More Than Words Ever Could… | The UnLady
  145. On the Folly of Campus ‘Justice’ | Mike the Mad Biologist
  146. Rape and mass movements | to the victor go the toils
  147. Soraya Chemaly: Consent and Ending Violence Against Women and Children « CrimeAlertBlog.Com
  148. Soraya Chemaly: Consent and Ending Violence Against Women and Children « CrimeAlertBlog.Com
  149. Consent and Ending Violence Against Women and Children | Fem2pt0
  150. Soraya Chemaly: Violence Against Women Is a Choice Men Make: 4 Ways to Make the Right One :
  151. How not to rape. - Page 11 - Meez Forums
  152. Why “Stranger Rape Doesn’t Happen” Isn’t a Comforting Thought | Disrupting Dinner Parties
  153. Seriously, do NOT be that guy–and do not make apologies for him either. | Her Hands, My Hands
  154. Are we raising rapists? | Robot Love
  155. Η ελευθερία του λόγου, τα μπαν και η οριοθέτηση του προσωπικού χώρου – ΚΑΜΕΝΑ ΣΟΥΤΙΕΝ
  156. Rape Culture and Predator Theory | A Radical Centrist
  157. How can we fight rape? | ~~Defender of Faith~Guardian of Truth~~
  158. Friday Sex Links! | Sex with Timaree
  159. Cover Up | The UnLady
  160. What They Said… | Caught in the Cogs
  161. “7 Probleme mit der Rape-Culture-Theorie” | Alles Evolution
  162. Rape Culture: what it is and why it matters | The Libertine
  163. Rapists | Warren Kinsella
  164. Rapists | Liblogs
  165. Redefining “Consent”. | Come up Screaming
  166. Skýr áhrif kláms í nauðgunarmálum | Málsvari Andskotans
  167. Intro To Rape Culture, Or, Ozy Fangirls David Lisak – Ozy Frantz's Blog
  168. Sometimes society makes me sad. | F These Words
  169. Ways to Prevent Sexual Violence — Everyday Feminism
  170. 7 Ways You Can Help Prevent Sexual Violence — The Good Men Project
  171. Rape In Uniform Is Still Rape at A Gentleman's view.
  172. tumblr backups
  173. Yes Means Yes: Blog « In Draft Form
  174. Why Rape Jokes Are Never Funny | Feminists-at-Large
  175. Why the Pentagon Doesn’t Understand Rape (It’s the Predation, Stupid) | Mike the Mad Biologist
  176. sex-seeking, men, women and dominance hierarchies - Girl Writes What?
  177. Où sont les violeurs ?
  178. Victim Blaming – Tuesday Bonus Post | My Body, My Story
  179. Misguided Community Response | The Order of the White Feather
  180. Mythcommunication | The Order of the White Feather
  181. The ‘Problem’ With The New Feminists- A Response | Inter:Mission
  182. Schroedinger’s Rapist | Free Northerner
  183. Einfach nur mal zustimmen | The Story Goes On
  184. 7 Shocking Ways Colleges Have Trivialized Rape
  185. Dr. Phil and his rapey tweet - Page 3
  186. I hate everyone | The Feminist Hivemind
  187. Geek Girls Rule! #263 – Why Rape Survivors Don’t Just Get Over It, Already. (aka more Dickwolves bullshit) | Geek Girls Rule
  188. [INTJ] Definition for rape - Page 3
  189. Sadly, No! » Twerking Tweeting Twits
  190. Global Lessons from the UN Study on Violence Against Women in Asia | Gender Focus – A Canadian Feminist Blog
  191. Don’t Be That Predator |
  192. “Blurred Lines” remix feat. actual rapists’ words
  193. What did I expect would happen? | Diving With Sharks
  194. Shethinkers 06 – Consent is Sexy | SecularView
  195. Far From Over: Amherst College’s Persistent Sexual Misconduct Problem | AC VOICE
  196. Os estupradores estão contando com você | Marcha das Vadias Baixada Santista
  197. Got Consent? V: Responsibility | Disrupting Dinner Parties
  198. Maryville. | perry street palace
  199. Perhaps to some teaching “rape is wrong” seems silly—don’t we all know this already? The truth is we don’t Girls Fight Back
  200. “Why don’t you like him?” | Font Folly
  201. Jeg – en potensiell overgriper? | tutorp
  202. Teen Sexual Violence: What the Media Is Missing | Doohickey
  203. 1 in 24 | Our Voices, Our Lives: Speaking Up About Consent
  204. Grad Student Dawisha in The Huffington Post - UNC Communication Studies
  205. Changing Culture & The Silent Epidemic of Drug Use & Proliferation | Daterape_awareness Blog
  206. What is Rape Culture and How are You Responsible? « Romance and Life: Matt Loves Writing!
  207. Rape Culture: Media Breakdown | The UnLady
  208. Yes Means Yes | valenm92
  209. Teen Sexual Violence: What our Media and Culture Is Missing | Listen Girlfriends!
  210. Anti-Feminist Memes pt. 4: “Most Rape Accusations Are Fake” | Redeeming Feminism
  211. Good read! | Learning to love life, one day at a time.
  212. Links | Nation of Beancounters
  213. quick hit: Follow-up: Rapists Know The Answer Is “No” | feimineach
  214. School of Doubt | Saying “No” to Logan
  215. Flurt | How Steubenville Mirrors Our “Don’t Get Raped” Society
  216. Bystander Intervention is all about “protecting a buddy from getting into trouble” according to the NYT | De-Mystifying the Mystique
  217. Like Abs | Why Are So Many Boys Leaving High School Thinking Rape Is Funny?
  218. Why Are So Many Boys Leaving High School Thinking Rape Is Funny? | Political Ration
  219. Why Are So Many Boys Leaving High School Thinking Rape Is Funny? | The News On Time
  220. Why Are So Many Boys Leaving High School Thinking Rape Is Funny? | Fem2pt0
  221. Why Are So Many Boys Leaving High School Thinking Rape Is Funny? | The Daily Float
  222. The rape culture: it’s in people’s minds. | The Prime Directive
  223. Sexual Harassment in Comics: The Tipping Point #Vaw | Kractivism
  224. NewsSprocket | New Study Disputes Robin Thicke, Finds Sexual Aggression Doesn’t Actually Have Blurred Lines
  225. publichealthwatch | New Study Disputes Robin Thicke: Sexual Aggression Doesn’t Actually Have Blurred Lines After All!
  226. Sexual Aggression
  227. Trigger Up: Yes WE Can: Communities, Sexual Assault, and Accountability | rehearsalsdepartures
  228. WHOA: 4 Questions That Got 120 Rapists To Admit... » The Viral Trend... Funny, Viral Videos, Pictures and Stories
  229. WHOA: 4 Questions That Got 120 Rapists To Admit They Were Rapists | Really Upbeat
  230. WHOA: 4 Questions That Got 120 Rapists To Admit They Were Rapists | Worth a Giggle
  231. WHOA: 4 Questions That Got 120 Rapists To Admit They Were Rapists | Very Good Work
  232. Rape Culture Vs. Consent Culture | Secular Shethinkers
  233. Mädchenmannschaft » Blog Archive » Acht Prozent
  234. Dr Amy Tuteur: hypocrite and rape apologist | Ex Natural Childbirth Advocates
  235. The language of rape | Writehanded
  236. #NotAllMen. | Manic Pixie Dream Worlds
  237. yet another braindump (mostly on feminism) | orange narwhals
  238. Predatory Behaviour - Nina Niskanen
  239. LC on Rape and Self Defense
  240. Only YOU can prevent fires. ← Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery
  241. Amanda Marcotte goes ballistic because national rape group doesn’t buy into “rape culture” | Stupid Girl
  242. (Suvival) Sexwork, Agency, and Violence Against Women | syrens
  243. Right Wing Confusion: Bathroom Edition | The UnLady
  244. Rape culture is/Rape culture isn’t
  245. What you can do | hypatia dot ca
  246. Why Are So Many Boys Leaving High School Thinking Rape Is Funny? –
  247. Campaigns and consent. [CN: Sexual violence, victim blaming, alcohol] | stars&spirals
  248. ‘Rape Culture’ SHOULD make you uncomfortable - Bad Housekeeping
  249. What Affirmative Consent Looks Like |Charlie Glickman
  250. UChicago misogynists threaten sexual assault survivors and activists over release of ‘rapist list’
  251. What Affirmative Consent Looks Like -
  252. No, California’s new affirmative consent law will not redefine most sex as rape
  253. Would you rather have your legs broken or be raped? | Take Up Space
  254. Violence against Native women: VAWA, please! | Urocyon's Meanderings
  255. Why are some men so angry?
  256. Sex-seeking, men, women and dominance hierarchies - TAWDRY BEAST
  257. Why are men so angry? | Reflections of Georgina
  258. Anger, fear, and violence | FortLeft
  259. How I Managed To Avoid Being A Victim of Sexual Assault | If By Yes
  260. Some Thoughts on Gender Policing and Voting With One’s Wallet | syrens
  261. What's Wrong With Telling Women How to Prevent Getting Raped?
  262. #689: Did I overreact when my date told me a story about rape and then wanted to get me alone? | Captain Awkward
  263. Sexual/ domestic assault found in Media | Sexual Assault in the Media

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