When Rape Victims Lie   112 comments

No, this isn’t a post about how women are lying hussies out to ruin the lives of good men with wrongful rape accusations. If that’s what you were expecting, you’re definitely reading the wrong blog (actually, come to think of, stick around; you may learn something).

What I’m talking about is this: Living in a rape culture, women are acutely aware of the type of rapes–and the type of victims–that are taken seriously. And the type that aren’t. The “good” victim (the only kind that counts in the minds of many, many people) is attacked by someone she doesn’t know while dressed “modestly” and not under the influence of alcohol/drugs or engaged in “risky” behavior. She’s an upstanding citizen with no history of criminal activity, mental illness, or conduct outside the norms of mainstream society.

Thanks to prevailing rape mythology, many people also have very definite ideas about what happens before, during, and after a “real” rape. Real rape victims want no sexual contact of any kind with their attackers and make this crystal clear right from the start. When attacked, they don’t just say “No;” they scream, fight, yell for help, and/or try to escape. Ideally, the victim will duke it out with her attacker to such an extent that she is left with obvious physical injuries. After the rape, she will be visibly distraught and in tears, but this will not prevent her from reporting the attack right away. In the days and weeks following the assault, she will spend a lot of time in the shower and be too traumatized to appear to function normally.

Some rapes do indeed happen like that; most don’t. And the more a rape departs from this script, the harder it is for the victim to be believed and taken seriously. She didn’t fight or try to escape? She must’ve wanted it. She wasn’t crying or visibly upset right after the rape? She’s probably lying about being attacked. She was seen laughing and seemingly having a good time just days after being raped? It couldn’t have been that bad.

Rape victims know this. Realizing that many people won’t understand why you acted in a way that doesn’t fit their preconceived notions of “how rape victims act,” or worse, knowing that many people will automatically disbelieve you because of your background or even blame you for being attacked brings some rape victims to the conclusion that there’s only one way they’re going to see their rapist punished: lie.

Most of the lies rape victims tell revolve around their use of alcohol or drugs, their relationship to the perpetrator, their reason for being in the place the rape occurred, their behavior before/during/after the rape, or their background. Virtually all lies are told to make oneself appear more like the rape culture’s idea of the “good” or “worthy” victim and/or to make one’s assault more closely resemble the rape culture’s “real rape” script.

Competent detectives and prosecutors know that victims may think they must lie to see perpetrators brought to justice and try to impress upon them the importance of telling the truth. They may attempt to reassure victims that telling the truth is absolutely essential and won’t prevent the case from going forward. And that’s true–to a point. Prosecutors must win their cases in the same rape culture the rest of us reside in, not in some alternate universe. Even if the prosecuting attorneys don’t subscribe to any rape culture myths themselves (which, of course, the victim won’t know), the DA’s office has finite resources, and they’re not going to bring a case they don’t think they can win. Too many skeletons in the victim’s closet and a rape that departs significantly from the “real rape” script, and they may conclude that their limited time and resources are better spent elsewhere.

Even if the DA’s office is prepared to take a chance on a rape victim who doesn’t fit the rape culture’s “worthy” victim ideal, that’s not the end of the victim’s quest for justice. The vast majority of criminal cases are plea bargained, but rapists are less likely to accept a plea agreement and more likely to roll the dice with a jury trial, if the victim or other aspects of the case don’t meet the rape culture’s standards for “worthy” victims and “real” rape.

There’s a case from the late 90s that I will always remember because it was the first time in my life that I got the message that someone might actually give a damn about junkies raped while buying drugs. Drug dealers raping female addicts is a very common occurrence, and most people, including most cops, believe women have only themselves to blame when they’re raped while trying to score drugs.

That’s why I was enormously proud of the prosecutor who went ahead with the case against a drug dealer accused of raping a female addict, even though I realized that the drug dealer being a known serial rapist with two prior rape convictions probably had a lot to do with that. In any event, the drug dealer decided to reject a plea bargain and take his chances with a jury, and the judge ruled that it would be too prejudicial to the defense for the jury to be told about the guy’s priors. However, the victim was a great witness, completely honest and forthright about the rape and her drug addiction. She was such a strong witness, I was actually surprised when the jury came back with a “not guilty” verdict. After the acquittal, a reporter told the jury foreperson about the drug dealer’s previous rape convictions and asked if having that information would have made a difference.

Without missing a beat, the jury foreperson replied that it wouldn’t have made a difference because the jury didn’t doubt that the victim was raped by the defendant; however, they were “concerned that she was there to buy drugs.” In other words, she didn’t deserve to see her rapist convicted because she’s a drug addict. Unfortunately this case isn’t an aberration. Even if a rape victim is able to convince cops, prosecutors, and a judge or jury that she was definitely raped, she may still be denied justice if she isn’t deemed a “worthy” victim or her rape didn’t happen according to the “real rape” script. Is it any wonder then that victims in those situations may feel they have to lie?

I bet you were wondering when I was going to get around to the new developments in the DSK case. As you have probably heard, the sexual assault case against former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is unraveling because the alleged victim lied. Not about being sexually assaulted, mind you, but about her background and also about what she did in the immediate aftermath of the attack. She now says that instead of reporting the assault to her supervisor right away, she initially cleaned another hotel room, then returned to DSK’s empty suite and began cleaning, and only then did she report the attack.

I’ve talked to several people who think this is damning evidence against her, but if we weren’t living in a rape culture, it really wouldn’t be. It’s not at all unusual to be in shock following a sexual assault and to continue going through the motions. I know ’cause I’ve done it. In fact, if the whole thing was a setup and she “seduced” DSK with the intention of accusing him of sexual assault (either in hopes of being paid off to drop the charges or awarded sizable damages in a civil suit following the criminal conviction), you can bet that she would have run crying to her supervisor right away! This sounds like a classic case of a victim lying about some aspects of her rape so they won’t be at odds with people’s very limited idea of what “real rape” looks like.

Apparently she also misrepresented her income to qualify for subsidized housing, lied on her taxes to qualify for a bigger refund, and lied on her asylum application about being gang raped (after being instructed to do so by a man working on her asylum case; she had been raped in Guinea, but not in the way she described to prosecutors). Additionally, there are some indications that she may be involved in a drug dealing and money laundering operation, and a man described as her boyfriend is serving time on a drug charge. All of this makes her a “bad” victim, the kind of woman men can rape with impunity. She did not want to be that kind of woman. And so she lied.

She represented herself to police and prosecutors the way she believed she had to in order to be considered a “worthy” victim. A victim deserving of sympathy and justice. And so she became the pious Muslim refugee who survived unspeakable violence in her home country before escaping to the US where she was granted asylum. The devoted mother who has neither time for nor interest in any kind of personal life outside of raising her teenage daughter. The hardworking poor person who plays by the rules and somehow manages to get by on wages too low to get by on.

I expect that the DA’s office will drop the charges against DSK any day now. Sure, they still have the DNA evidence to prove that sexual contact took place, but since DSK’s attorneys are going with a consent defense (as defense lawyers always do when there’s DNA evidence), the victim’s testimony is essential. And her credibility is shot. So that’s the end of the case.

And that’s how it goes in a rape culture. First, we make sure women understand that only a few types of rape count and only a few types of victims matter, so those who don’t conform to those narrow criteria feel they must lie if they don’t want their attacker to get away with the crime. Then, when the lies are discovered, we tell rape victims that they are now no longer credible and it’s their fault the case against their attacker must be dismissed. Works out well, doesn’t it? For rapists, that is.

112 responses to “When Rape Victims Lie

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Sad, angering, but completely true. In the eyes of so many people, women need to be punished by rape for misbehaving, for being “bad girls”, for departing from the roles that are prescribed to us by the patriarchal society.

    • my chiropractor massage therapist raped me in the middle of a massage cops laughed at me interrogated me said this is like a porno fic laughed at me said there’s no way a doctor would co this called me a liar don’t believe me. I was interrogated for 7 1/2 hours to give a statement which wasn’t to there liking ….they wanted details I cat remember the order of events clear during the rape they basically humiliated me more then the rape it self …I feel totally worthless I pay taxes and work because im a single women so i guess had nothing better to do than make this up ……..they accused me of dating him laughed in my face !!! They bulled me told me they would arrest me for false statements.They fuckin suck there’s dna but most likely they will toss it cause im not married and don’t have 2.3 kids or fit there rape description and I didn’t fight him off but froze . they take the rapists side A doctor WITH NO CRIMINAL REORD ! would never do that to a patient ! So I who had to get orders of protection from an insane landlord and an ex boyfriend 2 years ago,in past a shoplift and dwi over 10 years old must be a flat out liar ! I guess rape is easyer to get away these days then shoplifting huh fucking unbelievable!!!!!!! I fucking hope the fucking cops daughters get raped bastards!!!!!

    • do u think the da is gonna let this guy walk cause hes a doctor and not pursue the case ….cause these two jackass detectives don’t like me even though I have his dna….. cause he don’t have a record they don’t have his dna on file …so they have to sopena it .Could it be im not worth my own tax payer money cause they don’t like the sounds of me past which isn’t that bad considering some but not as bight as chester the molester the doctor ,,,,I guess he’s taxes are higher then mine being I just rent it fuckin sucks that they have control lits like being raped twice the justice system is worse emotionally then the actual rape itself its more tramatizing and draining!!!!!

  2. Thank you for a great post. Jill at Feministe and Violet at Reclusive Leftist have also have great posts on this subject. Yves at Naked Capitalism, on the other hand, really really disappointed me. Her lack of analysis on some of the coverage she quoted, and the coverage itself … honestly, blood-boiling time here, along with some of the commentary by others. I usually just read that site in the email feeds, and was genuinely expecting a much more progressive audience. Instead, you get people saying “There’s a ‘ho’ union?” and “he got caught slumming”. Of course, the article(note to anyone reading this who hasn’t read yves smith at naked capitalism before–she’s a really terrific writer on most subjects most of the time, and one reason I’m so pissed off is that’s one of my favorite blogs/news/link aggregation sites).

    It’s pathetic, how many left-wing blogs seem to want to champion this not-very-leftist (head of the IMF? in what world does that mean you have a good left-wing track record?) rich establishment guy who raped a poor immigrant trying to survive, and are all ecstatic now that it looks like he’s getting away free and might even get to be president while she’s being called a lying whore and may get imprisoned and/or deported, all for the exact reasons you stated above. The really clear message being sent here? If you haven’t lived a perfect life as judged by the standards of a bunch of over-sheltered, unimaginative, lacking in empathy, highly conformist, highly hypocritical pro-patriarchy assholes who have an extraordinarily clueless and/or misogynistic view of women’s sexuality, then don’t dare report it if you’re raped by a rich guy, or your life will be turned into a living hell and people will continue cheering him and thinking he’s innocent, but now they will know and hate you.

    And left wing blogs are cheering this?

    • Yea there was a Quick Hit at Corrente that was more about what untoward things that the NYPD may have done in re to this case, and whether the Chief is connected to Sarkozy.

      But me personally, I just can’t get that worked up about cops being overzealous about pursuing a high profile rape case, when they are usually ignored(i.e. Ben Rothlisberger).

      When getting picked up for baseless rape charges reaches the level of arrests for Driving While Black or Waiting While Poor, maybe then I’ll bring myself to give a shit.

      • That kind of attitude is hypocritical; you shouldn’t stoop to it.

      • Hypocritical how? Because I’ll worry about it when it’s a problem? That’s intelligent energy consumption.

  3. And so you lie… and then you start telling yourself that clearly what happened to you wasn’t a “real” rape because, had it been a real rape, you wouldn’t have had to lie about it. And THEN you start telling yourself that clearly you’re just an attention seeking little scum who wouldn’t know rape if it spat in your face. And THEN…

    As for the Strauss-Kahn case: I can not believe that the DNA evidence might be considered insufficient proof. She was a chambermaid who was raped by a complete stranger while partaking of her duties! Do you really need her testimony to prove that she didn’t consent? Do hotel chambermaids actually consent to sex with total strangers who ask nicely in the real world? Do we actually live in a porn film? It’s preposterous!

    … but I’ll bet it will be swallowed hook-line-and-sinker by the DA or, if the DA goes through with it, the jury.

    As for the rape victim continuing her duties after being raped: That’s actually a really, really mild example. I was raped after going home with a person I was dating a couple years ago. After the rape and after an hour or so for me to cool down and blindly go through the motions I had sex with her, willingly. Why? Because I went home with her after the date and that’s what was expected of me in the circumstances.

    So, those are specifics but I think there’s something broader to this point:

    Rape is not so much about sexual gratification as it is about power. When we have a system where a rape victim has to be a “good victim”–where they have to be some kind of upstanding citizen for their right to defend their body to be taken seriously by society–then what does that say about the role rape apologism in the victimization of women?

    • the thoughts and feelings you are describing here can be categorized as borderline personality disorder

      • Okay, I’m kinda confused what you mean here. Surely you are NOT saying that someone who is responding to trauma by wondering if they are somehow at fault, even if it’s clear that they are not at fault and the fault is obviously that of some scumbag, is actually suffering from a personality disorder?

        By that standard, everyone who questions themself ever would be suffering from a personality disorder, and I’m not quite ready to say the entire lot of non-sociopathic humanity suffers from borderline personality disorder (I’m including the qualifier because sociopaths are probably the one group of humanity who never wonders if they are the cause of bad things happening to them).

        That would be especially asinine in cases of rape, where the victims are surrounded by an entire society, telling them implicitly and explicitly that they are at fault. Seriously, let’s pick out the “perfect” victim. (yeah, I know, problems w/that phrasing, but it’s the best I can do on spur of the moment) Let’s make her a candidate for sainthood who volunteers a homeless shelter and a soup kitchen and an animal rescue society, during her off hours when she’s not busy being a firefighter. During her down time at the fire station, she often posts to her blog, “The Asexual”, where she has discussed at length over years her complete lack of interest in any sort of sex at all, ever. All of her friends and family can attest to this. Then let’s say a stranger jumps out of the bushes and attacks her on the way home. The stranger is a serial killer and serial rapist who just broke out of death row and hours before raping the victim in question had killed a 90 year old WW vet and medal of honor recipient. For whatever reason, he lives our victim alive. You can be absolutely certain, that in the coverage of even this story, there will be discussion of whether she should have been walking home from the soup kitchen alone, or whether he left her alive instead of killing her because this was actually consensual sex, and questions about what she was wearing and why she was wearing it. If she was walking home alone late at night by herself from the soup kitchen, that might even be one of the dominant narratives of the story. If it turns out she had, all unknowingly, pulled him out of a burning building two days previous and this had caused him to fixate on her, there will be some idiots out there suggesting this is why women shouldn’t be firefighters. And someone will suggest that if she’d been home having babies, this wouldn’t have happened to her. And so on and so forth.

        For a more or less normal human person, cut the sympathy wattage way down and make this sort of thing the dominant narrative. Shortly after leaving home for college, I had a friend who was still in high school who was raped at a party by her date, and quite seriously, NOT ONE PERSON who discussed this with me questioned her story. Another friend of mine who I used to date was assaulted in the bathroom at a party by a guy, though she managed to get out of there without being raped. Yet the most common reaction from people still in the high school in both of these instances was to defend the guy and attack the girl with comments like “she should have known better than to be alone with him cause everyone knows what he’s like / she should ahve known better than to let him get that far and then expect him to stop”. Seriously. And many of these comments were from people who were better friends with the girl than the guy.

        We live in a seriously fucked up culture. With a constant barrage of messages like that, it’s the very, very rare individual who wouldn’t start turning at least a portion of her thoughts against herself. If you’re going to start accusing large swaths of “normal” human behavior of a personality disorder, I’d say it would be more appropriate to apply it to those who lack empathy for victims of traumatic violence.


    • “As for the Strauss-Kahn case: I can not believe that the DNA evidence might be considered insufficient proof. She was a chambermaid who was raped by a complete stranger while partaking of her duties! Do you really need her testimony to prove that she didn’t consent? Do hotel chambermaids actually consent to sex with total strangers who ask nicely in the real world? Do we actually live in a porn film? It’s preposterous!”

      This is a totally ludicrous statement. Of course we need her testimony. If, without her testimony, we consider the act of a patron having sex with an employee of a hotel to be rape, we are judicially criminalizing a non-crime. Are you saying that it is illegal to have sex with a hotel employee if you are a patron? Of course not, because we live in a free country in which we may have sex with whomever we want, as long as they are of age and give consent.

      The ONLY issue in this case is whether she said “no.” It doesn’t matter if she was a prostitute. Voluntary prostitutes can be raped (and frequently are). It doesn’t matter if he is powerful and rich. All that matters is whether she said “no.” If she did not make it clear that she did not want to have sex, than no crime occurred. It is as simple as that. While for you, anonymous sex may be the stuff of pornography, but for some of us, it is a regular occurrence. It’s criminalization would be an affront to all of our civil liberties.

      • “If she did not make it clear that she did not want to have sex, than no crime occurred. It is as simple as that.

        If she did not make it clear that she did want to have sex, than a crime occurred, it is as simple as that.

        There fixed that for ya! Anonymous sex may be par for the course for you, but for your anonymous partners’ sakes, I do hope the concept of enthusiastic consent is as well.

      • It is not hard to express that you do not want sex. If that expression does not take place, I am not comfortable ending someone’s life as they know it by putting them in prison.

      • Go Aeryl!

        James: I believe The Untoward Lady (she can correct me if I’m wrong) was making a rhetorical point, not actually suggesting that what the victim said was irrelevant. Plus, the victim most likely has already made it clear she said no. Somehow I don’t think the police would have raced to arrest DSK before he could skip the country if she had told them “I’m not sure if he knew I didn’t want to. I was sorta vague about that.”

        And technically, there are times when “no” would not be necessary to establish rape. Should someone pull a gun out and put it to your head, and you decide not to argue with whatever they asked you to do because you didn’t want your brains splattered all over the place, presumably you would not then say “well, it wasn’t rape, because I never said ‘no’.” Or should someone drug or gag you. Etc.

        Of course, those aren’t the scenarios in this case, but since the actual facts do seem to involve her letting him know she was unwilling and him having to use violent force, I think it’s fair to say no one is positing a theory of rape that affronts your civil liberties.

      • I understood The Untoward Lady to mean that the circumstances of the event were enough to establish rape without the witness’ testimony. Perhaps I was misunderstanding or overstating her point.

        And you are, of course, right that certain circumstances do not require the accuser to have actually said “no”. But any such circumstances that I can think of, in which the accuser was capable of giving consent (i.e. conscious, of sound mind, and of age), I think would require another criminal act, like the brandishing of a firearm.

        I guess what I am saying is that I agree that the law, and even more the culture, surrounding rape in this country is profoundly f*cked up, as most people here seem to agree. But we do live in a country where defendants are innocent until proven guilty. And criminalizing circumstances that suggest rape, absent actual proof of rape, is very dangerous and makes us all less free. All things being equal, I would ultimately rather see a rapist walk free than an innocent man rot in prison. Hopefully we can get closer to a world in which that is not a choice we face.

      • Gotcha. And more or less agree with general lines of your last thought *excepting one pet peeve of mine, and you are far from the only person to say this. “Presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law” doesn’t mean defendants not found guilty are actually innocent. It’s a legal term of art that basically means the burden of proof is on the prosecution; whether someone is found guilty in court doesn’t necessarily have anything at all to do with whether they actually are guilty. But yeah, totally agree with your last sentence, and erring on the side of not convicting people in close calls, for sure.

      • See, I still have a problem with this.

        Because there are a lot of reasons why a person might not struggle and cry “NO” and still be raped.

        They may be unconscious or drugged. Initimidated. Stuck in an abusive or uncaring relationship.

        It’s not enough to not hear “NO”, it’s most important to always hear “YES”

        Hopefully, many times.

      • My right to be able to hold my rapist accountable if I am raped trumps your right to have impromptu anonymous sex. (sorry)

      • Your “right” to hold your rapist accountable is, essentially, your right to lock someone up. It is therefore contingent on your ability to PROVE that they have committed a crime that voids their right to freedom. This has been the basis of all Western jurisprudence since the Enlightenment.

        My right to have impromptu anonymous sex does not infringe on anyone else’s rights, and is therefore contingent on nothing. In emanates directly from my right to “liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

        If someone is in a physically abusive relationship, that itself is criminal, and as I said before, rape can certainly take place without the victim saying “no” if other criminal acts are taking place. If you mean that the relationship is emotionally abusive, I think I have some problems with that. What is to stop a woman from retroactively claiming rape on the basis that her entire relationship was emotionally abusive?

        This is an area full of shades of grey, and our legal system requires proof “beyond reasonable doubt” that a crime was committed. Unfortunately, that means that legally, people who have committed acts that were certainly immoral, and possibly criminal, often must be acquitted.

        I am a recent college graduate, and unfortunately in only four years, I have known both women who were raped and never saw justice for their attackers, and men who were falsely and slanderously accused of sexual assault. Neither is a good situation. The only solution is to reform our culture, and educate our young men and women about healthy sexual behavior. And in the cases in which we can prove rape occurred, the punishments should be severe.

      • I (obviously) agree that we must transform the culture. This is where male allies are crucial. While most guys aren’t rapists, every rapist I’ve ever known, without exception, believed that he’s a typical guy, just doing what all guys do (or, in some cases, would like to do). Now, where would they get that idea?

        They get that idea every time someone makes a comment that excuses or minimizes rape (or some forms of rape) or dismisses rape victims (or some types of rape victims), and people (especially other male people) agree or remain silent. They also get that idea every time someone makes a rape joke and everyone laughs. That’s why it’s critical for men who want to change the culture to call out other men when they perpetuate rape culture.

        You mention that you’ve known men (plural) who’ve been falsely accused of sexual assault. How do you know the accusations were false? And did the victims actually file a police report or are you talking about women telling their friends that so-and-so raped them?

        IME, false rape accusations are exceedingly rare. What’s not rare, of course, is rapists claiming they’re being wrongfully accused. It’s also not unusual for rape victims to recant true rape allegations as a result of being shamed, blamed, disbelieved, harassed, and threatened. There was recently a case involving a woman who had actually pled guilty to making a false rape accusation. Then they catch this serial rapist who had been taking trophy photos of all his victims and there she is among the victims. She had been 100% truthful with police and prosecutors, but they nonetheless charged her with filing a false report, and she was so demoralized that she quit arguing and agreed that she had made it all up.

        For my thoughts on the burden of proof in rape cases, see my new post.

      • Sasha,

        Thank you for your lengthy and interesting response. I agree whole-heartedly on the need for male allies in fighting the rape-tolerant culture that pervades out country (and to a much greater extent, many other countries).

        I know two people who I believe strongly (naturally, we never know anything with 100% certainty) to have been falsely accused of sexual assault. One is a family friend who is a teacher in a major metropolitan public school system. He was put on administrative leave for 9 months while the allegation was investigated. The accuser was finally discovered to have made IDENTICAL allegations against THREE OTHER TEACHERS in different school systems. Either this girl had the worst luck in homeroom assignment ever, or she was a liar.

        In the other case, I am familiar with the details of the incident, and am as confident as a person can be that the accusations were false. The “victim” ultimately confessed to making false accusations. I think that false-accusers, though admittedly rare, constitute a significant part of the problem when it comes to rape culture in the United States.

        While it is a small minority of accusers that are lying, it is a small minority of people who recant their claims of rape that are actually rape victims. The case that you point out is vile and disgusting, but ultimately, I think (and hope), very rare.

        I also think, and fully expect to take some heat for this, that our notion of rape as a binary condition, is a problematic one. If a woman is very drunk, and the man is mostly sober, and he has sex with her, and in the morning she says she did not give consent, he has committed rape. If a man and a woman are both sober, and they have sex without her giving any indication that she does not consent, she cannot claim the next day that she was raped. Somewhere in between those cases is the mysterious “rape line” that, as far as I know, is not clearly legally defined.

        Anyway, I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and to reading your new post!

    • Dude, if getting enthusiastic consent from your partners is gonna be that much of a damper on your sex life, you may need to rethink your life.

      ALso, nobody has a “right” to get laid, so get the fuck over yourself. That entitled attitude is what leads to rape.

  4. Clarissa,

    When you read interviews with convicted rapists, it’s amazing how many of them are fully cognizant of the fact that they function as a sort of patriarchy police by making it unsafe for women to participate in the world as equals. More disturbing though is the extent to which mainstream society is right there with them. It’s generally only when they screw up and attack a “good” woman that the “justice” system comes crashing down on them. As long as they limit themselves to victims with a “questionable” background (who, let’s face it, are going to be disproportionately poor, racial minorities, and/or abuse survivors) or women who have the audacity to live their lives the way men do (wear what they want, go out drinking, walk home alone at night, have lots of sexual partners, and so on), most people really don’t care. And, like you said, quite a few even approve, believing that rape is a woman’s just punishment for stepping out of line!


    I’ve been trying to avoid most blog posts and comments on this topic because the level of ignorance and especially the gloating that he’s going to get away with this are difficult to stomach. Particularly coming from supposed allies. These people seem to have no clue what rape victims are up against. Either that or they just don’t care. I heard on the radio that DSK’s popularity in France has gone through the roof as a result of the case against him falling apart. What’s wrong with people? The evidence against him stands. And let’s not forget all the other women who said he sexually assaulted or harassed them. I guess they don’t count either. Sadly, none of this is surprising. As I said at the beginning of this case when French feminists were praising the US justice system, “not so fast; when it comes to rich, powerful men accused of rape actually being convicted, we have a very poor track record.”

    The Untoward Lady,

    LOL! It does sound like a porn film, doesn’t it? The idea that the victim entered the suite to clean it and found DSK so irresistible she had to have sex with him immediately is indeed a tad preposterous. Most people probably aren’t going to buy that one. Which is why they’re going with the “she’s a hooker” defense (I predicted that too in my original post on this case). We’re supposed to believe that she was raking in the bucks working as a prostitute on the side. No, there isn’t a shred of evidence for this, but she’s a poor black woman so of course she’s a whore. Make that a lying whore. Because after DSK paid her for sex, she supposedly decided that he hadn’t paid her enough, so she was going to claim he sexually assaulted her in order to somehow get more money out of him. Because of course it’s super easy for women, especially poor black immigrant women, to successfully charge powerful men with sexual assault.

    What’s interesting about DSK’s defense attorneys floating these “theories” to the press is that they’re not actually saying that this is what happened. If DSK had paid her for sex, he could have said that right from the start. He could have told police how much money and what kind of bills he had given her, and they could have checked to see if she had the money on her. Yes, paying for sex is a misdemeanor but if you’re charged with sexual assault, I’d think that would be the least of your worries. But DSK’s attorneys never said that this is what happened. Not then and not now. And now they don’t have to. Simply getting people thinking that the victim is a prostitute is all they need to do.

    Because a woman who will have sex for money is capable of anything. She has no honor, no integrity. Some people even believe that prostitutes can’t be raped. If people think the alleged victim is a prostitute, they’re not going to spend another second pondering the DNA evidence or the circumstantial evidence against DSK. And of course the prosecution will have no choice but to dismiss the charges because the potential jury pool will be hopelessly polluted.

    • So… they want me to believe that a businesswoman–escorts ARE businesswomen–would turn around and threaten her client with a rape allegation in order to extort some extra cash?! Don’t these people know that 80% of the escort sex trade is all about your reputation? I think being known as an escort who tries to blackmail her clients is BAD publicity and I refuse to believe that any BUSINESSWOMAN would go down that path.

      Or, you know, he could have raped her.

      • uhhh who cares about bad publicity when you manage to extort 250-500,000 dollars from a weather businessman, you change your name, move away, and if you get bored you can use the rape shield laws which protect accuser anonymity to do it all over again. ez pz extortion scam i’d say. look at the kobe bryant case 4 a case example.

  5. Exactly. Anyone saying she’s a prostitute doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about. I finally read the vomit-inducing Naked Capitalism post Mojave_Wolf mentioned (thanks for the link, btw) and the evidence that she’s a prostitute, according to a “defense source” (talk about zero credibility), is this:

    The woman was allegedly purposely assigned to the Midtown hotel by her union because it knew she would bring in big bucks.

    “When you’re a chambermaid at Local 6, when you first get to the US, you start at the motels at JFK [Airport]. You don’t start at the Sofitel,” the source said.

    Or, you know, she could have been hired by the Sofitel because it’s a French hotel chain, and she speaks French! But no, it makes much more sense that she’s a hooker and the union is her pimp! Bonus points for trashing unions, btw. Well done, Yves!

    If we weren’t living in a total rape culture, the facts of this case would be a disaster for the defense. A planned setup makes no sense because anyone planning such would most definitely have followed the “real rape” script to the letter, reporting the attack immediately instead of proceeding to clean another room first. Never mind that the near impossibility of successfully charging a man like DSK with rape if you’re a poor black immigrant would make such a plan very unlikely.

    That leaves the “she’s a hooker” theory. I guess we are to believe that DSK was just another client and that, as she continued cleaning rooms after the consensual encounter with him, it suddenly occurred to her, “hey, that guy has money! I know! I’ll claim he sexually assaulted me and then he’ll pay me to drop the charges or I’ll clean up in a civil suit!”

    Here’s the thing: If she’s supposedly been working as a prostitute at the Sofitel for three years, I guarantee that she’s had lots of wealthy clients, so why has she never pulled this before? Because, of course, prostitutes aren’t in the habit of accusing their clients of sexual assault. For obvious reasons. Unless they’ve actually been assaulted. And usually not even then.

    Of course that’s another rape culture myth: Rape is easily charged and tough to disprove. The reality is very different. Successfully charging someone with rape is very, very difficult, and when the rapist is rich and powerful and the victim isn’t, it’s practically impossible. As we have seen in this case and many other cases in which rich, powerful men stood accused of rape. That’s why it would make no sense at all for her to fabricate these sexual assault allegations, whether she’s a prostitute or not (and I’m quite sure she’s not).

    • I think the argument for her deviating from the “true rape” script is that she had to go back into the room to fake evidence of the attack. (That’s why it is so important that she returned to “tidy up”.)

      No, it doesn’t make much sense, but I believe that’s the logic they are trying to use.

  6. I really liked this post. I certainly resonated with me and my current experience. I am in the process of writing a statement about a rape that happened to me. I have found ii really hard to write what actually happened and my ‘part’ in it. I feel that I am open to victim blaming and not being taken seriously by writing that I kissed him, that I went someone alone with him, that after he had pinned me and said he wasn’t going to let me go until I had sex with him, I removed my pants (because I was scared – but I think this could fall under the skinny jean defense). I’ve put it all in. I’m actually holding back submitting it just because I know I don’t fit the idea of someone who struggled or resisted from the start. I am really nervous about the possibility of a trial as I’m pretty sure my character will be questioned and my behaviours will be used against me, even though I said that I didn’t want to sex with him. It’s shit, and I know it’s not my fault, but really that only goes so far when working in a system where victims are blamed and questioned. I’m going to put my statement in this week.

    • Hey. this comment is going to be woefully inadequate but wanted to say I truly feel for you, and totally understand why you would hesitate reporting. I’ve had a lot of friends who were raped, and for the most part they didn’t report it exactly because of reasons like yours. Reading a giant horde of comments about the DSK case on various blogs around the web (all of them progressive) ranging from the rabidly misogynistic to the head-smashingly clueless just serves to remind me of how many people out there are, intentionally or not, part of the problem.

      On the other hand, I applaud you for going forward with filing a statement. Regardless of what happens with your case, at least you’ve put the guy on the cops radar, which might be helpful in making him think twice next time, or making him take the next person more seriously (and even if they decline to press charges now,your case conceivably could be reopened if someone else comes forward later).

    • I don’t think there’s a person alive who has been raped who can’t relate to what you are going through right now. I feel that part of what goes into rape is manipulating the victim into submitting to or willfully doing things they do not want. My ex turned it onto high-art to the point where I actually hoped she would violently hold me down or threaten my life because I desperately needed to be able to blame someone other than myself for what was happening to me (which just made the self-blame even harder). In the end I feel I was very lucky that one night she felt cocky enough to give me a lecture about my “lack of rights” when it came to my body while she raped me: It let me solidify what I already understood to be true.

      It goes beyond what we do and invades our thoughts and feelings as well. All the things which we are and are not allowed to think and feel or else it clearly wasn’t “that bad” or we “subconsciously wanted it.”

      I suppose the level of manipulation that happened to me was extreme but I feel that this kind of coercion is present in every rape out there. Everyone who is raped could have fought just a little bit longer. Everyone gives up at some point and for those of us who survive we’ll always be able to point to the moment we surrendered and blame ourselves for doing so.

      So yeah… I know it’s probably pointless to tell you not to blame yourself for your “part” in what happened but I really hope that you’re able to forgive yourself because no matter what you might tell yourself it was not your fault. Your rapist knew what they were doing to you and–no matter what you might have done before, during, or afterwards–nothing you might have done could have changed that fact. Complacency does nothing to diminish the seriousness of the crime or dull the pain.

      I hope that helped a little bit…

  7. Great insight, Sasha- I am a long-time special victims prosecutor now training other ADA’s on these issues. I agree with your conclusions and wrote similarly at http://rogercanaff.com/site/2011/07/developments-in-the-dsk-case-what-they-mean-and-what-they-dont/.

    My overriding point as all this has unfolded is that many in the media and elsewhere are hopelessly confusing what is legally provable with what is likely actually false. At this point, the case is weak; credibility is at its core and credibility of the complainant here is highly compromised. But as you point out, her credibility issues do not relate, as far as I can tell right now, to the validity of the core allegation itself. And DSK hardly comes to this situation with clean hands.

    Keep up the great work- I look forward to following your blog.

    Roger A. Canaff

    • Agreed and loved your post. The media and the general public’s apparent inability to grasp that dismissed charges or even a “not guilty” verdict do not necessarily mean that the victim was lying frustrates me to no end. Inability to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt does not equal innocence. That shouldn’t be so difficult.

  8. Pingback: Counterparties | Felix Salmon

  9. Just a comment (or two or maybe more) and a question:

    (1) Regarding physical evidence of the sexual assault and the lying of DSK – these were never mentioned by BBC or CNN, and therefore I don’t know if they were also mentioned by the French press. If anything, the first (physical evidence) is only mentioned by the woman’s attorney (according to British newspapers). Also, one of DSK’s past victims in France has brought a lawsuit against him (although I remember reading on the internet in a badly translated article that she had refused to testify against DSK when requested by NY DA). Which means I do believe, even if DSK is released in NY, his political career in France is over (or at least his presidential ambitions are over).

    (2) I read too that one of the reasons (in a British newspaper) why DSK was arrested quickly was because to the DA, she appeared to be a pious, Muslim woman. Which begs the question, if she were a hired social escort, would the DA have acted so quickly? OK, I guess the answer is obvious.

    (3) In trials, if the past behavior of the defendant is not supposed to be factored in, then why should the past behavior of the accuser? (take it as musing of a layperson with naive knowledge of the law)

    (4) If the physical evidence is there, and so is the record of DSK lying to investigators, why should the case not go to trial? (again, the musing of a naive, illiterate-in-legal-matters layperson.

    (5) Question – regarding your example of the rapist of the drug addict being acquitted despite strong evidence due to the prejudices and biases of the jury – do you believe the outcome would have been different if the case was tried by a team of judges only (as is common in many countries)? No matter how hard we try, we do have biases and prejudices, and these can influence our decisions. I am not saying do away with jury altogether, but perhaps certain cases need to be tried differently.

    • (2) I think the main reason the DA acted so quickly is that DSK was about to leave the country. After the Polanski extradition nightmare they weren’t taking any chances.

      (3) In theory, rape shield laws are supposed to protect the victim’s sexual history from being a factor. In practice, there are a number of ways defense attorneys get around this (see the Kobe Bryant case as an example). Moreover, in high profile cases, the media routinely pollutes the potential jury pool by publicizing all kinds of info (much of it completely untrue) that would be inadmissible at trial. In small towns, the rumor mill does the same.

      (4) The DA said today that he’s not dropping the charges. Also heard the alleged victim is suing the Post for their “she’s a hooker” lie. Good for her. While I’m glad the case is going forward, I’m concerned that the victim’s background and rape-culture-induced lies may have done irreparable damage to her chances of seeing DSK convicted.

      Correction: I’m now hearing that the earlier report was wrong and the DA is getting ready to drop the charges.

      (5) Unfortunately there’s no shortage of rape case injustices involving judges. Off the top of my head, there was the judge just the other month (in Canada if I recall correctly) who found a man guilty of rape but refused to punish him because it was summer and the victim was wearing a tube top. She had also allowed the rapist to kiss her and, according to the judge, she was “dressed for sex” (maybe she was; with someone other than the defendant). Then there was the (female) judge who dismissed the rape charges against a man who, together with his buddies, had raped and robbed a prostitute at gunpoint. The judge said the woman had a case for “theft of services” but not rape because, you know, prostitutes can’t be raped. And let’s not forget the Maryland Supreme Court holding that consent cannot be withdrawn once sex had begun.

      In all three of those cases, there was no question that the victims were forced to have intercourse against their will. And although all three women either failed to live up to the “worthy” victim standard or their rape didn’t occur according to the “real rape” script, they were nonetheless completely honest about their background and the facts of their case. Unfortunately that didn’t work out very well for them.

      • Let’s not forget the story of the Latino girl gang raped in Texas. If anyone would have fit the “worthy” victim paradigm, it was her, and even then the community was more concerned about the basketball teams chances if half it’s players were ineligible if convicted of a felony.

      • But Aeryl, you’re forgetting the way she was dressed and made up! Plus, she had a history of hanging out with boys. Who cares that she was 11! She obviously had it coming. And then she went and ruined those poor boys’ lives with her evil temptress ways. Because they filmed themselves raping her and then distributed the footage all over the school, a teacher saw the recording and alerted authorities. It was only when the victim was confronted with the video of her rape that she told what happened. But clearly the whole thing is totally her fault!

        If even an 11 year-old gang rape victim who had a video recording of her rape distributed in half the town isn’t deserving of sympathy and justice (all anyone seemed to care about was what was going to happen to her rapists, particularly the ones on the basketball team), what chance do any of us have?

  10. While I do believe, on balance, that DSK is guilty, that sort of belief is not enough to secure a conviction. The jury needs to unanimously believe that DSK is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. That’s a very high bar to jump because:

    (a) what constitutes “reasonable doubt” will differ from person to person (see below);

    (b) the requirement for unanimity means that the jury must go with the loosest definition of “reasonable doubt” among the jurors; and

    (c) the US system of allowing both prosecution and defense teams extensive involvement in jury selection means that the people admitted as jurors are more likely to have a looser-than-society-average view of what constitutes “reasonable doubt”.

    To some people, “reasonable doubt” would require only that an alternative story (i.e. something other than what the prosecution is alleging) be conceivable. That’s a very loose definition, but some people hold it. To other people it might need to be conceivable and plausible; to other people again it might need to be conceivable, plausible and likely.

    That is why the history of the accuser is so important. With a demonstrated history of lying for personal gain, it becomes at least _conceivable_ that the accuser is lying on this occasion too.

    Further, the accuser has apparently been recorded in conversation discussing what benefits she might gain from pressing charges. That, to many people’s minds, would raise the possibility of her lying from conceivable to plausible (not likely, just plausible).

    But once you’re at conceivable and plausible, the chances are that at least one juror will consider that grounds for reasonable doubt.

    There’s not much point in contemplating a trial by judges alone, as the right to trial by jury is written into the US constitution (sixth amendment). At best, you can discuss ways of improving the jury selection process or of deciding what historical evidence is admissible.

  11. The points raised in this article are excellent, but I still find myself somewhat annoyed at the ideological tenor on all sides of this debate. Everything in life is not a parable, despite the desires of bloggers. Is it really your right to intervene in an ongoing criminal charge, based on your interest in broad social factors? Isn’t that how OJ got off, a jury that didn’t see the individuals in the case, but only the idealized social constructs? What a horror, trial by opinion, based on obviously very incomplete data.

  12. Cherie, Judges have biases too. (I’m sure some people have done studies of the various merits of judges vs jury, but I don’t know if anyone has found strong conclusions.)

    Yes, Tristane Banon, a journalist in France, has brought charges. She’s been claiming he attacked her in 2003 since about 2007 or so. She even wrote a fictionalized account in a novel. I don’t think it would necessarily destroy his political career, though. Her mom is a member of the Socialist party and encouraged Banon not to press charges when it happened. (If I recall, the argument was that she would be forever known as “that woman raped by DSK” and it would prevent her from having a career. Also, DSK was a socialist bigwig, and it would hurt the party.) Her mom is supporting her now.

  13. I suspect the difficulty of winning a rape conviction likely overshadows any patriarchal biases against rape victims themselves, particularly in the high-profile DSK case, where a conviction would make the DA’s career. Unless a case is very clear cut, there is always lingering reasonable doubt. Particularly in cases where victim and perpetrator know each other: often no witnesses, no signs of struggle, one persons’ word against another, sex is plausibly consensual. This is made worse if defendant has no relevant priors and the victim makes inconsistent statements (or worse, has a prior convictions for crimes showing dishonesty). A case like that is doomed. No jury in their right mind would – or should – convict. Again, it is reasonable doubt, one of the cornerstones of legal system.

    In DSK case, the DA likely made a calculated decision: victim had long-record of dishonesty and inconsistent statements; DSK had no relevant prior convictions and could afford the best criminal defense attorneys money can buy. The case would likely be a media circus and and in all probability, end in an acquittal. Major back eye for any popularly-elected DA.

  14. Fantastic look at the logical fallacies behind dissecting a rape accusation. You inspired me to write a blogpost on the same topic, hopefully the male point of view will shed some insight aswell: http://www.hollowantagonist.com/2011/07/05/rape-case-logic-and-our-shameful/

    • I just wanted to say I appreciated your post, especially the part where you point out than men steeped in rape culture are more concerned over whether or not their fellow dudes are falsely accused of rape, than whether or not a woman was raped.

      Very insightful, and too sadly true. But the more this is pointed out, the more it’ll sink in.

      • I’m not convinced that is true. I’d say for any other criminal case, I’d also be more concerned about innocents being punished than about perpetrators going free.

        The math in this case is rather depressing though. The average rapist will make multiple victims. I don’t know how many, but let’s pluck a number out of thin air and go with 5. How certain do you want to be before convicting someone? 90% certain? In that case for every innocent person being convicted, you will see 50 rapes go unpunished. But the same is true for any other crime, and while depressing, I see no way around this.

        If you say both are equally important, so that there should be as many wrongful convictions as wrongful acquittals, then you’d have to convict someone on a 20% chance of being guilty. “He’s probably innocent, but it’s better for society to convict him anyway” is not a justice system I’d want.

        It sucks. I agree. But I know no solution to make reality not suck.

  15. I appreciate your argument about the cultural misunderstanding about what behavior is expected of a rape victim.
    However, rape will for the most part remain an immensely difficult case to prove with little evidence, a case of he-said, she-said.
    So what do you suggest the justice system change about the way it treats rape? Thank you for the emotive post; could you please share some practical recommendations so that we can advance the conversation from clenched-hand outrage to one of actionable changes?

  16. So what standard of proof do you suggest Sasha? As long as any woman accuses a man of rape, then the rape happened? In a “she says – he says” type situation shouldn’t the credibility of the people matter? Looking at DSK’s past I wouldn’t be surprised if he did rape this maid, but I think it is going too far to suggest that credibility does not matter.
    Following your logic, there is almost no defense for a man if a woman has an ulterior motive and claims rape.

    • Except, of course, that I didn’t suggest credibility does not matter. Quite the opposite. Credibility is enormously important in rape cases. While there is almost always some evidence beyond the victim’s statement, in the majority of rapes, you’re not going to have a case without a credible victim.

      This is why it’s so important to fight the culture that condones and trivializes some types of rape and dismisses some types of victims. Keep in mind that while a small number of victims who don’t meet the narrow criteria for “worthy” victims and “real rape” will press charges and lie about some aspect of their case or background, the vast majority respond by not coming forward at all. Which means that their rapist is free to rape again and destroy more lives. And usually does just that.

      And while we’re busy fighting rape culture and calling out rape apologists (we ARE fighting rape culture wherever we encounter it, right guys?), we should keep the lies told by rape victims in perspective (particularly if the defendant has lied too). Of course lying about the case is troubling and will impact the victim’s credibility, but depending on the reason for the lies and the amount of evidence in the case, it may still be possible to go forward. Or at least it should be.

  17. On the other hand, let us not forget that spending time in jail is very, very tough. To avoid convictions of innocent men the cases have to be, in my opinion, very credible.

    I understand the core of your argument regarding the rape culture, and why women lie in this situation. I agree that that is a bad thing, but I still understand and agree with the need to have a solid case. Do you?

  18. Pingback: What The Dominique Strauss-Kahn Case Confirms About Rape Culture | TheGloss

  19. Hey. First a quick heads up on a possible technical issue: I wanted to reply to a number of people individually, but there is not a reply button below all of the comments, just some of them (and fwiw, I have a couple of times tried to leave comments but been unable to; it seems to vary depending on which computer I am on).

    Now, to address some of the people (apologies to Sasha or anyone else doing this at the same time if we overlap),

    First, SV & PL (My responses to you would overlap so I’m combining): I don’t see how anyone can read this article and think it is saying “credibility doesn’t matter.” What I’m pretty sure she is saying is this: simply because someone has lied about *something* doesn’t mean they are lying about everything. Which is kinda obvious, because, seriously, I betcha every single human living for more than six years in this world has lied about something at some point in their life. And every single human has told the truth about a lot of things, too. Credibility is based on the sort of lies told and pattern of behavior it indicates. The hotel’s housekeeper has worked there for 3 years surrounded by people every bit as rich as this guy and never filed a complaint against any of them. She was bruised with torn clothes and a dislocated shoulder. I confess I’ve never tried, but I’m betting it isn’t that easy to dislocate your own shoulder. Against that, we have “on advice of her attorney, slightly altered the circumstances of her rape on her asylum application, which may have been filled out by her attorney and not her in the first place”. And we have various other women claiming he did this to them as well.

    Here are some things I think everyone would agree constitute elements of a decent defense: He tells his version of what happened and it fits with the surrounding facts. She tells her version and it doesn’t fit with the surrounding facts. There is no physical evidence that any physical contact took place at all, or one of them was certainly not there when she is saying it happened. Alas, none of these things have yet happened. IIRC, his entire defense initially seemed to be “I never touched her and besides I’m important and she’s not.” Then, when evidence proved *something* happened and he realized the DA and the cops didn’t care about relative wealth, his defense changed to “it was consensual cause I’m just so hot women throw themselves at me plus she might be a prostitute.” His own behavior here seems to indicate guilt. This certainly does look like a solid case to me in that regard. And I don’t see what is wrong with Sasha (or any of a number of other bloggers I’ve read) countering the general media narrative of “lying whore! poor man!” with an analysis offering possible reasons for her “lies”.

    Also, most women have at least a vague grasp on surrounding reality, such that they realize filing rape charges means they are going to get their lives held up under a microscope and torn apart. This tends to dissuade frivolous complaints. I’ve known many rape and a few child molestation victims in my life, yet only one of the whole bunch filed charges (the local DA never prosecuted; this was the 80’s in a small town and hey, they were on a DATE and she let him, you know, touch her before she told him to stop) for EXACTLY the reasons discussed above.

    (further aside to SV: Calling this an emotive post could be taken to indicate sexism on your part)

    Foobar: None of us know as much about this case as the DA’s office, and in general, they are very, very VERY hesitant to press rape charges, and ESPECIALLY against people like DSK, because they know the difficulty of getting a conviction are cognizant of their conviction rates (even if they only care about truth, justice and what used to be but is no longer “the American way”, they have to answer to people up the chain of command and the general public, so they can’t help but be cognizant of these rates even if they choose to ignore them as a factor in going forward). But based on what’s been given the public so far, this case sounds solid to me.

    E: I just read that the DA is NOT dropping the case.

    Minogade: You raise a good point about not trying people in the media. God knows I wish the media wouldn’t report every stray rumor as fact. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean no one is supposed to think about things and begin forming opinions. That is the whole point of blogging, yes? And how is anyone supposed to avoid outrage in a case like this? I’m a guy who’s never been raped and the treatment of the victim and the behavior of a lot of DSK’s defenders makes me wish to go all Drew Barrymore at the end of Firestarter on a huge percentage of the human race. As do all sorts of other things, which I shall refrain from mentioning here to avoid going way off topic.

    Just Some Guy: Have you ever been on a jury? (and yes, I have) Of course not everyone will have the same standard of reasonable doubt. It’s quit possible for people to sit there and argue for days, each side thinking the other is nuts with maybe one or two in the middle who keep going back and forth. Eventually people want to get out of there enough that they begin compromising, and/or some of the arguments on one side get through to the other side. No one can say in advance which jurors definition of “reasonable doubt” or even “preponderance of the evidence” or even whose idea of “what the law should be” (I know, that’s not what is supposed to be at issue, but it often is) is going to win out. Also, importantly: in the tape where she said “I know what I’m doing:”, right before that, she had told her friend what happened, and the story is exactly what she told the police. The media mostly seems to leave that out.

    And i have to go now. sorry for long post; I couldn’t answer separately.

    • Considering the use of a word like “emotive”, which carries only the slightest gender connotations, as “sexist” is more sexist than using the word itself.

      • The word “emotive” by itself isn’t sexist. Heaven knows it is better to be emotional than emotionally dead, or feel empathy to the emotions of others as opposed to being sociopathic. So you are right, it is all in how the words are used.

        But there is a very long and ongoing history of men dismissing women and anything they say or think by calling them (or their arguments and concerns) “emotional”, or some variant on that. It used to be that a woman shows up at a town hall meeting somewhere, or a congressional hearing, or entered a political, economical or philosophical discussion, and laid out some brilliantly thought out proposal, and some dipshit would say “Thank you little lady. We all know how women are emotional, now let’s get back to serious talk.” Versions of that, USUALLY more subtle, still go on today.

        You just responded to a detailed, thoughtful post laying out what was wrong with a great portion of the public perception of rape victims in general and the DSK case in particular with “Thank you for the emotive post,” which certainly seems to fit within the grand tradition I just mentioned. Then you criticize the post for failing to suggest a fix for how the criminal justice system treats rape, when it seemed to me that the problem the post was addressing was how society at large views rape victims (which, I think it makes clear, is the bigger and more fundamental problem here). And the post itself was a part of the effort to fix this problem.

        Your view of it as “clenched hand outrage” again not only missed the point, but seems to fit within the typical sexist/misogynist bigoted paradigm of “women complain about things; men fix them.” Which paradigm, aside from being a delusional view of reality, isn’t even very internally useful, as it ignores that pointing out a systemic problem (i.e. complaining about it) is one of the steps toward fixing it.

        You want “emotive”, “clenched hand outrage”?. See me saying above: “makes me want to go all Drew Barrymore at the end of Firestarter on a significant portion of the human race.” Or if I said “When I read articles about this case, or think about the actual results in the De Anza rape case, or the hordes of injustices going on at present and going back centuries, and read many of the misogynistic comments around the internet, I want to reach through the computer and grab some of these people by the head, and listen to the sound of their flesh ripping as I tear their brain casing off their shoulders and toss it into the road so I can watch it get crunched out of existence under the wheels of a passing truck”, *that* is emotive outrage. Not this post.

    • Considering the use of a word like “emotive”, which carries only the slightest gender connotations, as “sexist” is more sexist than using the word itself.

      //I’ll append a response to your comment below *here*, since the interface doesn’t let me respond directly.

      Thanks for the reply. I see your point, and I agree with it. I remember reading a study about academia (where I work) where job review for female faculty members would be far more likely to focus on her personality/emotions/etc than job reviews for male faculty members.
      I used the word “emotive” (which I believe refers to provoking an emotional response in the reader, which Sasha’s post certainly did) instead of “emotional” (which refers to the post itself being written with emotion), but I see where you are coming from. I should have written “thank you for your well reasoned post. It certainly provoked an emotional response in me”.


      • Thanks for engaging/understanding. My dictionary lists both usages, eliciting and expressing emotion, but lists your way first.

  20. The post neglects to mention the alleged victim was romantically involved with an incarcerated drug dealer, maintained multiple bank accounts which hundreds of thousands of dollars had passed through, and spoke on the phone with her romantic partner about expecting a payday from the rape charges.

    I think that had more to do with the dismissal than whether she cleaned afterwards or lied on her asylum application.

    Also, our justice system has a criterion of “beyond a reasonable doubt” for criminal convictions, and it’s important for rape victims to bear this in mind, even though it implies trying to be a “good” rape victim by resisting the assailant (which generates physical evidence, to put it clinically) and promptly reporting the crime.

    Other than that, I applaud the effort to make sure people understand that drinking or dressing suggestively is never an excuse for rape. The anecdote about the drug addict was appalling, and shows the limitations of the jury system.

    • The post does mention her possible involvement in a drug dealing and money laundering operation as well as her romantic involvement with a guy doing time on a drug charge:

      Additionally, there are some indications that she may be involved in a drug dealing and money laundering operation, and a man described as her boyfriend is serving time on a drug charge.

      As for the phone call, the excerpt released to the media sure sounds bad, doesn’t it? “Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing. This guy has a lot of money.” Except that this comment was preceded by her telling her (alleged) boyfriend what DSK did to her. And it was the same thing she told police and prosecutors. Nothing in that phone conversation implied that she was making up the assault charges.

      What probably happened is this: Upon hearing that she was pressing charges, her boyfriend asked her if she was out of her mind. This is assuming that the two are indeed involved in a drug dealing and/or money laundering operation. If you’re involved in criminal activities, the last thing you want to do is attract the attention of law enforcement. Consequently her boyfriend was most likely very unhappy about this development. So, to make her going to the authorities more palatable, she tells him that there’s a potential payoff here. In other words, I’m not just doing this because I don’t want the man who sexually assaulted me to get away with it; I’m doing it because this is potentially a money-making opportunity for us.

      She is probably planning a civil suit, and why not? Chronic psychological and/or physical problems are the norm for sexual assault survivors and while not every rapist is in the position to compensate his victim(s) for at least some of the damage he caused, DSK most certainly is.

  21. An extremely insightful post about something sad, true, and disturbing, which most readers will quickly try not to think about after reading it.

  22. thank you so much for this post. I was….sexually abused? I guess? by a friend last year. The hardest part to take wasn’t even the abuse, but rather the fact that because of the circumstances around it, the fact that it was done by a woman, by a friend, that I didn’t say no when it was happening, that I like women myself… almost all of my friends either sided with her (she was very charismatic) or told me to suck it up and deal because it would make their social lives awkward.
    It wasn’t even a thing for me until the anniversary of the events this year, and I thought that was just yet another sign that I was overreacting and somehow painting what happened incorrectly. (until my psych major partner explained to me trauma is a gradual thing and doesn’t exactly happen like it does on tv)
    Even my own mother tells me that I need to “put things into perspective”.
    um. I guess this isn’t really the place for this. Just that reading this meant a lot to me and helped me understand a lot more about why things happened the way they did. I’m really grateful.

    • (((((HUGS))))) [of a completely diffident and non-aggressive kind, to remain wholly metaphorical unless enthusiastically accepted]

    • Have you ever thought about calling a crisis line or a sexual assault help hotline? They will listen to you without judgement and they can help you find resources for trauma counseling in your area. Just google your city and crisis line and you will be able to get a phone number.

    • Thank you for sharing! because of you i know today that i am not the only one who was sexually abused (raped) by another woman. she and i were also in a relationship. and this happened after we broke up. thank you! i was begining to think i am the onyl one who had this and maybe i was some sort of freak in this matter.

  23. Excellent piece, I am adding you to my feed. Regards from Bangalore!

  24. What an eye opening article. You have truly enlightened me. One of the best and most informative pieces I have read in a long time.

  25. Pingback: Eat. Pray. Sex.

  26. Pingback: Catchup Links « City of Prog, Czech da Republic

  27. Maybe one day a birght and wonderful lawyer will make a better case.

  28. To those who have trouble getting the sentiment and gravity of the post- have you ever been raped? i highly doubt it. because i have been raped and i can tell you my rape was so far off the script that almost no one i spoke about it to recognised it as rape. but i can assure you the feeling of violation is so complete that there is nothing to rub it off. i knew i was raped. lets talk about the departures. i was raped by my ex-girlfriend. i am a lesbian. there was no force. i kept saying no till she tied me down in a twisted mind game. i was crying while she raped me. many of you will still say it was not rape. hell, i know it sounds nothing like the ones we watch in movies. but i was raped. and after a while i stopped talking about it completely. i was told it was not rape. but i was there. i know what i felt. and no one can tell me it was something else.

  29. This is the best post I’ve read on this topic. When the case was first reported there was a lot of talk about innocent until proven guilty and due process, common mansplainations thrown out in high profile rape cases which in effect are an attempt to stifle discussion and relate to any opinion in favor of the alleged victim as somehow the desire to hang a man without a trial. Last week, when suddenly the tide turned against her (including the “hooker” reports, that came without any proof to back them up) I was wondering where her “due justice” fit into all of this. Was it okay to convict her of being a lying, scheming whore in the press without any real knowledge of her life and her circumstances to back this portrayal up? Honestly, the smear campaign made me more inclined to believe her story because I realized just how much this woman had to lose in coming forward as she did.

    I also want to add that when I was sexually assaulted by a powerful man at my desk at work, I went about my day as if nothing had happened. I was on an important project with a deadline and my deadline was met that day; I didn’t even let myself take the assault in because to do so would have interfered with the task I felt I had to accomplish. I understand very well what it means to go into shock and try to deny to yourself that anything is out of the ordinary in the immediate aftermath of an attack. Reporting this man for sexual harassment lead to my firing. It also almost broke up my marriage. It’s true that I almost always believe women who come forward in rape and sexual harassment cases, but this is because I know the hell you’ll be subjected to if you do so and that it’s not something any person does casually.

  30. I completely and fully agree that, no matter what situation and what circumstances a woman finds herself (or even puts herself) in, ever, EVER mean that they ask for or deserve any form of rape. In fact, the idea that a drug-addicted woman who knows the dealer is at fault for being raped is repugnant to me and causes me to shudder. I also support a dramatic change in society resulting in an abhorrence of any reference to rape as the subject of a joke or positive event.

    However, I also want to put forth a few suggestions on how to change the current situation. A few steps in the right direction, if you will. Please let me know what you think about:

    1) Stressing Honesty and Integrity Always: It would be far more difficult to discredit one who is known, in all aspects of one’s life, to be truthful.
    2) Exercising Common Sense: While it is never a rape victim’s fault that s/he was raped, it would certainly make it more difficult to get raped if s/he stayed away from substances and alcohol, especially when around others partaking of the same type of things. Inhibitions down, transgressions up. In addition, staying out of compromising situations would be helpful.
    3) Being Sexually Responsible: Many people have sex far too casually. I mean, it’s not exactly a toy, right? I think if we were a lot more serious about sex and put it in a context of commitment and the beautiful emotional bonding that results from a relationship of trust and fidelity, rape would be much less common.
    4) Let’s Get Rid of Porn: I makes sense to me that, if pre-teen boys (and increasingly girls) are regularly viewing porn from such an early age, it would become a type of drug. I was reading studies that talk about how prolonged exposure to porn (and over a long span of time, say years) caused the brain (specifically the male brain, in these studies) to change the way it responds to women. Rather than see women as people with whom to form meaningful relationships, porn-barraged male brains saw women as objects to be used. One study said that, while scanning brain activity, a man seeing a woman in a business suit activated the relational area of the brain. However, a man seeing a woman in a sexy, skimpy bikini activated the object or tool area of the brain, just as a man seeing a screwdriver or power tool would. Men who look at porn re-wire their brains to see women as objects to be used for their own pleasure. So far, it is unknown if the damage can be reversed. Of course, I am more in favor of getting rid of violent porn, which focuses on power, domination, and violence in addition to the other negative side-effects, but I think it would be best to trash porn altogether, or at least our use of it. After all, do we really need porn to get turned on? To engage in blissful sexual relations? I do not and have not used porn during my life, and I’m a (very) happily married man!

    I’m looking forward to your thoughts. Oh, and I don’t mean to imply that people using porn want to objectify women (or anyone), or that these people are horrible and worthless. Far from it. I’m just trying to share some information I have come across and some suggestions on steps we can try to take as a society to reduce sexual crimes, among others. I mean, sexual crimes are some of the most traumatizing and life-altering, and no one should have to go through something like that. Anyway, I hope to have a great conversation with any and/or all of you about this.

    • The only way I can really respond to this is by urging you to read the following posts and then have a serious rethink and then read the experience posted after:


      The fact of the matter, the only thing that can be done to avoid rape is to avoid rapists. Rapists exist in bars and outside of them, at parties with alcohol and those without, in people’s homes…

      I was repeatedly raped by a man I was dating. Neither of us drank often (we were under the legal age) and while I wasn’t a virgin and we did have sex, I have always treated sex as a manner of bonding with my partner and have never had casual sex or even sex outside a monogamous relationship. Neither of us were into porn. Nothing you brought up factored into my rapes. The only factor was that he didn’t like the fact that I enjoyed having sex with him and punished me by raping me. He would have kept on until I had no sexual desire whatsoever if I hadn’t found a way to get out of the situation.

      Then there’s my friend, who at 14 was raped by her closest male friend, who she had known for ten years. They were walking back to her house around 8pm in the middle of July (something they’d done before) when he pulled her into a playground and raped her. She was a virgin and had never even tasted alcohol never mind tried any substances. The only factor in her rape was that this boy wanted to rape her.

      How about another friend who had an ex, whom she had refused to have sex with, break into her house a couple months after they broke up (while her parents were out of town) and rape her in her bed. What “compromising situation” could she have avoided? How did she treat sex too casually, when it was her refusal to do so that (in his mind) led to the rape?

      The suggestions you have made are commonly given to young girls, teaching them that they can never be too careful or too safe. However, it is incredibly common that they are also used to blame rape victims. In the end, they are completely useless because they do not prevent many rapes and lead to a lot of fear and guilt on the part of the victims. The only way to prevent rape is to teach that rape is not acceptable. Instead of banning porn, teach boys and girls that it’s not real and then teach them how to have real, consensual sex. Instead of telling girls and women not to do this, that or the other, hold men accountable when they do rape, however and whoever they raped and furthermore, hold them accountable for negative power-expressive behaviour towards women, gay men and “weaker” men.

  31. Samantha, those suggestions were not meant to be a cure-all, stopping all rapes. That was never the intent of the post. I’m sorry if you perceived it as such. I do not want to argue or insinuate fault in you or your friends, who you mentioned. I recognize the rape happens apart from compromising situations, alcohol and other substance abuse, and even without the help of porn in some cases. In fact, I know someone (as an example) who was raped by a relative as a pre-teenage girl. These instances are horrible, as are all rape cases. However, I think that there is a great deal of helpful insight in what I said before. I know for a fact that all of the things I mentioned have factored into countless rapes.

    Of course those things cannot account for every rape. Some people who rape do so because they themselves were molested. The are acting out their fear and rage by perpetrating against others. Some are simply power-hungry, very disturbed people. I can’t say who fits into which category, because I don’t know them personally.

    I completely agree with your assertion that we must teach people that rape is simply not acceptable. In fact, I am a proponent of even more strict legal action against rapists, up to and including life-long imprisonment. We definitely should hold men (and women, because there are those) accountable when they rape, no matter how or who. Still, I believe that taking preventative measures is a fantastic idea. I think both men and women should be taught to avoid certain behaviors that will increase their chances of becoming a rapist or being raped themselves. Doesn’t it make sense to avoid both the cause and effect?

    That is what I was proposing, at least as a start. Men should avoid porn, especially violent porn, because it changes them. Whether or not they are told that it is real or fake, it still changes them. I’m sure from my studies and experiences with people I know who are rape victims that, no matter whether you tell them that their rape was real or not, it still changes them. Being exposed to violence, especially over time and with increasing intensity/graphic nature, makes one more numb to it. It is a simple fact that we are, as humans, changed and affected by the things we experience. Many things affect us unconsciously, some positively and some negatively.

    Men (starting in childhood, of course) should also be taught not to see women as inferior, as weak, as a toy to be played with and discarded. Women are so much more! Men should be held accountable for their horrible behavior if/when they perpetrate. If we can instill respect for women in them from a young age, we won’t have to fight these battles. That’s why I am so against porn. Do you know that the average age of first exposure to porn (boys and girls) is under 10 years old? They have so many years to get confused and see people as bodies to play with before they even have sexual capabilities! It is very unwise to allow something like that to happen. Ask any child psychologist worth their education and they will tell you about the development of children’s brains and how there is a time for everything. Childhood is not the time for porn. I mean, I would say that there is no really necessary or even healthy time for porn, if you refer back to my first post. Anyway, I’m saying that porn prevention plays a role in early training of males to respect women, because I can say that porn does NOT do that. The guys I know who are most porn-addicted (especially to the violent stuff) refer to women, even their mothers and sisters, in horrible ways when they are around “the guys.” It is disgusting to hear, and that’s why I don’t hang around them much any more.

    I would question whether the guy you were dating was into porn or not. I know a LOT of women who, after decades of being married to a man and living in the same house with him, discover that he has been addicted to porn since he was a teenager. I personally know people like this, and I’ve heard countless stories as well. I don’t blame you for not knowing (if he actually was using it), because how could you know? I’m only saying that it would be quite difficult to know for sure, even if you asked him. Often, they will lie about it if they think there is any chance that their partner will react negatively.

    It is a great idea to avoid rapists. I also agree with that. How can we do this? Well, we can make it less likely by staying out of bad situations. I know this doesn’t always work, but take this as an example of why my suggestion makes sense: Say your child is getting beat up at school. You advise them to stay away from the bully’s locker and to stick with a group of kids whenever possible. You also tell them not to talk to the bully or taunt the bully. Say that your child gets beat up despite these measures. Would you say that, for all the rest of your children and all children in general, you would tell them to forget all of those suggestions and just do whatever they feel? Do you think it would be wise to tell them to go ahead and taunt the bully, hang out around the bully, or walk alone, thereby leaving themselves vulnerable to attack? I think that the suggestions I made make a great deal of sense. If, despite everything, the child gets beat up (the person gets raped), we should comfort them and tell them that it is not their fault. Of course it isn’t their fault! Still, following those suggestions has probably and will probably prevent a lot of beatings/rapes from occurring in the first place. We practice preventative medicine… why not preventative measures to protect our sexuality?

    So, finally, I would like to re-iterate that I don’t ever blame rape victims for being raped. By definition, someone who is raped did not want it to happen. Maybe they made some stupid decisions that led to the rape, by that never means that they deserved it. Never! I AM saying, however, that it makes a great deal of sense to take protective steps. That’s just common sense. Those steps should come on the male and female side of things, starting at an early age, teaching respect for each other and non-violent means of communication and interaction. My approach is not an either-or… it is a both-and! That way, we can practically eliminate rape altogether. It can always happen, as it did to your friend in the third example, but a lot of instances can be eliminated by following some combination of my previous and current suggestions.

    I hope you are all having a great weekend, and continue to do so. Also, thank you for your post, Samantha. It contained and brought out some helpful thoughts!

    • I see that you didn’t read the links I provided. You really do need to – they answer WHY your suggestions aren’t helpful. If you don’t have time for all of them, this one is key because it hits this EXACT subject:

      Again I will say – girls have been getting told these things for years. I can’t tell you how many times I heard them. However, they not only do very little to prevent most rapes (most are committed by someone known to the victim in either the victim’s home or the home of the attacker, and unless you’re going to tell women never to be in the home of another person or have another person in their home…) but they are part of the problem of victim blaming. These measures are treated like they can prevent rape (not all rapes, but specific rapes) and when a victim doesn’t engage in them it is her (or his, but mostly these rules are applied to women) fault she was raped. But where do we draw the line? Should a woman, for her safety, not have a glass of wine out on a date? Should she not have a party at home with a select group of friends and serve moderate amounts of alcohol? Should she not split a bottle of wine with her husband one Saturday night?

      Your analogy to the bully is an excellent one – I’ve also been on the other side of that one and got all the advice you gave. Guess what – none of that worked either. It doesn’t in most cases. In my case, the bully tracked me down and gave me a worse beating than usual. I finally had enough and actually defended myself. We got caught by a teacher while I was doing so and I got detention while the bully lied about how I had beat her up. The “friends” that had been supposed to help deflect and protect me took her side in the matter. This, by the way, also happens with rapes – there are stories of rapes occurring while people walked by and did nothing. There are stories of the friends of rape victims watching them get taken away to be raped and still blaming the victim.

      Avoiding compromising situations and casual sex does not prevent rape. It doesn’t even prevent a lot of rapes. It may well prevent a small percentage of rapes. However, in order to do so, it punishes both victims and potential victims disproportionately to the good it does. Furthermore, it dismisses the fact that women might just know when a situation isn’t safe and get out. Instead, it replaces innate common sense and self-concern with an overarching fear that can lead to bad decision making. I have actually heard a rape victim say that she was worried at a party but thought she’d be fine because there wasn’t any alcohol or drugs there – she’d always been told that girls get raped when alcohol and/or drugs are involved and discounted a real fear for a false reassurance.

      Again, I have to ask where we draw the line. There are women that have been raped being the designated driver at a club – should they have known better than to go somewhere alcohol was being served? How about women raped by their dates at restaurants after a nice meal and a glass of wine – was that wine too much? How about a girl who gets raped picking her friend up from a party – should she have just left the friend there? How about a woman raped by a friend during a dinner party at his house – are dinner parties something to avoid? If you list out every situation that could be “compromising”, you’ll be surprised by the length. There will probably even be things on there that you’ve done without thinking. The thing is, many people will add more things to that list – don’t be in elevators alone with men, don’t be in stairwells alone, don’t be alone after dark, don’t let your home look like a female lives there alone, don’t live alone but also don’t live with a man that isn’t your husband, don’t date, don’t wear revealing clothes, don’t reveal any skin at all… all these things could (and do) factor into some rapes and could be considered compromising. Which of them do we pick to tell women they shouldn’t do to avoid rapes? When do we acknowledge that even if a woman does nothing but sit at home wearing a burqa she might still get raped and that while not doing one thing or another might prevent a small handful of rapes, it not only will not stop them all but it will ALWAYS create much more victim blaming and fear in women than is reasonable for the rapes it prevents. Others can also not determine for a woman what risks are “reasonable” or “worthwhile”. I personally don’t like parties, so avoiding them and the slight chance of rape that comes with them is no problem. You tell me that I can never drink another glass of wine again because some rapes occur when women have had something to drink and I will tell you where to get off. You tell me not to wear short skirts – I’ll tell you that all my skirts are at least fingertip-length. You tell me not to expose my skin at all – I’ll tell you that it’s 90+ outside and you can go shove it. And there will be some women who jump and never do any of it and still get raped – or are accused of being paranoid or neurotic because how dare they think that every strange man (and woman, because f-on-f rapes do happen) is a possible rapist?

      If you want to tell women that X percentage or rapes occur when the victim has been drinking, fine. But don’t EVER say that women SHOULD avoid situations where they or others might be drinking (’cause damn, there goes the baseball game I was going to with my fiance). Don’t EVER say that avoiding situations where they or others might be drinking will prevent them getting raped. Don’t EVER say that not drinking avoids rapists. Statistics are fine, but let women decide for themselves what risks will prevent rape. For me, I’m actually a lot safer drinking with my friends than I am going to some of my classes, but most people wouldn’t tell me not to go to class to prevent being raped (actually, I was told by some profs not to pick this class because it’s at night and in a remote corner of campus). Sure, tell women cases in which rape has occurred, but be fair about it and leave it up to them to decide if their situation is actually a threat. General overarching areas of threat are NOT helping, especially when they are ones that are commonly used in the culture to scare women, blame victims and fits all rapes into a tiny little box when most don’t actually fit into it.

    • Yes I would tell anyone, regardless of the threats hanging over them, to live their lives as they wish, and to understand the consequences of that lie SOLELY with the person who inflicts the harm, not it’s victim.

      What you are suggesting is no different than the TSA security theater, the PATRIOT ACT, the increased militarization of our police, all in an attempt to “protect” us.

      It’s garbage for that, and its garbage for rape.

      I also don’t buy any of your assertions about porn, people who would be “corrupted” by porn, are easily corruptible, and removing that impetus would only find another. It’s the same assertions that people make about video games, which are also unfounded..

      The problem with these “recommendations” is that it makes restricting the movements and actions of the potential victims the solution to the problem. Kinda like how they “protect” women in Saudi Arabia by disallowing them from driving and walking around alone.

  32. Hello again Samantha, and hello Aeryl. I am glad that you posted, but I am a bit surprised at your response. The reason is that neither of you acknowledged my both-and approach. I gave several suggestions about how to prevent the rape perpetrators from becoming such. Those, at least, should be acknowledged as helpful and good. I mean, in any face-to-face conversation, people try to find common ground and agree when the other party makes a point that both can agree on. I ask that you help me to get a better understanding of your position by not only discussing where you disagree with me but, also, where our understandings coincide.

    Aeryl, you discounted my assertions about porn, but you didn’t provide any evidence or rationale behind your statements. As it stands, they are only opinions, and I cannot accept them as valid until you give some verification that your statements have basis in reality. It cannot only be an intuition or feeling based on your experiences, because human experiences are very narrow from an individual standpoint. They are inherently biased in some way or another. The studies I cited were done by a woman who had studied the effects of pornography, and specifically violent pornography, on males. After reading and understanding her methods, and reviewing the results, I can tell you that what I stated earlier are not my personal opinions, but the scientific findings of professionals. I also read another study done to track the brain patterns of people who are exposed to pornography, and how their brain’s functions alter after prolonged exposure to pornography, even if it is “old school” (i.e., Hustler, Playboy, etc). Please do not discount what I’ve said because of opinion. I can provide the resources I am referring to if you would like to review them.

    Samantha, I must re-iterate again that I never, ever blame the rape victim for being raped. Sure, they may have been able to prevent it in SOME cases, but in a great number of them, I know that they could not. I know that being drunk does not necessarily lead a women (or man) to being raped. I know that wearing scanty clothing does not necessarily lead it rape, either. Nor does being in a compromising situation. However, I know for a fact that avoiding these things can prevent SOME rapes. Some people may say that avoiding these things, or telling women that it is probably a good idea to avoid any combination of them, is more harmful than beneficial. I think that the problem lies not with those warnings, but with people’s attitudes that, “if you went there, it’s your fault.” The warnings are a good idea. People automatically discounting the trauma and horror of rape because “you asked for it” is the problem that needs to be solved, that needs to stop (in addition to training people to respect each other and interact non-violently).

    Another problem that needs to be solved is when people take the side of the perpetrator, or don’t do anything about it. I think a lot of people let it happen because they are afraid of something (disapproval by friends or the perpetrator), they have similar tendencies and don’t care, they have no courage or sense of justice, or some other problem. That is one of the reasons that, in my initial post, I suggested as my first point that we focus on being honest and having integrity in all aspects of life. If people were taught that rape is never right, they would always jump to prevent it as people of integrity. Another reason that people may not interfere with rape is that they think that the victim actually wants to engage in sexual relations with the perpetrator. Of course, this could only be thought if the victim is not saying anything or struggling. That is why drunkenness could lead to many cases of rape. Perhaps while inhibitions and awareness are down, the victim does not struggle, not understanding what is going to take place once they are brought to a “more private” area. As a sober person, they would probably understand and cry out for help (but, at some parties, maybe no one can hear them because of the volume of the music). There are so many scenarios and so many factors that it is hard to say what will work. I think the best way to prevent rape as often as possible is to take necessary precautions. Once again, we take preventative precautions to benefit our medical situation, why not our sexual one?

    The difference between the medical and sexual would be that, usually, you choose to eat that extra doughnut or fried chicken leg… it is not forced onto you. With rape, you are not choosing to be violated. It is forced on you. A child who is force-fed could not be blamed for obesity.

    I can see your points that the problem lies more with the rapist. I agree very much. That should be our primary focus. Still, I think that taking those steps turns out to be a good idea, and will be even more effective as the other situation gets better. By the other situation, I mean training people from a young age to becoming respectful and non-violent. I mean, there will always be rapists, no matter how many precautions and how much training we try to instill in children. Some children will not receive it, and some will reject it. Some will be raped by the rapists who are still out there. So there will always be a rapist somewhere. That is why we should be safe and take reasonable steps to avoid getting raped.

    Sadly, Samantha, every familiar or strange person IS a potential rapist. Not that most people will ever rape, or that many are ever even tempted to rape. But in our world today, as you know all-too-well, the rapist could be your friend, your relative, your boyfriend/girlfriend, fiance, or even spouse. I won’t make the assertion that you can definitely prevent rape by avoiding xyz, because it won’t necessarily work. I do assert that it is possible to prevent rape in some cases by taking some steps. These are simple steps as well. Sure, they may be inconvenient at times. I have decided not to walk alone in Harlem at night because I think it significantly increases my chances of encountering some trouble. There are some situations that are more conducive to certain types of crimes. When people’s inhibitions are down, both rape victims and rapists, bad things can happen. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, and the rapist will find you. That’s a horrible truth, and one I never wish on anyone.

    I want to know what your thoughts are on this post and the section of my last post where I discuss steps to prevent rapists from becoming such. If we can focus on that, which is the main issue (I agree with you), then maybe we can help at least our circles, especially our children. Please share your thoughts on how to prevent rapists from developing. What you you think will work?

    • The number one way to start stopping rapists is to stop discussing how women (or male victims, but as I’ve said before, the rules aren’t applied to them the same way) can avoid being raped. As long as there is any implication that something a woman does causes or prevents her rape, it is impossible to have an honest discussion about how to stop men from raping. That is why I’ve been pointing you to those blog posts (which you obviously still haven’t read) because they say exactly that – all discussions of rape prevention are polluted by “but if women didn’t drink/wear provocative clothing/have sex before marriage, then…”. As long as there are discussions about what the victim “should” or “could” do, rapists can use that to hide behind and avoid taking responsibility.

      Second step would be to teach everyone from a young age that “no” means “no” with regards to what is done to their body and should be respected except in very very rare life-or-death situations. This would include (but not be limited to) parents not tickling or hugging their children if the child says no, children not being allowed to be physical with their siblings if told no, bullying not being dismissed by schools as “kids being kids” and good modelling of these behaviours in children’s shows/books.

      Third step would be to show physical contact as being a matter of enthusiastic consent, not a lack of a “no”. This could be done by showing consent behaviours in the beginning of porn (including violent porn), teaching good sex ed with methods of obtaining consent, societal pressures on men who think asking for sex “harshes the vibe”, societal rejection of rape-like behaviours in jokes and media (i.e. the whole “no is just a yes that needs convincing” theme). This would also have to include removing the whore/virgin issue for girls and teaching girls and women that they can say yes or no to sex whenever they want and can also ask for sex themselves, providing they do so in a respectful manner (boys and men would of course be taught the same, but it’s currently more of an issue in society for females). This would actually be the opposite of your “no casual sex” suggestion, because it would open up the idea that anyone can engage in any manner of sex they want, provided they get enthusiastic, unmanipulated consent from their partner. Everyone should also be taught when prior consent counts and doesn’t (i.e. saying before a party “if I ask for sex later, I want it, even if I’m drunk” versus saying on April 3rd “I want sex tonight” counting for sex May 5th) and that to refrain when in doubt and find another partner who is wiling and able to consent.

      I don’t think that violent porn is so much that violent porn absent of any counter societal message and with a decent number of subtle pro-violence/rape messages is the problem. Violent porn may affect brain activity (without a proper citation, I can’t verify whether your study says what you think it does or if there are methodological choices that may affect my interpretation of it) but there are plenty of things that do the same and don’t create violence without other factors (violent video games, for example, only seem to cause violent actions in people with stressors and prior tendencies to violence). Thus brain activity doesn’t presume rape-like behaviours or intent and with the correct system of social responses and messages both inside and outside of the pron, it could instead be a force for preventing rapes (presuming that guys even use porn as a model for their real world sexual interactions).

      So this is why I didn’t respond to your supposed “helpful and good” suggestions – because one isn’t particularly helpful and how good it is was impossible to determine given no citation of the study it’s entirely based on and therefore is no better than your own speculation. As for the other – well, not only is it pretty self-evident but your other suggestions negate it. No male is going to learn that women are equal as long as women are being told that they cannot or should not do certain things to avoid being raped. That creates an inequality that is impossible to ignore, especially in the formative sexual years and even more so in the formative societal sexual relationship years. If a guy hears from women that they can’t drink, can’t have sex if/when they want and can’t wear what they want because they are worried that doing so will get them raped – well, he’s not really going to view them as equals, is he.

      Once again, I urge you to read this blog post, as it explains it all better than I can:

  33. Samantha, I read the blog post before I posted my last response. I understood what it said, but I still don’t agree with your assertions. Here are the links to the studies I cited:

    Pornography as a cause of rape. Excerpt from Dangerous Relationships: Pornography, Misogyny, and Rape. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1998. :http://www.dianarussell.com/Pages/pornasacauseofrape.html

    The Psychopharmacology of Pictorial Pornography Restructuring Brain, Mind & Memory & Subverting Freedom of Speech by Judith A. Reisman, Ph.D.,
    The Institute for Media Education, First Edition 2000… Fourth Edition 2003

    This is a link to other articles by the author of the first study: http://www.dianarussell.com/Pages/articles.html#rape

    This is a link to the biography of the current “Executive Director of the Gentle Path program at Pine Grove Behavioral Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.” He is Patrick Carnes, Ph.D., CAS, and you will be able to see his qualifications by going to the link. Take a look at his books and articles if you need more proof of some of my claims.

    I have a feeling that, at least for some who read these posts, it will not matter what any study says if it conflicts with their already formed ideas. That is my greatest concern. I would also like you to cite studies proving or at least providing some type of support for your assertions (fair is fair).

    Your suggestions for using porn as a helpful tool in reducing rape are not supported by the findings of experts in the field. In fact, they are the opposite stance.

    Here is another analogy to illustrate my logic: Say there is a nuclear power-plant which is known to be a dangerous place. In fact, it attracts all types of engineers, even some careless/dangerous ones. Some other engineers, who should be able to go into the power-plant without worrying about radiation exposure, like to visit and provide their opinions. Do you think that it is a better idea to warn them of the possible exposure to radiation and the potential side-effects of their having entered the facility, or to not tell them so that they will not feel guilty when they get cancer? That is what I am getting from you: that it is more important to prevent guilt from rape than it is to warn people of the dangers of some situations/circumstances where they can be raped.

    I know you (and I) would rather prevent it altogether by stopping rapists from forming. Since that is a significant time away in the horizon (these things take decades to fix), I think it’s a great idea to warn people against dangerous situations. Feeling guilt about getting raped is sad, but I would rather know that where I chose to go was dangerous and have something bad happen to me than to be completely naive and still have it happen to me. That values ignorance over responsibility! I can’t imagine any other situation where anyone has suggested such a thing as a solution!

    Once again, I know that being responsible (both males and females) does not mean that they will certainly prevent rape from occurring, but it makes it less likely. If you could make cancer less likely, wouldn’t you? How about death or maiming by car accident? Would it be better to avoid telling people to wear safety belts lest, if they choose not too, they feel guilty when they lose a limb in a crash? Inconceivable!

    Oh, and as a final thought (I know I have more, but no time to post them right now), giving males and females different suggestions for how to avoid rape does not indicate inequality. Males and females are different but equal, and so need different but equal solutions to problems. We perform different bodily functions in different ways, and have different hygienic rules in some cases (preventing UTIs, for example).

    Please read the studies I provided, as I read the link(s) you provided, and tell me your thoughts on them. Thank you for your continued conversation.
    P.S. What do you think about all of this, Sasha?

    • that it is more important to prevent guilt from rape than it is to warn people of the dangers of some situations/circumstances where they can be raped.

      That’s just it,

      THERE ARE NO CIRCUMSTANCES where it is NOT a danger a person could get raped. There are not scenarios where a rape is more likely to occur.

      There are no actions a potential victim can take to make a rape less likely.

      The only thing that unites rapists, is their complete and total disregard for another person’s bodily autonomy. Not porn, not bad childhoods, not previous abuse.

      You, by your statements here, want rape to be an easily solvable problem. “Take away porn, there will be less rape!”

      No. I don’t disagree that violent porn can increase some people’s tendencies towards rape. It’s just that if it isn’t porn, it will be something else. I’ve never known of a single person to go out and rape someone because of porn. They went and raped someone because they were deficient human beings, totally disassociated from the victim’s essential humanity. Taking away porn won’t change that.

      “Curb women’s freedom and there will be less rape”


      Just as putting more screeners at the airport isn’t going to stop terrorist attacks in America(only on planes), banning women from bars will only make them LESS safe elsewhere. I’ve gotten drunk in bars, walked unsafe neighborhoods at night in provocative clothing, climbed into beds with strange men within hours of meeting them. Never got raped there.

      Got raped by my cousin staring at the age of 8, ending at 13.

      Got raped sleeping on the couch of by best friend’s house by his uncle at the age of 21.

      Hadn’t had a drop of alcohol, hadn’t flirted, still got raped.

      My story is like that of a million other women, no amount of safeguarding and good decision making, saved any of us.

      Your suggestion are offensive, hurtfull, and create a sense of false security in the so called “good” women, sho take your advice.

      And end up raped anyways.

  34. Oh, sorry… I forgot the link to the second study. Here it is: http://www.drjudithreisman.com/archives/brain.pdf

    • fdes2,

      Samantha and Aeryl have already done a great job explaining why the suggestion that women alter their behavior to avoid “compromising situations” in an effort to prevent rape is very problematic. The idea that it’s up to women to prevent rape is drilled into our heads from the time we’re very little girls, so this isn’t exactly brand new advice. And, as was already pointed out, most rapes don’t occur in so-called “compromising situations.”

      But, you say, I never meant to suggest that this advice would prevent ALL rapes. If women can prevent even a few rapes by altering their behavior, where is the harm in doing that?

      There are two major problems. First, altering our behavior to prevent rape limits women’s freedom and prevents us from participating in the world as equals. Imagine there’s a very dangerous serial rapist going around, and a town decides to impose a curfew on women, although it’s a man who’s doing the attacking (yes, that actually happened). You see how a curfew limits women’s freedom. So does following the standard “rape prevention” advice thrown at us.

      Let me tell you about the time I went to Mexico by myself. Despite living in Southern Cali, I had never been to Mexico. So I saved up some dough and was looking forward to a ten-day trip. At the last moment, the male friend who was going to accompany me had a family emergency and couldn’t go. Lots of women would have stayed home at that point. But I decided to go by myself. On my third day in Mexico City, I met these two guys and their pit bull in this little park. Now, I speak almost no Spanish and they spoke very little English, but somehow we managed to communicate. They ask where I’m from, how long I’ve been in MC, and what I’ve seen. When I rattle off the typical sightseeing spots, they go, “Oh, that’s tourist stuff. Come with us; we’ll show you the real MC.” They had their van parked nearby. Should I go with these two total strangers or play it safe and never get to see more of the city than what’s in the tourist brochures?

      Of course all kinds of horrible thoughts flashed through my mind. But I had a good feeling about these dudes and decided to trust my instincts. I climbed in the van. And I ended up having the most AMAZING time! They introduced me to gazillions of their friends and showed me parts of the city not covered in any travel guide. At night, we (that’s me and them and about 7-8 of their friends) went to a concert, and then we started hitting the bar and club scene. We were still partying when the sun came up. I had a total blast! But most women would have missed out on all of this fun and adventure because not getting into the vehicles of strangers is pretty much rape prevention 101.

      Most women already restrict their lives and limit their freedom in countless different ways that men do not. Because we know: If we don’t follow the standard rape prevention advice and we’re attacked, we are the ones who’ll be blamed. And that’s the second major problem with your suggestions. They promote victim blaming. Whether you want them to or not.

      The fact is that many people would have blamed me if I had been raped by those guys in MC. It would have been, “How could she be so stupid?” See, that’s the thing about women making “stupid” decisions that supposedly get them raped. These decisions become “stupid” only after the fact due to the actions of the rapist. My decision to get in that van worked out very well for me. I would have missed out on so much if I hadn’t gotten in that van. So, if I had been raped by these guys, it wouldn’t have been because I made a stupid decision; it would have been because they were rapists.

      As long as rape prevention is considered women’s responsibility, nothing will change. We can’t prevent rape because we (generally) aren’t the ones doing the raping. And while you say that of course rape is never the woman’s fault, there is a very fine line between arguing that a woman made a stupid decision that contributed to her getting raped and arguing that she is partly to blame because of that decision. Both arguments completely disappear the rapist and his actions.

  35. An excellent post about an idea with a long history. I’d take it even further, however. You said “Real rape victims want no sexual contact of any kind with their attackers…” I’d say that real rape victims want almost no sexual contact of any kind. If a girl or woman has a history of “promiscuity” (I’m using scare quotes here to signal what a subjective idea this is), this also damages her credibility in one of two ways: 1) She said yes before, several times, so what are the chances she said no this time?; or 2) She’s been more sexually active than we find acceptable or normal; therefore there’s no harm to be redressed. (This latter is why prostitutes have a hard time prosecuting rape.)

    The fact is that we, as a culture, have created a vast class of women who are disqualified as rape victims: women who drink or use drugs, women who wear clothing that someone finds provocative, women who walk alone at night, women who walk alone during the day, women who have sex with more than one person, women who make raunchy jokes, women who work in the sex industry, women who flirt with strangers in a bar, and the list goes on. It’s been the dominant paradigm for thousands of years, and I don’t hold out much hope that I will see an end to it in my lifetime. But calling bullshit on it, as your post does, is necessary if we ever want change.

  36. Aeryl, Samantha, Sasha… you keep saying similar things, which is totally fine. However, you are making these claims, which go against the “traditional” way of thinking. Therefore, I challenge you to prove that what you say is true. I have made some claims, which I backed up with evidence. No one has spoken against these intelligently or with proof, because the claims have turned out to be verifiable according to studies by professionals. You think porn is fine. Experts do not. You have other opinions. I challenge you to prove them. Please, prove it to me. I cannot simply trust your opinions, because 1) you are going to be biased, because you have been victimized. I am very sorry that you were and do not mean to demean or insult you, but it makes you inherently less likely to be able to make an objective judgment (as it would anyone in the same situation), and 2) you are not experts, nor are you citing expert/professional findings. Remedy the second point, and you will have my attention and perhaps even some agreement, based on facts. I do not consider the findings of the jury in the initial post to be a good and universal proof of your claims. Show a study or two… or three, or however many it takes.

    I sincerely hope you are not upset by this post. No, I am not being facetious. I really want to see the proof. I’m the type of person who needs to see the proof before I can accept something. Prove it to me.

    P.S. After carefully reading my links on the specific issue of porn’s effect on men, do you have any thoughts? Perhaps my suggestions that we get rid of it makes some logical sense? I think that, if there is something causing men to see women as objects rather than people (and, therefore, something to be used instead of someone to be respected and loved), then we should eliminate it from the equation of our society.

    • You know what, no.

      Apparently you’ve never been victimized so how can I POSSIBLY trust your judgment about any of this?

      Not nice when the tables are turned huh? The canard that rape victims cannot possibly act rational about rape, is a very sexist one, designed to keep the people with the most experience and investment in overcoming rape culture out of the discussion. It’s a silencing technique, and your use of it here, just blew what little credibility you had with me, and after this comment, I will be making no further attempts to engage with you.

      As far as your studies, I’ve never said anything against them, I just said that if its not porn it will be something else. And also, read Echidn’e blog sometime if you want to know how easy it is for researchers to get a study to reach their pre-established conclusions, so the fact that you keep pointing them out is irrelevant. There are plenty of people, feminists and anti-feminists alike, who have dedicated the careers to proving the “evils” of pornography, and their words mean as little as oil company CEO’s about climate change.

      And you still haven’t acknowledged that what you want to happen, is that victims(mostly women) should live their lives with LESS freedom, and hope that makes shit better. That you are making preventing rape the victim’s responsibility.

      I think that, if there is something causing men to see women as objects rather than people (and, therefore, something to be used instead of someone to be respected and loved), then we should eliminate it from the equation of our society.

      Yes, there is something in our society that makes men see women as objects, and it’s not porn, it’s EVERYTHING. From advertisements, popular culture, exclusion of women’s accomplishments from education curriculum, to well meaning fools on the internet who think policing women’s behavior solves rape, all of it contributes to the culture that creates objectification.

  37. Pingback: Sunday Reading « zunguzungu

  38. Pingback: Bittersuesz – Knipserei, Worte & mehr von Ann Teegen » Warum ich am Slutwalk teilnehme / Why I participate in the Slutwalk

  39. Aeryl, I didn’t ask you or anyone to trust my judgment. I asked you to prove it. If you can’t, that’s fine. If you can, please do.

    I am the furthest thing from sexist and, if you really knew me, you would know that.

    In any official situation (legal, for example), people who are damaged/traumatized/emotionally invested in a decision are excluded from direct decision-making. I wouldn’t trust the family of a murder victim to be objective about a case (they would sentence an innocent person to death sometimes, or maybe often, without knowing it… why? Because they weren’t able to be objective. It’s not silencing. It’s rational). Their opinions should be studied and valued to an extent, but not taken as gospel truth. Oh, and I never said that it was impossible that rape victims could think rationally about rape. I said it is unwise to take it as the only POV, which you are.

    I find it hard to believe that you ever gave me any semblance of credibility, based on your method of addressing me in previous posts. You assumed that, because I said something that you disagreed with, that I was automatically wrong and even an “enemy.” Your diction was aggressive and attacking. I don’t want to be the enemy. I want/ed to discuss possible solutions, but you shot my comments down. That’s fine; it’s your opinion, but it won’t move the conversation along unless there is constructive feedback. But you probably think you gave that.

    You said nothing against my studies but, as with other things, you refused to acknowledge the value of those findings. Those studies were done by women who you automatically assume are just horrible fake feminists (or anti-feminists) trying to make a buck or establish their career. And why? Because they disagree with your opinion??? Madness.

    The world is far from perfect. People of all backgrounds, shapes, sizes, creeds, and colors have to give up some things to avoid the negative events that are or can be connected to them. If you aren’t prepared to make sacrifices for your benefit, then know that, in this imperfect world, you will end up getting hurt. Not just by rape, but by so many other things. Maybe one day, in a perfect world, you will not have to worry about drinking and hanging around druggies. Maybe you won’t have to worry about the potential that your every acquaintance may be sexually twisted. But you have to face facts. In this world, in reality, you have to take some steps to protect yourself. It is your responsibility to do everything you can, because no one else will.

    This doesn’t just apply to women, you know. I hold guys at least as accountable for their actions and their choices. They should be held to the highest standard, one of respecting women with deep and profound caring. Obviously, they should show the same level of respect for their male counterparts. I am all for limiting the “freedom” of men to engage in harmful behaviors in order to help them to become better people and to protect society. You always have to give something up if you want to get something else. Give up sex for virginity (if that is important to you). Give up partying for studying (to get into that great school). Give up TV time to train to be that incredible athlete. Life is about sacrifice after sacrifice. Learn it, or you’ll never be happy.

    You cannot have your cake and eat it too, not in this crappy mess of a world we call reality. There are consequences to every action. Maybe there should not be some consequences… maybe those types of problems shouldn’t exist. Wake up. They DO. I’m all for trying to heal a broken world, but until we do, we’ve gotta give some things up. When all people are respectful and non-violent, no more rules. Not gonna happen (at least any time soon).

    You would have to show me all kinds of data on how using porn with consensual characteristics to educate children on healthy sexuality is a good idea. It’s just not true, if you look at the facts. Child psychologists, researchers, experts… they will all tell you that those are not the ways. Letting people have free, rampant, casual sex will never foster respect for people. That makes people feel that others are toys to play with, “so long as they are ok with it.” People aren’t toys. People are precious.

    You should research how males’ minds work. You should look at how porn changes them. Research the thought processes of rapists. Get to know the “enemy.” You’ll begin to see that your version of utopia is little more than a fantasy, something that will never work. I’ve been looking into this data for years and years. Your opinions and views will not work. Sorry.

    Of COURSE there is more to the equation than porn. You have a 10 year plan for changing the culture? Please, enlighten this “well-meaning fool.”

    My life has been an exercise in policing my own behaviors and attitudes to foster respect and love for others. If you aren’t prepared to do so for yourself and your actions, be prepared for the consequences. I wish you hadn’t been raped. I hope you never experience anything horrible again. I hope you heal from past trauma. I am very frustrated, however, because until you have a change of heart and ideology, I am fairly sure that you are in for a lot more pain and sorrow.

    Preventing rape is not primarily the victim’s responsibility. It is primarily the responsibility of society, of parents, teachers, and the people themselves, to prevent themselves and others from becoming rapists. But it is your body. IF you can do anything to make it less likely that you will be raped, DO IT. It might happen anyway. I, as a rational and sane person, would rather give up some things which may even be fun in order to prevent the possibility that I get raped.

    Tell me, how (besides getting rid of all these pesky “limiting” suggestions) can we help people NOT become rapists? What steps can we take? I want to see educated suggestions. Facts and logic. Please prove it to me. The burden is on you to do so.

    • You’ve made it very clear that you believe what’s wrong this world is too much freedom, not enough, and that’s why we cannot constructively engage. I don’t believe in fundamentalism.

      I also know “males minds work” any different than women’s(referring to men as males and women as females, is dehumanizing, btw) so I have no interest in learning anything that reinforces that patriarchal paradigm.

      I don’t worry that every acquaintance is a possible rapist, as that would interfere with leading the life I want to live, and inhibit the choices that I make, and I don’t let fear make those choices for me. Probably because I’ve been raped.

      You want to live a shallow vacant shadow of a life, out of choice, because of your irrational fears, go ahead. But I have a feeling you’ll be walking that path alone.

  40. Fixing previous comment

    “don’t…work’ no different” NOT any

  41. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2013870/Robber-broke-hair-salon-beaten-black-belt-owner-kept-sex-slave-days–fed-Viagra.html

    What you think about this? The whole, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach to rape culture. Will most feminists will rejoice to hear of this woman’s illegal/awesome actions, or will they call her a rapist and a monster the way they would a man?

    • No, feminists don’t rejoice when men are raped. Quite the opposite. We don’t want ANYONE to be raped. You don’t fight rape culture by contributing to it.

      While I recommend taking anything you read in the Daily Mail with a big grain of salt, the comments to the post you linked are atrocious. But unfortunately not surprising. Rape is, once again, confused with sex, and of course “real men” want sex all the time and with any woman who’s not completely hideous, so the robber-turned-victim is a lucky guy! These are the same people who will slut-shame female rape victims and recognize rape as a crime only in the tiny number of cases where there’s a virginal “worthy” victim and an assault that occurred according to the “real rape” script.

      • And that just goes to show you how steeped in rape culture that people are, that someone would post that article, and expect you to be tickled about it. Are that we find rape acceptable when a woman is the perpetrator.


  42. “Your “right” to hold your rapist accountable is, essentially, your right to lock someone up. It is therefore contingent on your ability to PROVE that they have committed a crime that voids their right to freedom. This has been the basis of all Western jurisprudence since the Enlightenment.”

    This has been the basis of PATRIARCHAL Western jurisprudence since the Enlightenment.

    But the patriarchal paradigm is based on (rich white) males’ privilege, not that of their subordinates.

    The very act of making rape illegal– ie, denying men their privilege to have a woman (or anyone they want) sexually –goes against the patriarchal paradigm.

    Therefore, any “jurisprudence” established under this paradigm ignores the rights of those not included in the dominant class.

    “If she did not make it clear that she did not want to have sex, than no crime occurred. It is as simple as that.”

    ‘If she did not make it clear that she DID want to have sex, than a crime occurred, it is as simple as that.’ [emphasis mine]

    This is the key element in the Assange case– in Sweden, the accused has to show that the accuser AGREED to have sex; the accuser does NOT have to show that she did NOT agree.

    When we put those who have been raped on trial, surely THEY are the ones who should be assumed as “innocent until proven guilty” — the accused should have to prove that he/she RECEIVED consent.

    “It is not hard to express that you do not want sex. If that expression does not take place, I am not comfortable ending someone’s life as they know it by putting them in prison.”

    WHY should the person who was going about her own business, doing her job, WHATEVER, have the burden placed on HER to SAY NO.

    The idea that rapists/men should BE ABLE to assume YES unless told NO is the very foundation of male privilege and patriarchy!

    Morgaine Pendragon
  43. “IME, false rape accusations are exceedingly rare.”

    Interesting claim. Results from courts may prove otherwise, unless you are basing it on some other statistic which is certainly going to be heinously unfounded (:

    Trollage aside, what would your definition of ‘rape’ then be? You’ve shown what is obviously true, namely that this notion of “real rape” is clearly too narrow, but you throw this word around as though it means something distinct.

  44. Pingback: On the (Rest of the) Net. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  45. Pingback: » What Sasha Said abigailreader

  46. Pingback: Foley Square Protest Against NYC Cop Rape Acquittal « Musings in Manhattan

  47. Pingback: The Best Sign Titles at Philadelphia SlutWalk « Duct • Tape • Dance

  48. Thank you so much for this post. My friends are posting links on our Facebook pages as we have all started a discussion on New Zealand’s rape culture. I have been raped, and so have many of my friends, both male and female and it’s about time we started talking about the issue publicly.

  49. now time to raise women s power
    for their defense
    lets make a community for that to represent it in front of the whole world
    for that i need the support of all the women s of different region to make this dream possible
    have to do something friends to oppose such things
    come forward and support me if u can

  50. I was raped when I was young at the age of 7. This occurred for many years and barely a survivor. It takes long time to understand and accept what just happen. When this happen, I did not cry, I did not scream, and I did not try to escape. Instead, I was confuse. I would like to change the past in order to leave a better life. “Real rape”, what is the meaning then. I hate when girls/boys (who already what rape means) lie about this, the feeling of being rape is……… …. I don’t know. In respect for children that are raped or sexually assault, people should stop lying, and if they are getting drunk, don’t. One thing I learned is never trust anyone, anyone not even your own shadow. (You get my point). Sorry if I offended someone, but I took my feelings out.
    Thank you

  51. As a woman, I think all women who FILE FAKE RAPE ACCUSATIONS should receive the same amount of JAIL TIME as CONVICTED RAPISTS.

    The problem with FAKE RAPE ACCUSATIONS is that it prevents prosecutors from spending time on REAL RAPE CASES.

    FAKE RAPE ACCUSATIONS will end when females start receiving the same punishment as their would be attackers.

    ALLEGED RAPE VICTIMS should be given a lie detector test before they file a RAPE ACCUSATION.

    P.S.: I love this website. Sasha rocks!!!

  52. Pingback: (Role)playing the Victim - Femmedia

  53. Pingback: DrugR» Blog Archive » Drugs – Not a human rights issue? Not a big issue?

  54. The first couple of posts on here are infuriating to me. FUCK U.

    “the thoughts and feelings you are describing here can be categorized as borderline personality disorder”

    really? have u EVER been raped? I was looking on this site to get help. I go from rage to “normal”. Show me your PHd with the statement you made.

  55. I know I’m about 2 years late but I absolutely must comment on this. You have hit the nail directly on the head with this one.

    When I was 20 years old, I was raped. My friends and I all got together and were drinking, and one of my friends brought her older brother.

    He was very touchy feely all night but seemed to know that “no” meant “no”. Or so I thought.

    I had snuck off from everyone else for a little while and he followed me. He said he was just checking up on me and looking out for me, so I thought nothing of it. He began pushing himself on me trying to make out with me and I allowed it. He began entering his hands into my pants and that’s when I drew the line. He wasn’t understanding that I didn’t want that. He had penetrated me with his fingers. He then began pushing my head down so I would perform oral sex, and every time I would say no and get my head away, he would still find a way to enter his genetalia into my mouth.

    He tried to pull down my pants quite a few times – and I eventually just stopped resisting. I was tired. He tried to enter me and I got what seemed like my second wind and found the strength to push him off me, just as he was beginning to enter me.

    Afterwards, I cried. I couldn’t understand why I was crying. It wasn’t rape, was it? He didn’t penetrate me with his manhood, he didn’t abuse me or threaten me, or make me feel scared. How is that rape? It was my fault, wasn’t it? I lead him on. I let him kiss me. Even though I told him “no” and “stop”, I didn’t stop kissing him. So, it was my fault; it was consensual, it was me leading him on, it was a lot of things but it wasn’t rape. Right?

    Wrong. No means no. Stop means stop. It took me so long to understand that just because this isn’t the textbook rape from Law and Order, that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t rape. Giving someone permission to kiss you is not giving someone permission to have intercourse with you. And it took me so long to understand that and get out of denial.

    I wish it weren’t that way. I wish rape wasn’t so black and white. I wish people understood that they could be raped by their husbands, or wives, or boyfriends, or family members, or friends or strangers. No means no and once that’s ignored, it’s rape. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

  56. I hope I am not too late for my comment. My hole nightmare is reflected in here, exept that I didn’t lie or change my behavior even thougd most people thimnk i am lying. The first one was the policeman that came to my house, he told me that tit was a week case to wait the next day and go to court and file a restriction order.that is the reazon why there is not police report or DNA prove..I try to open the case once but they said that there isn’t DNA prove, so stupit I have a dauhter as a result of the first time he raped me, and when we were on parenting therapist he admitted that both time there was penetration but he did not rape me

  57. My girl was clubbing w her girlfriends one night and was slipped something into her drink. We looked for her for three and a half days. She had been at the riviera and a black man was the one who did it to her.

    What really bothers me is that she won’t file a police report because she says she “just wants to forget about it” and “doesn’t wanna go through that”, and “doesn’t wanna have to see him face to face in court”. What do you guys think? Excuse my language but I can’t stop thinking of bashing this motherfukers head in.

    • Also I might add she has been raped twice before when she was younger. She’s 24 now

    • Depending on state law or rules, she may be able to file an information without a criminal complaint. One of my sisters did this for an attempted rape and unlawful restraint and later was able to testify at the (trial or sentencing hearing) of the man who assaulted her when he was tried and convicted of raping another woman. Even though it was just her word with no proof, the judge was able to take her and several other women the man had raped or attempted to rape into consideration in sentencing. The “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard does not apply to sentencing.

  58. Thank you for this.

  59. Hi Sasha, Who can I contact about a rapist who went to trial and was convicted innocent about four years ago, now I know the girls he done this to and lots are being said? Please help me put him where he belongs!! What’s really sad is he’s my brother and he raped one of my nieces and tried with another. I finally got more information from another girl he tried with and my brothers wife saw what he did a few times. I’m just stunned by all of this. I need some advise on what to do. thank you for hearing me out.

  60. Very very accurate- you hit the nail on the head. A friend of mine and I were raped when we were 15 (now 31) by two men posing as a music producer and a representative from Arista Records. The case happened right before Christmas, and after prepping is for trial, we simply got a phone call letting us know that the defendants had signed a plea bargain admitting to “forced oral copulation” and had each gotten 6 months in County jail. One of them was even granted a 6 month suspension of his sentence so that he could finish selling his house. My Hellas Angels relatives offered to “take care of it for me” before charges were pressed, but I, silly and naive, declined in favor of doing things the “right way” and letting the law do its job. The police officer who came to my house to take my statement left in tears. I’m not making that up. His name was Officer Burkhart, and he was a decent human being in a sea of red tape, political posturing, absurd stereotypes and outdated, inaccurate beliefs about society, women, and sexual crimes. I had to be homeschooled for half of tenth grade because i was such a mess. These people had taken my desperation to make it as a singer/songwriter and turned it into something I couldn’t bear to think of for quite a long time. When I was 23, I was caught with a fake ID that had a real person’s name on it who lived in another state. It’s a very long story, but what’s relevant about it is that I was charged and convicted of aggravated identity theft and thrown in federal prison with a 2 year mandatory minimum sentence. The ID was never used and was made by my boyfriend at the time because he wanted me to do something stupid like return something to Walmart that was stolen. The point is, I got two years for a first offense at 23 years old, was pregnant when indicted and had to take my 3 year old and 9 month old with me to self surrender at an out of state prison for posessing an ID with a name on it that wasn’t mine next to my picture. 12 years prior, two middle aged black men tricked two 15 year old girls that they were being given a chance at a music career and then trapped and raped them and laughed as they made us walk home in shock and tears and they were given 6 months each in County and an opportunity to settle their affairs. I hate the world we live in.

  61. Simple rape – unwanted sexual contact without provable violence – is a matter of the state of mind of the alleged rape victim. The “she said, he said” thing.
    Without other evidence, if the accused rapist admits sexual contact with the alleged victim, but denies that he (most accused rapists are male) used violence or the threat of violence against the alleged victim, rape cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. He may not be innocent but he is not guilty.
    If the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” is reduced for rape, why not for all crime? Mere accusation sufficient for conviction.

Leave a Reply to Aeryl Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s