Get Real! Rape Is Not Her Fault

James asks:

Heather, I just found a question from ‘samy-baby’  on Scarleteen concerning rape. I’m afraid you appeared all too eager to label the bloke as unsafe and
‘stay well away from him’, given that the girl openly admitted within
the first words of her sentence that she gets her boyfriend
stupid-horny then says "no sex", that’s just cruel, and I doubt many
men would tolerate it. I’ve made it abundantly clear with my girlfriend
that if she makes the effort to turn me into a horn-monster, she should
finish through or I’m usually very pissed off; not to say that I’d go
ahead and have sex with her anyway. All I’m saying is you failed to
advise this girl that if she doesn’t want to have sex, then she
shouldn’t get her boyfriend horny.

Heather replies:

a person, behaving in a healthy way, chooses not to tolerate a certain
dynamic in a relationship they dislike or which makes them unhappy,
what they choose to do is set a limit. If that limit is not respected
by a partner, they then terminate the relationship and potentially
contact with that person. If the young woman asking the question had
indeed been cruel to her partner in any way, the appropriate response
from her partner would be to either address that cruelty with her and
come to some agreement on how to be assured it would not happen again,
or for her partner to choose to leave the relationship to end that

A healthy, humane response to a cruelty is not to be cruel in your
own way back. A healthy, humane response to wanting something from
someone which they do not also want is not forcing them to give it to
you, or making them feel that they are obligated to provide it — or
face your anger — when they do not want to do so.

No one is responsible for "making someone horny." In fact, much of
the time, none of us — not you, not me, not Samy, not your girlfriend
— has any control at all over whether or not someone experiences
sexual desire.

If we could actually have that kind of complete control, a whole
genre of books and magazines for men and women alike which pull in a
bundle in profits every year, all about endless strategies on how to
arouse desire in others, written for masses of people very frustrated
that they do not have that magical ability, would be wiped from
bookstore shelves. And that, my friend, is a LOT of books which would
be missing. It’s silly, for sure, that by now people don’t realize that
even when they want that power, they can rarely have or harness it, and
it’s silly for people to spend untold dollars trying to get that
elusive power, but here you are, among their number.

My telling someone not to "make her boyfriend horny" would be a
really ineffectual and ridiculous thing to say. Not only does any of us
have the vaguest idea how to avoid doing that, given how arbitrary and
random sexual desires among people tend to be, it’s also far beside the
point, and how her boyfriend behaves around her in terms of his sexual
desire is not her responsibility. It’s his. Nothing she can do,
sparing taking his hand and putting it in her pants, makes what his
hand does her responsibility, and none of us — of any gender — are
not the person in complete control of how we choose to behave around
other people.

The fact that young women often feel responsible has an awful lot to
do with the fact that men tell them they’re responsible to deny or
evade their own responsibilities. And it’s very typical, in any kind of
abusive dynamic, sexual or otherwise, for the abuser to blame the
victim routinely in order to refuse accountability. In a physically
abusive relationship, for instance, after a man hits his partner, he
might often say to her, "If you’d only do what I ask you to do, I
wouldn’t have to hit you like this." His partner hears that often
enough, and she starts to believe him. Given it seems like Samy is
expressing a history of parents who have not been healthy when it comes
to sex, she likely thinks a lot of things are in her control which
aren’t, because these kinds of tactics are very common with abusive
people, and she’s probably heard them before. That same kind of belief
despite reason — Samy’s or yours — can also happen through cultural
indoctrination with certain ideas. The idea that women are responsible
for male desire or arousal, however ridiculous — especially since much
of the time, that desire is aroused when women not only don’t intend to
do so, but when arousing it is the last thing we’d want to do — is
pervasive because men feeling entitled to women when they want them,
entitled to sex with women when they want it, and entitled to call all
the shots when it comes to getting what they want is pervasive.
Thankfully, plenty of men are smart enough, strong enough and
compassionate enough — and see sex as mutual pleasure, not
masturbation on someone else — to see the profound error in that way
of thinking and resist that baloney. Thankfully, over the last few
decades, we’ve had more cultural awareness about rape, sexual abuse and
attitudes which enable rape so that even those who once thought that
way — and perhaps still fight feeling that way — are dedicated to not
behave in alignment with those kinds of ideas which harm and devastate
all of us.

Even the way that you’ve said you’ve addressed your girlfriend
speaks to the kind of projection of responsibility and entitlement I’m
talking about. The fact that something she does arouses your desire
does not obligate her to perform a given sexual activity you want or to
bring you to orgasm, or justify you in being angry with her if she does
not share that same desire. The way you’ve summed up Samy’s post is
pretty inaccurate and telling. She did not, in fact, say she makes a
habit of "turning her boyfriend into a horn-monster," then telling him
they can’t have sex. She described one situation in which she felt
responsible for her boyfriend’s sexual desire, but was not interested
in a certain kind of sex he wanted, declined that sex, and he did it to
her anyway, while she continued to decline it, then later rationalized
what he did then and how he has done this to her before, by telling her
what she likes and that she likes this. You appear to be trying very
hard to make this her fault and take the responsibility away from her
partner and other men like him.

I’m not sure what you think went on here, but based on the years I
have spent talking to young men and women alike about sex, usually when
someone says they "made someone horny," they do not mean they came out
in lingerie, gave them a lap dance, told them all the sexual things
they were going to do with them, then turned around and said "Psych!"
(In the event that is what happened, I, in fact, DID address that using
sex as a manipulation is not sound, safe or kind.) Rather, what they
usually mean when they say that is simply that they were around that
person, or doing something like making out with that person or doing
another sexual activity which they both wanted to do, which aroused
their sexual interest.

But it’s pretty easy to show up the double standard when it comes to
the idea that any of us creates desire and are obligated to meet it:
when you say this, you don’t mean this applied to any of us. You likely
mean it about women and men, and not in a vice-versa kind of way. If I,
as a woman, am around a man who arouses my sexual interest and he does
not feel the same interest for me, or wish to indulge my interest
sexually, do I then have the right, somehow, to force my hand into his pants?
To continue doing something to him sexually while he is telling me no?
If you, as man, aroused another man’s sexual interest in some way,
would he then have the right to do sexual things to you against your
will? Really? To be angry with you when you refused to do whatever he

If you and I were sexual partners, and you felt sexually finished
after one or two activities, but I didn’t feel at all done and forced
you to give — or insisted on you giving — me every kind of sex I
wanted for another couple of hours, even some you didn’t want or like,
even if you no longer found me attractive but creepy as hell, even when
you felt done and did not want to anymore, even if it was physically
painful because you were not aroused or interested, with no regard for
your boundaries or what you wanted, that would be okay with you? Would
that be understandable: as in, you’d understand why I did that to you
and feel that I had every right to treat you that way? If so, I gotta
tell you to adjust your thinking, because if anyone ever does that to
you, for the sake of your own well-being, mental health and safety, I
hope you do not try and justify or enable that kind of abuse.

Did you see how I bolded that bit about you not wanting or
liking something sexual? I did that because this can often the The
Great Brain Stopper for some men when it comes to these issues. Some
men feel strongly that there is no kind of sex they wouldn’t want or
like given the opportunity. Now, that’s likely not true: most of those
guys just haven’t yet had an experience where that’s happened yet. A
lot of men have a tough time understanding that when a partner is
raping you, forcing sex on you you don’t want, or exerting their power
over you abusively, even if they were attractive to you before, they
very quickly are not usually attractive any more: they become
repulsive. Some men will also state that they want sex so much that
even sex by force, with someone they aren’t attracted to, would be
alright by them. Gotta call bullshit on that one, too, but let’s
pretend it IS true that there is no kind of sex, with anyone, in any
dynamic, which wouldn’t be something you wanted. Even if that’s so?
That’s NOT so for most people and not so for most women. So, in trying
to understand this, you have to make a point of doing your level best
to envision scenarios in which what was going on was not something you
would want, where what was being suggested or happening was acutely,
intensely, something you did not want to do.

You say you wouldn’t force your girlfriend to have sex with you if
you got turned on, but you would be pissed off, and have made clear to
her that you fully expect that when you feel that desire around her she
should know she’s expected to satiate you to your satisfaction. What if
we were talking about you here? If you "made" your girlfriend horny,
and she wants a kind of sex to feel satisfied you don’t want — let’s
say, forcing her fingers into your anus, or her genitals unto your face
— do you think it would be reasonable for her to be pissed off at you?
Do you feel like it would be reasonable for you to expect that if you
aroused her desire in any way, including intentionally, that her
fingers were going into your bum because she wants to do that, even
when you don’t? If you answered yes to either of those questions, I
have to call your bluff, since it’d be pretty unlikely you did. And
even if you did, I’d have to tell you that whether we’re talking about
men or women, that’s just not a healthy sexual dynamic based in mutual
pleasure and care.

Agreeing to make out or agreeing to be near someone is not an
agreement to have any or every kind of sex that person might want, or
even to continue the agreed-upon activity past the point of wanting to
do so. Engaging in one sexual activity with a partner never obligates
anyone to engage in any or all of them, until the other person feels
their wants are met — in conflict with the wants of the other — nor
negates the validity of someone’s no. The partner who wants sex is
never the one whose needs are put first: if we’re earnest about wanting
to have sex with someone else, not to them or on them or at
them, earnest about wanting a partnership, not a dictatorship, then
whenever our partners are not interested in doing something sexual we
want, we defer to them. And after all, we can always tend to our sexual
needs with our own two hands.

You might also notice a particularly telling dynamic in Samy’s
story. What her boyfriend did to her was not even about his own need
for a physical, sexual release: he put his hand down HER pants forcibly
AFTER they had already had sex together (presumably consensually).
Doing so would have been very unlikely to bring him to orgasm, or
alleviate any physical sexual frustration on his part. Rather, what he
did was make a clear demonstration that she is not allowed to deny him
what he wants, when he wants it, and that her no — when he wants a yes
— is meaningless. He doesn’t ask her what she likes: he tells
her. His actions make clear that he feels that her sexual desire, if
and when it is present, is a non-issue. What he did was not about his
feeling horny or wanting to get off, and he may well have gotten off
already with the sex they already had: it was about his need to make
clear who is in change, and that it very much is not her. This is
textbook sexual abuse.

It’s not overeager to let someone know that a person who forces sex
— especially more than once, as Samy stated has happened — unto them
while they are saying no, declining that sex, is not a safe person to
be around. In the event that I’m wrong, and he is safe, it’s still a
win-win. Not staying with him won’t harm either of them. In the event
that you’re right, my whole idea about this situation and all of what I
know about rape and abuse is totally backwards, and the cruelty here is
hers or some other woman’s, leaving spares that guy more cruelty,
doesn’t it? If not, why not?

I have a tough time swallowing the idea that if you were to be in
the position where someone was going to routinely not take no for an
answer from you sexually, and force you to do sexual things you did not
want to do, or when you did not want to do them, continuing to do so
while you were saying — and meaning — no, that you’d feel like that
was a safe situation to you, and that were you in that position, did I
not posit that wasn’t safe — or tell you you asked for it — you’d
feel like I was responding in the best interest of your well-being.

Here’s hoping, for your sake, for your girlfriend’s sake, and for
anyone else you may interact with, that you consider adjusting your
thinking on this. And I don’t just say that for her sake, especially
since she’s got the option of finding someone with healthier sexual
attitudes to be with — you, on the other hand, are stuck with you. The
way you’re thinking tends to not only be detrimental to her (if you
care about her, and another men around her feels he arouses her desire
and owes him like you feel she woes you, will it seem like such a great
idea then?) and other women, it also really hinders you and other men
from experiencing bonafide partnership with women, real character and
real masculinity, and sex that is really about shared desire and pleasure, which blows the freaking roof off of the alternative, emotionally as well as physically.

To be frank, any woman who writes on rape or interpersonal abuse
issues at all, and who advises women to merely keep themselves safe by
getting away from men who endanger or harm them gets responses like
this. I get letters from men somewhat regularly explaining to me, as if
I were just a foolish child who did not understand the world despite 38
years of living in it, why women deserve to be raped, why women make
men so miserable or unhappy that men "have" to rape us or abuse us, how
we could protect ourselves by just structuring the whole of our lives
in response to what men want from us (despite the fact that men vary
widely and that doing so it a literal impossibility, on top of an
absolute insult). I have also, of course, gotten plenty of emails over
the years letting me know all of the ways in which I and other women
deserve all manner of abuses, and how men are excused in doling them
out. These kinds of responses — including your own — are constant
object lessons which only tend to demonstrate exactly the kinds of
dynamics we’re working to help people escape, break free of and change.

Oddly enough, we do not tend to get these kinds of responses, ever,
when we advise men on how to be safe from other men, from abusive women
in their lives, nor do we get these kinds of responses from women no
matter who we’re advising to keep themselves safe. Male writers on
these issues also do not tend to get these kinds of responses as often,
which is hardly a shocker. And I generally do not answer these kinds of
responses. In part that’s because there are a lot of them, and if I
published them all, I’d scare and depress the hell out of a lot of
people when it came to men: I love men as much as I love women and
don’t want the women who would read them to get the impression that
these kinds of responses are sound representations of all men. They’re
not: many, many men — maybe even most men — are bigger than this,
kinder than this, smarter than this, better men than this. (They also
tend to feel less of a need to tell women "how it is" like this, or to
pretend to be friendly with me when they’re saying things which enable
violence and inequality towards me and other women.) Plus, more times
than not, it’s an exercise in futility. This may well be one too, for
all I know, but I’d love for you to prove me wrong.

But I like to think that if I do every now and then, someone on the
fence or struggling with these attitudes might see that there are
healthier alternatives which are better for everyone, not just for the
partner who is made to feel responsible for other’s actions or
feelings, obligated to have sex when that’s not what they want, or who
is assaulted because someone decided they are entitled to have dominion
over that person.

Heck, even if nothing I say in response has any merit to you or
anyone else, your own words might help someone out simply by showing up
these attitudes for exactly what they are, for as pervasive as they
are, and for as flawed and tragic as they are.

I’m tossing out a couple links here, both to material on the site,
as well as at other sites which maybe — just maybe — might clue you
in a bit more.

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  • invalid-0

    Wow. Methinks the lady doth protest too much. You really don’t understand men, do you? You also manufacture the very “double standard” you speak of by using imprecise language, and using “Desire” ( as a catch-all term for what are actually a strikingly diverse number of feelings and sensations.

    Having spoken at length on the subject with my girlfriend over several years, I’ve finally come to vaguely understand how women approach “desire,” and it is a completely alien process to men. Similarly, the male arousal cycle is a completely alien process to most women, as you’ve just demonstrated.

    The problem is that you take no steps to educate either gender about the disparity (and for teens, the very wide disparity) in their usual approaches to sex. You assume a completely female perspective and in so doing, label these bumbling idiots “rapists”. I do not deny that they are doing harm, but there is a very real difference between harm from ignorance and harm from malice.

    Indeed, one of your fundamental assumptions is demonstrably false. You talk about books dedicated to the art of seduction, and they do indeed do a good business. Of course people can seduce one another… which is why so many books have been written on HOW to go about it. Seduction is not mind control, of course… but it doesn’t have to be. All it has to be is body control.

    Really, though, you’re looking at the wrong industry. If it were truly impossible to incite desire in people, then strippers and prostitutes could carry out their business with a lot less overhead. If they really could make the same amount of money without the hair, the makeup, the clothes, and most importantly, the attitude, then they certainly wouldn’t go through all that trouble.

    But of course they do, because of course it works, and as in any industry, the ones that do so with more skill get more money. And, of course, because that’s how evolution works, silly, such skills do come naturally to all people to greater or lesser degrees.

    Samy-baby is indeed getting “raped”, though out of ignorance. Chances are decent that if her boyfriend knew she was even seriously asking the question, he’d be horrified and stop immediately. At the same time, Samy-baby is just as clearly clearly sending mixed messages and being very cruel… probably out of ignorance again.

    What these two kids need is more information and more encouragement to communicate and work it out( Sure, it’s possible that this boyfriend is some complete asshole who was abused as a kid and has all kinds of power and control issues. But it’s far more likely that neither of them really understands what the other one wants. “Back off, horndog, I’m sore!” is simply a lot clearer than “Umm… we’re not going to have any more sex… today.”

  • harry834

    why can’t she say "no" and the guy accept that…without accusing her of anything?

    A serious question.

  • mellankelly1

    I do not deny that they are doing harm, but there is a very real difference between harm from ignorance and harm from malice.

    You’re going to need to explain the "very real difference" to me.  Whether I was raped by an idiot or a sociopath matters not to me… I was raped and it makes no difference if my rapist claimed ignorance.  Ignorance is no excuse for rape… attempting to excuse rape is abhorrent.


  • invalid-0

    I am a 66 year old father of girls and grand-father of girls. I have never raped anyone, nor advocated raping anyone.

    I did provide counseling services from my home for divorced fathers, for ten years.

    One of the first requirements for a person giving counseling advice is they should know what they are talking about. You should try it for a change.

    For at least ten thousand years, a certain phenomenon has been observed.

    Young men do certain things to prove to themselves they are men, Dangerous things. In some cultures, war things. In others, great feats of strength and daring.

    Young women also do certain things to prove to themselves they are women. They may wear high heels, a bit of lipstick, perhaps tight jeans, whatever. They learn they are attractive to men, which makes them feel like women. They enjoy seeing men turn as they pass.

    Some young men get carried away trying to prove they are men. They do extremely dangerous things. Some of them do not survive their feats.

    Some young women, a few, fortunately, get carried away trying to prove they are women. They engage in explicit behavior, deliberately “making men horny”, as your poster described, yet have no intention of engaging in sexual activity. They are fascinated by their ability to turn men on, not only flirting, which isn’t that bad. But, even preening against them, rubbing their bodies against the men, and more. This very small number of women become fascinated or addicted to the male response to their teasing. I can only assume there is some sort of sexual gratification for such young women, but as a man I am not sure. They gloat over their ability to “make the men horny.” And, if you don’t know this happens, you are a silly, little fool.

    The same name for these women has been used for a very long time. Teasers. My generation back in the Fifties called them more explicitly, p***k teasers.

    I suggest you are either very naive about such women, or in denial.

    As far as your sarcastic comment about magazines, try reading COSMOPOLITAN. They definitely have such articles. So do a lot of other magazines for women and girls.

    Don’t waste your psychobabble accusing me of encouraging or defending rape, etc., etc., blah, blah. In fact my advice to young men is to avoid such women like the plague. They are sick, twisted individuals who bring destruction wherever they go. And, you are doing women no favor by failing to teach them modest behavior.

  • invalid-0

    You know what? Everyone has hands. If two people are consenting to be physical, and one of them decides they have had enough, then that is it. If the other person still desires to engage in physical stimulation, well, they have hands and can finish it themselves. Just because a girl may happen to turn her boyfriend on, and then decides she has had enough, well, that does not give him permission to finish himself by USING her body. It should not matter if she deliberatly turned him on just to go on and say no, the answer is still no. If he has a problem with that, then perhaps he should decide he cannot be with her and end the relationship. It reminds me of a story of a prositute, who was well known. One day, she was walking down the street when she was approached by a young man. She declined, and he raped her, saying “You give it up all the time, so why say no now.”

    No means no, regardless of how this situation starts. Show a little respect.

  • invalid-0

    Saying Umm… we’re not going to have any more sex… today,” IS pretty frigging clear! And the guy is not accidentally raping anyone, he’s raping, PERIOD. He’s forcing himself on her and then not taking any responsibility for his action.

    You’re obviously of the camp that women are supposed to be the gatekeepers of men’s sexuality and desire, and in doing so, you’re placing responsiblity on the shoulders of women that does not belong to them as well as belittling men.

    I may find women I look at desireable and attractive, but I do not rape them because that is wrong. *I* am in control of myself, and I would not blame it on women in the first place.

    YOU are, as well as the guy who wrote in. It’s sick, stupid, and if buddy does not recognize it, then he needs help, or his girlfriend needs to call the cops.

    I’m just absolutely boggled that you’re confusing one line with the other in your ending statement since both are saying no, with the only difference being a reason in the first and just saying no in the second. Guess what? No means No, and if you can’t respect that then you not respecting women, instead falling back on the old idiocy of how men are stupid sexual animals that don’t know what they’re doing. It’s inexcusable and you’re only harming in perpetrating this kind of thought.

    I am a man. I am not an animal, and I *AM* responsible for my own actions.

  • amanda-marcotte

    That the first comment is by a rape apologist?  It’s amazing how many men think rape is an appropriate way to punish women for being uppity.  Yes, women may not have money or political power, but we have miniskirts, and that’s too much power and we must be punished for stepping out of line!  *sigh*

  • amanda-marcotte

    Why do all the child support obsessives also get behind rape apology narratives?  I guess it’s because blaming rape on women feeds the narrative that everything under the sun is women’s fault, and therefore adds to the belief that women are undeserving of financial help from fathers.

  • heather-corinna

    For the record?


    I think if the kind of men someone like irlandes is talking to, should they share his opinions, are advised to stay away from "such women," or any kind of women (hell, or man) at all, I have no complaint with that whatsoever.


    If they just stay away, that certainly saves the other person the trouble of having to try and get away, after all.


    If I say I’m also "such women" does that mean you’ll stay away from me?  If so, count me in.

  • heather-corinna

    You know, the two strong responses here both seem to presume that I — like both of you — think about gender as binary, and in the binary and very traditional, archaic (particularly coming from irlandes, even in the way he is speaking to me) ways you think about it.  Trouble is, that’s not how I think about gender: never has been.  You also both seem to be coming at these things from what appears to be a presumption that everyone is heterosexual, and that everyone’s sexual identity has a lot to do with what is directed outward, and that a lot of outward presentations of identity, like how a woman chooses to dress, are about men and sex: that, too, is also not part of my framework, personally or professionally.  And your ideas, about "sick, twisted" women who don’t behave in the way you see as "modest" and as the way they need to lest they bring "destruction" to men is so, so far outside of (and I’d say, behind) the way I think about gender and gender roles and status is something I am profoundly in disagreement wit, and which I absolutely, positively would say is a rape-enabling attitude, as well as being a textbook example of sexism and misogyny.


    Am I wasting my breath when I say that, given you told me not to?  maybe, but I have a lot of breath left, so I’m fine with that.


    If you can understand what, then, might be going on in my head when I say the kinds of things I am saying OUTSIDE those frameworks you both seem pretty married to, might you perhaps look again and what I said and see that a lot of what you’re saying to me simply isn’t going to fit?  In other words, if I felt and thought about gender, orientation, sexuality, the relationships between men and women (of any orientation) the way you do, then sure, I might well draw your same conclusions.


    But I don’t.


    Just for the record?  I have no intention of engaging with these kinds of comments very much.  As I mentioned even in the piece, lord knows I’ve seen them all before — ANY woman who writes about rape and sexual abuse and holds abusers responsible does — they always seem to come from very expected places, and have the same flavor: the women saying the kinds of things I am just doesn’t understand men, she’s naive, she’s foolish, she’s man-hating, she’s talking out of her bum, she’s holding men responsible for things they shouldn’t be, and not holding women responsible for things they should. 


    And I stopped falling for all of that kind of stuff decades ago, around the same time I stopped being even remotely impacted by people sure that calling me or others who have these perspective trite names or being patronizing was going to shut us up and get us to fall in line.

  • amanda-marcotte

    It’s so hard to write about this topic, because it attracts people who are happy to express the most repugnant beliefs about how women’s bodies are public property, and how you owe men sex pretty much whenever he demands it.  *shudder*  I don’t know why it’s so important to defend this for so many men.  It can’t be that hard to get an authentic yes from a woman.  You do have to start from a place of respect to get authentic yeses, though.

  • amanda-marcotte

    As I have (as I imagine Heather and most women and a few  men have), I can safely say that I have never put on lipstick and heels thinking, "I’m going to make every man who looks at me think that I’m going to have sex with him, only to yank it away at the last minute while cackling evilly."  More to the point, since Heather has been accused of not understanding men, the men who seem to think that my presence in public wearing certain clothes means they already have consent are few indeed, and tend to irritate and disgust the majority of men around them. 


    Should I be wearing a skirt and standing in a bar, two things rape apologists claim are "teasing" behavior, and a man approaches me in a hostile fashion and implies that I’ve already said yes, in my experience, other men go on alert in case I need back-up in shooing him off.  The vast majority of men I encounter do not seem to think that I’m public property no matter what I’m wearing.  Now, I don’t wear miniskirts at 31, but I did at 19, and even then, I don’t recall being bombarded when I stepped outside.  It appears most men get that "yes" is what a woman says, not what she wears.  So I disagree with the commenters strongly about whether or not they have a read on what most men think.  They are speaking about what they personally think.

  • heather-corinna

    In hindsight…


    …I feel like it’s also worth mentioning that for plenty of people — myself most certainly included —  NEITHER the mainstream/standard male OR female model of sexuality or sexual desire and response is a good fit.  And lord knows how often in my life from people coming to sex via those kinds of constructs I’ve had to hear that my sexuality is "not feminine" or "more like men," even though a) those kinds of sentiments and frameworks really don’t mean anything or have any one universal definition, and b) if and when someone can ditch them entirely, not only is there no need for them, but those folks stop feeling so mystified by diversity of sexuality, gender and desire the way you’re expressing being so yourself.

  • heather-corinna

    Thanks, Amanda.


    And per one of your other comments here, I’d chime in that many men do NOT want to be "defended" in this way and, in fact, feel pretty pissed off and ill when framed the ways they are in the two responses here which seem to present them so poorly.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t care how much a man is “teased.” He STILL has the responsibility not to rape women. If he’s incapable of same, then he should be locked up like any other sociopath.

    I feel sorry for your daughters and granddaughters.

  • invalid-0

    It’s funny. In a patriarchy, women understand men a hell of a lot more than men understand women — because we have to. We may not have to cater to their every whim the way our mothers and grandmothers did, but the culture is still highly focused on their wants, their needs, their opinions.

    How well do men such as the two rape apologists above understand women? They’re probably the sorts who say, “Oh, who could ever understand women?” (“Who” meaning “what man” in that construction, because only men are fully human, of course.) But I really doubt they’ve ever bothered to listen to a woman. I mean, talk to her and listen as though she were an equal, rather than waiting to interrupt and/or ignoring her words while staring at her tits.

  • invalid-0

    “I don’t know why it’s so important to defend this for so many men. It can’t be that hard to get an authentic yes from a woman.

    Granted, there are rapists and rape-apologists who do get genuine consensual sex regularly, perhaps because they have Jekyll and Hyde personalities. OTOH, the two prizes who posted in this thread probably cannot get their d1cks wet without bribing, cajoling, threatening, or forcing women.

  • harry834

    that a particular woman, or set of women, truly are aiming to turn men on, this is not a justification for the man to refuse to take "no" for an answer. No means no. If a man can’t help himself, he may need professional help.

    I’d be willing to entertain the thought that the professional help for a first time offendor need not be as intensive as the professional help for a repeat offendor. But ultimately it is the job of the psychologist to make that diagnosis. I’d also be willing to entertain that the psychotherapy protocol might not be the way we here – who, admitedly, are not psychologists –  would expect it. But any rehab program MUST include a rejection of the idea that "she brought it on herself"…even if partial blame is wrong (I say that because some of these apologists are trying the tactic of partial blame: "they both contributed to the incident". NO blame for the rape victim. The rehab counselor must get that message across.)


    I would hope that the rehab counselor would be able to exercise a empathy for those men who are truly trying to change their violent impulses. The man who struggles to make himself right, to stop his internal excuses, goes on a painful journey. We, as a rape-rejecting society, must demand this, but I hope that the rehab counselor has a shoulder for the man to cry on as he makes this necessary journey from rapist to reformed human being, ready to make ACTIVE amends for what he has done, and PREVENT HIMSELF from making these actions in the future.

    A long journey. Sometimes a man never does it, even with rehab. We can’t let him rape again. May the rehab counselors take care of him, because he can’t be allowed to leave if he is still a rapist. 

  • invalid-0

    Trouble is, by the time a rapist is caught, he is already a repeat offender in 99.9999999999 per cent of cases.

  • invalid-0

    I flat out refuse to believe that any man, barring severe mental disability, could mistake the terror and distress of a rape victim for consent, no matter what the woman is wearing. I will not entertain such claims; they insult my intelligence. Rapists know what they’re doing, they just don’t care.

    Patriarchy: n. The belief that men are mindless brutes incapable of controlling their base animal urges, and that women should rely on them for leadership and guidance.

    • sayna

      This comment restored my faith in humanity. Also, the “everyone has hands” comment and the fact that Princess Rot is here.

  • heather-corinna

    …how well do they understand MEN?


    One really easy rationale for flawed, oversimplified thinking, and we hear it all the time, hardly just around this issue, is continually stating that the way one thinks is universal, or the way EVERYONE thinks. When someone starts a sentence with something like, "The way men are…" we can pretty much know that whatever follows is more likely to tell us about the way a given man who is speaking is — and what he wants us to feel represents more than just himself to let him off the hook — than what all men, or even most men, are like.


    Obviously, the same follows from statements like saying that conversations about sex with one woman are somehow thus representative of how all women think, feel or are.


    I agree, in patriarchy, women are going to have a hard-time being devoid of understanding men quite well.  However, I’d also be willing to bet that I’ve spent a lot more time with broad study and broad, direct observation (in person, through my work, which I’m hardly a novice at) of male sexuality and sexual attitudes — plenty of which has been studied, penned and voiced by men themselves, especially when you consider that sexology is still very much male-dominated — than either of these guys.


    (FYI, this is one of the reasons I so, so value the work that Jackson Katz has done and continues to do with men.  You’re not going to find any of that kind of anecdotal projection in his stuff.)

  • harry834

    a bit hyperbole on the number,

    but, about the difficulty of catching/convicting rapists, yes that’s a big one. That’s another great topic – the ways which the criminal justice system makes it too easy for suspected rapists.

    In WashPost, there was an article about the judge’s (contested) authority to take away the guns of a accused rapist while he’s on restraining order/facing trial. They worried about his "Second Amendment rights" and whether he was there to advocate (though I think having him there in the court with the victim can make the victim afraid to talk).

    On the flip side, there’s the Duke University lacrosse case, a situation where a false rape charge made these men seem guilty even though they were innocent. I don’t know how prevalent such cases are, but this story plus my first example, demonstrate the need for balance.

    My opinion: take away the guns, even while it’s still being proven. And give whatever legal freedom possible for the victim to testify without the eyes of a possible rapist/batterer staring her down.


  • invalid-0

    It’s proof of male entitlement and projection when most of the comments on an anti-rape post are spent justifying WHY women don’t have to acquiesce to every male sexual whim and debunking all the “what about teh menz!” comments.

  • colleen

    "That the first comment is by a rape apologist?"


    It seems appropriate somehow. The US is a rape prone culture because  of men like this who in turn raise their sons with precisely the same sense of entitlement, brutal ignorance and self justification for their rage. I was particularly struck by the notion that the ‘kids’ in question just needed better communication and a less female oriented notion of what constitutes rape.


  • colleen

    "It can’t be that hard to get an authentic yes from a woman."


    I think it is for some men. The US is full of biitter, angry divorced  and unmarriagable men who are deeply angry with the cultural changes that allow women to be self supporting rather than forced to live with a man who is emotionally, sexually and/ or physically abusive. Lots of them end up as rabid republicans in the ‘pro-life’ movement. It’s a political movement which allows them a voice for their rage and hope for the future

  • invalid-0

    ‘Anonymous’… you are the one in need of an education about men. The first thing you should learn is to not to assume your ignorance is equally shared among in the rest of us. Nothing about my Y chromosome makes me unable to control myself, or listen clearly to the wishes of my sexual partner REGARDLESS of what those wishes might be, or when she expresses those wishes. I am, at all times, responsible for those actions I create in the world. “Getting me horny” does not make someone else responsible for what I do, no more than “getting me mad” makes me responsible for committing an act of violence. If you cut me off in traffic, do I have a right to ram your car? To hell with your “arousal cycle”. No one cares how aroused you are but you. You state of arousal has nothing to do with the presence or absence of consent. Start your education with this lesson, anonymous… learn to take responsibility for your actions.

  • invalid-0

    are that if “men” can’t control their OWN sexual urges, WHY should we let them control this world????

    Think about it….

  • sayna

    It’s really freaking scary that articles like this even have to exist. Saying “rape is not the victim’s fault” should be like saying “people need air to live”.

    And why is the FIRST comment on this thing from a rape apologist?! Seriously, next time someone says feminism is obsolete I hope I remember how to find this thread.
    More reading:
    This Is Not An Invitation To Rape Me is a site that seeks to educate people about rape and stop the victim blaming.
    “The Rape” Of Mister Smith asks “what would trials look like if we treated ALL victims of crimes like we treat rape victims”? It should be required reading for all human beings.

  • invalid-0

    There is no justification for rape. I don’t care if the women is giving the man a lap dance. Doesn’t mean she’s giving concent. We know when a women gives concent and so does a rapest. There is no mistaking this.