Men and Women View Sexual Assault Differently

Men and Women View Sexual Assault Differently

…but not that differently.

That’s the big takeaway I got from this joint Esquire/Cosmopolitan survey of 2000 men and women on what’s okay when it comes to sex.

Now to be clear, ONE rape is one too many.

In fact, men and women (mostly) agree on things…except for two areas fraught with a lot of emotion. Says the Esquire piece:

“It gets weird when we talk about sexual harassment—not because men and women define it differently (we don’t), but because women say they witness and experience it all the time and men tend to say they only hear about it. It gets weird when we bring up sexual violence—not because we can’t agree on what it means (we can), but because women think it’s happening far more frequently than men do.”

I’ll admit, I’ve been one of those men. And I struggle with the 1 in 4 women have been raped statistic, for two reasons:

    1) Because it doesn’t square with what I have seen or experienced. I don’t expect all my female friends and relatives to tell me they’ve been assaulted, nor all of my male friends to admit if they’ve assaulted anyone. Still, it seems hard to process this figure when I can count on one hand the number of women I know about. Again, this doesn’t mean the statistic is wrong; it means that I have a different life experience.

    2) Because even the limited study from which that statistic was drawn admits that the numbers aren’t accurate.

Now to be clear, ONE rape is one too many.

Every victim has my utmost sympathies and rapists should be prosecuted accordingly. The fact that we’re discussing this is healthy and a sign of progress. But the one number that really stood out for me on this entire infographic was this:

38% of women (and 27% of men) feel that rape took place if either party was intoxicated but expressed interest when sober.

Even if 99% of rape claims are true, we have to be just as hypervigilant about protecting the 1% of men who are falsely accused. They, too are victims.

Maybe I’m misreading it, but it sounds like any sex under the influence of alcohol can be potentially considered rape. Which is a slippery slope and a dangerous definition for all parties involved.

While my first inclination is always to believe the accuser, every time I read a harrowing story like this, I feel compelled to just remind women that even if 99% of rape claims are true, we have to be just as hypervigilant about protecting the 1% of men who are falsely accused. They, too are victims. And in the he said/she said dynamic that takes place after an accusation, there are only two people who really know what happened. The rest of us are just guessing and projecting what we want to be true.

I did not post this to incite a flame war in the comments below. Clearly, women feel that they are the victims of sexual harassment and assault at a higher rate than men believe, and their claims are all that matter. I think it’s necessary food for thought for men to look at what women are experiencing and make sure they are not contributing to that unhealthy dynamic, and I think it’s necessary for women to remember to give each individual man due process when it comes to an accusation. These victims are our sisters and our brothers, all of them.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    kevin

    Don’t most sexual experiences come with a little playful resistance on the part of women…if they are willing to admit it. I guess it us tied to the stigma of being labeled easy.

    1. 1.1
      Ben

      The whole thing’s far more complicated than most people are willing to admit or deal with.  And most people already think it’s really !@#$ing complicated.

    2. 1.2
      Senior Lady Vibe

      Uh, no; they don’t.  If he’s “playful” and she’s “resistant” it’s a no-go.  If I recall correctly those (or very similar) words were used in the film “Thelma and Louise.”  Take a lesson there, the guy didn’t fair too well.

    3. 1.3
      pat

      No, no, no.  Good lord, no.  People don’t care about being labeled as “easy” anymore (this isn’t the 1950s!), we live in a sexually liberated society.  Plenty of women are forthright in their sexuality, hence Evan having to write articles telling women to save sex for committed relationships!  If a woman is resisting, its because she doesn’t want to take it further.  So please stop and desist if a woman resists your advances.  

      1. 1.3.1
        Jamie

        Females, especially younger girls, still care about being viewed as easy and are still looked down on for being easy. Women are more open about sexuality than in the 1950s. However, to make the claim that the majority of women are forthright in their sexuality or that we live in a completely ‘sexually liberated society’ is ridiculous. We live in a more sexually liberated society not a sexually liberated society. There’s still a general attitude that it’s perfectly acceptable for men for sleep around but not for women, women are still viewed as being less intelligent or less moral or even less of a person if she’s too sexual. As a whole promiscuous women are still viewed as being worse than a promiscuous man. 

        An example of this can be seen when looking at how people view celebrities and how celebrities are treated in the media. Every time I go into a store and see a magazine cover about a female celebrity who’s ‘spiraling out of control’ and nearly every time, her spiraling out of control is a reference to her being too sexual. Case in point: Miley and Rihanna. People have previously taken (and still do) great offense at their actions and most of the actions people take offense at are sexual in nature.

        Yet I’ve never seen a magazine article about how a male celebrity was out of control based solely on him seeking out sex, having sex, or just being sexual in nature.

        Yes, I realize that celebrity gossip isn’t 100% indicative of every person’s actual day to day experiences. However, it does reflect our normal societal expectations. I used celebrities as an example because most people would be familiar with what I’m referencing.

        Finally, as far as being playful. Women do sometimes offer playful resistance but usually it’s very obvious when she is being coy and when she is saying no.

        For example, a man hugs a woman and starts kissing her neck, the woman playfully smacks the man’s arm/chest and giggles ‘oh stop that’ while at the same time relaxing into the embrace and moving her neck to give the man more access. She is probably being coy. 

        Another example: a man hugs a woman and starts kissing her neck, the woman stiffens up and says ‘no, stop that!’ in a tone that conveys anger, fear, and/or anxiety. She isn’t being coy.

        To be clear: if a woman says to stop, always stop and ask her if it’s okay to continue even if you think she’s being coy. Better to be safe. However, to say that women never offer ‘playful resistance’ is incorrect.  

        1. Mya

          So glad that a man is around to explain how women feel about being labeled “easy.”

    4. 1.4
      Rebecca

      Um, if she’s not willing to admit that her resistance is merely “playful” maybe that’s because she actually wants you to stop.  This is infuriating to me ’cause if my resistance is taken as playful how do I control my own body and sex life?  My worry before I allow myself to be alone with someone bigger and stronger than me is “can I trust him,” NOT “will he think I’m easy.”
      Look, if you don’t want to be a rapist, here are two really simple solutions:
      If each time a woman “playfully resists,” the men she’s with just STOP, she’ll quit “playfully resisting.”  And then all of you men are safe from “accidentally” raping and I’m safe from being raped as a “misunderstanding.”
      For those couples who like playing at resistance and force, the BDSM community has the good sense to agree on ground rules.  Think she’s just playfully resisting – offer her a safe word that you will always honor, and then you can both feel safe with whatever play appeals to you.
      If you’re a man who just ignores women’s resistance on the grounds that we don’t really mean it, there is a clear reason why you think rape is less prevalent than we do.

    5. 1.5
      Penny

      No! No No No No No! Unless “playful resistance” is something that you discussed beforehand, then resistance of any kind means you should stop! You should stop and ask her if she wants you to stop, if she’s comfortable, if she’s okay. Ask her if she wants you to leave/take her home, or if she wants to go out and do something in a public venue. If she’s resisting, it means she doesn’t want to; her body might be responding, but her brain or her emotions are telling her to stop, and you have to respect her. Don’t buy into this “all females are teases” brainwashing that the porn industry has sold you. If she actually wants to have sex with you, she will be melting, not resisting.

      1. 1.5.1
        Steve

        I really wish it was that true. but it’s not.
        I met a girl, she resisted, I stopped.  (resisted as in, verbally. i didn’t make a physical move).

        “Playful Resistance” is a thing.

        A few months later, she knocks at my door at 3am, shes drunk.

        She crawls into my bed, we cuddle. She’s obviously in a intoxicated state. I only cuddle. she’s fully clothed.
        Next day, we wake up, she accuses me of taking advantage because while she was in my bed, i touched her Butt.. She goes home as soon as shes woken up.

        I apologize, saying i thought she wanted it, sorry i misread the situation.
        She says “friendzone” and says she hates cuddling.

        I ask her on a date, she says no, she hates romance, she hates flowers, she hates cuddling.

        fast foward a few more months, it’s valentines day. Shes still been in some of my social circles. I show up at her door with flowers, she’s with another guy.. but invites me in, super weird situation, we all (3 of us) are watching a movie together. I leave.
        She says she liked the flowers, i say.. well, actually i thought you didn’t like flowers.. but i just thought i’d give them to you anyway.

        the next few weeks we are watching movies at her place, She says i can stay on the couch or sleep in her bed, but don’t try anything. I sleep in her bed. i don’t try anything.
        Next time, same thing, i dont.
        Next time, same thing, i dont.
        Next time she starts cuddling me on the couch, we got to bed, i try to cuddle. She says no.
        next time, i cuddle her anyway, she says no, but doesn’t push me away , we wake up cuddling in bed.
        Next time, She says no. I jokingly say, “i really don’t understand you.. i’m just going to keep going until you stop me physically…. ” I start touching her butt.. she says no, but doesn’t stop me. i hold her waist, and touch her boobs. she says no, but doesnt stop me. i pull down my pants and rub my penis on her butt. she says no, but doesn’t stop me. i pull down her panties, and she says no. I start to rub my penis near her vagina. she says no, but doesn’t stop me.  I say “seriously, if you don’t stop meI will do it….. if you don’t want it, just get out of bed. ”  She doesn’t get out of bed.  (yes, i really said this.)

        we have sex. she couldn’t get enough of it. the next day, she made me breakfast, we did this for the next few nights.

        I spoke to my male best friend.. saying “dude, wtf…. i basically just raped this girl, but she loved it.. she wanted it.. wtf is wrong with women?!”
        He agrees that he has also had experiences like this.

        I ended up dating this girl for 8 months, until she broke up with me because I wasn’t “loving” enough. I didn’t cuddle her enough, i wasn’t romantic enough… All the things she told me she hated, that i didn’t do, ultimately were the reasons she broke up with me.. We got together because I didn’t listen to her. We broke up because I DID listen to her.

        During our relationship she punched me twice while she was drunk, and sexually assaulted me, (as in, i physically had to stop her after she grabbed my penis, after verbally saying no) twice.  Saying no to sex (my penis was physically injured from her having rough sex, and hurt.. bad, there was even blood) ended up in me being treated like shit for saying no.

        This was a total mind fuck to me.

        A Spanish girl i met at a friends birthday party. She asks me to fix her computer. i go over to her house at midday on a Tuesday… after 20 mins of looking at her computer, clearing out the malware, she sitting on the bed behind me and yells at me ” Oh my God! Are you seriously just going to look at my computer!? WHY AREN’T YOU TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME!!!!??” .. wut.?? this mind fucks me again. at what point in our conversations did it seem like this was going to happen.
        I tell her though, i didn’t realise that’s what she wanted, but i’d be happy to oblige. We get naked.. she pushes me off her…. saying she’s not into any more.. i stop. i get dressed, she gets dressed. I go back to trying to fix her computer. we have some lunch. 30 mins later, shes naked again, and we are trying again. she says no, she’s disgusted. why don’t i want her. why don’t i chase her. she’s disgusted by me. i’m not a man. i didn’t take the lead, i’m not sexy. i should leave. she says sorry, but i’m just not man enough for her. i go home.

        I am mind fucked.

        She messages me later, i act nonchalant. I simply message her says if she wants sex, heres my address. I leave it at that.. suddenly i’m a man she comes over multiple times a week, on my terms. eventually she gets angry that i don’t want a relationship. I cannot comprehend what just happened. I treat her like shit, suddenly she likes me.

        I have also been sexually assaulted 2 other times, once by a girl who forced me to have sex with her or she was going to leave me in the wilderness (we were hiking, and turns out she really liked me… i wasn’t into it, but she thought she was being cute saying i have to have sex with her or she would leave me there).  I push her off me, she says “what, do you wanna stay here!? haha” … my options were to have sex, or to steal a car…. I put on the worst performance of my life. She says to take off the condom, i refuse. she says it would feel better, she has nothing its ok, i refuse. she takes it off anyway…. i lie there, physically ill….. i starfish, i don’t come, i just wanted her to stop… i treat her cold. she doesn’t understand why. i ignore her, she eventually gets the message.

        Another time, A girl was giving me a blow job, she seemed nice before, she was super interested in my family, my life,  she was cute, i was on top of the world. how did i pick up this girl?!  She then threatened to hurt my penis unless i gave her money. wtf.

        But I am also a rapist. After having drinks with some old friends, in a city i don’t live in anymore, I go back to my hotel room. My ex-girlfriend who was drinking with us follows me to my hotel room. She snuck past the front desk, up the elevator, and somehow found my door.
        I let her in, she jumps on my bed and starts to take her clothes off.. I help her. She thanks me for helping her. She starts to go to sleep. I start to kiss her. she kisses back. I roll her onto her back, and i get on top of her. She says no, but doesn’t push me away. I penetrate. after about 30 seconds, she starts to cry and i stop.. she runs to the bathroom crying.. i felt disgusted with myself. how did i misread the situation so badly. fuck. i am now a rapist.  I apologize. She stays the night anyway, sleeping next to me.
        I wake up to her getting dressed and leaving my room at about 7am.  I say sorry again, she says not to think about it. We were still friends after this.

        sorry this is getting really long.. I have more stories in fact.. actually, my friends suggested i write a book because it is that messed up. But this is life.

        In summary, Unless it is violent rape, most rape and sexual assault i believe is incredibly nuanced. They say it mostly occurs with people you know… well,  We have a weird fucked up relationship between males and females now where there is colliding mentalities between Men taking the lead, women having sexual liberation, traditional values, feminism… not all people are the same. But i often hear the word sexual assault or harassment spread around too easily. If we take the less strict end of the meaning, I would say these statistics are not high enough. I was say, everyone, of every gender, other than a few small pockets of some religions, the majority of everyone else, at some stage in their life has been sexually assulted..Male, female. gay, straight.

        If women want to stop being sexually assaulted, they need to all agree to not act in a receptive, positive manner when it occurs. But this is impossible, right? It is just as impossible as telling all men to get together, and tell each other “ay, don’t do anything ever to a girl without getting prior verbal, and maybe written consent.

        The only true sexual assault that cannot be explained or ‘justified’ by this, is random, violent rape. The type where there is no grey area. these people should be locked up for life

        1. Naomi

          Dude this is completely fucked up.  If you’re in a situation that you are unsure of when it comes to sexual boundaries and consent, don’t guess and hope you get it right.  Just get out of there.  And don’t judge what what “women” are doing based on what one, or even several  women did with you.  A lot of women are very clear on their boundaries.  If you end up raping someone because you didn’t listen to what they said based on your experience of how other women behave, that’s on you and no one else.  Women are not a hive mind.  You can’t tell women in general to expect certain behaviour from you based on your own experience of a small number of women.  Own your own shit.

    6. 1.6
      Chris Tyler

      no.

      My reaction to that is that that’s the kind of thing people like Donald Trump tell themselves when they corner women or grab them: “Of course she wants it, but I have to be the one to make it happen. She’s too nice.” How many women have heard some version of “I know you want it” before she is tortured mentally and physically for someone else’s sexual thrill.

      If she is resisting, you should ask her of it’s ok to continue; ask her if it is playful. You may not realize the upper hand you have through your size and ability to overpower her.

      I know there may be women who think it’s ok to say ‘no’ to something they really want. Don’t date them. There are protocols and safe words for people who like to hand sexual control over. That’s the way to go.

    7. 1.7
      Badpenny

      There is no “playful resistance ” involved – resistance is RESISTANCE and should be respected as such!  “No.” is a complete sentence!

  2. 2
    Shaukat

    I recall reading an academic study by a psychologist, Dr. Russell and some other researchers, who interviewed close to eight hundred women in the San Francisco area, based on a randomly generated sample, on the issue of sexual assualt and found that close to 40% had experienced some form of sexual assault and hadn’t told anyone about it nor reported the crime. I don’t recall the title of the paper but I could dig it up. The statistic is interesting because it indicates that even though most men, myself included, could count the number of women we know of who have been sexually assaulted on one hand many women likely keep that knowledge to themselves because of perceived stigma, shame, or because they don’t want to be labeled as victims.
     
    I agree that the commentary about drunken sex is dangerous. Most people in college end up having sex when intoxicated, so that definition of rape is meaningless, unless one party is drunk to the point of being unconscious, in which case prior consent is irrelevant. 
     
    It should be noted that while FBI data shows that the reported rape rate has been trending down in the United States since 1991, the Justice Department’s stats still show that a woman is raped in the US nearly every two minutes. Granted, that number is the same for most violent crimes, and it is a little misleading because it certainly doesn’t mean that all women are at equal risk of being raped with such frequency, but in my opinion it does mean that we should give the accuser the benefit of the doubt instead of approaching each case with skepticism, based on one or two sensationalist cases where the charges were fradulent. Afterall, people genrally don’t approach other allged crimes with the same degree of skepticism. Most people wouldn’t assume that someone who reported a mugging has a financial incentive etc, though admittedly the dynamic is a little different. Just my thoughts.
     
     

  3. 3
    Isobel

    ‘Playful resistance’? Are you serious?? Consensual, alert, sexual activity based on equal power is wide-ranging and varied. Rape means non-consent, whether through illness, sleep (yes, it happens, trust me), intoxication, coercion, intimidation, violence (or threat of)…and a host of other conditions, too. It happens to women and men.
    I am alarmed at the tone of this post from Evan; it smacks a little of victim blaming. I have been raped, by two different men, 25 years apart. I tell very, very few people about those incidents. I can have discussions about rape in all sort of situations and remain calm and open minded. nothing about my demeanour would betray my experience. Just because you are not aware of people’s experience does not mean it didn’t happen. I have friends who feel similarly. I know their past but, they do not speak of it out loud. Yes, we must safeguard against false accusations but, the number of people raped who are afraid to speak out is way, way, WAY bigger than the number of those (and it is all crap if you are on the receiving end, for sure).

    1. 3.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I’m sorry you feel that way, Isobel. If anything, I tried to tread extremely lightly on this delicate subject and provide a balanced look at how men and women view sexual assault differently. No one is blaming you for being raped – which is undeniably horrible – and I sincerely hope you can see that in reading my post. I feel like I acknowledged all of your points about how one rape is too many and how even if 99% of rape claims are real, we need to be open to the possibility that 1% are not. What else could I have said that would have avoided triggering you? – EMK

      1. 3.1.1
        Isobel

        I could see that you were trying not to be inflammatory, for sure. That is fine.
        But.
        The recorded incidence of rape is far lower than the actual incidence. I recognise the phenomenon of, and abhor, people who call ‘rape’ when no such thing happened, and know that some people are in the terrible position of being falsely accused. That is cruel, and disrespectful of genuine victims – it is a disservice to all.
        My main point was to say that for many victims of rape, silence is the way they cope with it. Disclosing a serious sexual assault to a new partner can cause problems within that relationship, for a myriad of reasons, and it is often easier to keep quiet. We may be close friends or lovers with people who have previously been raped, and never know. Saying that you are not aware of many people who have been raped is not sure-fire evidence of the frequency of the crime. I understand the point you are trying to make, and agree that everyone should be protected from vile attack, whatever the form. Could we not ask instead why it is that victims feel the need to be silent, and what makes it so difficult to have an open and honest conversation about how we view sexual boundaries?

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Well, we’re having the conversation right now. And I think we’ve inadvertently stumbled onto what makes it so difficult – if a man asks a question without full understanding, he risks being called a victim blamer, rape apologist, misogynist, etc, which is a very painful label to have to fight off when none of it is true. I’ve read enough on the subject to know and respect that different women handle rape in different ways and that is entirely their prerogative. Fear of not being believed. Fear of not wanting to relive the trauma. Fear of having to be grilled by the police, go through the court system, and remind herself of the assault daily. There is no one right method. But if women don’t talk about their sexual assaults – for their own valid reasons – it’s hard to expect men to fully understand and be as fully sensitive as you would like. There’s a direct correlation between conversation, awareness, and action. The more people who came out of the closet, the more gay people everyone knew, the more gay marriage became quickly acceptable. So no one here is denying rape; I’m just a guy who wrestles with wildly disparate statistics and points of view and isn’t sure what to believe. I’m sure I’m not alone.

      2. 3.1.2
        Maile

        Evan, I can understand you wanting to voice a male point of view.  But for the 1 in 4 women who have been raped or know someone who has been raped…this post was hurtful.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          These are surprising words. I merely reported the results of a Esquire/Cosmo study that talked about how men and women view sex differently, and offered my own personal confusion and conflict.

          What, specifically, was “hurtful”?

        2. Maile

          I’m not going to be able to quote back anything that you said wrong, because you have every right to your view.  As a customer of yours and a blog follower, and someone that the 1 in 4 statistic applies to…opening this post from my email and reading your view on the topic left me feeling “hurt”. You expressed that you struggle with the statistic and that is totally fine.  I struggle with knowing that some men don’t understand…but as you expressed, it hasn’t hit home with you.  I just wanted to let you know that some of your readers may have experienced pain while reading your post…as this may hit home with 1 in 4 of us.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          The hard part is that I tried to be as sensitive as I possibly could. I made sure there was nothing offensive. But just bringing up the topic of all seems to be the thing that causes pain. Which brings me back to a previous comment – if women don’t talk about it, and men can’t ask about it, how are men ever going to understand the scope of the problem?

        4. Maile

          Men can ask…but it doesn’t mean women will talk.  It is painful to talk about and painful to remember.  

          One way men might understand is to step into their shoes and try to imagine that pain.  Maybe a man could imagine it happening to a woman he loves, and how violated and helpless he might feel…and how hurtful it would be to have himself or a woman he loves questioned about it (or reminded of it). I would imagine it might be painful for him to talk about or for him to remember. 

          I imagine that more of your readers have been raped, than have falsely accused a man of rape. But if this post prevents false accusations then that is important. However in doing so, you did also reach woman who did not falsely accuse.

          On another note, since I have your attention, thank you for your services. You have been very helpful to me.  

        5. Karmic Equation

          Maile,

          I’m sorry you were raped. I was molested as a child by my stepfather. I never told my mom but my sisters did once I had gone off to college. When my mom found out, she didn’t leave him. You can imagine how healthy my family dynamics were with mom after that.

          The reason I bring this up is that we are responsible for dealing with our own pain. No one has the right to make other people pay the price of that pain. We women are not so fragile that we must make good, sensitive men like Evan, walk around eggshells because we refuse to get past our pain. And, yes, it’s a refusal. If you want to drown in your pain, it’s your prerogative. But it’s wrong to make people who didn’t perpetrate the crime go silent because we “can’t handle it”.

          Wallowing in that pain gives your attackers not only the part of your past you can’t take back, but also part of your future that they don’t deserve. Do you really want to give those *ssholes that kind of power over your life?

          Work at regaining your happiness rather than in reminding others of what you went through. You’re as strong and as resilient as you want to be. You’re already a survivor. If anyone owes anyone anything, it’s you: You owe it to yourself to once again live life with joy and normalcy. You deserve that. So give it to yourself. Letting go of the pain instead of holding tight to it will really help. Believe me.

        6. Amy

          Long time reader, first time poster. I felt a bit slapped in the face by this as well, Evan, and I think I can pinpoint why. You did not SAY this, but you seem to doubt the 1/4 statistic. It also seems like you might think that a lot of women are whining about having ill-advised sex when they’re drunk and calling it rape.

          What I think is that you live in NY – you’re surrounded by intelligent, left-leaning people. So you don’t see how women are treated in the big red middle of the country. You probably weren’t in a fraternity (there aren’t many Jewish guys in frats), so you don’t know that it is a community goal to make sure the women who come over get as drunk as possible. I’ve been raped while I was fully unconscious at a frat house, as have many other sorority girls I went to school with. One friend of mine had her reputation completely trashed because 8 guys had sex with her in one night – “What a SLUT!” She does not remember one second of it, because she was either blacked out from alcohol or ruffied. I have gathered up the remnants of a girlfriend who was so drunk she could barely speak or walk after 3 guys took turns with her and then threw her in the corner of their communal shower naked in a heap when they were finished with her. This isn’t “Oops, I had 3 martinis instead of 2, I’m soooo tipsy!” It’s full-on, falling down, black-out wasted. Let me repeat – it’s a constant joint effort by these guys to get girls this drunk.

          It isn’t just frat guys, either. I have had to use all my strength to get a guy off of me in his car after he was trying to pin me down when all I wanted was a quick little goodnight kiss – this happened when I was in my late thirties and the guy was in his late forties. No alcohol involved, broad daylight. And I even live on the West Coast now! I’ve had much worse than that, too, also in my thirties.

          Guys can be really rapey, Evan.

        7. Evan Marc Katz

          Guys CAN be really rapey. No one is denying that. I’ve been at this business long enough to hear women’s horror stories. I’ve consoled a friend only moments after she was raped in a broom closet on New Years Eve. I’ve seen the Take Back the Night rallies, the open mike on the quad where women told their stories, the internet boards where women have shared their worst nightmares. But even acknowledging ALL of that does not necessarily mean that the 1 in 4 statistic is correct. You want to think it’s correct because it validates your experience, and is scary enough to spur people into action and dialogue. But the truth is, you have no idea if that statistic is true. No more than I do.

          This article – which I linked to in the original post – sheds some light on that statistic. Please take the time to read it. And if it’s too much, here’s the takeaway:

          “The Sexual Victimization of College Women, a 2000 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, is the basis for another widely cited statistic, even grimmer than the finding of CSA: that one in four college women will be raped. (An activist organization, One in Four, takes its name from the finding.) The study itself, however, found a completed rape rate among its respondents of 1.7 percent. How does a study that finds less than 2 percent of college women in a given year are raped become a 25 percent likelihood? In addition to the 1.7 percent of victims of completed rape, the survey found that another 1.1 percent experienced attempted rape. As the authors wrote, “[O]ne might conclude that the risk of rape victimization for college women is not high; ‘only’ about 1 in 36 college women (2.8 percent) experience a completed rape or attempted rape in an academic year.”

          But the authors go on to make several assumptions that ratchet up the risk. The study was carried out during the spring and asked women to describe any assaults experienced during that academic year. The researchers decided to double the numbers they received from their subjects, in order to extrapolate their findings over an entire calendar year, even as they acknowledged that this was “problematic,” as students rarely attend school for 12 months. That calculation brought the incidence figure to nearly 5 percent. Although college is designed to be a four-year experience, the authors note that it takes students “an average” of five years, so they then multiplied their newly-arrived-at 5 percent of student victims by five years, and thus they conclude: “The percentage of completed or attempted rape victimization among women in higher educational institutions might climb to between one-fifth and one-quarter.”
          In a footnote, the authors acknowledge that asserting that one-quarter of college students “might” be raped is not based on actual evidence: “These projections are suggestive. To assess accurately the victimization risk for women throughout a college career, longitudinal research following a cohort of female students across time is needed.” The one-fifth to one-quarter assertion would mean that young American college women are raped at a rate similar to women in Congo, where rape has been used as a weapon of war.

          No one disputes that only a percentage of sexual assaults get reported, but the studies that have tried to capture the incidence of unreported rape are miles apart. As Christopher Krebs observed, “Some [surveys] I think create high numbers that are difficult to defend. Some create artificially low numbers that are impossible to defend.” We do have hard numbers on actual reports of sexual assault on campus thanks to the Clery Act, the federal law that requires colleges to report their crime rates. But even these figures are controversial. Minuscule sexual assault numbers have long been a consistent feature of Clery Act reporting. Victim advocates say administrators deliberately suppress their numbers in order to make the schools look safer. (Unsurprisingly, schools deny this.) In July, the Washington Post published the Clery number for 2012: There were just over 3,900 forcible sexual offenses, with most schools reporting single or low double-digit numbers. (Under the Clery Act a “forcible sexual offense” does not require the use of actual physical force, it can simply be an act against someone’s will. Offenses include everything from rape to fondling.) Given the approximately 12 million female college students, that’s a reported sexual assault rate of 0.03 percent.
          Reported sexual assaults have been rising on campus in recent years, at a time when other campus crime is declining. (The nation as a whole has experienced a dramatic drop in all violent crime over the past few decades, including sexual assault, which is down more than 60 percent since 1995.) The rise of reporting on campus sexual assault is generally described by security experts as a function of a greater willingness on the part of women to make complaints, not an increase in incidence. Despite reports of “soaring” sexual assault rates on campus, the raw numbers remain low. At the University of Chicago, the jump from 2011 to 2013 was 83 percent: an increase from six reports to 11, which represents 0.4 percent of the university’s undergraduate women. Carnegie Mellon went up 220 percent, from five cases to 16, or 0.6 percent of the university’s undergraduate women. President Obama has asserted that only about 12 percent of sexual assault victims make a report to authorities. If he is correct, and we extrapolate from the Clery numbers, that would suggest there were 32,500 assaults in 2012, reported and not, or a 0.27 percent incidence.”

          This is the tricky part of this conversation because looking for verification on accurate facts reads – to you – like I’m underestimating the problem, thinking that women are overreacting, and being some sort of rape apologist. None of that is true. As I said in the original piece, any ONE rape is too much of a problem. That doesn’t mean, however, that 1 in 4 women have been raped. I hope you can acknowledge that, and, if not, I hope you can see a guy who is publicly struggling to ascertain just how widespread this problem actually is.

        8. Amy

          Thanks for your reply. It is unfortunate that it’s so difficult to come up with reproducible numbers from study to study, and I won’t claim to know which ones are correct, although I’m inclined to trust the numbers RAINN uses – they say 1 in 6 over a woman’s lifetime in the US. < https://www.rainn.org/statistics > But how much does the exact statistic really matter? One in four, one in six, jeez, even one in twenty… the systemic dysfunction of our society encouraging men to be aggressive and go out and get some by any means – especially in the Greek system – is inexcusable. It worries me because I have a teenage daughter.
          Sometimes people are jerks and falsely accuse people of crimes. This is horrible because it makes people doubt the true victims and takes the focus off of the real issue (AND it worries me because I have a teenage son). After reading the Slate article, the backlash does seem extreme, and some universities clearly have unfair policies for the accused. It makes you wonder if the policy-makers had axes to grind. It wouldn’t be surprising, right? Because there are so many former victims…

          But the ongoing conversation helps. Sexual assault rates have decreased by more than half over the past 20 years, and reporting rates are increasing (again, according to RAINN). Betcha we can thank the internet for that. The internet, the campus activism, maybe a little Comedy Central fake news… and thanks to you too, Evan. You don’t shy away from the sticky topics.
          I still think that if you had grown up a 5’2″ cute little female thing in the midwest, your first guess (and those of the other guys in the study) about which rape prevalence statistics to believe would skew higher.

        9. MikeTO

          That’s a lie, it’s not 1/4 but 1/40 which is 2.5% not the 20% to 25% claimed by the CDC. How did they come up with the numbers? Easy they asked broad questions that shouldn’t count as rape. For example did a man ever lie to you to have sex with you.
          Factual feminist have debunked this already.

          MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.

          ““The estimated 19% sexual assault rate among college women is based on a survey at two large four-year universities, which might not accurately reflect our nation’s colleges overall. In addition, the survey had a large non-response rate, with the clear possibility that those who had been victimized were more apt to have completed the questionnaire, resulting in an inflated prevalence figure.”
          Fox and Moran also point out that the study used an overly broad definition of sexual assault. Respondents were counted as sexual assault victims if they had been subject to “attempted forced kissing” or engaged in intimate encounters while intoxicated.”

          5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die

      3. 3.1.3
        Esther

        I love your response Karmic Equation. Thank you for this.

        1. Karmic Equation

          Thank you, Esther. Choose the path towards happiness whenever you can.

      4. 3.1.4
        m

        Women are more than open to that, EMK, and the false equivalence is … far less than I would have expected of you.

        To the point where I really feel it’s beneath you.

        I’ll say what I said about the women outearning men thing, because I’m still – yeah, I’ll say it – d*mn near horrified you went to “I find that hard to believe” with a 1 in 4 rape statistic — just because YOU didn’t see something happen, it does NOT follow that that thing just didn’t happen.

        You need to take a look at this, I think:

        https://www.google.com/search?q=zerlina+maxwell+VSB+rape&oq=Zerlina+maxwell+vs&aqs=chrome.1.69i64j69i59j69i57.19410j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

        I never thought I’d think you of all people were clickbaiting, but you went way too far on this one.

        🙁

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Against my better judgment, I’m letting your comment through, m.

          Say what you will, but my post shows a level of self-awareness and humility, in that I am publicly trying to sort out what I really believe.

          Your post shows nothing but arrogance and contempt at me for doing so.

          So to say that this is “beneath me”? To link to an article about rape culture in response to me? To think that I’m clickbaiting?

          That’s less than I would have expected of you.

          And, since you’re bright, here’s a bit of logic for you:

          Just because YOU want a statistic to be true, it does NOT follow that it IS true.

          No more than my lack of anecdotal evidence surrounding rape means that 25% of women have not been raped, just because 25% of your friends have been raped does not mean that 1/4 of all women have been raped.

          My post openly wrestled with the fact that I don’t know what to believe. But you DO know what to believe. That’s the difference between us – and that’s why I discount everything you post in my comment section. You are a closed loop, where the only information that seeps in is what supports a blindly pro-woman stance – and any deviance from that is a cause for outrage.

          If you don’t like my blog, then leave. I’ve told you that for years. But I will not have my character tarnished by another person with an agenda and an iffy grasp on logic.

        2. CC

          I agree with you m. Far too sensitive a subject for this forum. Rape is the most underreported crime of all….so NO Evan, you do not know who in your circle has been raped and who has not. WHY? The immense pain of secondary victimization by those who respond poorly when the information is shared with others. AND the stigmatization of the victim when others find out. Not everyone has the ability to put their most horrifying story out on display to be vulnerable to stupid comments by uninformed people. This is not an appropriate forum for this discussion, knowing that the public is cruel and insensitive about this subject. Look up Rape Culture. We have one. 🙁  Three women in my family, two have been raped.

    2. 3.2
      Daniela

      so true, I was also raped and after it happened to me I spoke to a few of my female friends and 4 out of 10 told me they also got raped but they ould never admit it if I hadnt told them first. A lot of girls are ashamed , feel guilty etc. So looking around yourself and not knowing anyones story doesnt mean it actually didnt happen to them.

    3. 3.3
      Amy

      I find myself reading these articles as I have been assaulted, again.  This time I know exactly who it was and although tardy I have reported the assault, both to the police, the medical group and my insurance company.  I have been through years of therapy dealing with PTSD depression and anxiety from the previous assault.  Coincidentally I suspect my medical history may have made me a “candidate.”  It is a horrible ordeal under any circumstance but I find it even more disturbing that a doctor did this to me.  I struggled to come to the decision to report him and only after he left the medical group.  I am already damaged by sexual assault…I wouldn’t do it for me.  I think of my friends daughters who are college age…that’s why I did it.  I know odds are against him ever doing time.  I know he likely will not loose his medical license.  It makes me ill to think he will just go one doing this to other women.  As much as I want to not think about it and put it behind me, I can’t.  I hate that he gets that free rent in my mind.

  4. 4
    Adam

    Obviously rape is a horrible crime and anyone who did actually rape a woman deserves to go to jail, without a doubt. My heart goes out to anyone women who was actually raped or sexually assaulted. That is beyond horrible. No woman deserves to be the victim of this. It is just a disgusting, horrible crime.
     
    Now having said that, I have to agree with Evan. I am totally and utterly sick of the definition of rape being expanded to cover activities that are not in fact rape. If a man and women are drunk and decide to have consensual sex, sorry, that is not rape unless the woman is unconscious. If a woman meets a man, decides to go home with him, does so and then after two or three months of dating him realizes he is a jerk who lied and said he made more money than he actually does, this man is not now a rapist. If a woman cheats on her boyfriend with some other guy she meets at a bar and then hours or days later regrets that she did this, this is not rape. Things are just getting completely out of hand and ludicrous. And all this insanity and mis-definition of rape only harms women who were actually victims of this horrible crime.

    1. 4.1
      Delilah

      Wrong. Being tipsy is one thing, but if a woman is falling down drunk and can barely stand or walk but is still conscious, that is not an open invitation for sex. When someone is too drunk to make a decision, it is not consensual.  If it isn’t right to steal someone’s wallet while they’re hammered, sex is off the table as well.

      1. 4.1.1
        Karmic Equation

        A woman is more vulnerable to rape than men, particularly when she is “falling down drunk.”

        Doesn’t she have a responsibility to herself to never get “falling down drunk” outside of her home in the first place?

        I don’t mean this to justify rape, it doesn’t.

        But where is this woman’s accountability and common sense?

        If a woman wants to get sh*tfaced, she’s entitled to do that. But for her own safety, she should do it in the privacy in her own home, not when she’s out. When she’s out she needs to learn self control to ensure she never puts herself  in such a vulnerable position as to be unable to make a decision or give legal consent.

      2. 4.1.2
        Adam

        I’m sorry Delilah, I don’t believe in taking advantage of women. I am 1000% against rape or any other kind of violence against women. Men need to respect the women in their lives.

        Now having said that, if a man and a woman go out and have a few drinks, both get drunk and both decide to have sex,  I don’t view this is as rape. If someone is unconscious, yes that is rape. But if they are capable of giving consent and do give that consent then I don’t see the problem.

        If a guy gets drunk and while drunk ends up having consensual sex with a girl that is way below his normal standards is this also rape?

  5. 5
    Shaukat

    I agree that Kevin’s comment about ‘playful resistance’ was idiotic, which is why in my comment I didn’t bother addressing it.
     
    I think maybe Isobel’s issue (I’m not trying to speak for her) is that there is this public perception, and an almost default position, that when a woman brings forward a rape allegation there is an equal chance that she might be lying or gave consent. Again, this default position doesn’t apply for other serious crimes with an equal percentage of false reporting. Also, because of the judicial doctrine of innocent until proven guilty (which is arguably the best doctrine as far as the judicial process in general goes) women are already at a disadvantage in a sense because they have to prove that they didn’t give consent, i.e, proving a negative.

  6. 6
    BraindEd

    I have never dated in my life (34 yr old man) and am glad to not risk myself to even closely getting an accusation leveled at me.

    I hope I never get married.

  7. 7
    Emma

    The 1 in 4 statistic rings false to you because women don’t tell these stories to just anyone. Even to close friends or partners a lot of the time. It rings completely true to me. I have never been sexually assaulted, but I can think of far more than four of my female friends who have been, and those are just the ones who’ve told me. 

    1. 7.1
      MikeTO

      Personally I know only one and she was a model in NYC. Hey I was sexually assaulted also. It’s funny how male rape victims are never mentioned.

  8. 8
    Molly

    I have to agree with women don’t tell. One of my daughter’s was raped by twtwo male friends while a freshman in high school. She finally told her sisters years later. When I was 18 I was assaulted walking home from home work. I was able to fight him off. The difference with me was I went to the police and they didn’t even take an official statement. I’m sure the man who tired to rape me went on to successfully rape others. And how many of those women did not tell.

  9. 9
    Roy Goh

    Regarding intoxicated sex – if she can’t or does not say yes specifically, it is a no. It does not matter if she expressed a yes before having the drinks.  She can still change her mind.

    Regarding the statistic of 1 in 4 women having been raped, I am inclined to believe it.  And I can use a simple culturally influenced question – why is it when your son gets a girlfriend its all cheers but when your daughter gets a boyfriend a shotgun is pulled out of the cupboard?  Because a lot of men know what a dicks they were when “young and stupid”

     Regarding the 99% vs 1%, I will still take a false accusation seriously.  Victim shaming is a problem – the police, the court judges, and jurists are ALL more inclined to blame the victim for rape than the rapist.  It has been always “she was asking for it” or “she’s a (drunk) woman, who knows what she really wants”, etc etc.  And THAT is epic BS.

    1. 9.1
      Adam

      Roy, have to disagree with you on this. How do you define intoxicated? A woman who has had a couple beers? I mean seriously, who hasn’t had “beer goggles” and gone home with someone willingly and later regretted it. If a woman indicates clearly and unambiguously she wants to have sex with some guy, has a few drinks with him and then goes home with him willingly and they have sex, he didn’t rape her. It is ludicrous to say that he did.
       
      My heart goes out to women who have ACTUALLY been raped or otherwise abused. They have ALL my sympathy and support. But what people like you promote, the idea that a woman, who has had a couple beers is now completely unable to make her own decisions as to who she does and doesn’t have sex with is completely off in my view. Many of my female friends drink and they don’t “accidentally” end up in the beds of random guys. They drink, they have fun and at the end of the night they go home with their boyfriends or whatever guy they DECIDE to go home with.
       
      What I see, what upsets me and what upsets many other guys, is when the definition of rape is extended to include any kind of sexual activity which a woman willingly engages in, which is either frowned upon by society, or which she later regrets. This distortion of the definition of rape, only harms women who have ACTUALLY been victims of this horrible and disgusting crime.

      1. 9.1.1
        Roy Goh

        Hi Adam,

        We are not in disagreement.  The test is a simple one.  At the point before you make love to the lady, ask her if she feels right with it.

        Does she say YES?
        CAN she say Yes?

        If she’s passed out from drink, she can’t say yes, that’s rape.
        If she’s completely incoherent from drink and does not even have the faculty to say yes, its rape.

        One thing that pisses me off is reading about guys preying on drunk gals and everybody from the taxi driver to the cops will say something stupid like “Well, she’s drunk.  Who knows what she wants?”

        And your comments on the matter highlights “willing”.  If she is able and willing, what’s the problem?  Have you truly been in a position or first hand heard of a situation where a “willing” sex participant became a victim of rape?

        Who told you rape is when she says “yes” but means “no”?  I’ve dealt with rape survivors and your commentary does not hold water.  Under no circumstance has yes meant no.  In fact, the problem is when MEN think NO means YES.  OR they have some perverse understanding of NO.  The most galling thing is when the phrase “just let it happen” comes up.  THAT seems like a very common theme.

        1. Joek

          So the times a woman didn’t ask me whether I was willing when *I* was drunk, then she was my rapist?

           

          Just trying to me be clear about who owns culpability here…

        2. Adam

          Roy,

          Yes, sadly I have heard of many such situations. Women who had a few drinks, had willing sex with men and later, days,weeks or months or even years later accused these guys of rape.There was a famous case of a woman who had a couple of drinks, decided to hookup with a male stripper in a strip club and then when her husband found out about what she had done, she cried rape.

          I personally know of multiple guys who have been falsely accused of abuse. One of the women who accused one of my good friends later turned out to be a chronic liar who lied about nearly everything. She lied about her job, she lied about where she went to school, she lied about everything.

      2. 9.1.2
        (/) no hatemongers

        Think about all of the things you prohibited from doing when intoxicated though: drive, ride a bike, show up at work, take care of children, walk into a store. In many places you can still get arrested for just being drunk in a public place. Why? Becuase your judgement is impaired and you may cause harm to yourself or others.

  10. 10
    Henriette

    Surely, some of these differences must come down to differing definitions.  In my head, I consider myself to be one of the many women fortunate to never have been sexually assaulted, bc when I think of “sexual assualt,” I think of rape or something very close to it.  
     
    But if I use the definition of “sexual assault” as put forth by my home Province, well, yes; I’ve been sexually assaulted multiple times (especially between the ages of, say, 12 and 25) because this official definition includes acts like flashing or groping or being kissed against your will.  I admit that these experiences can be upsetting ~ I was both groped and flashed by a guy on a French metro when I was in my early teens and I burst into tears when I returned to my hotel; I felt scared and confused ~ but I just can’t get my head around them being in the same category as rape.   
     
    To be honest, although my experiences were unpleasant, I find it a bit insulting to rape victims that having my butt grabbed by a drunken Spaniard or some frat boy planting an unexpected kiss on me as I was leaving a party should be deemed “sexual assault.”  And I consider myself someone who has been lucky to never have been a victim of sexual assault, even if official definitions tell me otherwise.
     
     
     

    1. 10.1
      Adam

      Completely agree Hernriette. The guys who did those things to you were certainly jerks, but they weren’t rapists and shouldn’t be placed in the same category.

    2. 10.2
      Isa

      Very right. Confusing flashing/drunken sex/forced kissing with rape merely makes it harder for people who experience it. I can tell you for a fact, I had to face those questions. Was I drinking, did I know him, did I want it, did I say no etc. The fact I could respond with the fact that I behaved properly and someone took advantage of me without my consent meant I 1) got respect from the men who were told 2) didn’t blame myself 3) received proper treatment with no judgment. The difference between rape and the man feeling me up at work in a company with no HR and threatening to fire me if I didn’t comply… completely different.

      I also now get a bit apoplectic with all the stupid stories I’m now forced to take seriously about damage done due to “forced kissing.” Get some therapy, get some perspective, and get over yourself. Ug.

      1. 10.2.1
        TC

        A forced kiss IS an assault. To some, it might not be a big deal. To others, it could be a huge deal. Regardless, it’s an assault – and if someone finds that he/she can get away with that, then it’s just another step toward groping, then fondling, then full on rape. The high that a sick individual gets from violating another human being is simply experienced to a higher degree after forced intercourse than after an unwanted kiss.

        “Get over yourself?” Really??? How about the people who are so glib regarding the violation of other people “get over” themselves (and yeah, a little therapy might do YOU some good, too).

        I’ve been raped and forced to kiss someone on separate occasions. Both acts took away my dignity – which is the real intention in many of these cases.

        How about the ALL people who think any assault is okay “get over” themselves, and get some therapy, and the rest of us then get to live our lives in peace…yeah?

        1. TC

          *ALL the (not the ALL) – typo

        2. Callie

          I 100% agree. Any unwanted,unwelcome physical action,is an assault. It is an assault on ones personal space,their body&their dignity. It’s not rape no,but still assault. The fact that people encourage&belittle such things,is reprehensible.  If a random someone punches you&you did’nt want it to happen,is that OK,too? If someone you know did it,would it be OK,then?  No,because it’s an unwanted,unwelcome physical action being forced onto you. An assault. Women are not public property,to be groped,grabbed,squeezed,raped OR even kissed,whenever the hell some random guy wants to. Why anyone would condone/belittle such things,is beyond understanding.

  11. 11
    melanie

    I feel I also must point out that many men are rape survivors, and are assaulted by both men and women at a much higher rate than is reported. Sexual assault is underreported by both men and women.

  12. 12
    Ames

    The 1 in 4 statistic is sexual assault, not specifically rape. This can include molestation in childhood. Taking that into consideration, those numbers fall in line with what females friends have shared with me when we’re alone in female only groups. Actually I was in disbelief how many women had these experiences, even my own mother with an older relative which led her to be so vigilant with her daughters. That being said, I agree it’s important that conversations like this can be had calmly without lashing out toward those who are trying to wrap their heads around the idea such a bad thing could happen so often. 

    1. 12.1
      henriette

      “Sexual assault” can include childhood molestation… and also (depending on where you live, since different states/ countries have different definitions) being flashed, being kissed against your will, being groped….  Honestly, if we go by this more inclusive definition of sexual harassment, I’d think the numbers would be far higher than 1/4; how many women do you know who’ve NEVER been groped?!

      1. 12.1.1
        Chance

        I believe the study was saying 1 in 4 (or 1 in 5, can’t remember) women have been sexually assaulted while in college.  So, the number could certainly be higher if they were trying to see how many women have been “sexually assaulted” over the course of a lifetime.  The problem with the study is that standard for sexual assault is so low that it doesn’t really give you an idea of the kind of dangers that women really face in the world.  Heck, based on what qualifies as sexual assault, I was sexually assaulted multiple times in college.  I’ve been flashed, groped, and had girls plant one on me.  I think a lot of guys who were social at all could say the same.

        This is why I think it is isn’t helpful to women to keep using this 1 in 4 statistic all of the time.  When most people hear someone cite this for the first time, they think 25% of women out there have been subjected to something that is much worse.  When some folks eventually realize that the definition of sexual assault is much broader than they originally thought, they can lose sympathy because they just see it as another attempt to misrepresent the numbers to support a case.  

  13. 13
    Chance

    I think women are hurting their cause by using studies that have obvious flaws to illustrate the seriousness of rape and sexual assault.  I have no idea how common rape is, and I have no idea how common sexual assault is, and I suppose we will never know.  However, if the object is to increase awareness among people who normally don’t give much thought to the issue (e.g., mostly men, I assume), then it is very important to use facts in a manner that does not misrepresent the frequency or severity of such incidents.  The reason for this is because you will likely cause people who previously didn’t give much thought to the issue to be less sympathetic to your cause due to the intellectually-dishonest nature in which it has been presented. 

  14. 14
    Vanessa

    I saw this online a few places: a guide for understanding consent:

    If you’re still struggling, just imagine that—instead of initiating sex—you’re making a cup of tea.
    You say: “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?”If they say, “Yes, I would love a cup of tea! Thank you!” then you know they want a cup of tea.
    If you say “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?” and they hem and haw and say, “I’m not really sure,” then you can make them a cup of tea or not, but be aware that they might not drink it.
    If they don’t drink it—and this is the important bit—then don’t make them drink it.
    You can’t blame them for the fact that you went to the effort of making tea, on the off-chance they wanted it. You just have to deal with them not drinking it; you making tea doesn’t mean that you are entitled to watch them drink it.
    And if they say, “No thank you,” then don’t make them tea. At all. Don’t make them tea; don’t make them drink tea; don’t get annoyed at them for not wanting tea. They just don’t want tea, ok?
    They might say, “Yes please, that’s kind of you.” And then when the tea arrives, they might not want the tea at all. Sure, that’s annoying, as you’ve already made the tea, but they remain under no obligation to drink the tea. They did want tea, now they don’t. Sometimes people change their mind in the time it takes to boil that kettle, brew the tea and add the milk. And it’s ok for people to change their mind. You are still not entitled to watch them drink it.
    If they are unconscious, don’t make them tea. Unconscious people don’t want tea and can’t answer the question, “Do you want tea?” because they are unconscious.
    They may have been conscious when you asked them if they wanted tea, and they said yes. But in the time it took you to boil that kettle, brew the tea and add the milk, they are now unconscious. You should just put the tea down, make sure the unconscious person is safe, and—this is the important bit—don’t make them drink the tea. They said yes then, sure, but unconscious people don’t want tea.
    If someone said yes to tea, started drinking it, and then passed out before finishing it, don’t keep pouring it down their throat. Take the tea away and make sure they are safe.  Because unconscious people don’t want tea. Trust me on this.
    If someone said “yes” to tea around your house last Saturday, that doesn’t mean that they want you to make them tea all the time. They don’t want you to come around unexpectedly to their place and make them tea and force them to drink it, while you say “But you wanted tea last week!” They don’t want to wake up to find you pouring tea down their throat, saying “But you wanted tea last night!”
    Is this a stupid analogy? Yes, you know this already—of course, you wouldn’t force someone to drink tea because they said yes to a cup last week. Of course, you wouldn’t pour tea down the throat of an unconcious person just because they said yes to tea 5 minutes ago. But if you can understand how completely ludicrous it is to force people to have tea when they don’t want tea, and you are able to understand when people don’t want tea, then how hard is it to understand when it comes to sex?
    Whether it’s tea or sex, consent is everything.
     

  15. 15
    Claudia

    I find it curious that the question is how can we get more women to talk about being assaulted and/or sharing experiences that historically have put women at a disadvantage.  It would be great if there were a conversation by men, among men about what they can do to make sexual assault less prevalent – regardless of how to prove a statistic.  If one rape, is one too many – then how do you prevent it?  How do men talk to each other about things they do to ensure consent?  How do men tell each other that cat-calling and/or making comments about women’s physical attributes isn’t always welcome?   When, or how, do men reflect about different interpretations of their response to ‘playful resistance’?  

    1. 15.1
      JennLee

      Awesome post Claudia.  First, sexual assault is never OK.  NEVER!  EVER!
       
      I want to address “When, or how, do men reflect about different interpretations of their response to ‘playful resistance?’”  I think this is the hardest issue to deal with and I don’t think there will ever be an answer for it.  See, many of us are often not even sure how far we are willing to go with a man.  Or more correctly, we start out at NO, and then are convinced to say yes.  For instance, I have a friend who confided in me that her husband was not happy that she never initiates sex.  She admitted that she can’t because she’s actually never in the mood until her husband does the things he does to get her in the mood.  She admits that she often starts out completely uninterested, but because her husband doesn’t stop when she says no, and keeps doing foreplay things to get her interested, she ends up getting in the mood and then wants sex.
       
      I can see where this can cause confusion with men.  Say you are with a man you like, but aren’t yet ready to have sex.  But, you don’t want to scare him away so you are playful in the way you decline his overtures.  He has been there before.  Past experience has taught him that persistence is the key.  It isn’t he who needs to reflect, it is us.  We need to have a game plan.  Know what we are going to say and how we are going to say it.
       
      We have to let him know that we still think he is sexy, even if we aren’t ready to have sex.  We have let him know that we do love sex, and want it a lot in a relationship.  We have to ask him if he would really want a woman for a long term relationship who would just fall on her back with her legs in the air, every time she is exploring the idea of a relationship with a man.  We ten have to make sure he knows that we aren’t yet sure that we want a relationship because we are still getting to know him, but that so far, we like what we have seen.  Then we have to let him know where our boundaries are, and what we are and are not comfortable with.  Then we have to be careful not to toy with his emotions.
       
      We have to be firm, yet soft.  We also have to appeal to his reason and logic, which men often are better at, so it is the best way to deal with them in such circumstances.  We have to let them know our boundaries, but at the same time, allay their fears, which is likely going to be a fear that you are in some way frigid or dysfunctional regarding sex.  Maybe all it takes is just to smile seductively, and softly say that if he is patient, he won’t be disappointed.
       
      The point is that it is up to us to make sure we are being clear.  Being playful isn’t enough if you really are certain you don’t want sex, because far too often, women who are on the fence about it use that, and we want, or need to be convinced to get off the fence.  So many men have seen playful no’s turn into a passionate yes.  So it is up to us to make sure they know that we are certain we do not want sex.  Either way, a man must never push it to the point of sexual assault, and even with a playful no in the beginning, if he pushes to far, it will no longer be playful and he needs to stop.  But why let it get to that point when we can simply be more clear in the beginning?

    2. 15.2
      Cat5

      There is actually a book on the subject called, “The Macho Paradox; Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help” written by Jackson Katz.  Here are a few descriptions of the book:
       
      From Publishers Weekly
      Katz is cofounder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program (MVP), and his focus is on prevention—his intended audience is not violent men who need help changing their ways, but all men, who, he says, have a role to play in preventing male violence against women. His basic assertion is that rape, battering, sexual abuse and harassment are so widespread that they must be viewed as a social problem rooted in our culture, not as the problem of troubled individuals. He urges men to directly confront the misogynistic attitudes and behavior of their peers. Some men may find Katz’s advice occasionally baffling: he is full of directions about what not to do (such as paternalistic actions that deprive women of their autonomy). He wants to bring men into the larger discussion of pornography (which, he points out, has been dominated by women) and get them to look at its impact on themselves. Katz also presents eye-opening exercises and discussions from the MVP model that engender productive discussion among participants—usually high school or college students. If only men would read Katz’s book, it could serve as a potent form of male consciousness-raising.
      Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
       

      From Booklist
      Katz, an antisexist male activist, repositions violence against women as a broader cultural issue, not just a women’s issue. Arguing for a “far-reaching cultural revolution,” Katz explores those aspects of American culture that promote violence against women, focusing separate chapters on pornography, prostitution, and other sex-related businesses as well as sexual violence in the military, the music industry, and athletics. He catalogs the troubling statistics regarding domestic violence, sexual harassment, and other acts of violence and hostility by men against women, but he is most powerful when detailing encounters with men and women speaking about their personal experiences. Based on his work with gender violence, the book also offers advice on how men can ally with women to curb violence and change those aspects of the “boys will be boys” attitude on male aggressiveness and masculinity that can lead to violence and abuse. This is a candid look at the cultural factors that lend themselves to tolerance of abuse and violence against women. Vanessa Bush
      Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
       
      Try talking to men about this book or get them to read it…see how far you get.  They don’t want to because they say that they aren’t violent with women, why should they?  It’s other guys — psychotic and sociopathic guys – that are problem.  They do not believe they play a role in the problem…or that they can do anything to curb the problem.  It’s really women’s problems and issues.

    3. 15.3
      Evan Marc Katz

      Claudia, naturally the onus is on “men” to stop rape since they’re the perpetrators. But I think you’re misunderstanding something fundamental that makes your suggestion a non-starter.

      “How do men talk to each other about things they do to ensure consent? How do men tell each other that cat-calling and/or making comments about women’s physical attributes isn’t always welcome? When, or how, do men reflect about different interpretations of their response to ‘playful resistance’?”

      You can’t “make” men talk to each other about anything. You can create awareness – these blog posts, your Facebook feed, your own conversations with men, but you don’t have the power to influence the dialogue between two guys, any more than men can force you to talk about the Fast and Furious franchise with your girlfriend.

      This is troubling and renders your solution: “make men talk about this” as DOA. I remember, during a rape awareness session in my freshman dorm 20 years ago, an earnest guy said something to the effect of, “What can I, as a man, do to prevent rape?” I believe that this is what you, personally, would want to hear every man say. However, beyond “don’t rape anybody” I’m not exactly sure what men can do. If that sounds like a cop-out, consider what happens in the mind of a rapist.

      a) He’s drunk and has lost his capacity for self-awareness, self-control, and empathy. So when he’s in the heat of the moment and she says no, do you really think he’s going to reflect back on his earnest conversations with other men about the definition of consent? Unfortunately, I doubt it.

      b) He’s a serial Bill Cosby/Darren Sharper kind of rapist who preys on women consistently. This guy knows what he’s doing and subtle male shaming isn’t going to have much of an effect.

      So, while we can agree that there is a problem with college age men who are often drunk and less evolved, I don’t think it’s a viable answer to get Derek to engage in a conversation with Tucker about the denigrating nature of catcalling – no more than Starbucks can make you talk about race relations when you pick up your latte.

      I think all we can do is what we’re doing right now – putting the conversation in people’s faces, raising awareness about the scope of the problem, and shining light on it. To me, if there were universally acknowledged accurate statistics, and women talked about it more openly, men would not be able to ignore the problem as much. People could ignore gay people when they were in the closet. The more that came out, the harder it became to justify denying them equal rights.

      One other thing for you to understand: I think good men (and I count myself among them) have a very hard time wrapping ourselves around a problem that has never touched us personally. None of my friends – to the best of my knowledge – are rapists, and if they were, I doubt they’d tell me about it. So while the onus is naturally on men to “stop raping”, I also think the solution isn’t to have some pie in the sky fantasy about Average Joes discussing “playful resistance.” It’s about women continuing to tell their stories publicly to the point where it’s POSSIBLE that men might be ashamed of catcalling.

      Sadly, I don’t think that dialogue alone can prevent the rape of a drunk, angry, predator, no more than the death penalty deters would-be murderers.

      1. 15.3.1
        Cat5

        “I’m not sure what men can do.”

        That doesn’t sound like a cop out Evan, that is a cop out – and you need to own it.  It wouldn’t be so incongruous, except directly above your post saying you are not sure what men can do I posted the information regarding a book, written by a man, that provides details/suggestions on what all men can do to help prevent violence against women.  Maybe you should read it – you might find out what men can do…and maybe you will take action and mentor some young men to help them navigate the tough world of sex on college campuses.  Or not. 

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Cat5, I appreciate your passion and activism, but please do not make the same mistake that a lot of people on the left (and the right, to be fair) make: turning allies into enemies because they’re not as ideologically pure. My whole life is devoted to helping women make healthier relationship choices and choose better partners. I get emails every day from women thanking me for both my free and paid advice. So let’s not shoot the messenger here. In fact, try listening to me for a second.

          A HUGE reason that I don’t see rape/domestic violence and all the other things you (and Katz) talk about is because I am NOT AROUND it. Virtually everybody I know is in the same boat as I am – happily married, upper middle class, educated, evolved. This: “violence against women, pornography, prostitution, and other sex-related businesses as well as sexual violence in the military, the music industry, and athletics” is simply not my world.

          My cause is giving women the confidence to walk away from bad relationships and choose men based on consistency, kindness and character. It is not my responsibility to crusade against sex trafficking or to mentor young college men just because they are both serious problems. AIDS in Africa is serious. Saving endangered species is serious. Helping inner city kids get a better education is serious. We all have to make our choices as to where we devote our energies. The world needs people like you and the world needs people like me. So please stop lecturing me as if I’m part of the problem just because I’m not as actively a part of the solution as you are.

      2. 15.3.2
        Claudia

        Hi Even:

        Thanks for your response.  Clearly, i wrote my comment inadequately.  I wasn’t suggesting that men be made to talk about anything and I was definitely not suggesting an easy solution to end rape.  I was genuinely asking if and when these things happen.  I don’t believe I have to power to influence dialogue between men – I wondered if men can influence each other.  It appears from your response that perhaps this doesn’t happen. My opinion is that part of what leads to rape is how girls and women are treated as physical objects to be judged by men (similar to the info from Katz above).  If more men stopped other men from this type of behavior (e.g., ‘bros before hos,’ ‘slut shaming,’ strip club parties) then that could be one thing they could do besides not raping anyone.  I agree with you that not much can be done to stop a predator – I do believe a lot can be done for men to view women with more humanity.  

      3. 15.3.3
        Al

        Evan, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. You say, “This: “violence against women, pornography, prostitution, and other sex-related businesses as well as sexual violence in the military, the music industry, and athletics” is simply not my world.” If you know any women, turn on a TV, watch sports, live in a world where the military serves this country… then it absolutely IS your world. You can choose to say, “it’s not my responsibility” if you like. Lots of men do but you can’t throw your hands up and say it’s not “your world” because it absolutely is.

        Violence against women does not begin with the frat boys who think its ok to get a woman drunk and gang bang her. It starts with the society that dehumanizes and objectifies women in the first place. OUR society. Flip through a magazine or watch a commercial during half time and try to imagine men in the roles the women are playing instead. It will seem absurd, embarrassing, humiliating to the men. What does that say about how we portray women? Do you think these impressions are lost on the young men who grow up immersed in them?

        You imply that not all men should have to shoulder the weight of this issue. There are problems in Africa too and you can’t be involved in every kind of activism. OK, true. However, if you lived in Africa and were faced with certain inequities on a daily basis you might feel a civic duty to address those issues. Of course, you’d have to actually be willing to SEE those issues first.

        Imagine one segment of the population, one demographic group, was by the thousands, maybe even millions, walking up to elderly people on the street and punching them in the face. Every day, every few minutes. Would we say the elderly people should be more careful, should be mindful of where they are or what they are doing to invite it or would the onus of stopping the behavior be on that one (likely highly demonized) demographic group to police themselves and clean up their act or at the very least, be willing to (gasp) TALK to each other about the issue. I can tell you one thing, if women in general were pretty much solely responsible for committing a large number of violent crimes, you can be damn sure we’d feel a responsibility to talk to each other about it, guide each other, teach each other the right way to behave. 

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          So I presume that you are tirelessly advocating for the children of Guatemala, African Amercians in St. Louis, poor people in Appalachia, and Jews in Europe.

          If not, get off my back for not taking every issue as if it was my personal mission in life. Of course, this is serious. That’s why we’re talking about it. But it is not my job to stump on college campuses as a mentor to 18-year-old men. I have a wife and kids and full-time job that come first. You do understand that, right?

        2. Al

          What does any of that have to do with what I actually said Evan? Did you bother to read my response or were you too busy seeing red to process what was said? You cherry picked one thing I said and intentionally misinterpreted it. At least, I assume it was an intentional deflection, because up until now I have always respected your insight. 

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          Seeing red?

          More annoyed that you feel that because I have a public forum, every cause that is of urgent and paramount importance to you should also be that way to me. I don’t think that’s a misinterpretation of your take. And if me pushing back at your vitriolic accusations (your deleted post alludes to be being “pathetic” and “foaming at the mouth”) makes you respect my insights less, then I’m sorry to hear that and wish you the best of luck in the future.

        4. Al

          Huh? Why would I expect you care to about every cause I do? We’re not discussing land wars in Asia. I’m commenting on a subject that YOU brought up on your “public forum.”  Again … you brought this up on your own blog and invited comments on it, so it seems a bit disingenuous to then ask us why we should expect this to matter to you. If it didn’t matter to you why bring it up in the first place? OK, I’ll admit that the “foaming at the mouth” comment was uncalled for. I sincerely apologize for that one. However, calling the idea that men shouldn’t be expected to discuss something this important impacting 50% of the population in their own communities pathetic isn’t the same as calling you pathetic. I hope you can see the distinction.  I honestly don’t mean to be vitriolic but clearly my words can upset people too. 

      4. 15.3.4
        MikeTO

        Show me proof that Bill Cosby raped any woman. He was never convicted of any crime. It’s funny how feminist and women alike will make up shit. If you doubt that then look at the Rolling Stone article that a woman was claiming to be raped.
        Sam Pepper was called a rapist yet not a single of these women who claimed to be raped by him went to the police. When you do shit like this you are making things worse. Do you really like women really care about other women getting raped. Look at the porn star that was raped by 4 black men who broke into her home. Not a single support from feminists. The support can from her fans which I presume it’s men and another porn star.

        Let’s not forget these victims are also suing him for rape. I don’t know about anyone but I certainly wouldn’t want a rapist money.

        1. Noemi

          MikeTo if numerous women are coming forward to accuse Bill Cosby, there may be some validity to those claims, ya know. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

      5. 15.3.5
        Isa

        As to the question as what men can do, here’s what I have asked of the men around me. That Man has been known to have assaulted (by my count) 4 women including me. He tends to date people who know each other. I told his cousins/friends who I knew the best to keep women away from him. Thus far at least 1 relationship has been ended before any harm occurred. So basically, negative wingmanship. Also, having bfs/partners/husbands threaten to inflict severe bodily harm on That Man is also effective.As for legal authorities, they are largely ineffectual where I live without a cell video of the whole event.

        1. Chance

          Threatening to inflict severe bodily harm on someone is illegal. Therefore, this isn’t really a viable option as it relates to something a man can do.

  16. 16
    mgm531

    And I think we’ve inadvertently stumbled onto what makes it so difficult – if a man asks a question without full understanding, he risks being called a victim blamer, rape apologist, misogynist, etc, which is a very painful label to have to fight off when none of it is true.”

    And this is pricesly why we cannot have an honset dicussion about sexual assualt in the current state of our society.  Any attempt to question or any dissenting opinion is automatically dismissed as ‘victim blamer’.  But sexual assualt while abhorent is rife with nances and grey areas that can be very much left to innterpretation by each individual party.  Emily Yoffe did an excellent expose called ‘The Rape Overcorrection’ on the danger of false rape allegations and how it can ruin a persons life.  This is not to say that rape and sexual assault is not a problem, because clearly it is.  But let’s not approach the issue from single perspective without examining it from all sides.

  17. 17
    Cat5

    Evan,

    I’m a little taken aback by your comments.  How is my post disrepectful and lecturing you?   And why would it make you my enemy in the fight to stop violence against women?  Did I say something that was not true?  It’s very disheartening you took my comments that way.

    In my first post I said that men won’t talk about it because hey it’s not them and not their issue.  But, isn’t violence against women everyone’s issue?  Or is it only a man’s issue when it touches a man’s life personally?  For example, his mother, sister, aunt, daughter, or granddaughter is beaten and raped?

    If it’s not true – that it only becomes a man’s issue when it touches his life personally – then please tell me how we get more good men such as yourself to get involved and take meaningful action?   Katz’ book is merely one souce that provides many ideas/suggestions on what good men can do. In fact, he suggests that good men are the key to stopping violence against women by mentoring/teaching boys how to be good men.

    If one rape is one too many – why isn’t that enough to spur more good men into taking significant action to stop violence against women?  What will/does it take?

    Cat5

    1. 17.1
      Al

      Cat5. What I find a bit confusing is that Evan is the one who brought this subject to the table by writing about it in his public blog. OK, so now we’re talking about it. Wasn’t that the point? Why so defensive?

  18. 18
    Cat5

    One other thing – you often point out the differences between genders. It is never more apparent than in the area of violence against women. I can volunteer an counsel all the young men I possibly can and I will never have same impact as one good man doing the same thing would have.  But most of the men I consider good men, do not counsel young men in this area and often shy away from the subject as to terrible to discuss. Male volunteers in these types of programs are so rare.  I wish they understood the difference and the impact that they could have on the life of a young man…or young woman for that matter.  So many them have never had good men in their lives – the young men to learn how good men behave and the young women to see how good men behave.

    It might actually help them make better choices in dating and marriage,  🙂

  19. 19
    lila

    Men are also victims of sexual assault.

  20. 20
    Al

    Evan, I’ve been trying to come up with an analogy that is both non-inflammatory and helpful in illuminating why many of us felt a bit of a slap in the face by your post. My feeble attempts are going to fall far short, I’m afraid, but maybe it will help come at this from a different angle.

    OK, so this is entirely hypothetical here. I’m not saying this has ever happened. These are just analogies, “What If” scenarios so to speak. Imagine talking about how certain aspects of the Holocaust maybe weren’t QUITE as bad as they were made out to be to a Jewish person. 

    Imagine talking about how some horror stories about slavery maybe weren’t entirely true to a former slave. 

    Imagine talking about how how one or two people got away with Voter Fraud to one of millions who were disenfranchised and blocked or discouraged from Voting.

    Sure, it’s entirely true that an infinitesimally small number of men have been falsely accused. While the small number doesn’t negate their experience, a vastly higher number of men have gotten away with it unreported and unscathed. Still, I’m sure it’s happened to someone and that’s truly terrible. It really is. However, is that where our focus should be when thousands upon thousands of women are being sexually assaulted every day, the .0001 percent of MEN who suffer? Is that appropriate or is it yet another way of minimizing the enormous issue we have of misogyny and violence against women? All I’m saying is that all lot of your clients are women. Some perspective regarding your audience might be called for.

  21. 21
    pat

    A big reason why Evan might struggle with the 1 in 4 statistic is absolutely because he is a man.  As a female, I have had many classmates, as young as in primary school, share their experiences of molestation and rape with me.  The number increased as I got older.  I know many women who have been raped and I am confident that there are plenty of women of my acquaintance who have kept their rapes secret.  It is extremely common – regardless of class, race, SES.  Merely stating that you struggle with the statistic almost alludes to the idea that you might not believe the stat (I’m sure that’s not your intent at all, but that’s what it feels like).  But the reason you don’t know about more rapes occurring is because women aren’t going to readily confide in you.  

    Also to bring up the hypothetical 1% of men who are falsely accused and acquitted/cleared as “victims” in the same sentence as talking about rape victims is a little upsetting.  A violent physical violation of one’s body is not the same thing as getting accused of a crime you didn’t commit.  When a man is falsely accused and cleared, he gets his life back, society feels bad for wrongly accusing him, and we point fingers at the person/people that accused him.  But he is not a victim like the rape victims.  Rape victims do not get their lives back – they are haunted by what was done to them, they feel unsafe, guilty, depressed, dirty, and a rape can completely change their lives.  One of my friends was raped – she was a beautiful, extremely intelligent girl in high school who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  After her rape, she couldn’t be alone, she had a hard time being away from her family, she couldn’t go away to university and settled on a small local community college and relinquished the idea of career, and she had a very hard time developing future relationships with men.

    1. 21.1
      Buck25

      Pat,

      Let’s face the fact that between sexual assault/forcible rape being an under-reported crime to begin with (like other forms of abuse, unfortunately) and a highly emotion-charged issue, none of us know what the actual incidence is. What we do know, is that even if it’s one in ten, instead of one in four, or even if it’s only one, it’s too prevalent. I’ve had too many girlfriends or close women friends who have shared stories of being molested as children, and/or of being subjected to unwanted groping, all the way up to attempted or completed rape, to believe otherwise. I’ve been a first responder(emergency medical) and had to treat way too many rape victims (and they were just the ones injured badly enough for us to get the call). The incidence really doesn’t matter; as domestic violence has been, this is a silent epidemic that creates a lot of suffering that does not have to happen. So what do we do about it?

      I think first and foremost, we bring it out of the shadows; the relatively small number of men who prey on women are the cockroaches of our society, and nothing makes roaches go away quite as fast as shining a bright light on them. These men count on a victim’s shame and humiliation to provide them the cover they need to do what they do, with little fear of consequence to themselves. The first and best way, difficult as it is, is for women (and men) who are victimized to summon the courage to report the act, and speak out. It’s been happening with domestic abuse…and it’s making a powerful difference. It can with this issue as well. One way men might encourage that, is to let the women in our lives know that we’re aware of the problem, we care, and if something like that has happened to them, that it’s ok to talk about it. They need to be reassured that we won’t judge them, believe they somehow invited it, or could have done more to stop it, and they are not less in our eyes because of it. Another thing we need to do, is educate our children. We can tell our sons, their friends, and any other young man who comes to us for advice, (and our daughters, too) that “No” does not mean “Maybe”… it means “NO!”, with NO exceptions, no game playing. We can teach them that it’s NOT ok to get someone drunk (or high) to have sex with them, or to have sex with someone who is. We need to tell our young women, likewise, not to get intoxicated (or pretend to be), as an excuse for doing something they wouldn’t admit to doing sober (using “Y’all, I am soooo drunk!” as some kind of sexual come-on may be an old college joke, but in this context, it’s not funny, and it’s not a joke), and we need to encourage them, not to be paranoid, but observant and aware of their surroundings; that’s a first line of defense agains any violent crime.  Teaching them at least some basic self-defense tactics wouldn’t hurt either.

      All that said, and despite the imperfections of our criminal justice system, we can’t adopt a lynch mob mentality (see the Duke lacrosse case). Those young men got off lucky, because and only because the court took the extraordinary step of declaring them innocent of all wrongdoing in the matter. That’s not usually what happens, judicially, and this is one place I have to take issue with one of your points, specifically the comparatively rare false accusations of rape that we know DO occur; even if the accused is acquitted, the charge remains on his record. He is branded before the community, very publicly usually, as an accused rapist, and in many minds, regardless of the verdict, he is guilty, if not as charged, guilty of “something”.  So with all due respect, no, he DOESN’T “get his life back”. A cautionary tale for all of us, in that. Let’s not ever adopt the attitude that it’s ok to victimize the innocent, of either gender, in pursuit of a desired end…because it’s not. We’ll never stop it all, but we can do better, without doing that.

      One other personal note; This issue may not be part of a lot of men’s world, (that they know of, anyway) but it is part of mine and not just because of the victims I’ve treated, and the women in my own life who’ve been raped or molested. I do a lot of advocacy and volunteer work with disabled veterans, especially those with PTSD; some of them are women, and while some have it as a result of being exposed to hostile action, too many have been victims of rape in the military, often by someone in they own chain of command who they then had to work with, every day, while their report of the act was “swept under the rug”.  It happens, it happens a lot. Like a lot of Vietnam vets, I’ve fought my own battles with PTSD. We think of that as a combat soldier’s problem, but guess who has a higher incidence of  it than men do? That’s right, women, military and civilian alike; and the number one cause of PTSD in women? Forceable rape. So PTSD can be and too often is one more awful consequence of an already awful crime, and one that’s not as often recognized or understood as it should be. So damn right, it’s personal, because while I don’t know what it’s like to be raped, I do know what it’s like to relive the worst experiences of your life in flashbacks and nightmares for years, maybe the rest of your life.   PTSD is a miserable, scary, isolated and lonely feeling I would never wish on another human being, and you had better believe I have one hell of a lot of empathy for anyone who has to go through it, for any reason.

  22. 22
    Rebecca

    Evan, why claim that you said nothing offensive when people took offense?  Is everyone who disagrees with you just naturally wrong because you don’t see it the same way? 
    I appreciate your blog.  I appreciate your bringing this up.  I agree that women shouldn’t have the power to just send men to jail because they said so – a jury must judge them alleged victim’s story as more credible than then alleged perpetrator, and because that’s such a high bar, there’s an enormous fraction of accused rapists who are not seeing prison.  Rather than debating the actual rate of rape, can we just agree that it’s far higher than the actual rate of false accusation?  One of either is too many, and our criminal justice system is imperfect so we’re always going to have at least one of each.  Sucks.  I think women go on dates fearing rape perhaps a little more than men go on dates fearing that they’ll be falsely accused.  Maybe that level of personal experience is a good starting point for the conversation.

    1. 22.1
      ScottH

      Rebecca- just because someone took offense does not mean they have reason to be offended.  If someone took offense because it was claimed that the sun rises in the East, it doesn’t mean that the sun doesn’t rise in the East or that it’s bad to claim that the sun rises in the East.  

  23. 23
    butterduck

    I’m a woman. I’ve engaged in playful resistance, and both the guy and I knew it. I also don’t think the 1 in 4 (or 6) statistic is true either. And if the statistic doesn’t really matter, maybe people should stop citing it. 

     

  24. 24
    Sonja Stiefel

    I am female, 47, and a mother of a teen boy and a teen girl.  

    I feel sorry for nice, normal young men.  They can be accused of rape, having done nothing wrong.  And they have no way of defending themselves against false accusations.  I was shocked by the article where the boy way thrown out of school for rape, when the girl texted him “I am coming over, do you have a condom?” and then later she texted her friend “:)”.

    If a woman doesn’t know/believe she has been raped until after “counseling”, there is something seriously wrong with our world.  When a drunken consensual encounter gets twisted into rape, ruining the boys future, we need to stand up for, and protect the man.

    I would certainly counsel my daughter not to get drunk at a frat party, and attend with people she trusts. This is not victim blaming, it is common sense.

    What would my son need to do to be safe?  Get her consent in writing? The commenter who suggested getting the whole encounter on video might not be far off, though then he would be accused of making pornography. 

    My best advice for my son:   Never sleep with a girl who has had ANYTHING to drink.  Seems to me that claiming intoxication is the easiest way to “prove” that consent could not be given.  There are plenty of girls that will consent to sex while sober and they are probably more fun to make love to anyway.

    1. 24.1
      Chance

      Great post, Sonja. It’s unfortunate that more people don’t take a pragmatic (as opposed to idealistic) approach to ensure that everyone is protected and treated fairly in this world.

  25. 25
    KitCat

    Wow.  I have always enjoyed your website, but you just lost a reader.  I am shocked about the comments made by Evan in here.  Because you are upper middle class and educated, violence against women is not a part of your world.  I suggest that you open your eyes and do a lot more research than one article before you make ridiculous, offensive comments.  Guess who both physically and sexually abused me? An Ivy-League educated doctor making six figures.  Unfortunately, I highly doubt that I was the first or the last to be assaulted.  Evan, it is all around you.  I promise.

    1. 25.1
      twinkle

      @KitCat: Although I sympathise with u for the abuse u suffered, I have to say that if Evan lost a reader in u because of what he wrote here, then that’s because u are unreasonable. The fact that u were a victim doesn’t change the fact that u are being unreasonable. I’ve read most of what he wrote on this page, and I didn’t see anything ridiculous or offensive; IMO he was doing his best to have an honest discussion about a serious topic.

      And I was molested twice before 13. So it’s not that I don’t think sexual assault is a serious or prevalent issue. Evan is pointing out that there are many men who are wrongly punished as rapists and monsters when they are not these things. Those men can have their lives ruined and it’s not right. Saying that is not offensive.

  26. 26
    butterduck

    I find it ironic that the women who keep telling other women how awful it is to come out are the very ones who have a vested interest in women’s not coming forward – the “victim” advocates themselves. One would think that women would want the police to know how often rape occurs and to put the perpetrators behind bars.Seriously, if a rape has occurred, is cross examination by the defense really going to be any worse that the rape was?
    If I had a college-age son, I would tell him not only to not have sex with a women who has had a drink but also to avoid women who dressed as if they expected the evening to end with sex. Ladies, don’t get blind drunk and don’t dress like hootchies. That’s not victim blaming. It’s common sense. Don’t put a target on your back unless you want to get shot at. 
     

    1. 26.1
      Callie

      As a female,I have to agree. It’s not ‘victim blaming’,to tell other females to keep their wits about them&not make targets of themselves,if they don’t wish to become/be treated like targets. Many females get drunk&wear things that indicate they are trying to attract sexual advances/that they are looking for sex. Easy access type clothing,a bunch of boob hanging out,skintight eveything,etc. Not all,but a lot of them do that&then get angry when guys make advances/touch all the ‘fruit’ they have on display&sometimes sadly,even ‘pluck’ it. Other women get offended when they are told this,for some reason. They don’t seem to understand their actions(drunkenness&wearing skimpy clothes.flirty touching),does have that grabby,gropey effect on a lot of guys,especially drunk guys. These guys think you want it,because you are dressed for it&acting like you want it. They don’t realize you’re just out trying to have a fun night out&unwind,not looking to be felt up or fvcked. I am not saying they ‘asked for it’,but they certainly are’nt helping by doing what you said…getting drunk&dressing like hootchies. In a perfect world,a woman would be able to wear whatever she liked&not get harrassed,groped,etc. But we do not live in a perfect world. Having said that…it may help too,if guys did’nt get blind drunk,either. Alcohol makes men AND women behave in VERY unsavory ways. I know I probably did’nt explain what I was trying to say very well,but…

  27. 27
    Karmic Equation

    Good men don’t rape women. It never even crosses their minds. Just like good women don’t rape men. Why would good women start talking about how to stop violence against men? Why do we expect good men to talk about how to stop men from assaulting women.
     
    The problem is that BAD men or men of questionable character or those who have dubious self-control while drunk need to have this conversation with similar men. But will those men even waste a nanosecond with that kind of self-reflection. Doubt it.
     
    Taken at the 50,000 ft level, this is a case of women acting entitled. What’s important to us MUST be important to men also, or they are lesser men. WRONG!
     
    Women need to be more aware of their surroundings. Women need to take self-defense classes. If a woman likes to dress provocatively, she shouldn’t stop, but she MUST stay sober and aware of her surroundings.
     
    That’s how women can stop rape. I’ve been on countless dates. I’ve walked two miles at midnight on an unlit street and was followed once (I think) — I walked right past my house at the same pace right into a police station. My only mistake was not informing the attendant why I did that. It could have been nothing. It could have been something if I hadn’t been aware of my surroundings.
     
    It’s not good men we need to protect ourselves against or whom we need to “make” have this conversation. Likely these good men would die to protect a stranger if they saw a woman being assaulted by coming to her aid.
     
    It’s on us women to better read men. To be aware and prepared for the realities of the world. There are bad men out there. We hope we never encounter any of them. But if we do, we need to know how to defend ourselves. I’ve learned how to break bones and necks. I hope I never have to apply that knowledge. But that knowledge is power. And it’s power all women can have.

    1. 27.1
      (/) no hatemongers

      why would you say that women wanting to include men in conversations about preventing rape is women forcing their will on men? That boggles my mind.

      Most men have wives, mothers, daughters , sisters, etc. that they love and care about, don’t they?

      You even admitted men are rape victims too so how is this an issue only women should care about?

      Social problems affect us all, even from the cozy comfort of upper middle class America. I personally don’t know any hardcore drug addicts. That doesn’t mean I am unconcerned about drugs in my community. Sooner or later it very well could impact me, for example, if drugs in my community cause crime to increase , if my child is exposed to illegal substances at school or if someone whose driving while high causes an accident and injures or kills me.

      You also seem to be victim blaming and saying that every woman who is raped did something to invite it or just didn’t “read” men well enough. I think all that you have proven here is that women can be worse misogynists than any man could ever be.

      1. 27.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        I will remind you that just because someone disagrees with a woman doesn’t make him/her a misogynist. No one will take you seriously or respond to you as a debate partner if you continue to issue these personal attacks.

        Signed,

        A dating coach for women who loves women, challenges women, helps women, and is certainly not a misogynist

        1. (/) no hatemongers

          Perhaps you need to reread the comment from karmic equation. She’s insinuating that drinking, clothing, and not be able to “read” a man’s sociopathic tendencies justifies rape, and that if a woman is raped there is something she did to invite it. Do you truly believe that? If you do, you don’t love women as much as you claim.

        2. (/) no hatemongers

          I can’t take someone seriously who says it is “on women to stop rape” by reading men better, staying sober and showing less skin. Because no woman who has ever done these things has still been raped right? Because predatory types never disguise their intentions, right?

          I’m far from the only one.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          That’s the only thing within your control. Unfortunately, you can’t control the actions of an entire gender, no matter how horrific the crime.

        4. (/) hatemongers

          can you indicate where I said anything about controlling the actions of an entire gender?

          you are attempting to paint me as a man hating feminist to strengthen your defense of those comments.

          the really ironic thing here is that if KE or anyone else believes it’s on women to prevent rape by not getting men excited/aroused by showing skin and drinking, they are also saying that men inherently can’t control themselves and their urges, and need to be trained like animals not to attack women.

          That sounds dangerously close to “All men are potential rapists.” You know, what you hear from radical feminists.

          So who’s the misandrist here?

           

           

      2. 27.1.2
        Karmic Equation

        (/) no hatemongers,

         

        My response to you will be short and sweet.

        You obviously have reading comprehension issues. I have written nothing of what you accused me of. You’re putting words into my mouth, and Evan’s, as what you accuse him of is not what he wrote either.

        Neither of us are misogynistic nor misandrist.

         

  28. 28
    Meh2

    Perhaps joining the conversation late, I know. 

    Looks like there is a perception problem and trouble with the terms “sexual assault” and “rape”. (BTW Oral sex is rape)  Definitions add to the confusion and resentment. The media tends to use rape interchangeably, causing over reaction on both sides. Rape sells more papers/gets more views.  Don’t get sucked in by media rhetoric.  

    Sexual assault is a broader term.  Sexual assault can be groping/fondling, or it can be rape.  Is “simple” sexual assault “attempted rape”? This is what muddies the statistics. Because we can’t get the numbers right because of people playing politics, doesn’t mean its not true. You don’t have to figure national averages, though to know IT IS IN YOUR LIFE and touches people you love.  All you need to do is go to the women you love and ask them in the most loving and compassionate manner. I dare you.

    Here is some other food for thought. I am female and asked 20 professional women I am acquainted with:
    “You do not have to answer if you are not comfortable with this question, I am asking this because my 23 yr old daughter was just fondled at the grocery store by a stranger, and I am trying to determine its prevalence, Have you ever been groped in a sexual way” Everyone answered the question. The follow up question:  “Was the perp male or female.” 18/20 stated they had been, either by a stranger or by someone they knew, and all stated the perp was male.  Its not rape, and does not compare to the severity of rape. It indicates a prevalence of male violation of females. It was still sexual assault but goddamn.  18/20, it even shocked me. In most cases, it went unreported.  Because we are resigned that the perp will never be pointed out and given consequences, and isn’t that the reason it continues?

    My story:
    I was attacked and attempted sexual assault on me at age 8, the perp grabbed me, dragged me away and groped me saying he was going to rape me over and over. I had no clue what the word meant at the time. Not reported to the police, even though there were witnesses.  My mother didn’t even tell my father. And the perp was known to us.  I was also sexually assaulted at age 22,  where I was physical tackled, held down and against my will. I reported it and showed the pictures of the bruises, the report was circular filed by the Campus police. Because I was just another female who misinterpreted the actions of a drunk male. I was not.  And age 30 had another incident. I don’t look or comport myself as a victim. 

    All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.  Rape/sexual assault is not something women can fix alone. It also takes Bro telling another Bro  “Dude, that not cool, That’s sexual assault.”

    My next survey is for men. “How many times have you known someone was committing/planning sexual assault?” Then “What did you do about it?”

     

    1. 28.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Meh, that’s a horrifying story.

      To quickly answer your question: ““How many times have you known someone was committing/planning sexual assault?” Then “What did you do about it?”

      Never. That’s the point of this entire post. In 42 years, I don’t know ONE guy who has told me that he’s sexually assaulted someone – and, as such, there’s nothing I can do about it. It is going to take women to continue to tell their stories – see Bill Cosby – to ensure that this shameful act is no longer tolerated by society.

      Telling men to talk about rape with each other is like telling men to talk about menstruation with each other. It is technically a subject that impacts us, but it is so far from our day to day consciousness, that it’s highly unrealistic to think that I’m going to randomly turn to my best friend and ask him if he’s raped anybody recently, because, “Dude, that’s not cool.” I literally don’t know ANYONE who thinks sexual assault is cool. Thus my post about how men and women perceive this issue differently.

      I understand that this is a very serious problem. I need you to understand that normal good guys like me don’t feel touched by it unless our girlfriend shares her own horror story. Otherwise, it’s off our radar.

  29. 29
    Jenn

    Well, here are my stories of rape and sexual assault:
    My sister was raped as a teen and she never told anyone other than her diary. I t happened at a party at a friend’s house.

    I was raped in my 30’s by a guy who seemed so nice, friendly, caring. I was out of town for work, asleep and fully clothed due to the cold. I awoke to my jeans being torn off, I was confused and not even sure that I was awake or dreaming at first. I attempted to pull my jeans back on, and tried to yell but was at the point in my sleep where I am not sure if I did yell or tried to yell and couldn’t. Shortly after my mouth WAS covered, as I awoke more, I was trying to fight him off, tears streaming down my face, I then quit struggling and soon it was over….the whole thing was a total shock and unexpected to me….

    I have a relative who claims that he was Falsely accused of rape–He was accused, a police report was filed, but no charges ever happened, because it is really a he-said, she-said sort of a thing. Here is the what we, his family believe, though. Yes, we were not there, we don’t know exactly what happened. We do know a bit about the situation: 1) she was saving herself for marriage, which he knew from the beginning 2) He is extremely controlling, pushy 3) He fails to consider other people’s points of views and he completely disregards others’ feelings 3) He had a “goal” that he bragged about to get her to lose her virginity to him, and they had been dating for several months 4) He thinks that he knows what’s best for everyone. Now, it is entirely possible that he did convince her to finally say yes one night and she completely regretted it in the morning when she went to the police ( which is why a case was never brought forward, though he did face some consequences at his school)…..but those of us who know him best highly doubt that. He was completely disrespectful of her wishes and only looked at her as something to conquer……

  30. 30
    Jenn

    I became single in my 30’s and while trying to date, I have been extremely careful to not put myself in situations where I am alone with the other person. I have only dated 2 guys that I consider to be respectful ( though if they were being respectful because they truly care about the woman, or if they were jsut being protective of themselves, I have no idea, but either way their attitude was appreciated). These two guys would always make sure that I was ok taking the relationship to the next step. Neither tried to have sex with me or became pushy after a drink or two.

    This has not been the case with most of the guys that I have been on dates with, however. So many guys ( in their late 30’s through 40’s!!) will completely try to get me drunk. This makes little sense to me, because I have NEVER been so drunk as to want to sleep with someone that I did not want to sleep with originally!! I cannot tell if it is because the guys think that it will be easier to convince me if I have had a few drinks, or if they think the “Beer Goggle” effect will take place–NO, have never had so much to drink that I have slept with anyone. At the beginning of the date, I will usually not order a drink. The guy will then be a bit pushy and try to convince me to order a drink. Occassionally, if I felt that the date was going well, I would order one drink. The date would then try and push me into another drink–which I have never done because I cannot drink more than one drink and then drive home later. I am clear that I cannot handle two drinks and then drive, even quite a bit later. I am clear that I will not drink another drink. I have had guys then order themselves another drink and try to push it on me! Or try to push me to drink part of their drink! I am quite firm. I have been on many dates where there was absolutley no drinking involved, yet the guy would still become extremely pushy and neary force his way into my car, not let me get into my car…..been on dates wallking in public parks where he tries to get me into a secluded area and then becomes very pushy…..The last date that I went on was going so excellently, our conversation was great, we were really getting along….and then he ordered himself the same thing that I had had earlier…and the predatory look in his eyes as he pushed the drink over to me….has nearly made me want to give up on dating all together……

    I mean the goal in a date should be getting to know the person, not pushing the person for sex…I do not want to spend the entire date trying to escape someone’s unwanted advances…all that tells me about the person is that they obviously do not consider me as a person…..

    I will also say, that I think the majority of the problem that I had was in going on dates with foreign men. It seems that it does not matter what country, but most other countries do not view women or relationships in the same manner as people in the USA do….and even though I knew this and especially took precautions in being explicitly clear on expectations to men of Asian/Indian origin before meeting up, it did not matter. The same was with men from Hispanic or European countries, though not AS bad…..But most American guys seemed sort of rapey as well…..

    Guys, the point of this story is: Don’t push yourself on women. If we say no, we mean it. Being pushy elicits fear, and then we will not want to see you again. Why would you want to push yourself on someone who does not want you? Do you want to be sexual with someone who may regret it later? Do you want to have sex with someone who doesn’t want to or is not sure? It is simple, don’t have sex if you have both been drinking, just wait until a later date! It won’t kill you to wait for another date or two, will it?? Don’t try to get a date drunk in order to have sex–she still won’t want to no matter how many drinks she has, unless she is totally passed out and CANNOT say no–and most women do not get this drunk! Ask before going further-it is a sign of respect, and then there is no question!

    Oh, and one more thing about rape! There is a bar in a college town nearby, and the owner of the bar was arrested for selling pre-roofied drinks. Apparently he would sell about an average of 30 a night…finally caught when a college girl who could handle her liquor felt really funny after half a drink…she immediately left the restaurant/bar and tried to drive home when she was pulled for drunk-driving. She explained the situation to the cop, who believed her and it began an investigation…I was appalled at the number of people who were involved in that!

    Sadly, women definitely have to be careful.

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