“My Friend, the Rapist”

I’m not quite sure how I found Captain Awkward’s blog, but I’m everso glad I did. It was likely through either Yes Means Yes or Consent Culture.

Among the many wonderful responses to the letters sent to Captain A, this one particularly caught my eye for obvious reasons: #324: My friend, the rapist.” Please go to Captain Awkward’s blog to read the entire thing and all the amazing responses, but below are a few excerpts.

Excerpt of letter:

I have a guy friend. We get along really well, and can talk for hours about our common interests. While we seldom make specific plans to hang, it’s great to chat at group events and whenever he’s at my place: he’s works with my roommate and comes over weekly to collaborate and socialize.

Problem is he’s a rapist.

He’s part of a group from which I’ve distanced myself. There’s a few women in that group I strongly dislike, but see sometimes through the aforementioned roommate. I know through word-of-mouth (in one case, the horse’s) that he once raped one of them and behaved inappropriately toward another. In both cases he’s been drunk: he drinks a lot, but apart from these instances I’ve never known him to be out-of-control…

…This guy has been nothing but stellar, courteous, and hilarious around me and mine. He’s always been safe and fun in our home and presence…

Excerpt from Captain A’s response:

I’m sorry, I can’t even be a little bit nice about this.

Your friend is a rapist! How many women would he have to rape before you would stop being friends with him? One? Three? Six? You say he only does inappropriate things like raping people when he’s drunk. The average rapist rapes six women and alcohol is a very common factor. So maybe he’s just getting started. Or maybe he’s raped other women who you don’t know…

…But he’s so charming! And funny! And you have so much in common! Which is probably what his victims thought right up until the raping started.

The chilling thing is that probably all of us know a rapist or two to say hello to. They don’t get face tattoos to keep a tally and make them immediately recognizable, so they fly under the radar.

But you know what he did. I think it’s okay to have a zero tolerance policy here…

Wow. This speaks deeply to me at the moment as I watch a community surround their rapist friend. They don’t know him, not really. They see him at dances, at dinners, at events…having fun. But they don’t know him deeply. They don’t know what he’s capable of. And even lovers might not see who I saw that last week, and I hope they never do. I truly hope they never do.

But, again, my question to all is this: how many women must a man rape to be considered a rapist? Ten? Six? Three? or is one enough?

Several times in my former-local poly group did I hear people explain away “trouble-with-boundaries-guy’s” behavior, saying he’s working on it.  Now they have another that under certain circumstances is capable of rape. And he won’t even admit it, let alone “work on it.”

Here are several excerpts from the over-200 comments to that post:

This this this this. Predators tend to pick their victims selectively and the ones who get away with their utterly-and-completely-disgusting-on-every-level behavior are usually the ones who do not have big neon flashing Rapey McRapey-Pants lights above their head to people they do not deem appealing victims. People who are so obviously dangerous that anyone in their right mind would cross to the other side of the street if they saw them coming are actually few and far between, despite what a lot of us have been led to believe.

Is it possible the friend has psychopathic tendencies? That might account for his “charm” (gag) and ability to keep people around. I ask because if he does, it’s not likely that pointing out his behavior will have an impact on him, nor will he feel remorseful. This may or may not be helpful:http://kristenjtsetsi.com/2012/07/17/almost-psychopaths-not-so-romantic/

Doesn’t matter at all if Rapist feels real remorse, or simply learns that decent people don’t hang out with sexual predators. If it’s the former, he still has to DO something about the remorse and fix whatever is so drastically broken about him. If it’s the latter, he will probably continue to be a rapist–but he will know that there’s one more place where he can’t get away with it, one more person who will stop him instead of turning their eyes away.

The man is a rapist. The one thing all raped women have in common is that a rapist was present at the time. You can’t be sure how many women this man has raped but you can be sure that he won’t stop until someone stops him.

One of the big problems with sussing out Bad People is that abusers and rapists don’t generally have a people problem. It’s not true that they’re always horrible to everyone. It’s not true that they’re all sociopaths or narcissists. Often, they’re pleasant to everyone but their victim–they see their victim as a possession or an object or an enemy or all three. That’s one of the things that’s so damaging about sexual violence: being singled out for mistreatment other people don’t experience. It’s isolating.

I would add that in my experience, reading and head-on, many, many kinds of abusers are charming and wonderful people–when they are not with their target/victim.

As you contemplate continuing a relationship with this guy, consider this: if he can be “stellar, courteous and hilarious” in some contexts and a fucking asshole rapist in other contexts, he is making a deliberate choice every single time. He is saying (so far) when he is with you “I think I’ll be pleasant and amusing with her… use her for my decent-guy warm fuzzy self-affirmation,” while with some other women he’s like “I’m going to get my rapist jollies with this one.”

As a bonus, if everyone stops hanging out with rapists, RAPISTS HAVE NO FRIENDS. This is a bonus for everyone except rapists. It would be almost like we would be condemning raping people.

Which is more likely; that your rapist friend takes full responsibility and then you get to know that you are friends with a rapist, albeit an apologetic-seeming one OR he denies, excuses, explains, says it wasn’t *really* rape and you get to keep being friends with him, knowing that he’s an unapologetic rapist?

On top of the billion other reasons not to be friends with this guy, who is a disgusting excuse for a human being, think about what message you’re here. As a survivor, reading this letter was like getting a giant “fuck you”, because it comes across as you caring more about how much fun you have hanging out with this guy than you care about his victims, past and future (I’m sure there will be more). Think about what this guy has done to other women! Whether you like them or not, he has done something unimaginably cruel and unforgiveable to these women, and if you continue to socialize you offer your tacit approval of his actions. Do you really want to be the kind of person who apologies for a rapist?!

There are so so so many wonderful comments in that thread, I hope you will all go read for yourselves. Those above are all from different posters. Now, please indulge me two more long ones:

Rape culture persists because of the complicity of bystanders through silence and inaction. Sometimes women are the most aggressive of victim blamers, and their policing of other women can be because they buy into the oppressive narratives of patriarchy, and sometimes because they are afraid it could happen to them or that they’ll be perceived as those problem women who aren’t “nice” if they make too much of a fuss. And it is because women support rape culture too that it has a sheen of respectability, making it conventional and normal. “I can’t be a rapist/misogynist, I have female friends (or wife/girlfriend/etc)!”

The alternative to “zero tolerance” for rapists is tolerance. Hello, rape culture. “But if I cut him off, then I can’t make him see the error of his ways!” In other words, there’s no improvement without engagement. But you can’t fix him, not your job. Engagement can be interpreted as support (“I have female friends!”). And as long as people remain friends with him, engage with him, what real social consequences has he faced for the rape? What is to discourage him from repeating the performance should opportunity arise? You can’t prevent him from raping someone else. The only person who can stop that is him, and he is unlikely to stop when the consequences are minimal because he’s “stellar, courteous, hilarious” except, of course, when he’s not.

This one particularly speaks to me at the moment:

Wonderful. Keep in mind that most of the women here who were sexually assaulted were targeted by men whose actions were known by their friends, but who figured they were really “nice guys” or that they felt terrible and that THEY feel just fine around him.

I’m disgusted by the slew of people here who are erasing RAPE SURVIVORS. I mean, for all of the compassion and open-mindedness some folks are barking at us to show for rapists, there’s nary a mention for survivors or women these assholes target. When they speak up, they’re told they’re being drama queens, they’re lying, they’re being mean because the dudely d00d’s been through so much/has substance abuse issues/is traumatized/whatever the fuck.

I’m seeing compassion and respect for rapists, and very little compassion or respect FOR THE WOMEN THEY RAPE. Women who often end up being disbelieved, shunned, or shut out because their so-called friends and family refuse to stop associating with the man who assaulted them and make excuses for him.

And that is disgusting.

So very, very, very disgusting.

As I said in my post yesterday, look at this person who is accused of rape.

Has he accepted any responsibility? Admitted any wrongdoing? Spoken to the issue at all?

HAS HE DONE ANYTHING TO MAKE AMENDS?

Or is he gliding along on reputation, charm, and forced silence?

—–>Because THIS is what they leave in their wakes…<—–

-_Q

Please join me in saying NO MORE.

SASS: Sexual Assault Survivors Speak (Coming Soon)

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~ by omgrey on August 13, 2012.

7 Responses to ““My Friend, the Rapist””

  1. [...] “My Friend, the Rapist” [...]

  2. Both that post and the one before about creepy friends puts a lot of things into perspective for me. I do not attend my university’s alumni events due to bad feelings I get from certain groups (who used to be my friends). I used to blame myself for doing things I regretted, but the truth is that it’s some of the men who are making me feel uncomfortable. They may not be rapists, but they teetered very close and I no longer care to give them a second/third/fourth chance. “Stupid drunk guy behavior” is no excuse for the things they’ve done and may do. I’ve been sharing Captain Awkward’s posts in hopes that more people will learn to break things off before something bad happens.

    • Good for you!! That’s what this is about!! Putting the blame where it belongs!

      “I was drunk” is not an excuse for sexual abuse, sexual assault, or rape.

      “I was angry” isn’t either.

      Thank you for sharing the posts. This is what we must do as a society, make rapists and other offenders so uncomfortable that they stop raping and/or hurting others.

      It starts with each of us to vet our friends and our communities.

  3. [...] Don’t be friends with rapists. Call them out. Hold them accountable. [...]

  4. [...] me that she still calls him a friend in the present tense, if you wonder why, please read “My Friend, the Rapist“) did actually commit rape and claims he admits it was rape too, she spends the rest of the [...]

  5. [...] the case of my reader, how can “friend“/”good father” exist with [...]

  6. […] know a sociopath. You know a rapist. They might even be the same person, and they are likely your friend.) Again, Thomas speaks particularly about BDSM communities, but his words can be applied to any […]

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