Not-So-Good Men Project & Enabling Rapists

**Trigger Warnings**

Two days ago I read about the Good Men Project’s horrible choice to publish two articles. The first is called “Nice Guys Commit Rape, Too” and the second is called “I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying” written by an unrepentant rapist. I’m not linking to those articles because they don’t deserve any more hits. In fact, I think it best to completely boycott the Good Men Project all together.

The first article, although the author admits her friend (and it baffles 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 article explaining it away as a cultural problem and her friend was just “confused.” What-the-fuck-ever. There is no confusion here. Don’t stick your dick in a sleeping person. If you do, it’s rape. Pretty fucking cut-and-dry. Although she is right about it being a cultural problem, and it is partially society’s fault for doing *exactly what she is doing in that article* — excusing and justifying and enabling the rapist. But, still, the greatest fault lies ON THE RAPIST!

I could talk for hours on this, as my readers well know, but I’m just so very weary. Plus, so many others have done so already far more articulately than I could at the moment. So, please, read these.

The dreadful dangers of normalization and the terrible mistakes of the Good Men Project. (Or why most men don’t rape (continued) – excerpt:

Bad and damaging though the Royse piece and comments may have been, the new article is unforgivable. From the headline to the conclusion, it is pretty much nothing but an object lesson in minimization and normalization. The title is “I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying” and it is soon clear that the anonymous author is not really referring to his risk of being raped (although that is alluded to later), he is actually saying that he’s raped at least once and he’d rather risk raping someone else than quit partying. Gee, that’s big of you.

His point, such as it is, would appear to be that he moves in social circles where he and his friends regularly get wasted and have intoxicated sex, with varying degrees of inappropriateness, sobriety and clarity of consent. The argument is muddled in too many ways to list (I’m sure other blogs will fill in), but what I find most disturbing is that there is an absolute absence of remorse, shame or empathy for his victim. Even though his victim phoned him up, in the midst of a recovery programme (one can speculate how she ended up needing it) and told him outright he had raped her, he still didn’t believe it. He says he only really feels like a rapist when he is “severely depressed.”…

…How would the victims of rapists feel when they read the pieces? Would it help to make sense of what happened to them, in any way make them feel better about what had happened? And then imagine how rapists feel after reading the piece (and by any measure of probabilities, that is almost a certainty). Ashamed? Belittled? Determined to change their attitudes and behaviour? Or justified and excused?

I’m reluctant to suggest that the GMPs articles have actually made some future rapes more likely, but it would be foolish to ignore the risks. I would be much more confident in saying that rapists reading the piece or contributing to the site will feel assuaged, a little more at peace with their consciences, and a little bit better about themselves. Nice guys commit rape too, you know, and rape isn’t such a big deal. It’s not something important like giving up partying, now is it?

On Rapists That Have No Idea That Rape is Wrong – excerpt:

My friend had just recently broken up with his fiancee, the only girl he had ever dated, and he was understandably heartbroken. His friends thought he should fuck another girl to cheer himself up, but he wanted to reserve sex for a committed relationship. So one night when he was on X for the first time at a party and had probably taken too much and was in no way capable of resisting one of his friends had sex with him.

The thing is… I think that girl doesn’t think of herself as a rapist. Or even as someone who forced sex upon someone. From her perspective, she was cheering up a friend after his breakup, the sort of thing a good friend would do.

That doesn’t mean she’s a nice girl who made a few mistakes. It doesn’t mean that it’s something anyone could do. It doesn’t erase her culpability. It doesn’t make it a fucking MISUNDERSTANDING.

Boycott the Good Men Project – excerpt:

The editors at the ill-named Good Men Project (GMP) are apparently on a mission to rehabilitate the public image of male rapists and convince people that most of them are “nice guys” and “good dudes.”

Their most recent stream of rape apologism began with an article by Alyssa Royse, also posted at xoJane, on how “nice guys can be rapists, too.” Royse argues that a friend who raped a sleeping woman is both a rapist and a “really sweet guy” who genuinely believed he had an “invitation to have sex” with this woman – because she was sending “signals” – and somehow had no idea that unconscious people, by definition, cannot “have sex with” anyone.

GMP has also since posted an anonymous first person account by an admitted, unrepentant serial rapist who sees rape as an acceptable “risk” and “tradeoff” for the “positive, happy [sexual] experiences” he’s had while partying…

As such, I can no longer support the work of anyone who works with, writes for, or shares content with The Good Men Project. I encourage others to consider doing the same.

There are several great posts linked from Boycott the Good Men Project, so please read it and educate yourselves. And, yes, I will be doing the same. Anyone who is a rapist, rape apologist, or continues to be friends with either does not have a place in my life. Period.

The Good Men Project thinks men are bad, easily confused – excerpt:

So when a “good” man commits rape, he’s either innocent, or it was an “accident.” This juvenile, fairy tale logic is dangerous, and it’s no way to build a movement that gets men involved in the issue of sexual violence. Frankly, we need a much more nuanced conversation all around. While rape is absolutely a gendered crime, it’s not gendered to the absolute essentialist extreme that too many feminists suggest. I understand the tactic, but it’s not helping. Most men aren’t rapists; some women are rapists; some people who aren’t men or women have experiences with sexual violence. And no people are just “good” or “bad,” though people can certainly do monstrous things. Gender essentialism may help us make a point about rape in the short term, but faulty logic hurts our cause in the long run. The fact is, rape is committed by humans. But Royse is so committed to the good/bad paradigm, she has to conclude that when a “good” person commits rape it must mean that consent is hard and he’s an “accidental” rapist.

I’m gonna say it again, go read Grace’s much longer and more thoughtful post on this topic. Grace brings it all back to the main point: this conversation takes our attention away from the needs of the people I care the most about in this situation – survivors. And it does nothing to build consent culture.

The phrase you’re looking for is cognitive dissonance – excerpt:

Humans are not merely capable of holding two mutually exclusive beliefs, they are GIFTED at it.

We should pay fewer taxes and also fund schools and roads more.
Every gay person is going to hell – except my kid.
Rape is never the victim’s fault – unless the perpetrator is a nice guy, in which case she must have asked for it.

The reason the perpetrator can view his actions as just a mistake, and the reason he didn’t ask, is his gifted management of cognitive dissonance. He’s able to believe both that he is a nice guy and that he can have sex with an unconscious woman, by fabricating a story out of rape culture, including the invisibility of the woman’s trauma.

“I’m a nice guy and I want this, so it can’t be a big deal.”
Or “I’m a nice guy and I do this all the time, so it can’t be rape.”
Or “I’m a nice guy, which means I never intend to hurt anyone, so if she says she’s hurt, she’s over-reacting.”

His cognitive dissonance – indeed, our cultural cognitive dissonance – says he shouldn’t be held responsible for raping someone – an act described by Richard Trembley as the most violent crime a person can survive – because he’s a nice guy.

One thing that original article got right: we live in a culture that weaves a rich tapestry of beliefs and attitudes from which perpetrators can fabricate their convenient truths. “Rape isn’t a big deal. It’s not rape if she doesn’t kick and scream. If she makes me want her, that’s what she gets.”

(Typing that was GROSS.)

We’re all enmeshed in the fabric in rape culture, yet very few men rape (PDF). The robes of a rapist are sewn by hands that are narcissistic and lacking agreeableness and conscientiousness(more here). No, no, rape is not an accident. Rape is not a mistake. Rape is specific and deliberate. It is a choice that makes perfect sense when it is dressed as sense; strip it bare, though, strip it of rape myths and victim blaming and gender stereotypes, and all you have is a felon.

Cognitive dissonance is something I’m quite familiar with through my PTSD from my rape earlier this year. This is one thing that “date rape” victims have to deal with that “stranger rape” victims don’t: the seeming conflicting information surrounding the rape. In stereotypical stranger rape, as horrific as it all is, the rape is quite clearly a rape. In “date rape,” the victim likely doesn’t want to admit it was rape. It took me 5 months and a dozen sexual assault professionals to convince me it was, but still the conflicting thoughts and emotions assaulted my mind day in and day out. “He said he loved me and adored me right after, so it couldn’t have been rape, right?” “Just two days before we were so happy, euphoric. So, it had to be a misunderstanding, right?” I could go on and on, but I won’t. No need for me to relive it again. The point is that I had severe difficulty in merging the word RAPIST with my LOVER. They just didn’t mesh. I couldn’t for the longest time admit it was assault, and he did it twice in that same week as well as devalue and discard me so cruelly. I just kept thinking it was some kind of mistake. He was just angry. I was just too sensitive. Ad nauseum.

But, no. It was rape. Twice. He is a rapist. Period. He might also be a good dancer and a funny guy and a skilled lover, but that doesn’t change THAT HE IS A RAPIST.

Who Needs a Good Rapist Project? – excerpt:

The Good Men Project’s recent posts are a particularly horrific and exploitative example of a narrative that centers the perspective of perpetrators, and their supposed needs and feelings, in the name of “humanizing” them. But there’s similar reasoning at work in other recent pieces on sexual violence, e.g., Cord Jefferson’s piece on pedophilia as a “sexual orientation,” and Jennifer Bleyer’s somewhat less disturbing Slate article on the same topic.

The argument goes something like this: the idea that rapists are blatantly evil and monstrous is wrong, and an obstacle to preventing sexual violence. Many (most?) perpetrators are “good people who do horrible things.” Without recognizing this, we can’t have a nuanced, honest conversation about sexual violence. If we want to keep people from becoming perpetrators or reoffending, and if we want to rehabilitate perpetrators, we need to humanize instead of demonize them.

Note what’s always conspicuously absent from this argument: any real consideration of survivors. (emphasis mine)

Sure, there’s vague acknowledgement of rape as an abstract “bad thing.” But the material emphasis is on keeping good people from “accidentally” or “against their better judgment” doing this bad thing – on the tragedy of becoming/being a rapist – not on the fact that rape is a bad thing done to another human being who has to live with the trauma and fall out and lack of support that usually comes with it. We’re only asked to invest in the supposed pain or damage or confusion of otherwise “good” rapists.

Survivors are, at best, effectively erased as barely mentioned, abstract victims. They aren’t afforded the kindness, demanded for perpetrators, of being “humanized” with personal details, firsthand accounts, or sympathetic portrayals. At worst, as in Royse’s and other GMP pieces, they are actively blamed for behavior that “led to” rapes or assaults that from the perpetrator’s side are rationalized, minimized as “accidental” and “unintentional.” [eta: as a reader noted, Royse not only blames the victim in this case, she also shames and dehumanizes her for being sexual: “if something walks like a fuck and talks like fuck, at what point are we supposed to understand that it’s not a fuck?”]

This last article hit very, very close to home for me, and I would guess for most victims who speak out and are shunned, shamed, blamed, etc. Everyone is so concerned about possibly, accidentally accusing a possible innocent man and “ruining” his life, that there is no concern for the victim. At all. In fact, in their fear of “demonizing” the rapist, they in effect demonize the victim, claiming she’s a liar, crazy, heartbroken, vindictive…the list goes on. Where are the questions for the rapist? He says he didn’t do it? SURPRISE FUCKING SURPRISE! He’s a rapist! Do you think he’s going to admit that?

I see this over and over again in communities, starting with my hear-no-rape, see-no-rapist former community in Austin, they are so afraid of what *might* happen if they take action or even ADMIT there are rapists in their ranks, that they don’t address what IS HAPPENING: people are getting raped. These communities continue to give SOCIAL LICENSE TO RAPISTS, enabling them to KEEP RAPING. The victims are then retraumatized along with fresh victims on the horizon. Instead, they shut the conversation down and talk about happy bunnies, rainbows, and loving stories of consent, leaving the victims cursed to silence, alone.

The research of Lisak, et al, shows that rapists will choose communities that will excuse, normalize, justify, ignore, and protect their behavior. Looks like these sex-positive communities are a great place for them because we sure wouldn’t want to discuss anything “negative” in a “sex-positive” community, even if it means stopping rapists in their tracks by not giving them a space to operate.

I’m really not going into the excuses ad-nauseum again. It’s all in my False Accusations post. To summarize: we’re talking about these accused rapists not being welcome at parties and potlucks and events. We’re talking about welcoming the victim and giving him/her a safe place to socialize without having to FACE HER RAPIST, or the fear of doing so. We’re talking about keeping other people safe from known rapists and sexual abusers and other such predators.

That’s the place to start. Cultural change. Community Responsibility.

-_Q

Other related articles:

“So, here’s the thing, right? A rapist is just someone who has committed a rape. It’s one of those things that you only really have to do once for it to be a name we can apply to you. It doesn’t mean you wake up every day and plan your life around your next rape. It’s not that kind of label, in the same way that just killing one measly dude is enough to land you with the uncomfortable term ‘murderer’. If it sounds a bit harsh that people are calling you a rapist because of that one rape you did ages ago, it’s because you’re not supposed to rape anybody, ever. It’s one of those awkward little rules we came up with after we figured out that rape is a bad thing. I’m sorry this causes you party problems. I’m doing a proper sadface.”

~ by omgrey on December 15, 2012.

16 Responses to “Not-So-Good Men Project & Enabling Rapists”

  1. Okay, I’m going to piss some people off here. And I’ll put in a trigger warning. I have the advantage of 10+ years dealing with my assault and a lot of time to think through this shit.

    First off, totally agree that the Good Men Project is a misnamed load of shit if this is the kind of thing they are peddling.

    Second, a rapist is a rapist, whether he intends to commit rape or not.

    Third, I’m sorry but the folks who are ‘humanizing’ rapists in some cases do have a point. It is a sucky one, but it is a point. Like it or not, rape culture teaches people that rape is okay. However they rationalize it, whatever their cognitive dissonance, there are millions of people out there who believe that some forms of rape are not rape. They do not believe they have done anything wrong.

    They have. Period end of story. They have committed rape. But… there is a difference between evil and idiot. A guy who drives drunk and kills three kids is a murder, but he probably isn’t evil, he’s an idiot. He didn’t get behind that wheel planning to kill those kids.

    The anonymous idiot who wrote the article on GMP? He is a rapist, who knows he is a rapist and doesn’t care. I’ll get behind that guy being evil. The idiot college student who has sex with a drunk girl he met at a party, called her the next day going ‘That was awesome, want to go on a date?” And didn’t understand why she (who had a blackout and no memory of the evening) screamed rape? The kid is a rapist, hands down. Doesn’t matter that the girl consented if she was that drunk, because it couldn’t be informed consent. But he wasn’t evil, he was an idiot.

    As long as we paint all rapists as evil (and yes, many are) we are failing to educate the many idiots out there. We need to be able to say “Yes, you can be a generally decent guy and still be a rapist, because you were too stupid to know it was rape. Now you know it was rape. If you want to keep your good guy card, you need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

    Until we can say that, we will not be able to really dig in and fix rape culture. Because as long as the idiots hear ‘your are evil fuck-heads’ they are never going to listen, and never going to learn.

    Again, I am sorry if this is triggering, and will understand if you choose to delete this comment.

    • I totally agree. Once. BTW, not habitual idiot rapists. Once.

      Not every rapist is evil, but every rapist is a rapist, and evil or idiot, they must take responsibility for their actions and for the damage they caused.

      A repentant rapist not only admits to what he did and apologizes for it. He turns to his victim, the one he traumatized, and takes responsibility for the damage he caused. He makes amends…whatever the victim wants…whether that be an apology, him in therapy, money for therapy, and/or prison.

      And I think these idiot rapists and the communities that support and enable them would be surprised that very few of their victims will demand prison. They want to be heard. Believed. Acknowledged. Treated like a human being who has been traumatized.

      I’ve said again and again on this blog, all I’ve ever wanted was acknowledgment of the damage caused and an apology, privately and publicly to my former communities.

      A bonus would be a commitment to making it right with me & my husband, whatever that would take, plus serious therapy for narcissism, sex-addiction, and likely sociopathy.

      Not prison. Not castration.
      An acknowledgment and an apology.

      I’ve thought of my rapist as a monster because it was necessary for my survival, and I believe he is a “monster.” He’s not an idiot rapist. He’s an evil one. But even that takes too much responsibility from him.

      A monster can’t help but be a monster. Evil does evil.

      He’s a human being who CHOSE to rape me. He chose to punish me with rape. He got off on my tears, my fear.

      Those things are monstrous and evil, and he CHOSE to do them.

      Which is actually worse.

      • Agreed – it’s idiocy when you don’t know what you are doing is wrong. Once someone points it out to you and you blow them off – that’s evil. Given statistics I’ve seen on habitual rapists, I’d actually say that MOST rapists are evil, not idiots. But I do think that if we can catch the idiots with the right message the first time, in some cases they can be kept from becoming evil.

        I actually do see evil as a choice. Oh, in fantasy and what not evil monsters have no choice about being evil. But real world? A shark isn’t evil because it kills, precisely because it has no choice. It is a predator. Humans have choices, and humans can choose to do evil, to be evil.

      • Yes!!! Exactly!!!

        I agree. I think most rapists are evil, that is they know they are raping, even if they *choose* to euphemise it by using a different word, they are making a choice to rape.

        I also don’t think most rapists get off on hurting another person, although some certainly do, I think they just don’t care what the other person wants or is feeling because they really don’t see them as another person. They see them as an ejaculatory tool. They see them as a means to an end, something they deserve or are entitled to.

        You are awesome. Thank you for replying & for the discussion. Your comments are always welcome. And, FTR, I don’t ever delete comments unless they are blatantly disrespectful or hateful.

        xo
        Peace

    • Still, in the case of this “Good Guy” in the article. He wasn’t an idiot rapist. She was asleep. All those “painful and beautiful” conversations she had with him in the weeks after he admitted it…screams narcissistic manipulation.

      He CHOSE to fuck an unconscious woman. No confusion there.

      Also—if they know they have a tendency to rape or assault or abide when they drink….don’t fucking drink. Or, at least, don’t be around people when they do.

      • I don’t disagree with any of that. I added the self-named rapist specifically because I saw him as the worse of the two, but both of the GMP articles are examples of men who know they are doing or have done wrong and aren’t willing to step up and take responcibility, or (in at least one case) change behavior (I didn’t read the original articles, and the summaries I’m seeing don’t say anything about whether or not the ‘good guy’ is insisting it was okay that he raped the woman, admitting he screwed up and promising never to do it again, or just no saying anything).

        My point in commenting was not to defend the rape apologia of the GMP – there is no defense for that kind of shit.

        It was to point out that there is a difference between recognizing that rapists are human (humanizing them) and making stupid rape apologies, and that real humanization of rapists is an important step in fighting back against rape culture. Rape apologies disguised as ‘humanizing’ rapists are the exact opposite – contributing the rape culture and making it harder to catch the idiots before they become the evil.

      • Yes!!!! This!!!!!

        Agreed!!!!

        I know you weren’t defending the articles.

        The “nice guy” admits to the rape and knows it was wrong, supposedly. Nothing about never doing it again. Nothing about the victim at all, as to whether or not he contacted her or apologized or anything. The only mention of the victim in that piece was in victim-blaming statements, like the horrific “if it walks like a fuck and talks like a fuck…”

        The author talks about how she and her rapist friend had a series of “painful and beautiful conversations” over the following two weeks, and that’s what screamed narcissistic manipulator to me. Afterward, he just disappeared.

  2. Recently an article came out in my alma mater’s paper from someone who eventually had to leave the university because she was date raped. He was put on probation, but she suffered from PTSD and the university decided that it would be better for her to leave in stead of him. I’m glad her editorial got published because it brings to light the things that my university, which is supposed to have some of the happiest students in the nation, tries to sweep under the rug. I read the comments on her article and was shocked by how many students and alumni claimed that “something was amiss” in her story. I’m glad my eyes have been opened to the enabling that colleges and other communities do to rapists, even if it means losing that connection to my alma mater.

    • Which university? I read a similar story about a month back. Wonder if it’s the same place.

      I think that is just horrific, allowing the rapist to stay and finish his degree. I’m amazed he was even put on probation, but that was at least something. My therapist says that people don’t want to step into another’s hell, even for a moment, so they just pretend nothing’s happening or sweep it all under the rug. Meanwhiles, rapists keep raping and their victims keep being traumatized, sometimes for life…so they keep giving rapists social license to continue raping.

      But…just as long as the university or whatever community doesn’t have to be uncomfortable for a few hours…right?

      • Rice University. They also never addressed a potential drug problem on campus after a student died from an overdose, which always bothered me.

  3. [...] Not-So-Good Men Project & Enabling Rapists [...]

  4. I found that the first few comments to this post provide an interesting insight into the virtual pecking party to which this post contributes.

    I agree with nearly everything written in these comments. “Not every rapist is evil, but every rapist is a rapist, and evil or idiot, they must take responsibility for their actions and for the damage they caused.” Exactly!

    Where we seem to part ways is in how we interpret Alyssa’s attempt to start this same conversation. For whatever reason I choose to interpret her story more charitably than does the vast majority of the feminist blogosphere. I see a story relayed about events from 3 years ago (to my recollection) about a guy she is no longer in contact with. At the time, she found his claims to being ignorant and repentant to be credible. It is likely that some of the information she used in making this judgment was not included in the story.

    Actually “for whatever reason” is probably that I recognize in myself someone who was also ignorant of issues of consent when I was younger. It would have been better for me and the women I’ve interacted with if I had become educated on this before my 40’s.

    Alyssa was making many of the same points as Jessica. In Alyssa’s case, people didn’t want to use her story to start this conversation. They instead chose to condemn Alyssa as a rape apologist and her friend as a predator based on assumptions including that the friend made a sober decision to penetrate a sleeping woman, an assumption that is not supported by the information shared.

    And a story about a man with an alcohol dependency who realizes that he hurts himself and others with his behavior? No one should be surprised by this. That this harm to others likely includes rape? Now GMP is voice for rape apology that must be silenced!

    • The problem I, and I think the other people speaking out against Alyssa’s attempt at this conversation, have with her piece is the fact that although she and he does admit what he did was rape and wrong, she then shifts responsibility to society and the victim, downplaying the part of the rapist. “The problem isn’t even that he’s a rapist.” Um. Yes. Yes it is.

      The problem is that he’s a rapist and that society isn’t forcing him to take responsibility for the damage he’s caused.

      Never does she say that Nice Guys Who Are Suffering From Alcoholism Also Commit Rape, she says Nice Guys Also Commit Rape. Perhaps there is missing information in the piece, for no essay can contain the entire story with every detail. I struggle with that on these pages myself. But the information included, which is all we have to go on, says that a man fucked a sleeping women. That’s rape. No mixed signals there.

      As for him being truly repentant or not remains to be seen how he has lived his life since. If alcoholism caused him to make the decision to rape, then is he in recovery? What amends has he made with his victim? — a person, by the way, who is completely glossed over in Alyssa’s piece. Actually, she’s not completely glossed over, as she’s partially blamed for her fate by flirting, being a sex-worker, and having the audacity to “walk like a fuck and talk like a fuck.” The damage done TO THE VICTIM isn’t even mentioned. What, if anything, the rapist did to make amends, apologize, pay for therapy, show an ounce of remorse, isn’t mentioned. It’s not even suggested, as the victim appears in Alyssa’s piece just as an object, which is exactly how she was treated by the rapist.

      Society does, indeed, play a part in many rapes. For one, it gives the rapist social license to continue operating by not holding the rapist accountable. Alyssa’s piece does, too. Yes there can be mixed signals, in a man’s eye. Men are taught to pursue and make “conquests,” but they’re also taught “no means no,” instead of only yes means yes, for starters. They’re not taught about enthusiastic consent. I’ve known too many men who didn’t take NO for an answer unless it was spoken extremely forcefully with anger. But there are many ways to say or indicate no, and those are very often ignored under the guise of “seduction,” which more often than not is actually coercion, a type of rape.

      Still, that’s not the case here. There were no mixed signals. SHE WAS ASLEEP. There was no subtle “no’s” while she was trying to be polite. SHE WAS ASLEEP. No mixed signals. This is not a case of the guy being an idiot. He knew what he was doing in that moment. He may not have called it “rape” in his head, but he justified it to himself that she really wants it and she’s probably consent if she was awake, so I’ll just surprise her. He JUSTIFIED IT — perhaps he was drunk. Doesn’t matter. Perhaps he is an alcoholic. Doesn’t matter. If he had gotten behind the wheel of a car and killed someone on the way home, it wouldn’t have mattered that he was drunk or had an illness or that his judgment was impaired. What matters is that person is dead, and now he is a murderer. Perhaps not a premeditated, 1st class murderer, but a murderer just the same.

      He is a rapist. Whatever the reason. Whatever the cause. He is a rapist. He raped that woman, and that woman was hardly even mentioned in the piece other than to blame for being flirtatious and sending mixed signals.

      Yes, it is a cultural problem, and yes, that conversation must be had. There must be cultural and community responsibility. There must be social consequences.

      Had Alyssa written the piece with the intention of talking about cultural responsibility TO THE RAPIST and TO THE VICTIM, not to mention the rapist’s responsibility to the victim and the trauma they caused, then it would’ve said something important. Then it would’ve started a very necessary conversation. We must stop giving rapists social license to continue raping.

      Which is exactly what Alyssa did in her piece. She excused the “nice guy” because they had some “painful and beautiful” conversations about it afterward, then he disappeared. Poor rapist. He *seemingly* feels bad about raping. Boo-fucking-hoo. What about the victim. She more than *feels bad.* She is likely still in therapy for and/or struggling with the rape that you said happened, what….3 years ago? She has struggled with her sexuality since then. She has serious trust issues that affects every. single. relationship. she has, romantic or friendly. She’s afraid of people. She’s afraid of men. She’s afraid of herself. She’s altered for LIFE because of what HE DID TO HER.

      Where is his responsibility for that? Where is his responsibility to her?
      Where is the society that is demanding he take responsibility for the damage he caused her?
      Where is the community that demands he cannot be “my friend” because he is a rapist. If he is truly repentant, then he is in therapy. Then he is celibate and sober until he can not “accidentally” rape a sleeping woman or tell when a woman is consenting to sex. Then he is doing EVERYTHING possible to help heal the damage he caused. Where is that?

      I wish I had learned things earlier than my 40s, too. I wish I had learned that a man can *walk like a nice guy and talk like a nice guy* and still be a rapist. I wish I had learned that a man can have deeply moving, painful and beautiful intimate conversations, seemingly connecting on a spiritual level…and still be a fucking rapist. Had I learned that before my 40s, I would not be a rape survivor today.

      The problem people have with Alyssa’s piece is that it is, indeed, dripping with victim-blaming and rape apologia. Perhaps that was not her intention. Perhaps there is more information in the real story than she included in the piece. Unfortunately, everyone who doesn’t know her personally only has the information in this piece to go on. Furthermore, instead of owning her rhetorical faux pas and offering a sincere apology and further clarification, she became rather aggressively insulting and defensive.

      If you know Alyssa, please suggest to her to make a formal apology to everyone, and suggest she clarify what she meant. Because what she *meant* is rather irrelevant if we only have her written word, and her written word is rife with rape apologia and victim-blaming.

    • And, yes, GMP is a voice for rape apology that must be silenced, at least until they, too, offer a formal, public apology, promise to never excuse rapists or give them social license to operate, and to never give unrepentant rapists a voice. Ever. After this piece, they decided to run a story by an UNREPENTANT rapist who would rather keep partying than ensure he doesn’t rape anyone else.

      Really?

  5. [...] you CHOOSE to blame the victim. You CHOOSE to slut-shame. You CHOOSE to embrace the rapist and make excuses and scream “slander” and “false [...]

  6. [...] Friends and readers, the following is a guest post by a reader of this blog. This person contacted me after her roommate confessed her husband raped her, but she didn’t want to talk to him about it. This put my reader in a very difficult position, having to pretend everything was okay for the peace of the household and honoring the wishes of her friend/roommate, and it also made my reader very familiar with the concept of Cognitive Dissonance. [...]

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