“I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying” – Rape Culture and The Good Men Project

11 Dec

I’m tired of blogging about rape culture.

No, honestly, I am. It gets exhausting after a while. It wears you down, you know? There’s just so much awfulness, so many rape apologists, and it takes a lot of energy to wade through it, dissect it, call it out and then deal with the backlash.

I’ve diagnosed myself with what Jezebel calls “rape fatigue“, a pretty accurate term for how I feel.

I wasn’t going to blog about anything serious this week. I was going to blog about cute things, funny things. I had a whole post planned out about how Red Fraggle is a feminist icon. It was going to be great, you guys.

And then The Good Men Project published a piece called “I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying.”

And, well, here we are.

Let’s deconstruct this article, shall we?

We’ll start with the title:

I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying

Let’s be clear: while the author does, later, admit that he would rather be raped than stop partying, that’s not what the bulk of this article is about. What he’s actually saying here is that he would rather risk raping someone than stop partying.

You might need a moment to digest that sentiment; I know I did.

Next, we have a caveat from the editors:

We at the Good Men Project do not endorse or support the author’s worldview, but it does speak to a very common experience that is often taken for granted and rarely talked about, except in vague and theoretical terms. We thank the author for being willing to speak openly about it, and share his struggle with his own experiences, though we want to make very clear that we do not agree with his conclusions.

You don’t agree with his conclusions, but you still published it, didn’t you? You’re still giving a voice to someone who is an admitted, unapologetic rapist. Whether or not you “agree with his conclusions”, you are still giving him your support by posting this to your site. You are adding another voice to rape culture.  You are normalizing rape. This is not okay.

Now on to the article itself:

When you party, when you move in party circles, you accept certain tradeoffs.

You accept that you’ll always be the bad guy in after-school specials and sitcoms about teenagers. You’re the bad kid who offers Buffy Summers a beer and gets her almost eaten by a snake demon. You accept that you won’t always be able to piece together everything that happened the next day. You’re forced to enjoy Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” not because you like Katy Perry but because you just plain recognize it.

You accept these tradeoffs because they come with amazing times. They come with glowing memories of an intensity entirely beyond the mundane, they come with crazy sex with amazing people, they come with living a few hours at a time in a world where anything, anything at all, can happen. I’ve moved from one party scene to another my whole adult life, because nobody wants to be that creepy old person or that inappropriately young person, but there are always plenty of people who won’t walk away from that incredible sense of liberation and possibility that you only find at the bottom of the bottle and a hot room full of crazy people.

Anonymous Writer is a hipper than me, has cooler friends, and goes to better parties. He’s a bad-ass who has lots of amazing sex and maintains a love-hate relationship with Katy Perry. He can only find “liberation and possibility” while drunk in a room full of strangers. Got it.

I swear to God, it is only after the fact that you start figuring out that one of the tradeoffs you’ve accepted is a certain amount of rape. The way crooked businesses accept paying fines for their infractions as the cost of doing business, you gradually, an inch at a time, realize that some of the stories you’ve heard, some of the stories you’ve lived, didn’t involve what they call good consent nowadays.

Yes, because rape is just a consequence of having a good time. Raping someone is just the price you have to pay in order to party hard like Anonymous Writer does.

And you know what? Lack of consent is lack of consent, no matter whether something happened twenty years ago or yesterday. I don’t care whether they didn’t call it “good consent” back in the dark ages; it’s still rape.

With what I’ve learned as an adult, I’m pretty sure I’m technically a rapist. Technically nothing. One woman told me herself.

Anonymous Writer is a rapist. Got it.

Our encounter was years before—I’d been in a drinking contest and she’d been drinking and flirting with me (yes, actually flirting) all evening.

She was actually flirting! You can take this rapist’s word for it!

As blurry and fucked-up as I was, I read her kiss of congratulation to me as a stronger signal than it was, and with friends hooting and cheering us on, I pressed her up against a wall and… well. Call it rape or call it a particularly harsh third base, I walked away with the impression that it had been consensual, if not really sensible. (She had a boyfriend at the time, but their boundaries were fuzzy.)

He was peer-pressured into pushing her up against a wall, either raping her or going to a “particularly harsh third base” (whatever that even means), but it’s fine because he thought it was consensual. Oh, and because her boundaries with her boyfriend were “fuzzy”. Got it.

Years later, she was in a recovery program—not for alcohol, ironically—and she got in touch with me during the part where she made peace with her past. She wanted to clarify that what had happened between us was without her consent, that it hurt her physically and emotionally, that it was, yes, rape.

Here is one story about a time she was drunk, which totally makes it ironic that she’s not in an alcohol recovery program. Also, being raped was probably her fault because she had substance abuse problems.

Oh, and by the way, she was raped. By Anonymous Writer.

We talk about who is and is not a rapist, like it’s an inextricable part of their identity. “I’m a Libra, a diabetic, and a rapist.” That doesn’t work, though. Evidently I walked around for years as a rapist, totally unaware. Nobody stuck that label on me, I certainly never applied it to myself, even now it only feels like it fits when I’m severely depressed. The label, the crime, simply coalesced for me one day, dragging years of backstory behind it.

Anonymous Writer isn’t a rapist, because he doesn’t feel like one.

I literally could not come up with a better way of summing up how rape culture works than that one, single sentence.

That is the damnable thing. We all cluck our tongues at those evil bastards who force themselves on girls—or guys—who are insensibly passed out. At the same time, we all acknowledge that a glass or two of wine helps pave the way for a lot of good times. And in the trackless, unmappable gray swamps in between, we cough and change the subject.

Consent is not trackless or unmappable. Consent is fucking consent. Deal with it.

In the real world, especially among experienced drinkers, being blackout drunk doesn’t necessarily look like being passed out on the floor, helpless prey for any passing predator. It can look like being drunk, but fully in control. It can look like being passionately excited. It can look like being a great dancer. It can look like being very sexually aggressive.

It’s not just booze, of course. Ecstasy makes everything incredibly tactile and you want to touch everyone. Weed makes some people insatiably horny. I had to fend off a young woman recently who was talking a mile a minute and sliding her hands inside my shirt, I was still together enough to tell she wasn’t all there, on what turned out to be a mixture of acid and cocaine. There is plenty of fun stuff out there, but mostly it’s booze. For the majority of people, it’s going to be drinking they have to watch out for.

If you’re not sure that someone can consent, don’t have sex with them. If someone is drunk and you’re not sure how drunk, don’t have sex with them. If someone is drunk, don’t have sex with them. There. I’ve made it easy for you.

A friend of mine once told me about a girl who he knew for a fact had only had two drinks. He didn’t know she was on prescription medication that amplified those two drinks beyond all measure. He thought she was just very horny when she wouldn’t leave him alone or take “Are you okay?” for an answer. It wasn’t until she kept calling him by the wrong name and couldn’t remember the right one that he realized she was not able to consent, and called a halt to things before they went any further. He says he had to dissuade her from pursuing things further, because she was really into it, apart from not knowing who he was or where she was.

“Can you imagine?” he tells me in horrified tones. “I was almost a rapist.”

How do I tell him that I was in a similar position and made a different call? How do I tell him that I am what he’s terrified he almost was?

Well, I guess Anonymous Writer doesn’t have to, because rape culture! He will never be prosecuted. He will never go to jail. He will never even have to admit under his own name that he’s a rapist.

Here’s the plain, awful fact: people can have more and better sex drunk than they can sober. Some of the best, most fulfilling relationships of my life have started out with joyously drunken sex. I’ve had amazing times, orgies sometimes, where it’s simultaneously true that everyone’s consenting and having fun, and that they wouldn’t be consenting and having fun if they were stone sober.

Here’s a plain, awful fact: Anonymous Writer is a rapist.

Here’s another plain, awful fact: you don’t have to have sex when you’re drunk, even if it feels really great. You don’t have to have orgies where you know that the participants would not be consenting if they were sober. You don’t have to rape, but you do. And then you make excuses for it.

Those aren’t the times that bother me. The ones that bother me are the ones where I got loaded, had some fun with a lady, and then she never wanted to contact me again. Messages go unanswered, social contact is dropped.

It doesn’t bother Anonymous Writer when he rapes someone, as long as they remain friends with him.

There are men, rape-apologist pieces of shit, who will tell you that women cry “rape” every time they have sex they later regret. I carry no brief for those assholes. What eats at me is that there’ve been cases, more than one and less than six, in my life where either explanation would seem plausible. If a woman had consensual sex with a guy because they were both drunk, and later she decided he was a loser and she regretted it, she might refuse to have further contact with him because, hey, awkward. But if a woman was raped by a man who thought she was still capable of consent when she was too far gone, she might refuse to have further contact with him because, hey, rapist.

Except, as far as we know, none of these women (other than the one mentioned above) have cried rape. So there was no need for that sentence. They either refused to answer Anonymous Writer’s calls because they regretted having sex with him, or because they felt violated. This has nothing to do with anyone crying rape.

And, by the way, Anonymous Writer, you did rape.

That’s not the worst part either.

Oh good.

It’s been pointed out to me that I’m using a lot of heteronormative language here, men/me as rapist, women as rape victims, and I honest to God don’t mean to do that. It’s just the linguistic habits I grew up with.

But there have been times I’ve cut off all contact with women after drunkenly fooling around with them, the same criterion that, in reverse, makes me suspect myself of rape.

There have been times of “I regret going to bed with her” and times of “I don’t recall going to bed with her.”

There’s been at least one time I was informed, days after the fact, by multiple eyewitnesses, that I’d had sex with a girl. This came as news to me, and explained a couple messages I’d gotten from her, a girl I generally had no interest in getting involved with.

It must be bad manners to admit to being a rapist and to also say one is a rape survivor, all in one article. I don’t know any set of social mores where that’s okay. I certainly don’t feel like a rape survivor, whatever that’s supposed to feel like. I just can’t quite find a workable standard where I’m one but not the other. I don’t say that as any kind of apology or justification for my actions or my mistakes. I’m just trying to state the facts nobody ever quite wants to state.

So the worst part isn’t that Anonymous Writer raped someone, it’s that he’s not sure whether or not he’s been raped, although he doesn’t feel as if he has been.

That’s the worst part here.

Some might think it’s monstrous of me to keep drinking, keep partying. But I have had so many good, positive, happy experiences because I took a chance and altered my state and connected with someone else sexually, it seems crazy to throw all that away. Do people who’ve been in car accidents give up driving?

Translation: I will continue to knowingly rape women, and here is a shitty metaphor about car accidents to explain why I’ve chosen to do this.

Translation: the conditions that lead to me raping women are too much fun to give up.

Translation: I live in a culture that will continue to forgive and excuse me for every rape I’ve committed.

When I sit down and think about it, it seems like I’ve accepted a certain amount of rape as the cost of doing business, and so have most of the people I know. And that seems like the most sick, fucked-up, broken solution to anything ever. And maybe finding it livable-with condemns us all to hell. I don’t know. I can’t even talk about it under my own name.

Fuck you.

* * *

I want to be thoughtful about this. I know that I should be. I should say that this man clearly has addiction issues and needs help. I should offer him my support, because he is also a rape victim. I should be kind, forgiving, generous. But I can’t. I can’t do any of those things to someone who is an unapologetic rapist, someone who is clear on the fact that he will rape again. Someone who views rape as a “trade-off” for having a good time.

Rape is not something inevitable that happens because you’re partying too hard, because you drink to excess, or because you’re having too much fun. Rape is a choice that this man makes. This man knows that his drinking and partying will lead to having sex with a partner who cannot consent, and yet continues to do so. This man is an unapologetic rapist.

I know that I talk a lot about rape culture, but you guys? This is rape culture right here. It’s articles like these that make men feel better about raping women. It’s articles like these that contribute to victim blaming (if a woman doesn’t want to be raped, she shouldn’t drink so much, right?) It’s articles like these that normalize rape, that make rape seem like a by-product of enjoying oneself, that make rape seem inevitable and uncontrollable.

This is rape culture. This is our culture.


70 Responses to ““I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying” – Rape Culture and The Good Men Project”

  1. ACS December 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    I agreed with pretty much all your conclusions, though I do disagree when you say Good Men Project shouldn’t have published it. To me at least such pieces are helpful when it comes to identifying these maniacs in real life if one of them has so helpfully plastered his rationalizations across the internet.

    • bellejarblog December 12, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

      Yeah, that’s fair. I think what mostly angers/frustrates me is their introduction. I wish that they had:

      a) been clearer that this man is most probably an addict with severe substance abuse problems (I know that this was discussed in another article, but I would have liked to have seen it in this article as well)

      b) talked about how addiction warps a person’s thoughts and behaviour

      c) talked about the ways in which people facing similar addictions can get help

      d) discussed how this contributes to rape culture

      e) discussed how rape culture harms both men and women

      f) reinforced how incredibly wrong this guy is, beyond just saying “we don’t agree with him”

      I guess that I worry that without these things, plastering his rationalizations across the internet just helps other people rationalize their behaviour

      • yup July 25, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

        totally right! they should have addressed the content rather than just presenting it without much comment.

      • katharticspit July 26, 2013 at 4:12 am #

        I agree.

        But I do also think that this article is helpful in bringing up a mindset that is too common in young adult males.

        As someone who trafficked the party scene and had very unpleasant experiences with men just like this one, I know the attitude too well. I wish Good men project had done more to dissect this attitude and show why it is wrong.

        Rape is not a necessary side affect of the drinking lifestyle. (even though this party world is pretty destructive in itself- that’s a separate issue) Most men I know and partied with as a young adult go by a very simple rule: do not have sex with a woman who is obviously drunk. If she can’t walk straight or speak coherently, she can’t consent.

        I remember getting plastered once and making out with a guy I really liked at the time. I apparently tripped backwards and hit my head during the ordeal. He realized how drunk I was, and determined like any sensible male, that tonight was not the night. He immediately stopped, got me to stretch out on the couch, covered me with a blanket, and left me in the care of my best girlfriend. He came back with coffee the next morning, and we both had a good laugh over it. I learned a valuable lesson, and we have since remained good friends. THAT is how you treat a girl too drunk to consent.

        My main problem is, these ‘nice guys’, while maybe respecting the consent issue themselves, so often DO NOTHING to combat the men they party with who see targets on the backs of drunk girls. This burying your head in the sand mentality is exactly what the refusal of The Good Men project to comment (even though they distanced themselves from the philosophy) exemplifies. They really missed a valuable opportunity to bring insight on this issue, and make a stand for women.

  2. nadinethornhill December 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Thank you for saying everything I’ve been thinking this I read this horrid article. I almost died of rage when I read the part where he decries rape-apologists. DUDE, YOU ARE A RAPE-APOLOGIS…AND A RAPIST.

    Also this?

    “Some might think it’s monstrous of me to keep drinking, keep partying. But I have had so many good, positive, happy experiences because I took a chance and altered my state and connected with someone else sexually, it seems crazy to throw all that away. Do people who’ve been in car accidents give up driving?”

    People who get into car accidents BECAUSE THEY WERE DRINKING, do give up driving. Because they get they’re charged with a crime and their licenses are revoked. It’s almost as though the law doesn’t see getting drunk and being all cool-guy as an excuse for hurting people.

    • bellejarblog December 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      Yeah, seriously – that is a much better counter to this dude’s accidents and driving analogy.

      Also, word to the rape apologist part. That made me see red.

  3. Big Ern December 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    The main problem with that guy’s article is that nothing he is referring to as “rape” is really rape. Women have broadened the definition of rape to be way too inclusive of all kinds of situations that aren’t classically considered rape.

    • deezers December 11, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

      I think you need to brush up on your knowledge of the law, and also could you actually be any creepier?

    • Matt December 12, 2012 at 2:58 am #

      Non-consensual sex = rape. Does that clear it up for you?

      • Paul December 12, 2012 at 7:38 am #

        Matt says:
        “Non-consensual sex = rape. Does that clear it up for you?”

        In coercive rape cases (sex despite hearing the word “no”, sex with a woman scared into silence, etc.), the issue of non-consent is usually pretty clear. Unfortunately, non-consent is not as clear in the not insignificant percentage of sexual experiences in this world involving both alcohol and novel partners (particularly common among college-aged women and men). It is the latter subject that the Good Men author is trying to make sense of by examining his own experiences, although his insights and conclusions are evidently divisive.

        Alcohol– a legally available and widely consumed judgment-impairing and behavior-altering substance— may legally impair the ability for even spoken ‘yes’ consent to be relied upon legally as meaningful consent. But does that mean you should never have sex with anyone who has had so much as a glass of wine that evening, even if they seem perfectly sober in their behavior and when they say “yes, let’s have sex” repeatedly? If a one-drink cut-off and a sober countenance is what you consider a green-light when combined with “yes”, who are you to say that, and how do you know that’s enough to rely on for meaningful consent in this particular case? Alcohol tolerance and surface displays of inebriation are highly variable and subjective traits, even in the same person. I know a number of people (women and men, and only some of them Irish) who are verbally adept and socially competent when drunk, with little to no slurring, and with minimal display of the usual supposed outer tells of inebriation, but who nonetheless are definitely drunk (having drunk many pints) and would certainly fail any breathalyzer or roadside sobriety test. If you think about it, you probably know a few people like this yourself.)

        The issue of non-consent IS clear and obvious to most sensible people in most sexual situations, but the author of the Good Men piece is specifically addressing a very real grey area that most people who live in the real world have experienced at some point. It is not enough to say, “Well if you ever find yourself in what you think is a grey area, then just assume that “yes” means “no” and walk away. If you’re doubting consent for even a moment, then there probably isn’t consent, so go away.” That assumes that people can always tell when they’re in a grey area, which, when both people are drinking (usually the case in bars, where most one night stands begin), is even less likely to happen.

        Evaluating inebriation as a bar to consent WOULD be easy and obvious if every smartphone had a built-in breathalyzer and if a universal legal standard for sexual consent was established (e.g. once your BAC goes above 0.08% you cannot meaningfully give consent to sex and your insistences of “yes I want to have sex!” should be no more legally relied upon by sexual partners than your insistences of “yes I want to drive!” should be relied upon by friends).

        “Consent? There’s an app for that.”

        (The breathalyzer approach is technologically feasible and could be mass-produced in time for Christmas if we wanted to, but a legislative alcohol-consent limit is not feasible as a matter of social policy: despite increasing steps to infantilize and over-regulate citizens in western police states, we are still unlikely to support that level of constraint upon intimate relations between citizens in a free society.

        Do you realize that a woman could pick you up at a bar, take you back to her place, take off your clothes and jump on top of you, say “yes” when you ask her if she’s sure she wants to have sex, and then when she wakes up the next morning with a headache, blurry memory and doesn’t like the way your breath smells, she can decide (and can get a court to agree) that you should have known—despite her seemingly consensual behavior and even her spoken consent of “yes”—that her supposed consent should not have been relied upon as meaningful consent, due to what you should have recognized as her level of inebriation at the time. This is not an improbable straw-man hypothetical; this is is a college campus on a Friday night, and it applies equally to women relying on drunken male “yes’s” as vice versa.

        So long as both sex drives and alcohol exist in this world, there will ALWAYS be this grey area in which consent exists superficially (and may well exist sincerely in a woman’s mind at the relevant moment), but may be legally negated by the variable level of the woman’s own subjective experience of her intoxication.

        So no, it is not clear enough. Rape is obvious when sex occurs despite a “no”. It can also occur when neither a “no” nor “yes” (or any other word) is spoken. But when a person has consumed alcohol and says “yes” to sex, that raises precisely the sort of difficult cases about which the Good Men author is sharing his personal experiences and his insights on that basis.

        If you need any evidence for how alcohol-consent cases are difficult—not clear or easy— then you need only consider the fact that of the cases that go to court concerning violent coercive rape (what most people think of when they hear the word “rape”), they are largely dealt with effectively at the trial level, rarely spending much further time in appeals courts. Many alcohol-consent date-rape type cases, however, spend much longer in the appeals system, with very smart and experienced judges (including women judges) frequently disagreeing with each other over the appropriate legal tests and interpretations of evidence and often overturning each other’s decisions as these cases progress through the appeals system.

      • 65snake July 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

        Very well put. The fact that this guy got slammed for even trying to talk about this grey area is disheartening. You cannot clarify anything in this grey area when it is not even acknowledged to exist.

        Also, characterizing him as unrepentant, or unapologetic I find inaccurate. He seems quite concerned about the fact that he may have raped anyone, and I, for one, would give him props for attempting to have this conversation. I don’t agree with everything he says, and he certainly appears to potentially have some substance abuse issues, but he does not come across as someone who would consider intentionally raping anyone.

      • Rodney February 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

        Hey fucktards Paul, snake and ilk, in the article it seems like the guy is talking about a time he got excited and fucked some woman in the middle of a party WHILE SHE DID NOTHING. She did not encourage him, she did not say yes, she kissed him, he pinned her against the wall and came on or in her (not clear). THAT IS RAPE. In the classic sense, in the dictionary sense, in every sense.

        In the case of the author not remembering a sexual encounter and saying that means he was technically raped is not at all the same thing. The woman he raped remembered, she just never said anything.

    • Shreya Sen July 25, 2013 at 11:22 am #

      Added to the rape apologist dictionary: Classic Rape.

    • Dolly July 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      This comment has disgusted me as much as the article which it supports.

  4. pencilvain December 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    The fact that the title says “risk rape” but clearly means “risk being a rapist” shows how little these men understand what rape is

    • bellejarblog December 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

      Yeah. I mean, he does clarify later that according to the rules of consent he is also a victim of rape, but then he follows that up by saying that doesn’t feel as though he’s been raped. So I’m not really sure how to approach that.

      • Blackacre December 15, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

        You don’t know how to approach that because you are entrenched in a mindset that does not allow you to see that your viewpoint and staunchly held beliefs about what constitutes “rape” may actually be worthy of re-assessment. Paul accurately points out that, as with everything in life, there are grey areas in respect of “rape” that may not necessarily provide the benefit of a binary categorization, even in the full view of all circumstances. (I do note that Paul’s comment is probably the most intelligent one on here, and yet you fail to respond because your habit is to only respond to those who prop up your own misguided ethos).

        In any event, you are an idealogue and have no room for uncomfortable introspection. Rather than challenging everyone you don’t agree with because you have become complacently reliant upon your knee-jerk, dogmatic response, try challenging your own beliefs. It will make you a better person and more equipped to deal with reality.

  5. Mike December 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    So how do we stop this?

    Where is the line between going to a house-party, having a few drinks, meeting someone, taking them home, then having consensual sex (Something that most people have done once or twice), and this guy’s behaviour? There’s a gradient with obvious rape at one end, and normal behaviour at the other.

    • Spoos in August December 12, 2012 at 3:04 am #


      This person has a decent handle on it. Bottom line, any rape statute will harm innocents; the trick is to minimize that harm. With respect to the intersection of drugs, including alcohol, and consent, I think that legislating morality is abhorrent. People are going to have sex while under the influence, some with strangers, others with long-term partners, regardless of statute.

      If only sober sex is consensual, then there are a whole lot of rapists running around college campuses, and at least half of them are women. The key is consent, rather than rape statutes.

      However, don’t expect “yes means yes” to take hold any time soon. One, a lot of communication is nonverbal. Two, some people are coy about their sexual desire–and that is their choice to make.

    • bellejarblog December 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

      Honestly? I’m not sure. I mean, it’s not as if I’ve never had sex while drunk. My now-husband and I started out as a drunken hook-up, so a lot of this feels like “let he without sin cast the first stone”. I wish I could make up a rule like, “if you agree to sleep with someone before you get drunk”, or something like that, but there are no hard and fast rules. The only hard and fast rule I can think of is, “don’t sleep with people whose judgment is impaired”, but there’s a looooot that needs to change in society before that’s going to happen.

      I guess the most I can say is: be careful. Be so, so, so careful.

      This article was just so heartbreaking to read, because I know people who have been hurt by this type of behaviour, and I know that the author will rape again.

      • None December 12, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

        Be so so so careful…

        Or you could just lighten the fuck up!

        Jesus christ, you cunts are fucking tedious!

      • bellejarblog December 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

        Well, YOU seem nice.

      • eden December 12, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

        What I took from the original post is that the issue isn’t primarily that the women he raped were drinking, and that one should never have sex with a person who has been drinking because they may not be fully able to consent. The main issue is that HE, repeatedly, in situations where he will likely want to have sex, has become drunk enough that he couldn’t reasonably evaluate the ability of the person he wanted to have sex with to consent. He could, after realizing he was a rapist, begin to choose not to get so drunk that he didn’t realize he was committing rape, and still go to these parties and possibly even still meet women who want to have sex with him and possibly even have a pretty good time, but he’s not willing to moderate his drinking so that he doesn’t rape anyone else. That’s what makes me angry – not only is he not willing to “quit partying” to prevent rape, he’s not even willing to party somewhat differently. That’s a mind-boggling level of entitlement.

      • Blackacre December 15, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

        Well Eden (seriously?), you state:

        “The main issue is that HE, repeatedly, in situations where he will likely want to have sex, has become drunk enough that he couldn’t reasonably evaluate the ability of the person he wanted to have sex with to consent. He could, after realizing he was a rapist, begin to choose not to get so drunk that he didn’t realize he was committing rape… .”

        If he’s that drunk, then I would be concerned that HE (as you put it) is incapable of providing consent, and therefore, it is just as likely that he is being raped. I note that you have immediately assumed that he is the rapist here, even though you acknowledge that he is drunk. This works if he is actively “forcing himself” upon someone, but that is not what the author was getting at here. You are sitting in a black and white mindset, without realizing that your own commentary clearly enunciates how murky grey the whole area of “drunken consent” really is.

        The position is often that: if drunk, no consent. That is what is loudly shouted by those of your ilk, and yet your statements belie this position by demonstrating that you believe his consent is unquestionable when he is drunk. This does not “jive” with the black-and-white view of rape when applied to the question of alcohol use and consent. For instance, you refer to the author as a rapist, but the reality is that he is drunk as well, so in the absence of knowledge about his sexual partners, he is just as easily placed in the category of “rape victim”. Further, if you are willing to accept that he is so inebriated that he is incapable of knowing that he is “raping”, then he is also at a stage of drunkeness in which he is incapable of giving consent – ergo, he’s raping and being raped at the same time. Oh noes!

        So to steal your phrase: What makes me angry is that rather than thinking critically (I’ve noticed that most “critical thought feminists” do not actually employ critical thinking in a wholistic manner) you have instead adopted the usual gender partisan stance of “man obviously bad rapist”; “woman weak victim”. Now that’s a mind boggling level of idiocy.

      • moderate July 26, 2013 at 3:01 am #

        Or maybe we can admit that its not rape, but is exploitation. Something like the difference between assault and battery, manslaughter and murder, robbery and burglary.

        Or maybe another rule like if the prospective victim doesnt even think of it as rape for 72 hours, then its not rape. This will press potential victims to report it out of caution. If someone cant figure it out in a few days, they are reprogramming their mind one way or the other and they are therefore biased. Someone cant decide that they were raped a year after the incident. Thats absurd. “Gee officer, I think I was stabbed last year, but I had to deliberate for awhile.”

        We need gradations of sexual assault. Forcible rape is rape over a clear denial of consent. Then there are situations where its not clear, but the victim did not even hint at consent (nonverbal consent does occur). Then there are people who exploit situations that maybe they should not, but they should be just given a tap on the shoulder, not a prison sentence.

      • Vidhu Vinod January 21, 2015 at 3:31 am #

        Genuinely confused. If the hard and fast rule is “dont sleep with someone whose judgement is impaired”, does that cover the grey areas that Paul spoke of?

        How many times have we been able to judge someone based on how they look while inebriated? There are many people, as Paul said, who look absolutely fine, walk straight, dont slur but actually are so drunk and horny their judgement is impaired beyond belief. The only telling sign might be slightly impaired vision. But that’s not something that a person being hit on by such a drunk person can judge right?

        And lastly, if we just ignore all these grey areas and to be on the safe side, just DON’T have drunk sex, doesn’t that negate all the relationships that start with a drunken hook-up?

    • katharticspit July 26, 2013 at 4:18 am #

      Simple. If a girl is too drunk to walk straight, or speak in coherent sentences, she is probably too drunk to consent. Get her number. Walk away. If she has to be drunk to like you, that’s not saying much for you, is it? And if she likes you to begin with, she’ll like you even more knowing that you wouldn’t take advantage of her.

      From personal experience, most guys who use the ‘how was I supposed to know she was too drunk?’ or ‘she was all into me, man!’ arguments are men who zero in on girls they know are drunk in order to increase their chances of having a good time, Don’t be one of these men.

  6. Paul December 12, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    “If you’re not sure that someone can consent, don’t have sex with them. If someone is drunk and you’re not sure how drunk, don’t have sex with them. If someone is drunk, don’t have sex with them. There. I’ve made it easy for you.”

    Not easy at all. Theoretically easy, but sex isn’t theoretical. Practically, it’s far from easy because you’re still depending on highly subjective impressions in people when trying to assess other people’s internal state of intoxication which may or may not be accurately reflected in their external behavior. “If you’re not sure that someone can consent” assumes that there is a reasonable standard for when to be sure that someone can consent; the usual “yes” standard isn’t legally reliable when someone’s had a few drinks. “If someone is drunk” assumes that there is a reasonable standard for when you ought to know or at least suspect that someone is drunk (they might look and act sober despite drinking through the evening, and when you say “you’re drunk” they might insist they are “not drunk” with a convincing sincerity and sober face). “If someone is drunk and you’re not sure how drunk, don’t have sex with them”: if this rule were always followed to the letter, then no person (man or woman) would ever have sex with any other person (man or woman) if either has imbibed a small quantity of alcohol that evening (but how small is small? How much is “too little to worry about” or “too much for consent”? The amount of alcohol to make someone ‘too-drunk-too-fuck” (“TDTF”), and the kind of behavior that indicates that state, are things that vary wildly not just between people but even vary dramatically in the same person). After all, if said person has consumed alcohol, they could be drunk– you’re not sure just how drunk they are, and how can you reliably gauge that?

    As the body of cases in this area demonstrates, this is indeed a grey area with highly inconsistent rulings made over the years and across jurisdictions in otherwise very similar cases. The law does need to say SOMETHING on this subject, and it does what it can to set parameters on often grey areas of behaviour because it has to set them SOMEWHERE. But the parameters are by no means bright-line tests or even consistently applied, which is the case any time you try to apply rational frameworks to irrational human behavior (many sexual encounters—even when perfectly sober—are irrational, and both parties know it, and know it can only do harm, but feel compelled nonetheless).

    Even lawyers will admit in private that in the real world it basically comes down to knowing and following the law as much as possible, but in ambiguous situations “just use common sense”, which often translates to “so long as nobody’s saying ‘no’, go with what body language and the ‘vibe’ suggest). Problem is that one person’s common sense is another person’s consent, a second person’s neurotic over-analysis, a third person’s subliminal rape culture, a fourth person’s rape.

    Here’s a hypothetical situation to illustrate the grey-area points discussed above:

    Woman says to a man after a number of drinks, “Let’s have sex !”

    Man says, “Hold on a moment, I don’t mean to patronize you or diminish your agency as an adult woman who enjoys paying for and treating herself to a few glasses of excellent wine after a long working week, but you see, I read a feminist blog today about rape culture, and I’m just not sure that you can be capable of giving meaningful consent right now. I’ve seen you consume alcohol earlier tonight, and you possibly consumed even more when I wasn’t looking. Your ability to give meaningful consent might be mentally and thus legally impaired by the alcohol you have consumed”.

    Woman: “Don’t be silly, I want to have sex, let’s have sex.”

    Man: “But you’re drunk. I– I think you’re drunk. I have reason to believe you’re drunk. Um, because you did have a few drinks tonight—

    Woman: “This is nothing, I usually have more! Stop talking to me like I’m a child. I’m a woman. You should respect my capacity as an adult to make my decisions, and right now I’m deciding to have sex with you. Although frankly I’m starting to reconsider.”

    Man: “But I’m just not sure how drunk you are, which means I shouldn’t have sex with you.”

    Woman: “I’m not drunk!”

    Man: “But you had a number of drinks tonight.”

    Woman: “Yes, but I’m not drunk!”

    Man: “I respect your opinion, but as anyone who has been drunk knows, one of the first things to be affected is your own ability to reliably gauge how drunk you really are. The fact that you do not consider yourself drunk at this moment does not mean you are not drunk, and as it is, I have reason to believe that you are at least somewhat drunk right now. The problem is that I am unsure as to how drunk you are. My favourite feminist blog tells me that if I am unsure how drunk someone is, then I should not have sex with them. So I am sorry, but I cannot have sex with you. I really enjoyed our time together tonight and I would like very much to meet up again at another time, preferably when you have had absolutely nothing—nothing at all– to drink. I shall bring my breathalyzer just to be sure, and then potentially we may proceed to coitus. Oh, and I will also arrange for my lawyer to be present, along with a panel of esteemed feminists who will watch us and advise and evaluate as to the presence of consent.”

    Woman: “Get the fuck out of my apartment.” [Kicks man out of her apartment. Cries for half an hour, feeling confused as to why a man, after coming home with her, would then go to such bizarrely elaborate lengths to avoid having sex with her. Feels unattractive, the seeming rejection still smarting. Calls up on-off ex-boyfriend, who shows up, gives her a foot massage, and gives her a long night of fantastic sex. She wakes up with a headache and blurry memory of the preceding night, but is happy to find her attractive ex’s arm wrapped protectively around her. We know who got laid and who didn’t, but who was right and who was wrong? Consent? Rape? Rape culture?)

    (If anyone wishes to point out that the above scenario is a straw man because “people who are actually TDTF don’t talk the way the woman talked in that dialogue”, I would point out that I know a number of people (men AND women, and only some of them Irish) who are HIGHLY verbally adept, with little to no slurring, and with minimal display of the usual supposed outer tells of inebriation, but who nonetheless are definitely drunk (having drunk many pints) and would certainly fail any breathalyzer roadside sobriety test. If you think about it, you probably know a few people like this yourself.)

    If we—whether men amongst themselves, or men in conversation with women—are to adequately tackle the challenge of preventing rape, they need to have an honest discussion about just what rape is and how to identify it when it’s happening. But feminists encouraging or engaging in this conversation have never been willing to acknowledge that there is a real-world grey area which most people at some point live through. Short of both parties using a breathalyzer before every sexual encounter (and even then, do you use the legal driving cut-off, or a different threshold?), there are always subjective assumptions built in to ANY scenario other than an explicit “NO”.

    This grey area (consent potentially mitigated by alcohol) is probably implicated in a significant percentage of the total sexual encounters that people have between the ages of 19 and 25, which is when many people experience the greatest quantity, variety and novelty of sexual partners in their lives. And yet we are apparently incapable of having this conversation, save in hushed tones between all-male conclaves or when published anonymously on the internet. No men who value their reputation are willing to acknowledge or address this grey area in conversation with women for fear of being thought of as a rape apologist or worse yet a potential rapist, which is why the author of the Good Men piece felt the need to publish anonymously.

    This is a conversation that needs to be had. Nobody wants to have it because they think that acknowledging that a grey area exists and trying to shed some light on it— perhaps making it a little less grey — is somehow tantamount to ‘normalizing’ rape. This reluctance arises from a wilful ignorance about how people have sex in the real world (often after drinks, rarely with consent forms). When you understand that rape is sex in the absence of consent, and when you understand that the presence of external consent (saying yes) is not necessarily the presence of internal consent when a person has ingested alcohol, and when you understand that millions of women and men regularly have sex under these conditions, you can then understand that having a conversation about this without being reflexively branded a ‘rape apologist’ is not only possible… it is absolutely necessary.

    I would really like to hear a coherent response to this from men and particularly from women who identify as feminist, without the intellectual laziness of name-calling and knee-jerk references to “rape apologist” and “rape culture”.

    • Writer December 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      I think this, and your other comment, hit the nail square on the head.

      The concept of “good consent”, while a noble idea, tends to create a yes-means-yes-until-I-change-my-mind scenario. I can hold my alcohol very well. I don’t appear to be as drunk as I am. And, in all honesty, I can’t fully relate to this “party culture” as my experience with drunken nights involves a group of close friends, an assorted home bar and lots of passing out on couches.

      However, I will give my personal experience. I went out dancing. Got drunk. A man I’d just met offered to take me home, watch some movies until I sobered up. We ended up having sex. He asked me – repeatedly – if I wanted to and if I was sure. I said yes. The next morning, and to this day, I feel slightly dirty about the entire event.

      I don’t feel I was raped, though. I offered consent. He was also drunk. Two drunk people consented to an action and one regrets it. That isn’t his fault. It’s not his responsibility to ensure I don’t regret an action. I knew full well what I was doing at the time and threw caution to the wind. In the absence of alcohol, I would never have done that. It’s still not rape.

      But to someone else, it could be. To someone who believes strongly in “good consent”, they may declare rape. And I’m speaking from the position of someone who has been violently and forcibly raped – in a situation considered by most levels of society to not be rape. I understand the fear and the shame and the silence, but I still cannot for the life of me consider a drunken encounter with mutual consent to be rape.

  7. Bill December 12, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    ‘Whether or not you “agree with his conclusions”, you are still giving him your support by posting this to your site. You are adding another voice to rape culture. You are normalizing rape. This is not okay.’

    So…as someone who wants to combat rape culture, is the only way to do it to not talk about it? Isn’t it important to understand all the different forms of what we’re up against? Isn’t it important to understand exactly how people think, so we can know how to educate them, how to communicate with them on a level that will affect them? You may think this guy’s a lost cause, and he probably is, but that doesn’t mean his line of thinking is unique. There are probably a million or more guys thinking like this, and they can’t all be lost causes. Some of them just need to be given something to think about. And I truly believe that if we understand them better, and how they get that way, then we can take the first steps toward fixing that.

    But I’m open to other viewpoints.

    • bellejarblog December 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

      I’m going to c&p my answer from above, because it applies in this case too 🙂

      I think what mostly angers/frustrates me is their introduction. I wish that they had:

      a) been clearer that this man is most probably an addict with severe substance abuse problems (I know that this was discussed in another article, but I would have liked to have seen it in this article as well)

      b) talked about how addiction warps a person’s thoughts and behaviour

      c) talked about the ways in which people facing similar addictions can get help

      d) discussed how this contributes to rape culture

      e) discussed how rape culture harms both men and women

      f) reinforced how incredibly wrong this guy is, beyond just saying “we don’t agree with him”

      I guess that I worry that without these things, plastering his rationalizations across the internet just helps other people rationalize their behaviour.

      • Bill December 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

        That’s fair. Since I’m a regular reader over there, I probably projected some of that onto the article–I’m confident that the site as a whole does reflect a lot of those (I do think they’ve talked about, for instance, how rape culture harms both men and women), and so I was willing to see this article as part of a larger narrative on the site. But it didn’t occur to me that this would be read by a lot of people who weren’t regular readers, and it probably should’ve. An article that’s obviously going to be controversial like this sort of has to be considered in a vacuum from the rest of the site it originally appears on.

      • aaron December 23, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

        so its rape if the woman regrets it the next day and decides their judgment was impaired as opposed to their inhibitions being benignly lowered by alcohol enabling them to meet someone nice… tough times we are living in these days

  8. dualityheart December 12, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    I’ve never partied or done drugs/drank alcohol, so I’m really not the right person to talk about consent under the influence, but the idea of consent is multifaceted. Sure, we can define it as “yes means yes” but at the same time, unless we’re willing to pass a law on the very specific way that consent must go down IN ALL SITUATIONS or people will be held criminally liable, we all have to do what we can to assess consent in our own situations.

    The other thing that bothers me is, exactly HOW do you expect a rape victim to act? Not all of us cry for weeks on end in the shower and shave our heads and have trouble being touched by anyone ever again. Everyone processes being raped differently (and separate rape experiences can bring on very different reactions from the same person). So because the Anonymous writer doesn’t express profound trauma at having been raped in the past, this makes his rapes totally insignificant?

    I would also like to posit that there are plenty of situations where I technically consented to stuff, but didn’t WANT to and came away from the experience with a bad taste in my mouth. You might consider this rape but I was sober, and I said yes, even though I did not want to do whatever it was. It is not up to a sex partner to read my mind.

    And that’s the problem with this Anonymous guy- he isn’t saying “HAHA I RAPED PEOPLE I AM SO AWESOME.” He’s saying, “I like going out and having a good time, using my genitals under the influence of drugs/alcohol, and I don’t want to give up these experiences because they are incredibly rewarding to me.” For him, he basically sees it like someone who goes scuba diving with the knowledge that it is possible that they might get attacked by a shark and could die or have to kill the shark with their bang-stick even though the shark probably doesn’t exactly deserve to die for just doing what it naturally likes to do. But you wouldn’t say that just because a bad thing (to yourself or another person) can happen when you’re doing something you enjoy and find personally fulfilling, that it should be made illegal or that it’s evil and bad, right? Because you’d basically have to call for the outlawing of pretty much any recreational pursuit ever.

    I realize that possibly being raped is the cost of finding a sex partner, especially since I am mostly heterosexual and female-gendered. I am not willing to be celibate, ergo, I accept and deal with this fact. But it’s not the CERTAINTY of being raped by some malicious predator. It’s the fact that we can’t peer into each other’s heads and no matter how enlightened or educated we are, the way we process consent is much easier to write about, to articulate when we have the chance to sit down and write diatribes about it, and to generally philosophize from an arm chair far from the scene of the actual situation.

    There are people who can actually communicate as clearly and directly as a lot of people do here online where they have infinite time to come up with the perfect situations to make social interaction seem so easy and effortless. But most of us are stuck dealing with being shy, at getting nervous when we’re approached by someone we find attractive, and even if he demands something I’m not comfortable with, there’s still a thread of what I DO want with said attractive person, and once I get into a situation where he’s bigger and stronger, there’s always the fear of “well if I don’t say YES, then will I be HURT? If I don’t say YES, will I be HURT and then have to do what he wants ANYWAY?” There’s a point where you get to in an unequal power dynamic where you know they could FORCE you if they wanted- it’s there over your head unspoken, like if a Mob guy comes by and tells you that you ought to buy his awesome fire insurance, because ya know, THINGS can happen to a business.

    But then there’s also making dumb mistakes and not speaking up even though said guy would have backed off if you’d just said something. You can’t call a guy a rapist if the person he wanted to fuck said “yes.” We can’t read others minds, and until the day where I can know for sure that a guy who throws me against a wall and tries to make a “hard 3rd base” with me isn’t going to resort to killing me or beating the shit out of me, sometimes it’s easier to just say “yes” because “yes” means then at least you’re not dead or in the hospital. At least they only go as far as they were advertising and not further. And if they don’t? They’re still a rapist, just more of one.

    But the nicest thing about not perceiving this stuff as having been raped is that you don’t have to find a bunch of new friends every time it happens. You don’t have to cut out the 90% of people who cover for and protect various people who do this shit. You don’t have to imagine that everyone is a rapist who is Out To Get You. You don’t have to completely reorder your life and make everything about your rape 24/7. Once I understood that possible sexual violence against me is part of the cost of being a female person, it made it easier for me to deal with living in this society, rape culture and all.

    It sure as hell isn’t fair. But then again, who said that life was fair?

    • deezers December 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      I think the diving analogy needs to be amended slightly – it’s more like…

      he loves to go diving. But he has raped a few sharks before while diving, and he might rape a few sharks again, but he’s willing to risk those sharks getting raped because he just enjoys himself so damn much!

      • moderate July 26, 2013 at 4:09 am #

        Using rape in the analogy destroys the analogy.

    • Sara December 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

      Saying it’s just a necessary evil only perpetuates the problem. That’s what rape culture is, all this “oh well guys only think with their dicks, I should expect it etc etc” crap. It isn’t an excuse for rape and it never will be.

      I’ve had sex with guys I didn’t really want to fuck, and I didn’t much like it, but I don’t blame them, because I pretended I wanted it, to avoid awkwardness. That was me fucking myself, by not being assertive enough to get up and leave, by being so afraid of awkward situations that I couldn’t hurt the guy’s feelings by rejecting him. It wasn’t rape at all, because I wasn’t coerced, and I know that had I said no at any time, the men in question would have stopped. Furthermore I’m pretty sure they’d be horrified to discover that I didn’t want to bang them. They are not rapists. This is not sexual violence.

      Sexual violence is NOT having sex with someone who you think wants to have sex with you. It’s having sex with someone who you know doesn’t want to have sex with you, or who couldn’t possibly have decided that they do want to have sex with you (ie, unconscious, immobile, incoherent). There is no grey area there. The person you’re banging is either into it (or pretending to be) or they aren’t. And if they aren’t, you shouldn’t be fucking them. Full stop.

  9. Britni December 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Oh man, this article conflicts me so much. Because he is a rapist douche who has committed rape and doesn’t really seem to feel very bad about it and is saying that he’s okay with the fact that it will probably happen again.

    But the alcoholic in me sees the disease in his writing. My alcoholism would have said the same thing when I was active. My alcoholism rationalizes everything. It tells me things like, “I’d rather risk rape than stop partying. Because the fun times are totally worth the emotional trauma that might result. Plus, you don’t know that you would actually be raped if you went out, blacked out, and went home with this person you don’t know.” My alcoholism will do whatever it can to defend itself, tell me all kinds of lies, allow me to settle for less, and convince me that this is all fun and fine.

    And so, I’m torn. As someone who fights rape culture and has been raped myself, I hate that this was published. I still stand by the fact that I don’t think a site called the “Good Men Project” should have published this piece of shit. But the alcoholic in me can see this man’s denial and alcoholic thinking for what it is, and that part of me is sad for him and wants to tell him that he deserves better.

  10. Laura December 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    You have put a ton of effort into attacking the writer, a victim of multiple rapes. Why do you hate rape victims so much? Calling him a rapist doesn’t negate that he is a rape survivor. You are exhibiting the behavior, the ‘rape culture’ you are supposedly against.

    • bellejarblog December 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      I actually acknowledged that he is a rape victim at the end of my post, although, as he says himself, he doesn’t “feel like a rape survivor, whatever that’s supposed to feel like.”

      I am not attacking him for being a rape victim. I am attacking him for being a rapist, an unapologetic one who is pretty clear on the fact that he will, quite likely, rape again.

      Surely you can see the difference.

      • Laura December 12, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

        Attacking someone who is both a rape survivor and a rapist is still attacking a rape survivor. If you understood rape culture you would understand that it doesn’t matter why you are attacking someone. It’s still an attack. On a rape survivor. What is it about attacking a rape survivor do you think will reduce rape? Or attacking a rapist for that matter? See the difference? There is none of consequence. Because attacking people doesn’t help rape culture. It fosters it. This is psychology and anthropology 101. Educated people don’t attack other people for the sake of argument. Attacking people is what rapists do.

      • bellejarblog December 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

        We apparently have different definitions of what attack is. So, instead, let’s say that I’m calling out his unapologetic rapist behaviour and saying that he cannot continue to behave as he does.

        What part of what I’ve written do you take issue with, exactly? That would be a lot more helpful than telling me that I “hate rape victims so much”. Not that you seem particularly interested in being helpful, just in being inflammatory.

      • Laura December 13, 2012 at 12:19 am #

        Our definitions of ‘attack’ are not different. You said you attacked this writer, and that’s what you did. And, yes I was inflammatory… the point was to allow you to recognize your own behavior. See how easy it is to define the parameters of a label; you have attacked a rape survivor and I can now define you by that action with a label and repeat ad nausium. That’s what you have done in this post. Rape is rape right? And a tree is a tree. What information does this convey? None. It’s just an attack. On a rape survivor. Are we getting it yet?

        If you understood culture… ‘rape culture’ then you would understand that human behavior is not about perps and victims. It’s about biological and sociological incentives. Please educate yourself and learn to speak constructively instead of ad hominem attacks. You look like a fool if your rebuttal to this rapist is a basic logical fallacy.

      • bellejarblog December 13, 2012 at 12:37 am #

        No, actually, you said attack. I did not know how you were defining “attack”. Let’s be clear on that.

        And yes, I did say that rape is rape. Because although the writer of that post does refer to his act as rape, he doesn’t actually believe that it is. He makes that clear when he says that he doesn’t feel like a rapist. So it is, in fact, helpful to continue to point out that yes, what he is doing is rape. A tree is a tree, and it’s helpful to remind someone of that fact if they’re not sure whether or not that large, leafy thing is a tree.

        It’s pretty great that you are here to lecture me about ad hominem attacks, and yet you’re the one who told me that I hate rape victims.

        And by the way, the full Latin term is “argumentum ad hominem”, which means to argue with someone personally rather than confront their argument itself. A) I think it’s fine to argue personally with someone who has personally declared themselves to be a rapist who intends to continue raping and B) I did address all of the “arguments” presented by Anonymous in his post. You should learn how to use the term ad hominem correctly.

      • deezers December 13, 2012 at 1:46 am #

        Well said Bellejar – Laura, I am completely embarrassed for you.

      • Laura December 13, 2012 at 2:57 am #

        Oh, right. It’s not an attack because it didn’t feel like an attack to you. Your cognitive dissonance is impressive. The rhetorical ‘why do you hate rape victims?” was to parody your own attack, but yeah… ok… you sure taught me a lesson about logical fallacies. Throwing in the Latin word for argument really solidified you as an expert.

        And no, you did not address any of his arguments. You simply disagreed with him. You said nothing that would convince him or anyone to change their behavior. In fact, you freely admit that you are simply attacking him personally… despite protesting that it’s not really an attack. Because your definition of attack is different. Just like his definition of rape.

        Oh and for Khan, the point of ‘rape survivor’ label is that it holds the same value of the “rapist” label. Which is none.

      • Matt December 13, 2012 at 3:31 am #

        I don’t recall seeing anything that implied “It’s not an attack because it didn’t feel like an attack to [me]” out of Belle. I did, however, see something along the lines of, “since we can’t agree on a functional definition of this word, let’s try a different expression of the same thought”. Nor did she suggest that she wasn’t going on the offensive with this dirtbag; in fact, quite the opposite, on the grounds that he’s not entitled to her sympathy, because he’s an unrepentant rapist. No cognitive dissonance involved.

        Argumentum ad hominem is generally only considered a fallacy when it’s used to distract from the point, which is why it’s drilled into your head in first-year Philosophy class not to use it. In this case, however, this is perfect case for the use of it, because the original writer is writing about himself. It’d be a different case if he’d (foolishly) done it under his own name, then went on to argue the case that, say, the United States should have declared George Washington its King, only to have someone show up and say something along the lines of, “but you’re a rapist, so fuck off.”

        Also, his definition of rape isn’t much different from most. Particularly in the awesome part where he admits to sexually assaulting a woman while they were both drunk (and she was in a relationship), then she got in touch with him years later and told him that she considered it rape.

        Granted, he probably won’t change his ways. I doubt Belle was trying to convince him to, because he clearly has no desire to stop doing it. This came up here because this man’s cost-benefit calculus of “yeah, clearly I rape people.. but it’s the cost of having a hell of a good time” is a horrifying embodiment of rape culture. I don’t think she’s trying to convince *him* of anything, but trying to convince *us* that society’s attitudes toward rape have to change, through graphic illustration.

    • Jairus Khan December 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

      “Survivor” isn’t a magic word that means that now no one can ever call you out on being shitty to people, FYI.

      • Matt December 13, 2012 at 3:36 am #

        I’m getting too used to other fora. I keep looking around for the button that says “+1”, or the little orangered up arrow.

    • Ciara Raven Blaze December 13, 2012 at 12:11 am #

      wow… the stupid in your comment–it burns.

  11. jennie1ofmany December 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Belle’s point is not, actually, that Anonymous Writer (AW) is a rapist, or that AW needs to feel bad. I mean, AW doesn’t feel bad, and AW is by his own admission a rapist. (possibly also a rape survivor, but I happen to think that’s beside the point). The point about rape culture is that rape culture is what allows AW to continue to accept of rape (especially, apparently, when he’s the one doing the raping, but possibly when he’s also the one being maybe-raped-he’s-not-sure) as the cost of a good party. The point of identifying rape culture is to identify how it allows AW to feel that someone else’s possible trauma is a worthwhile trade-off for a good time. Rape culture gives rape apologists the social space to not own the harm they’ve done other people, and rape culture is what’s created our fundamentally messed up ideas about consent.

    As a culture, we decided when you and I were kids that we were going to hold people responsible for driving under the influence. There was a massive public information campaign about the dangers of drunk driving. The laws were adjusted to reflect that it wasn’t just a crime to hurt someone if you got behind the wheel of a car while drunk: the mere act of getting behind the wheel was a crime in and of itself. There has been a massive enforcement campaign, targetting not only drivers who behave suspiciously, but also anyone driving a car. Slowly, but surely, the tide of public opinion has turned. Some people still drive drunk. A lot of people plan, while sober, not to drive drunk and make alternate arrangements. The cultural mores have shifted. Few people make excuses for drunk drivers, whether or not those drivers actually harm anyone while they’re driving.

    As a culture, it seems, we’re less sure that rape is a bad thing, that raping someone while intoxicated is a bad thing, or that we, collectively, want to establish and enforce clear standards around the nature of consent. AW is as much a product of this culture. So are the other apologists.

  12. housewifedownunder December 14, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    Maybe this guy thinks that because non-consensual sex doesn’t bother him, no one else should be bothered by it, either. Maybe he thinks that because he doesn’t feel like he has been raped, his own victims shouldn’t feel that way, either. And maybe he believes that because society seems to have some confusion over whether or not what he does is actually rape, then maybe there’s a chance he’s not really a rapist or he’s not really doing wrong. Besides, everybody else does it and the world hasn’t ended, yet. Sounds to me like his biggest concern is just for his next good time and he’d rather focus on justifying his desire to have fun than contemplate any moral questions about his behaviour.

  13. Jenna December 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    I have read several blog posts about this now and I completely agree with you.

    What I don’t understand though is the idea that this guy is a rape survivor. As far as I can see he isn’t or at least very unlikely that he is. He talks about how he has had drunken sex he regrets that is not rape. You can consent whilst drunk. If you are drunk and saying yes to someone and giving very obvious signs of active consent that is consent….it would be a good idea if you are having sex with someone you know is quite drunk to check they are happy with what is happening between you but if you have of your own free will gotten drunk and then you are saying yes to someone and are actively participating in sexual activity with them you are having consensual sex. He doesn’t give me the impression anywhere that the sex he says he regrets where not like this..other then he cant remember an incident. Simply not remembering something does not mean that it was not the consensual situation described above. I would believe him that he was raped in the second situation where he can not remember if he felt distress as a result of that situation and has a strong feeling he did not consent but as far as I can tell in the article he doesn’t relate to being a rape survivor at all…so I really don’t think that is the scenario.

    I have had drunken consensual sex, I have had drunken sexual encounters I woke up in the morning and felt embarrassed and quite disgusted by but to which I know I consented and I now regretted. I have also been raped as I was so drunk I was loosing conciousness, could not sit up and had just been seen by the rapist vomiting all over myself. I have also been coerced with threats of being raped into a sex act after changing my mind about a consensual situation saying no and trying to push the guy off me. In every situation I was drunk yet I knew the difference between all situations really quite clearly. I don’t understand why it is so hard to grasp. Did you consent to sex actively? Did you tell the person you were having sex with you wanted to? Did you of your own free will drink the alcohol that left you consenting to sex you wouldn’t have otherwise had sex in? If the answer is yes to those questions its not rape. If the answer is no to any of those questions or is no to a combination of those questions it was rape.

    What he describes in the first situation however is very obvious rape on his part and the fact he tries to get out of it by calling it harsh third base is sickening.

    This guy as far as I can see is not a rape survivor but a rapist that excuses his actions because he likes to party. He seems to have come to the conclusion that because he does not feel like a rapist he is not one in any meaningful sense.

    • moderate July 26, 2013 at 4:25 am #

      The issue is that some people take those regrets and manufacture them into rape. It DOES happen and activists absolutely refuse to accept that an accuser may be lying, covering, or rewriting their memory. As I said in an earlier comment, if you cannot figure out that it is rape in a few days, it is not rape. And yet some of the activists will say yes, it is rape, ignoring the possibility that the accuser has rewritten their memory (which often occurs, take a few psych classes).

      • Ami July 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

        Sometimes it takes longer than “a few days” for people to figure out what happened to them was rape, and it has nothing to do with them trying to rewrite history to make themselves feel better or get someone into trouble. If they were very intoxicated they may not remember anything and may find out what happened days or weeks after the fact when they start hearing things from friends or seeing evidence of what happened (example: Steubenville). Rape can be very traumatic and shameful for some people. A survivor may spend days, weeks, or years thinking about what happened and not calling it rape, even if it fits the definition of rape (legal or otherwise) because of the stigma and victim-blaming that go along with identifying oneself as a rape victim. They may have been victimized as a child and not understood what happened to them using a term like rape. Or a survivor may have told someone about what happened, and that person may have blamed them and/or told them what happened was not rape. They may realize, years later, after taking a class or reading a book or something that what happened was indeed rape. It’s not as simple as “if you don’t think it’s rape right away, it’s not rape.” That statement underestimates the impact that a trauma like rape can have on people, and denies that people experience, react, and respond to that trauma in very different ways.

  14. Sara December 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    When people say that there are grey areas in rape, there aren’t. First of all, rapists who claim they were drunk or wasted and didn’t know what they were doing are full of sh*t. Whilst alcohol and drugs do blunt one’s inhibitions, you’re still aware of what is going on around you, and if you aren’t then you are probably too out of it to rape someone (or to consent to sex). Ecstasy in particular, though it makes you tactile, also makes you hyper-aware of others’ emotions. I find myself becoming perceptive, almost to a fault, of human dynamics when I take it.

    Reading about how many women have or will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime made me gasp, until I realised that I know 3 women who have told me they were raped (2 by boyfriends, one by a friend), one girl who was forced to give a blow job to a “friend” to whom she owed money, and another girl who was indecently assaulted by a cab driver, as she got her purse out to pay the fare. Not to mention

    I thought of the times I had been sexually assaulted myself. I was intimately groped in a market aged 12 by a seller who insisted I try on a pair of magnetic earrings at his stall, turning me away from my mother and running his hands over my just-forming breasts and into my crotch.

    At university a “friend” watched me go home, very drunk, to my dorm room. He turned up 30 mins later and broke into my room, forcing his tongue into my throat and touching me up. I had just been sick and was too drunk to move, and he knew it. He eventually left, perhaps put off by my vomit breath. The next day he turned up with flowers looking sheepish, but when I berated him for taking advantage he called me “mean”. It was clear that though he knew what he’d done was wrong, he didn’t think I had any right to still be angry about it. Not once he’d given me a bunch of cheap petrol station tulips, anyway.

    There are times when I have had sex mainly because I didn’t really know how to say no, purely out of politeness. I don’t look at these occasions as being assault or rape because I didn’t feel violated – they weren’t pleasant, but I definitely implied consent, even though I didn’t much fancy the guy, and made the best of it by imagining it was someone I did like. If I had said no, I’m sure on all these occasions I wouldn’t have been coerced.

    There are also times when male friends have misread signals – sharing a bed post-partying, for instance – but they have always stopped when they’ve realised it’s not happening.

    What I’m saying is – I have been sexually assaulted, and it’s very different to having sex with someone you don’t fancy or being cuddled in a bed by someone you’d rather not sleep with. It feels different. It feels like a violation. It feels aggressive. And I’m tired of rapists playing dumb – because it’s impossible they don’t know the difference too.

    • moderate July 26, 2013 at 4:36 am #

      You do not seem to understand that there are times where accusers fit in the circumstance that you say is not rape and still feel they were raped. Sometimes they are taken seriously. Sometimes they are not. And who are you to tell them that they were not raped?

  15. James December 27, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I party, I drink and take recreational drugs on a fairly regular basis, from time to time I either snog, or get into a sexual encounter whilst out partying, this has lead to some relationships, and also some embarrassment on both sides the next day, where we trade off apologies via text or call.

    I don’t feel the main issue here is of whether people should go out and get loaded, and then enter into a sexual relationship, but about coercion. The author of the GMP piece obviously has coercion in his party bag of tricks, and that makes him a rapist.

    When and where I party, if someone is being overbearing to someone drunk there is usually an intervention, and we try to look out for friends who are really drunk, particularly in an unfamiliar environment.

    • bellejarblog December 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

      Yeah, that’s fair. Like I said above, I’m not sure what the answer is. My husband and I started out as a drunken hookup, and that obviously turned out great, but that’s obviously not the case for everyone. I think you’re right on when you say that he obviously has coercion in his party bag of tricks, though. I also surmise that he has a substance abuse problem, which leads to him not seeing how fucked up his behaviour is.

  16. imasfreeasabird July 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Reblogged this on As Free as a Bird.

  17. aqilaqamar February 22, 2014 at 6:34 am #

    Reblogged this on Iconography ♠ Incomplete and commented:
    O_O —> my reaction after reading this review. How can someone blatantly admit they raped people and go around making a grand shit about it

  18. aqilaqamar February 22, 2014 at 7:17 am #

    I don’t think people understand that the reasons spoken here, even what Paul says, is ineffectual not because he is not giving rational statements but because Paul is rationalizing the grey area which is, this particular one, has maybe an effect but as the writer himself said had no real rationality due to being inebriated. The real reason he is being called a rapist is because his lack of repentance for his actions. Alright, maybe that girl raped him too. But she was made to feel she was in the wrong and so realized her actions — though she responded as a victim let’s say that the guy didn’t feel like a victim but she did so he could have asked her to explain the circumstances and all the nitty gritties too it but he didn’t because in his mind assuming that he was wronged or did wrong was not there. To him all of this was a good time and many marital spouses of either sex also rape and put up that judgment. Also, this writer has only talked about the incident, which is the main crux of his entire writing, in slight and given thumbs up to partying, to drunk sex and to the pros to popping pills and all that.

    Those sentiments do not sound like reflections but rather justifications of his behaviour; it is indirectly saying that his culture loves this and so he is active participant of the culture and won’t feel bad partaking in these. Yes she kissed him, men also kiss a lot of girls but don’t want to go to sex immediately and that is perfectly fine. What made the entire situation disgusting was that it was like a live tragedy with people cheering and all that; there is no mention to how the girl acted while all of this was going on. Was she screaming? Saying no? Was any other guy saying hey man just stop that’s going too far? The entire situation, whether for any girl or guy, is on the lines of rape. It feels like a horrible, messy situation and instead of understanding that this writer goes la la la around the event like an outsider and just gives anecdotes of people, especially women, inebriated and wanting sex. And how they are all over me mentality coming in. It is tasteless not only in writing but also viewpoint. If I did something wrong I should relay the facts and well show all sides as much as I can and take responsibility for what I did. I cannot lessen my actions by giving “evidences to the contrary” when there is really no contrary here. There may be grey areas but this situation didn’t look like a grey area at all. I cannot say someone wants me just ’cause they flirted a bit. Flirting is also a form of convenience used by all genders to lessen a stressful or awkward situation or even a nervous one. It is only at times a confession or an initiation and even then there must be a balance; a confession mostly leads to more flirting and talking not to sex immediate and an initiation to what is also something people take some time to understand. The situation was very horrible but he feels almost nonplussed and that is where the danger lies.

  19. None June 9, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting the content here! They’ve removed the article and tried to sweep rape culture under the rug…more dismissal and pretending they didn’t give a sympathetic platform to an admitted and aspiring rapist, allowed him to be associated with them, and explicitly endorsed and contributed to rape culture.

  20. treatwilliams June 23, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

    Hear hear Blackacre re: dodged double standard issue. Ignoring it in the original post really told a story.

  21. Sarah Enany September 2, 2016 at 9:41 am #

    I find dualityheart’s comment freaking terrifying. She starts out with saying we’d have to outlaw all recreational pursuits, segues into the acceptance that she’ll have to do the sexual bidding of any man she finds attractive with an insane Mob analogy, and then ends with this:

    “But the nicest thing about not perceiving this stuff as having been raped is that you don’t have to find a bunch of new friends every time it happens. You don’t have to cut out the 90% of people who cover for and protect various people who do this shit. You don’t have to imagine that everyone is a rapist who is Out To Get You. You don’t have to completely reorder your life and make everything about your rape 24/7. Once I understood that possible sexual violence against me is part of the cost of being a female person, it made it easier for me to deal with living in this society, rape culture and all.”

    If AW is the male product of rape culture, dualityheart’s comment is the textbook embodiment of the female one.


  1. No Means No — The Good Men Project - December 12, 2012

    […] it comes to rape, here are two posts that critiqued the way we have been talking about it. “Rape Culture and the Good Men Project” on The Belle Jar Blog and “Nice Guys, Rape, and Simplicity” on Quill to the […]

  2. I Am Not Ashamed To Be A Feminist | Life In Pint-Sized Form - December 19, 2012

    […] privilege to speak out without worry. We didn’t always have blogs in which to discuss things like rape culture and employment inequality in peace. We didn’t have the luxury of being able to protest, to shout […]

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  4. We Deserve The Same - August 24, 2013

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