Quiz: How did Reddit’s atheist community respond to a woman’s account of rape?

Here’s a little one-question quiz to see how much you know about Reddit’s Atheism subreddit.

QUESTION ONE: A woman describes being raped by a “friend” while both were intoxicated (though she doesn’t call it rape). Do the r/atheism regulars:

a) Respond with sympathy and support

b) Attack her and furiously downvote her posts, with the assistance of one of the moderators of r/mensrights, then return to posting and upvoting rape jokes

BONUS QUESTION: True or False: Someone on r/menrights links to her comment as “an example of how and why many people believe that rape is everywhere… because their definition of rape includes every sexual misadventure.” The most heavily upvoted comment in the r/mensrights thread declares that the woman who was raped “sounds like a delusional sheltered teen.”

Yes, the correct answers here are the ones you assumed were correct.

Here’s the woman’s post describing what happened to her.

She gives more details on what happened in other, also-highly-downvoted comments.

One highly upvoted rape joke from elsewhere in the thread:


Amazingly, despite all the jokes and the victim blaming/attacking going on, the thread also contains some highly upvoted comments lamenting the tendency of people to blame the victim in rape cases. Apparently, when a rape victim is drunk, it’s not rape, even when she repeatedly says “no” and gives in because she’s scared, so it’s fine to attack away, and even to accuse the victim of being a rapist too.

This enables Reddit Atheists not only to blame the victim of rape without feeling guilty, or admitting that this is what they’re doing, while simultaneously feeling self-righteous in their condemnation of religious people doing the exact same thing.

And because their rape jokes are also couched as jokes about religious people’s views on rape, they can feel self-righteous while making them too.

Sometimes the actions of Reddit Atheists cause me to begin to doubt just a teensy weensey bit that “atheists are a community that’s pre-selected for clear thinking and empiricism,” as one commenter in r/mensrights put it not that long ago.

EDITED TO ADD: Thanks again to ShitRedditSays for highlighting this awful thread.

EDITED TO ADD 2: More SRS discussion, courtesy of Holly.

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon, Time.com, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on January 25, 2012, in douchebaggery, evil women, false accusations, men who should not ever be with women ever, misogyny, MRA, oppressed men, rape, rapey, reddit, that's not funny!. Bookmark the permalink. 266 Comments.

  1. @Anthony Zarat

    mostly non-culpable, completely non-culpable, or also a victim

    30 years might have been excessive, and there are several problems with the prison system that need to be addressed, but you don’t just give someone that RAPES A CHILD a slap on the wrist, fuck.

  2. makomk: I am unaware of statistics on the matter, but I understand that it is unlikely to be used in favor of male rape survivors, and that’s a BAD THING.

    And, um, perhaps I am being a stupid straightedge person, but if two people were passing in and out of consciousness, I’m pretty sure they’re not going to have sex, so the whole “who’s raping whom” thing is moot.

  3. @ Anthony Zarat

    How are you today? Why don’t you tell everyone about the brave blow you struck for the MRM, you know, when you reacted suddenly and hysterically to a young woman in a chemist commenting on your child?

    You said you frightened her, didn’t you Anthony?

    It was a lie, though, wasn’t it Anthony? It didn’t happen. You claimed it so that you could appear to be an MRA solider fighting a gender war, didn’t you Anthony?

    The truth is, you’re unmarried, you don’t have kids and you’re so very frightened of women. They make you nervous. The story you told was a fantasy that you had.

    You’re a fraud, Anthony. A fraud. And the more you write on these threads, the stupider you appear.

  4. I’m just a tiny little bit horrified that your idea of a fair sentence for raping a 13 year old is 1 year in prison for good behaviour…

    I mean jesusfuck AntZ, I’d like to think I’m not in favour of draconian prison sentences but that’s just worrying.

  5. Wow Zarat, you really don’t give a fuck about men or boys at all do you? You just called a 30-year-old who raped a 13-year-old a “victim”. How you do sleep at night?

    And dude, seriously? “We’re not gonna acknowledge rape culture until you admit rapists are victims!” What the fuck? Do you think is a game?

  6. I always love the “but if they’re both drunk did they rape each other?” Crap. I think people get hung up on the drunk part, because apparently consent and getting it is so hard.

    Seriously, do women here really need to consider using Rape X to make lack of consent clear like radfems say? Its extreme and I doubt many women would use it because few women or men are prepared to maim or kill even if that’s what’s required to survive. This is a solution that may spare women, anyone got ideas on how to prevent male rape? Oh yeah! Teach people respect and to have empathy enough to get consent!

    The sad thing about the consent strategy is that it only works for your average, compassion having human. I don’t believe that consent or the law would slow the sociopathic tendencies of rapists….

    Can someone post some kitty pics? My last thought was truly depressing….

  7. Oh Anthony… still with the lies based on willful blindness. Look at this very case we are talking about, it gives the lie to your entire premise. This was a “sexual adventure with some level of non-consent,” but there is no prison sentence. There is no registering of the offender. There is, in fact, nothing happening to him.

    Show me where “feminists” don’t recognise the, “shades of gray in punishment,” since many of them are opposed to the ways in which registries of convicted offenders are made public, of the ways in which communities use them to make it impossible for offenders to live normal lives, and of the ways in which trivial crimes are equated to habitual predation.

    What you are opposed to; and what your rhetorical distortions of the facts are meant to disguise, is that feminists want to change the tolerance of non-stranger rape.

    That’s what really chaps your hide, that rapes society is willing to ignore, feminists seem to be convincing people are really rape. If that happens then the “shades of gray in punishment” will be a lot easier. Because your way, where only the stranger leaping out of the dark alley and brutally attacking someone is the modal form of “rape” means the way in which society sees someone convicted of rape mandates treating every rapist as the most violent and vicious of psychopaths.

    Not all rape is like that, and not all rapists are like that; but sweeping the rest of the rapes under the rug is a sure way to see to it that all the rapists who get convicted are tainted with that sort of characterization (or it would, if people like you didn’t go around saying women who get raped by anyone who isn’t leaping out of the darkness wasn’t really raped and was actually a willing participant).

  8. makomk captainbathrobe: the problem here is that if you’re male and too drunk to say no, then it’s still rape of her so long as she’s drunk too even if she comes on to you and you say no

    Umn… no. If she is the initiator, and she is the one who is refusing to take no for an answer, she is the rapist. That people fail to treat rape as rape is the problem; and it’s not limited to the issue of females raping males. That’s a symptom of the larger problem this post is highlighting… that society doesn’t really think rape is rape.

  9. “So hi AZ, what would be a fair sentence for making a false rape accusation? Show your work. Remember to define “fair”.”

    Same thing. Shades of gray. Many “falsely” accused are actually “wrongly” accused. The accuser does not have the intent to fabricate. In some cases, the accuser is a genuine victim — sometimes a victim of the police. Examine this case:


    * Man is a victim of the false accusation (millions wrongly think of him as a perpetrator)
    * Woman is a victim of the false accusation (millions wrongly think of her as a false accuser)
    * The actual wrongful accusation was made by a third party
    * The third party who made the wrongful accusation did not have the intent to falsify

    Two victims, one wrongful accusation, no perpetrators. No punishment for false accusation. The male victim of the wrongful accusation has been threatened, assaulted, and his property has been vandalized. The female victim faces fewer physical threats, but she is so universally reviled and loathed she cannot show her face in public.

  10. Here’s a kitty pic

  11. NWO slave said:

    “Anyhoo, I figure since this thread is about alcohol and sex we can let science guide us to a brave new world of equality. Anytime sex occurs and alcohol is involved, the person with the highest alcohol content is the “vicitm.” Since the entire reasoning behind the whole rape aspect is loss of ones faculties. The person with the lowest blood alcohol content would be the responsible party.

    Sounds like a pretty equitable solution to me. Somehow I doubt da crew will see it that way. Particularly if women are sent to prison for 10 of 15 years for having sex with an intoxicated man. Unless of course they get to go to a California spa prison. Might be a win-win scenario after all.”

    That may have been the first reasonable thought you ever posted. I actually agree with you but then you go on to spoil it with that stupid comment about “spa prisons”. Personally, I have no problem at all with a woman going to prison for 10 to 15 years if she rapes or “envelops” an intoxicated man and a man should get the same sentence if he does it to a woman.

  12. AntZ said:

    “I forgot to mention that the adult woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison and life on registry for raping the 13 year old boy. I think a fair punisment would be 3 year sentence, 1 year served with good time, 2 years probation, and 5 years on the registry.”

    You have to be kidding! Especially after your previous post where you quoted the the trauma that having been raped as a thirteen year old had on the male victim. You really think that woman only deserved a maximum sentence of three years? After doing that much damage you think she should get away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist?

    You have kangaroos loose in your upper paddock!

  13. @ Everyone responding to Anthony Zarat

    You’ll have already realised that he can’t be taken seriously by his words, but he’s a fraud on so many levels.

    Ask him about the pharmacy, about the young woman who complimented his imaginary child. Ask him how he felt getting praise from his MRA (online) friend about frightening her. Ask him to tell you the truth about this encounter.

  14. “You have to be kidding! Especially after your previous post where you quoted the the trauma that having been raped as a thirteen year old had on the male victim. ”

    That was a description of what happened to me, not to the other boy. We were both 13 years old at the time of our respective assaults. The age coincidence is probably why you were confused. I am sorry for not being more clear.

    In the Reddit case, the boy’s mother submitted a victim impact statement, but I do not know what it contains.

  15. Happy: I know I’m not talking to Anthony. I’m talking about thinks he says. He’s a lost cause. He admits to lying, thinks his wife needs to be replaced with a computer program; advocates dividing the world into two halves, the male half, and the female half (and thinks the Mississippi river is the middle of the world, and a convenient dividing line), that teaching children not to abuse people is the most horrific of civil rights violations and that rape is no big deal; even when it’s painfully traumatic.

    That, or he lies about his experiences.

    But someone else might read his shit, and see only the, far too deserved, mockery, and think it we couldn’t respond to the actual nonsense he says.

  16. “Oh Anthony… still with the lies based on willful blindness. Look at this very case we are talking about, it gives the lie to your entire premise. This was a “sexual adventure with some level of non-consent,” but there is no prison sentence. There is no registering of the offender. There is, in fact, nothing happening to him.”

    The man who assaulted AppleGods is less culpable than the offender in the Reddit case. He mistook assent for consent, and the victim was not a minor.

    His punishment, if any, should be light.

  17. So Antz argument is basically, “People who rape should get light sentences! I was raped, and it still bothers me decades later! But people should still get light sentences for rape!”

    Geez, and he keeps telling us that *feminists* hate male rape victims…

  18. @Antz,

    His punishment, if any, should be light.

    Well, considering that rapes of this sort are rarely prosecuted, I’m fairly sure that you got your precious fucking wish.

  19. AntZ, apparently your idea of a ‘heavy’ sentence is 3 fucking years (but out in 1 for good behaviour). So your ‘light’ sentence would in effect allow many rapists to get off almost completely.

    You know when people say you don’t give a shit about rape victims, they’re telling the truth.

  20. Maybe we should tell Antz to get therapy like we did with MRAL? Horrific nightmares at 41 are no way to live.

  21. This whole thing…


    The “they were both drunk” thing becomes entirely irrelevant, because this is a case where if she’d been sober it would have also been rape. She said no.

    Sometimes I hate the Internet so much.

    (I also hate the ridiculous MRA idea–are they being this stupid on purpose–that drunkenness defines rape, so if two people are drunk then either they’re raping each other or no one is. No, initiating sex with a drunk person is rape. Having a drunk person initiate sex with you is not. It’s really not that goddamn complicated.)

  22. Antz: There are two different crimes: rape of a minor, and rape of an adult.

    I am confused though about what you mean by light. You think someone who rapes a child ought to get 1 year in custody, and 2 years of parole.

    So what is light, in the context of someone who, contra your claim, was given a red-light: I refuse to accept the facile “mistook assent for consent”, when the victim says, “I said no.” You are further (I believe intentionally) confusing the matter by implying acquiescence = assent. Since assent is permission, you are, linguistically, erasing the rape.

    If raping a child = 1/2, what is the, “lighter” sentence one should get for raping an adult? Why, since we are on the subject, should the inability of a child to consent be substantively different from the inability of anyone else to assent. If someone is incapable of consent, they are incapable of consent right?

    You’ve been prattling about how the MRA is all about treating things which are the same as if they were the same; so why is it different when the victim can’t consent by reason of situational incapacity?

    Oh, that’s right… she’s a woman, and you don’t give a shit; because you think (as you’ve often said) women are evil and men should get rid of them.

  23. ozymandias42: as I understand it – never drunk that much myself thankfully – someone can be drunk enough to lose chunks of events or even not actually remember anything without being drunk enough to actually lose consciousness or incapacitated enough not to be sexually active, even aggressive. If one or both parties can’t remember events clearly, guess what gets assumed.

    Pecunium: now calculate the odds that anyone would believe she was the initiator, even if she remembered and admitted to actions that constituted initiating sex or even forcible rape, let alone care.

    pillowinhell: yes, consent and getting it does appear to be that hard. The funny thing is that women – including feminist women – actually seem to be really awful at dealing with consent and respecting their partner’s no too. It’s one of those things that’s attracted a certain amount of discomfort and hand-wringing in the feminist blogosphere every time it becomes obvious, but no-one’s actually tried to solve.

  24. Makomk – SHE SAID NO.


    Unless you think she’s just straight-up lying (in which case why quibble on details? maybe she never met the guy. maybe she’s a typing horse), this is not a maybe-maybe case. She said she did not want sex. That means that having sex with her anyway IS RAPE.

  25. Being drunk is not considered an excuse for any other crime, so why should it be for rape? It’s not like drunk people are just falling by accident into other people’s vaginas or onto their penises. Having sex with a drunk person who either can’t consent or can’t resist requires a degree of intentionality and volition, just like driving a car, starting a fight, or pulling a trigger. Being a victim of rape, on the other hand, requires neither intentionality nor volition.

    In the cases we’ve seen here, the victim refused consent, yet the perpetrator pressed on regardless. If that’s not rape, I don’t know what is–and I don’t care how drunk the perp was when zie did it.

  26. Holly Pervocracy: yes that does mean she was raped, and the fact that she was drunk should’ve been just another minor detail, perhaps even a red herring. Now read her downvoted comment again – it’s the other way around. She talks about the fact that she was drunk first and foremost as the reason why it wasn’t consensual, then uses her experience of being raped in which she explicitly said no as a justification for why being drunk should automatically classify women as unable to consent, no matter how enthusiastic their “yes”.

  27. It’s one of those things that’s attracted a certain amount of discomfort and hand-wringing in the feminist blogosphere every time it becomes obvious, but no-one’s actually tried to solve.

    How much time have you actually spent reading the feminist blogosphere? Because the concept of Enthusiastic Consent gets discussed fairly regularly, and the consensus among feminists is that this should be the gold standard for all sexual encounters. No hand wringing going on that I can tell, except from the occassional MRA troll or hanger-on complaining that Enthusiastic Consent would mean that most men would never get laid.

  28. Makomk – Being drunk should automatically classify people as being unable to consent.

    It’s not a complicated concept here–initiating sex with a drunk person is rape. (Having someone else initiate sex with you when you’re not drunk is not rape, and I have trouble believing anyone actually thinks that and isn’t just using it to bolster their stupid victim-blaming arguments.)

    How drunk is drunk? Yeah, at some point that’s a judgement call–I actually don’t think one sip of wine makes someone unable to give meaningful consent–but let’s say way less drunk than blackout drunk would be a good starting point.

  29. Er, that should be “having someone else initiate sex with you when you’re drunk is not rape.”

    An extra “not” snuck in there.

    Oh well, it’s true either way.

  30. Could someone paste the article

    “Selling the MRM” from AVfM?

    I can’t access the site right now, for some reason. Anyone else having trouble?

  31. As someone who has had lots and lots of drunken sex; It is really not hard to have drunken consensual sex. Not the least because when one or both parties (or more) are too drunk to consent, they’re usually also not thinking/feeling very sexy, or the penis is not working, ect.

    I’ve never been so drunk that I couldn’t tell the difference between engaged and happy and upset and disengaged/trying to get away.

  32. maybe she’s a typing horse

    I would love to see the keyboard for the typing horse.

  33. Kendra, the bionic mommy

    I feel so sorry for what AppleGods went through at Reddit. I’m glad she found ShitRedditSays where she could find some decent, compassionate people to talk to.

    It’s also sad that we live in a world where rape is described as a “misadventure”.

  34. @Happy: I keep trying to paste the link for you but neither of my posts are showing.

  35. From the selling the MRM article:

    “The comments here often prove to have as much or more substance and relevance than the feature articles.”

    I don’t know why he’s insulting his own commenters like that. That’s our job.

  36. makmonk: Pecunium: now calculate the odds that anyone would believe she was the initiator, even if she remembered and admitted to actions that constituted initiating sex or even forcible rape, let alone care.

    Explain how that’s a problem with defining rape to overtly protect men too? Because your argument is the one that makes it less likely for men to be able to get any protection.

    That’s not a problem with reasonable people’s definition of rape. That’s the result of social ideas that 1: If he’s erect, he’s willing, and 2: Only violence counts as rape.

    It’s got fuck-all to do with the actual crime, and everything to do with the rhetoric.

    pillowinhell: yes, consent and getting it does appear to be that hard. The funny thing is that women – including feminist women – actually seem to be really awful at dealing with consent and respecting their partner’s no too. It’s one of those things that’s attracted a certain amount of discomfort and hand-wringing in the feminist blogosphere every time it becomes obvious, but no-one’s actually tried to solve.

    Citation sorely fucking needed. I spend lots of time in feminist spaces, spaces where sex is being talked about; some in which sex is being had. Consent is a solved issue*.

    I’ve been to workshops about consent (google, “cuddle parties”), some just as plain workshops, some as prepratory events to sex-parties (and that means a week or two in advance of the party). Every such event I’ve been to, consent was part of the ground rules.

    All the women I know (now, when consent is much more readily talked about issue) are just fine with the idea. It’s not a thing which has never been talked about. Google, “The Open Boob Project” and see a long (and heated, and widespread) discussion of what consent is all about, and how to get it, and what (most importantly) it isn’t.

    That was all about the difference between opt-in/opt-out consent; with a huge amount of how to avoid social pressures which encourage grudging/unwilling “opting-in”.

    This is far from something people aren’t trying to solve.

    *where solved equals lots of perfectly good ways of making sure one has it exist, and are known; that lots of (mostly men) don’t like those solutions because they get in the way of, “fuzzy” rape is a different issue. That’s the one we are working on solving by raising the awareness of what rape is, and making the gray areas, where consent is hard to be certain of (see “enthusiastic”) things people refrain from doing.

  37. This bit from that article made me laugh

    Elam: “AVfM is now very, very close to becoming one of the top 100,000 websites on the world wide web.”

    Soon, we will have almost as much traffic as catgifspage.com and Etsy! The world will be ours!

  38. I’m fairly sick of this argument. If someone gets drunk, smashes in a shop front, sets fire to a dog and pisses on a policeman, they should be let completely off the hook cos they were drunk. Please!

  39. And half of those hits Elam’s so proud of are probably from me going to find what crazy shit Elam just said and then laughing at it back on Manboobz.

  40. makomk: Pecunium: now calculate the odds that anyone would believe she was the initiator, even if she remembered and admitted to actions that constituted initiating sex or even forcible rape, let alone care.

    Now, lets look at the flip side. How many cases where a woman says she was raped have ended up being reported (and believed; by the cops, the jury, the public at large) as cases where she was the initiator; even when she says she was raped?

    “I thought she wanted it”, or, “She went up to his room, what did she think was going to happen?”, or, “She’s just ashamed of who she slept with.”, or, “She was drunk, and she doesn’t remember saying yes.”

    I could go on.

  41. Pecunium: that’s a problem with defining rape to overtly protect men too in this way because not only does it not actually protect men, it actually puts up another obstacle to male victims by allowing a definition of rape that in practice excludes and harms them to masquerade as a happy, gender-neutral, feminist-friendly one. (I actually had a really frustrating conversation with a feminist blogger over at the Daily Kos the other day who completely and utterly conflated initiation with penetration in a widely-read piece. Wasn’t fun. It looks like she’s since quietly made it disappear without a correction, but amongst other things it recategorized men who’d been violently raped by women into men coerced into raping said women and argued based on this that women never raped men. Not a nice piece, and she claimed to use a similar gender-neutral male-friendly definition of rape.)

  42. An example of how being drunk can lead to someone being raped:

    My first “boyfriend”, when I was 13 was 17. He took me to a party, I had never drank alcohol before. What I can remember is feeling dizzy and asking if I could go lay down, I remember falling asleep. In the morning he was beside me and apparently we’d had sex. Before this as far as we had gotten was necking in the teen long term relationship of a month or so.

    This was over 30 years ago. I don’t suffer trauma from it and at the time there was not a thought that it was rape. Really the only way I’ve remembered it was it was a shitty way to lose my virginity. But in hindsight the guy fucked a passed out person. He did rape me.

    I can’t for the life of me understand how this couldn’t be considered to be rape. I remember falling asleep, that’s it.

    As an adult when someone drinks too much around me thats the time to take care of them not take advantage of them. It’s pretty easy to tell when someone has drank too much, and a pretty easy concept to understand we need to be kind to others instead of pumping away on their passed out bodies.

  43. So you’re problem is… that the social understanding of rape isn’t fair to men (I agree), and your solution is…

    That’s the part I don’t get. The “feminist” solution is to make rape (as defined in a gender neutral way) socially unacceptable. You don’t like that. Then you mention a piece no one can look at, and imply that the problem is the definition (gender-neutral), not the person (whom you said, “it recategorized men who’d been violently raped by women into men coerced into raping said women and argued based on this that women never raped men.

    If anyone argue women never rape men they are wrong.

    Did you expect me to say anything different?

  44. From what I’ve seen, the feminist solution doesn’t though. It defines rape in an ostensibly gender-neutral way, true, but then goes on and tries to make certain kinds of rape socially unacceptable – for example, by sex education that teaches young boys not to rape and young girls to know what rape is, but not the other way around – on the assumption that this is enough to wipe out rape in a gender-neutral fashion. This assumption seems to be sadly uncontroversial. (There was some controversy over one variant of this and whether it could turn boys into rapists and trigger female victims, but none over the gender-based assumption and none over the fact that it was triggering boys who’d been sexually abused and who unlike the girls didn’t get to opt out.) Basically, as I’ve said the definitions are neutral but the assumptions used when applying them are fundamentally gender-based.

  45. makomk: You aren’t answering really answering the question, and you are conflating things.

    There are some other flaws in your analysis.

    1: You are alleging that SexEd curricula are written by feminists. That’s so not true it’s almost a lie. It further presupposes the people teaching the classes are feminists, and therefore the pedogogic choices are reflective of feminist ideas.

    2: You assume teens are stupid, and that the definition (no consent = rape) is dependent on the teaching done about it.

    3: Again, you are repeating the idea that the usage is fundamental to feminism (see my comments above about the woman you discussed on DailyKos).

    Moreover, you keep making unsubstantiated claims of controversies where “feminists” have done these things which make the gender-neutral definition really a sham, and a way to somehow attack men. That’s the riff I’m getting from you. The idea that “feminists” don’t really believe what they say about rape being a lack of consent, but really it’s that rape = lack of female consent, and if it’s a male who didn’t want sex, who cares, it’s just a man; Screw him.

    So, unless you are going to back up these allegations about women are out there saying that men being raped is no big deal, it’s just that, you telling us what “feminism is all about”.

    The same way you are unsupported claims about the lack of attempts to address consent, or the “unkind assumptions” male feminists have about men.

  46. As to, “the feminist solution doesn’t do that,”, what do you propose. Instead of a gender neutral definition of rape (and advocacy for it being interpreted as written), what do you propose?

  47. r/Atheism is cesspool. There is some good stuff there but mostly it’s just a dudebro subreddit for atheists. As an atheist woman, I refuse to go there.

    A couple of years ago there was an Youtube clusterfuck in the atheist community over the issue of rape. Some atheist guy made a video talking about a female friend who got drunk and was raped. He basically said she asked for it because she allowed herself to become intoxicated in a place where there were men so what did she expect.


    The ensuing whirlwind split the Youtube atheist community down the middle. On one side were the people who made videos about how no one “asks for it” and how rape is never okay and pointed out the victim blaming that was going on.

    The other side was overwhelmingly male. They went from 0 to Evo-Psych in 6 seconds. I swear, I have never heard such slimy rape apologetics until that point. I mean we heard all about how rape is an evolutionary reproductive strategy and how men are just hardwired to rape or at the very least, to be sexually aggressive and we wimmenz had just better get used to it because it’s just nature n’ science n’ stuff. How dare women expect men to refrain from raping them when, don’t you see, they can’t help it!

    It was at this point when a little bit more of my faith in humanity died. Here I thought atheists and the so-called freethinkers and skeptics were supposed to be better (as a whole) than the religious people who use god as a justification for their bullshit and whacked out beliefs.

    Nope. There is no group or subculture that is completely free of it. And that truly sucks.

  48. Makomk

    illowinhell: yes, consent and getting it does appear to be that hard. The funny thing is that women – including feminist women – actually seem to be really awful at dealing with consent and respecting their partner’s no too. It’s one of those things that’s attracted a certain amount of discomfort and hand-wringing in the feminist blogosphere every time it becomes obvious, but no-one’s actually tried to solve.

    Consent is not a difficult concept to understand. Once you realize that what your comfortable with doing is also what the other person is comfortable doing, and that the pacing of the sexual activity will be the same for both parties IS AN ASSUMPTION!, you see the need for checking to make sure the other person agrees and how much they want to participate in that activity.

    Consent is easily understood once you realize that sex IS NOT ONE MONOLITHIC LUMP OF ACTIVITY. Sex can be broken down into a variety of activities ( for example kissing, stroking various body parts, oral which can be broken down to which body parts do you feel comfortable with my mouth being on, ect)

    Consent is easily understood when people realize that talking about sex isn’t dirty. That talking about what activities you’ll do together doesn’t necessarily involve a prewritten checklist ( although very advisable for certain activities). That it can be very sexy. So, I might say to a potential partner “you know, I’d really love to know how moonlight through my window would look on your skin… Is it okay for me to remove your shirt/ would you like to go to my place and explore that? And I give him my trademark mona lisa smile but make sure I gave him enough space to not be intimidated while making that decision.

    Consent isn’t difficult to grasp when you understand that along every point of the way you want to hear Yes! Or I’d enjoy that! Or I’ve been longing to… And their face shows genuine pleasure, their body is relaxed and they maintain closeness or move closer.

    Consent isn’t difficult to grasp when you realize that every part of the sexual interaction is pleasurable, so if your partner is only comfortable going so far or would prefer another activity that’s great! Because you’re still having fun.

    Consent isn’t difficult to grasp when you realize that getting turned down flat isn’t the end of the world and isn’t a reflection on you. It isn’t hard to grasp when you realize that trying to obtain consent under certain situations isn’t wise, because the situation may be influencing how safe that person feels to say STOP in any form, or there’s a power imbalance or the person has been drinking or under the influence of drugs etc and may be prone to deciding to do something now that they may regret tomorrow. So either wait until the person is sober to try again, be patient enough for them to relax and come to the conclusion that they’ll enjoy what you’re offering on their own, or move on to someone else who will enjoy your attentions and does desire you. I recommend staying away from serious power imbalances.

    Consent isn’t difficult to grasp when you realize that any person of any gender or sexuality has every right to say no at any point for any reason. And they don’t have to explain why to you.

    You know where consent is difficult? Its the part where you realize that you may have to try obtaining it from many different potential partners in order to find someone who wants the same sex acts at the same time as you do. It can be frustrating, it can disappoint and hurt to keep being turned down.

    Its the hurt feelings, the fear of judgement, the fear of making ourselves vulnerable in any way and our societies’ contradictory and screwed up opinions about sex that makes so many people run to say that consent is hard. its what glues our mouths shut when we resort to non verbal communication, and why it takes courage to be open with our partners.

    I sometimes struggle with the talking about what I want, because I fear sounding like a dork saying it. But if I’m not willing to talk with my partner about my desires, if I’m not willing to extend a little bit of trust, then maybe I shouldn’t be having sex with that person? And if my partner isn’t comfortable enough to say yes! and especially if they don’t feel comfortable saying slow down or stop! Then that’s not a person I want to have sex with.

    There are several feminist blogs, including this one that believes and supports a mans right to consent or not is every bit as important as a womans.

    Um yeah…I think I’ll post this one on my blog *sheepish look* sorry about the undue length.

  49. Nothing undue about it.

  50. Pecunium: I propose actually following through on that supposed gender-neutral definition. Don’t just say “oh, I have this neat definition of rape, aren’t I great and non-sexist”, actually apply it to things. Act according to the definition, think about the world from its perspective and what needs to change, look at things like sex education and rape prevention strategies based on what helps to spread that gender neutral understanding rather than using gender-based assumptions. (An example of the problem: where would you consider each of these most likely to cause controversy: (a) a woman being arrested for having sexual intercourse with a man too drunk to consent, (b) a man being arrested because a woman too drunk to consent forced him to have sexual intercourse with him? (Notice that I don’t mention force in option (a); assume that it’s there but trivialized or not publicized in the press.) Now which is more objectionable according to the feminist definition of rape?)

    One decent, though fairly small, first step was this Feministe post from a while ago.

    Also, re-read my post. The issue isn’t just the sex ed curricula, it’s how the feminist community reacts to them – what they see as worthwhile or in need of fixing – and the huge difference between the way people treat rape when judging solutions to it and the definition of rape they claim to use.

    pillowinhell: the problem is people – including an awful lot of heterosexual women – who don’t want to let go of their assumptions. They don’t want to let go of the assumptions that their boyfriend is always up for sex, or that his sex drive will always be much bigger than their own, or that if he turns down sex it must be because he’s not attracted to them and not because he’s not interested, or that they don’t have to worry about him saying “yes” when he really means “no” for fear she’ll think he’s not actually attracted to her anymore.

  51. Here is why we society must temper firmness with compassion when dealing with this issue:

    Table 2.1: 12 month prevalence of sexual violence – NISVS 2010

    Completed forced penetration 0.5% (620,000)
    Attempted forced penetration 0.4% (519,000)
    Completed alcohol/drug facilitated penetration 0.7 (781,000)
    Tota;: 1,270,000

    Made to penetrate: 1.1% (1,267,000)

    If the penalty for simple non-consent with no further violence or harm is 20 years in prison, we will have [ (1.267 + 1.270) X 20 ] = 50.74 million additional American men and women in prison in the year 2031, when the first offenders are released from their 20 year sentences. At a cost of $121,000 per year, this means that we will spend $6.139 trillion per year on incarceration costs, which is 39% of the $15.495 trillion annual US GDP.

    Simple lack of consent with no further violence or harm is not the exception — it is the norm. You can’t punish the norm with 20 years in prison.

    How many of you want 1.267 million young women thrown into prison for 20 years during 2012, because they “did” a drunk or sleeping man?

    In the cases where a perpetrator does not know that he/she did anything wrong, the punishment must be exceptionally lenient, maybe two weeks in jail, community service, a fine, and getting scared out of your skin by a judge.

    If you do not agree with me, then how do you propose we treat the 1.27 million men and 1.267 million women who in 2012 will be perpetrators of simple non-consent with no further violence or harm?

  52. Gray area? You know, if you aren’t certain what you are about it to is rape or not, may I suggest not fucking doing it?

    Also, on the “drunken rapist problem”, I don’t see an actual problem here. It’s not as if a drunken person rapes a sober victim we say “oops, perp was drunk, time to let them go scott free, put the victim in chains”. This isn’t an attempt to discuss whether people who have been drinking can or cannot adequately consent, this is an attempt to distract from the issue by victim blaming victims who have been drinking.

  53. Did Antz just make a post without using the word bigot? Great, now his only identifying factor is his misrepresentation of statistics. Our trolls are slipping as of late.

  54. Makomk

    If sex ed was written the way feminists and the LGBT community wished, and taught the way it was written, you would be astounded and shocked. In Canada, McGuinty tried to make those changes to our sex ed classes. The entire damn thing was scrapped, because it was such a dramatic departure from what little is currently taught now. And the Catholics united to have it quashed.

  55. Pillowinhell: Fantastic beautiful post! More, please!

    M. Troll: the problem is people – including an awful lot of heterosexual women – who don’t want to let go of their assumptions.

    There are problems with people not letting go of assumptions–the problem is your assumption that “people” = “feminists” or even “hetersosexual women”=feminist.

    I call troll on your rape apologist and attacks on “feminists” that you claim are doing X without any fucking citation.

    Plus, rape is not limited to interactions between men and women–it can happen in same-sex couples as well.

    I don’t want to play with you, and your posts are boring. Pls to either be more entertaining and wacky, or go away.

  56. AntZ: The vast majority (~90%) of rapes are committed by repeat rapists (about four percent of the male population*); only about six percent of the male population has committed rape. And yes I do want women who have sex with a sleeping or too-drunk partner to go to prison.

    As long as I’m in charge of the justice system, I propose (a) strong anti-rape education that reduces the likelihood of rape and (b) freeing up space in prison for all the rapists by ending the drug war.

    Makomk: Why don’t you look at the sex ed that exists when feminists get to run it? Scarleteen, for instance.

    *Unfortunately I am unaware of the percentage of rapists in the female population.

  57. Antz

    Please tell me you’re not that stupid.

    “Simple non consent” is nothing like simple assault. If someone slaps me in the face, then really other than anger at being treated that way all I have to deal with is a bruise until it heals. Rape is something a person deals with their ENTIRE LIFETIME. Rape is a LIFE altering experience. Ask anyone who was raped how their life was changed.

    You do realize that you are essentially giving pedophiles a free pass? That most men were raped as boys and that in many cases it required no beatings to do? That men have been raped as adults, with roofies and or alcohol and although no bruising occured they are suffering horribly? You realize that regardless of gender, those experiences leads to suicide, substance abuse and criminal behaviours as the survivors of rape try to cope?

    Given the research about men and how they try to cope with rape (and how women try to cope with rape), dealing with rapists by locking them up to prevent further harm and teaching the rest of society about consent and positive sex practices is the best way to deal with lowering the prison populations. Along with ensuring the wrongfully convicted are set free and tweaking the judicial system/police policy so that no one is wrongfully accused. It means recognizing that boys and men can be victims. It means recognizing that women can be perpetrators. It means recognizing that victims deserve to be heard, that they deserve justice and that perpetrators should be dealt with and punished regardless of gender.

  58. Ozy

    I’ve read that rapists occur in the general population in roughly the same numbers. I believe it was stated that 3 to 4 percent of the general population are rapists, there is gender parity in this crime (ugh!). Sorry I can’t give you the citation, read it before I started collecting info for my blog.

  59. @Anthony Zarat

    Simple lack of consent with no further violence or harm is not the exception — it is the norm. You can’t punish the norm with 20 years in prison.

    a) the average length of a prison sentence for rape is not 20 years. I don’t know where you’re getting that number. According to a study made by the Department of Defense the sentence is closer to 10 years, but the time actually served is around 5 years.
    Source: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/PSATSFV.PDF

    b) even if lack of consent is the norm, as you say, that is not an excuse. Measures must be taken to make it STOP being the norm, not excusing the people who do it.

  60. …there is gender parity in this crime (ugh!). Sorry I can’t give you the citation,…

    In other words, you pulled that out of your ass.

  61. ithiliana

    Thanks! And you ninja’d me on the response to assumptions…

    Nothing burns my bra faster than people who refuse to understand consent and use their refusal to justify rape or mitigate the consequences away!


    That is a very cute kitty! Thanks!

  62. @Lady Zombie: Yeah, I remember that Youtube debacle. Thankfully, TheraminTrees was on the side of right, but otherwise the whole thing was…ugh. So disgusting.

  63. pillowinhell: Best comment ever.

    Lady Zombie: What really gets me about the evopsych-bullshit “men are genetically programmed to rape women” crowd is that it’s so obviously untrue, based on the number of men I see/talk to/walk past every day who do not rape me. If men were “genetically programmed” to rape women, I shouldn’t be able to leave my apartment, right? Yet I can be within visual/hearing range of literally hundreds of men in a single day without a single one even trying to rape me or any other woman.

    …And they say it’s feminists like me who hate men. I’m not the one assuming they’re all incapable of rational thought and self-control. 😛

  64. Darksidecat

    Sorry if you think I’m just pulling numbers out of my ass. I know how much people love their citations and how necessary they are for informed discussions. I’m not trying to assert that the figures are the Truth, I’m just saying its what I read somewhere. I’ll take a look and see if I can locate it.

    Was it just the lack of proper reference that bothers you?

  65. Is it just me, or is this thread less coherent than usual?

    mistaking assent for consent

    What’s to mistake? They mean the same thing. They are synonyms. If someone is assenting to have sex with you, they are consenting to have sex with you. The problem here, Mr. Zarat, is that (as usual) you don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word(s) you’re using.

  66. Happy, a couple of your comments about AZ were over the line. Stick to arguing with what he says, stay away from those sorts of personal attacks.

  67. AntZ:

    Sorry, I misunderstood you. My mind, however is still boggling at how you could possibly consider that your rapist deserves only 3 years gaol and much less with good behaviour. You say that the rape was still affecting you decades later and frankly the penalties you propose are little more than a slap on the wrist. In twelve months she could have been out and victimizing other children.

  68. Toysoldier has written about the discussion here, in his typically dishonest way. He thinks our criticisms of AZ for calling for light sentences for rape is … somehow comparable to what happened on Reddit.

    Here’s the link:


    Here’s the response I tried to post there (it’s in moderation):

    Really, Toysoldier?

    In the Reddit case, a woman described how a man had had sex with her after she clearly told him no. Those who responded to her said that this experience wasn’t rape; several people, including a mod at r/mensrights, actually suggested that she had raped him.

    On Man Boobz, the main point of contention was that AZ thought that rapists, including the woman who raped him, deserved only light sentences. The commenters thought that she (and all rapists) deserved much LONGER sentences, and that his advocacy of shorter sentences wasn’t doing male rape victims any favors.

    If some people were a little blunt with him, that’s because we’ve had numerous discussions with him before; he’s been equally blunt with us. The fact that someone is an abuse victim — and many of the commenters on Man Boobz are also abuse victims — does not mean that no one may challenge them about anything.

    Also, I explicitly warned Happy to lay off the personal attacks on AZ.

  69. For such a one-note movement, the manosphere always blindsides me with their complaints.

    Fugly guys should be mad when you talk about how hot celebrities are, right? Wrong! They get mad when you DON’T talk about celebrities being hot!

    Men’s rights activists should be happy when women get jailed for rape, right? Wrong! Rape sentences are too long!

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