Rape is really confusing. I mean, how do you know if you’re raping someone? If they’re unconscious and you decide to have sex with them, is that rape? It is? Well, you could have fooled me. It’s just weird, you know — who even knows if the word “no” means “no,” or if the person you’re raping — er, just having consensual sex with — is observing Opposite Day?
Thankfully, someone is looking out for the poor, misunderstood rapists of the world. The Good Men Project, which describes itself as “a community of 21st Century thought leaders around the issue of men’s roles in modern life,” has decided to take a close look at rape. What they’ve found will shock you, if you’re unfamiliar with the site’s general Men’s Rights Advocate Lite bent. Alas, even if you’re familiar with The Good Men Project, you’ll probably be shocked; the posts are generally shocking. Indeed, this is the point where I offer a trigger warning for rape apology, victim-blaming and general awfulness.
“Nice Guys” Rape People
Did you know that not all rapists are monsters with fangs and leathery wings and prehensile tails? Some rapists actually present themselves as friendly fellows, quick with a joke or a light of your smoke, always willing to help someone out in a jam, unless they’re raping someone.
If you’re familiar with the concept of date rape — rape committed by a person who was seemingly nice enough for a victim to be friendly with, right up until they committed felony sexual assault — this may not strike you as particularly surprising. Alyssa Royse, however, has been thunderstruck by this incredible epiphany. I mean, she was a feminist, and yet her friend turned out to be a rapist! But seriously, folks, he’s still a super-nice guy. He feels really bad about it!
My friend, for instance, was genuinely unsure, which was why he called me. At the time, I was fresh from giving a rousing talk at SlutWalk, in which I very clearly stated that the only person responsible for rape is the rapist. I said that no matter what a woman is wearing or doing, no one has the right to touch her without her explicit consent. It was a great talk.
But it cannot undo generations of training in which the goal of getting dressed and going out is to get the guy or get the girl and hook up or get lucky. In this training, we are taught that in order to get the guy, we have to look sexy and sometimes have sex. The training has also taught men that the reason we dress up and look sexy is to “catch him”¯. We even use those words, as if our bodies themselves are the lure, and our sexuality the hook.
In this particular case, I had watched the woman in question flirt aggressively with my friend for weeks. I had watched her sit on his lap, dance with him, twirl his hair in her fingers. I had seen her at parties discussing the various kinds of sex work she had done, and the pleasure with which she explored her own very fluid sexuality, all while looking my friend straight in the eye.
Only she knows what signals she intended to send out. But many of us can guess the signals he received.
Yes, that’s right. This slutty slut sent out signals. Sexual signals. Fluid sexual signals. From a former sex worker. Obviously, no man could possibly read those signals as anything other than a clear desire to be raped.
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