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The False Rape Society: Fighting “false accusations” with rape jokes and misinformation

Question for Pierce Harlan, the guy behind the False Rape Society blog: Do you really think this is the best way to fight false rape allegations?

The real problem here isn’t that he’s recycled an old rape joke; it’s that he’s pretending that rapists are somehow a species apart from ordinary men. His big complaint is that the PSA in question “passes off a criminal deviant as a typical guy.”

Pierce, what do you think rapists look like? They’re not villains out of some silent-movie  melodrama, twirling their whiskers and cackling with glee. They don’t have giant R’s tattooed on their foreheads. No, they look like “ordinary” guys. Exactly like them. Rape prevention  — and crime prevention in general  — would be a lot more effective if criminals could be easily identified at a glance. But the world doesn’t work that way. Most criminals look pretty ordinary, actually.

But the problem with Harlan’s stance here go beyond that. The fact is that most rapists aren’t sinister strangers hiding in an alleyway; the overwhelming majority – something like 70% — are people known to their victims. As someone who writes regularly about rape, Pierce is presumably aware of this, which means either that he’s being completely disingenuous, or that he’s simply pretending that date rape (and non-stranger rape in general) doesn’t exist.

The PSA in question is far from perfect. Aside from the terrible acting, the main problem with it is that it it’s victim-blaming. Its depiction of a rapist as an ordinary-looking guy – and a friend of the victim — is the one thing it gets right.

To get an idea of the sort of person who reads (and agrees with) The False Rape Society blog, here are a couple of comments on the, er, “controversy.”

Here’s a comment from YouTube, posted by someone who obviously got there from Harlan’s blog (it appeared after the video was linked at the FRS; before the recent batch of comments, the video hadn’t had a comment for three years).

So the message is that if a guy is being helpful at a party, he’s probably a rapist? This is not a fair psa. It did better than some though, by highlighting the fact that the female friend ditched her.

Apparently, in this guy’s mind, trying to remove the clothes of a woman almost completely incapacitated by alcohol is just a way of being “helpful.”

Meanwhile, on the FRS blog itself:

Anonymous said…

Wow- just like TV- apparently the only people on earth who ever do ANYTHING wrong are white males- preferably fat ones to give feminists a little extra to hate.

While we’re on the  subject of false accusations, here’s a strange bit of paranoid word-salad on the subject that I ran across recently from a Reddit Men’s Rightser.

Is it really possible that anyone – including the author and the people upvoting the comment —  could actually believe this nonsense? If so, what a strange, sad world they must live in.

EDITED TO ADD: Holly Pervocracy just wrote a great and highly relevant post on what she calls “Slavering Beast Theory.” As she explains:

In the Slavering Beast Theory, there are two kinds of men.  Two species, nearly. …  There are ordinary guys and there are Slavering Beasts.  And they are very, very easy to tell apart.  They act different, even look different, to the point where any adult should be able to distinguish them in any casual social setting. …

This dichotomy is how someone can simultaneously believe that women shouldn’t go out after dark because rape is such a big problem and believe that tons of rape accusations are false.  It makes perfect sense if you believe there are Slavering Beasts out in the dark, but if an ordinary guy is accused of rape, there must be more to the story.  It explains why people are angered by rape prevention tips aimed at men–those are insulting to ordinary guys, and Slavering Beasts won’t listen.  And it justifies the belief that abuse victims had it coming: either they were abused by a Slavering Beast and should have known better, or they were abused by an ordinary guy and must have done something terrible to provoke him.

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Holly Pervocracy
10 years ago

It’s MRA gospel that rape charges happen at fucking random. It lets them be paranoid and hateful of women (and, for those so inclined, the government) and it lets them cheer for rapists.

I think part of the problem they have is with the idea that a rapist isn’t a drooling monster. They badly want that to be true, because then they would never have to question their own actions–I’m not a drooling monster, so anything I do must be okay–nor do they have to deal with someone they think is a good guy also being a rapist. (Julian Assange has provoked a lot of this particular cognitive dissonance–how can a person who did a good thing also do a bad thing? He’s not a drooling monster, therefore this charge must be false.)

And another part of the problem is not knowing what consent looks like. Despite the talk about “I want your cock” and then a rape charge, I think a lot of these guys really do think that consent consists of not fighting back. I don’t think they’ve wrapped their heads fully around the idea that women can want sex, as opposed to allow it.

And a fourth part of the problem is thinking that feminists are ooglyboogly demons under their beds who will do evil things for no goddamn reason because we’re the real drooling monsters.

Remember, men, before you get drunk and do something rash, any woman could be a feminist.

Sharculese
10 years ago

In feminist were you raped algebra white space is a binary operator, there’s yes and all other words are different symbols for identity

italo calvino wishes he had written this sentence. or at least a less creepy version of this sentence.

BlackBloc
BlackBloc
10 years ago

MRAs are fundamentally conservative, and conservatives have this weird essentialist philosophy in which being a Good person or an Evil person is a matter of some sort of internal unchanging characteristic and not something that you do by your actions. So since they’re Good Guys, anything they do is fundamentally Good, by definition. So obviously, you are A Rapist or A Good Guy and never can this change. Rapists are these boogeymen and if women ever get involved with them, that must mean they like rapists.

It also explains their reaction at American troops torturing enemy combattants, or whathaveyou. America is Good, therefore its actions are Good. Rather than America’s actions are Good, therefore it is Good, which is a lot harder to argue with a straight face.

Or their definitional dodging of what it means to be a racist (they’ve already absorbed that Racism = Evil, but since they’re Good, then obviously whatever they do isn’t Racism) or a misogynist.

Kyrie
Kyrie
10 years ago

Anonymous said…

Wow- just like TV- apparently the only people on earth who ever do ANYTHING wrong are white males- preferably fat ones to give feminists a little extra to hate.

Nope. The female friend of the victim is letting her helpless in danger. The black teenager has even more responsibility, he goes away because he sees what is going to happen and is afraid to be a part of it, and at the same time won’t dare stop his friend.
He’s enabling the abuse, and this kind of person is what make the life of rapists and all kind of abusers so much easier.

Bedelia Bloodyknuckle
10 years ago

The grammar mistakes! Lord save my soul from this poorly written bullshit that I am seeing! (referring to the word salad not the post itself)

Holly Pervocracy
10 years ago

It’s weird and unsettling that the PSA characterizes this as “date rape” when the guy is either a total stranger or a casual acquaintance, but definitely not any kind of date. It’s just using the word “date” to indicate “you know, not jumping-out-of-the-bushes rape.”

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
10 years ago

I never cease to be amazed at, not just the lack of understanding around the concept of enthusiastic consent, but the utter derision and disbelief with which it is addressed by so many MRAs and MRM sympathizers. Look at the kinds of thing NWO posts for a prime example. All women are whores and enthusiastic consent is mocked like it’s a Yeti.

Or the guys who refer to having consensual sex as “getting permission” and can’t fathom how: 1) incredibly unappealing that phrase is in that context 2) how much it reveals about their ideas about sex.

But “real rape,” “rape-rape,” (thanks, Whoopi) is defined so narrowly as to always be something some monster committed. And if NWO and others like him are to believed, still the fault of women walking around with their female parts.

Wetherby
Wetherby
10 years ago

In what must be at least a quarter-century of acceptably regular sexual activity with a number of partners, I’m reasonably certain that I’ve never raped anyone, even according to the loosest imaginable definition of the term.

Despite claims to the contrary, it’s not actually that difficult to determine whether consent has been granted. If it’s not completely clear from the way your potential partner is behaving towards you, I find that asking them often clarifies matters. If they change their mind at a later stage, that’s pretty easy to deal with too: you either stop what you’re doing outright, or switch to something more mutually acceptable.

Also, not having sex with complete strangers who have been rendered near-comatose by alcohol or drugs is generally quite a sensible guiding principle. Quite aside from anything else, I can’t imagine it would be anything other than a squishily unpleasant experience that’s quite far removed from the kind of mutually agreeable sexual encounter that I generally favor.

Of course, I’m aware that none of this will protect me from the kind of false rape accusations that potentially underpin almost every social encounter with the opposite sex, and I must be extraordinarily lucky never to have attracted even the merest hint of such an accusation despite living and working in strongly female-dominated environments for much of my adult life. Odd, isn’t it?

Pecunium
10 years ago

I think Holly has hit the real issue solidly on the button.

MRA guys don’t know how to get consent. I remember, about 25 years ago, when Antioch was coming out with it’s “consent code”, how strange it seemed to have to wonder all along the way if she was in the mood.

And writer’s like Katie Roiphe, saying that date rape was just, “bad sex” didn’t help. I was afraid, for a little while, that someone might decide I’d not done something right and come back later to say I’d raped her.

It wasn’t enough to keep me from having sex (and my general lack of clue meant women tended to need to hit me on the head; and I was still saying, “are you sure”, so I guess I understood the mechanics of enthusiastic consent).

But these guys, are afraid they will accused, at random.

I think a lot of it comes down to some concurrent insecurities (and the denials will be vehement).
1: They don’t think women like sex.
2: They think there is a difference between, “real rape” and “she didn’t want sex”.
3: They take this latter bit and are afraid that bad sex will lead to cry of “rape” as a way to, “get back”.
4: They are afraid they aren’t good enough in bed to avoid 3.

I’ve had some, “oops, that was a mistake” sex. But you know what, we both shrugged, and moved on. Sometimes the chemistry isn’t right. But that’s not the same as pushing until someone “gives in”. That’s not bad sex; that’s rape.

ozymandias42
10 years ago

I dunno, maybe I’m some kind of sex deity, but whenever I fuck a lady I can generally tell that they’re consenting. There’s the moaning, for instance. And the heavy breathing. And the “keep going.” And the writhing. And the trembling. And the “move your fingers a—- ungh, there, don’t stop.” And her removing my clothing. And her going down on me. And the orgasms.

The orgasms are often a tipoff.

Pecunium
10 years ago

ozy: They aren’t foolproof indicators.

But the, “come here please”, and, “would you like to get undressed now?,”, “would you like to spend the night; in my bed”, “are you going to kiss me, or not?”… I’ve always taken those to be strong indications of interest.

It has often led to the things you described.

Bagelsan
Bagelsan
10 years ago

It wasn’t enough to keep me from having sex (and my general lack of clue meant women tended to need to hit me on the head; and I was still saying, “are you sure”, so I guess I understood the mechanics of enthusiastic consent).

Perhaps the best we can do with the MRA model of “well, someone has to be throwing the other person over their shoulder and dragging them back to the cave!” is to at least encourage them to let women do that bit? If your partner is actively getting annoyed at how slowly you are inching towards having sex with her that’s a pretty decent sign she’s consenting. :p

“MRAs! If she wants to fuck you she will haul you off to her woman cave!” Obviously it’s not perfect, but I’m not sure how else to translate “enthusiastic” into MRAspeak?

Lauralot
Lauralot
10 years ago

So enthusiastic consent goes over the MRAs’ heads, because how could a woman enjoy and desire sex?

Yet all women are whores.

What in the hell goes on in MRAs’ minds?

Holly Pervocracy
10 years ago

Pardon my shameless self-promotion, but I just wrote a post about this whole idea that “rape is about Bad People, so it’s slanderous to say any guy could be a rapist:”

http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2011/11/slavering-beast-theory.html

KathleenB
KathleenB
10 years ago

I love, love, love that enthusiastic consent is taking enough hold to get the MRAs all riled up. But what disturbs me is the fact that this is a conversation we need to have in the first place. Why are women assumed to be in a constant state of consent? Why is sex opt out for women (saying no fighting, screaming, whatever) rather than opt in?

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

Ozy:

Just so you know, orgasms aren’t always a tipoff… The body reacts, sometimes against our wishes. 😐

I feel like the topic of consent really shouldn’t be this hard… There are some very obvious clues (at least to me), like the… erm… “begging for cock” thing… How on earth have MRAs screwed up so badly as to think that consent is really just a “woman’s word” thing, one where women will simply cry rape if they are displeased or just feel like it?

Their whole concept of sex reeks of narcissism… sex is about whether or not they get laid, therefore they need approval from their partner when they want to have sex, therefore their partner has the final say, therefore women are controlling men through sex and are the gate-keepers to their… gate. *sigh*

elusis
10 years ago

… where’s the joke?

I’m feeling dense.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

@elusis:

A woman is raped every 2 minutes. And this is that woman.

In other words, it’s one very careless woman getting raped over and over…

I won’t blame you if you ask again “where’s the joke?”

Quackers
Quackers
10 years ago

I just do not understand their obsession with false rape accusations and how hard it is for them to wrap their minds around consent. Also how can anyone be against rape awareness? what kind of horrible person is against something that helps and educates people? How come in their mind they think silencing discussions on rape and consent will somehow stop false rape accusations?

I just do not get these guys. What is wrong with their brains?

ozymandias42
10 years ago

Kirby: Ugh. I know that. Sorry, my kyriarchal conditioning is showing. 🙂

Nevertheless I remain entirely certain that in my entire life of happy slutdom I have never fucked a woman nor, indeed, a person, who was not consenting.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

@Quackers:

Somehow they’ve come to the conclusion that anything they’d normally do would be considered rape. For most of them, it’s nonsense. For some of them, it’s true, mostly the ones who think getting a girl trashed to “lower her inhibitions” is perfectly acceptable. The ones for whom the message of consent is pertinent feel like anything they’d do would be considered rape (it would be) and manage to convince the rest by couching rape in terms of what the women says rather than what actually happens.

It’s messed up…

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

@Ozy:

Heh, no probs… It’s probably a mistake I’d make too… But yeah, it should be really easy to tell. The ones for which it isn’t easy are the ones who are making the biggest defensive fuss… which sucks big time.

hellkell
hellkell
10 years ago

I read texaswildfires’ post so many times trying to makes sense of it, I think I got a contact high. I’m starting to think they all post while fucked up on something.

The MRA focus on “what a rapist looks like” is the flip side to women thinking “if I don’t wear that, I can’t be raped.” Neither way of thinking works.

Pecunium
10 years ago

What wrong with their brains is they don’t believe in consent.

It’s a harsh thing to say, but look at what they say. Consent, according to them is impossible to get.

Then look at the way they react to situational questions.

Is she drunk… well she drank, so if she doesn’t fight, she must be consenting…. she knew the risks when she started to drink…, Excuse me I have to send a Cosmo to the woman at the other end of the bar”.

Did she dress, “slutty”, well she was asking for attention… she can’t really complain if she gets it.

Did she, “lead some dude on…” Well then she deserved it. He would have died of blue-balls otherwise. Men need sex, and women use it to get what they want.

Etc.

hellkell
hellkell
10 years ago

Well, Pecunium, there’s always videotaping “consent” for these guys! 😉

Brandon
Brandon
10 years ago

This video was retarded. It’s the “Reefer Madness” of bad rape PSA’s. Strangely there is enough blame to go around.

Passed out girl: Maybe it isn’t such a good idea to get SO drunk that you pass out around a bunch of drunk people. Something either terrible or mildly funny will happen because of it (e.g drawing dicks on people with a sharpie vs shitty fuckhead feeling you up).

Girls friend: Seriously…who leaves when you have an unconscious friend. Talk about a shitty friend!

Black dude: Smart move there buck-o. I wouldn’t want to be you in this scenario. Although, I would have informed other people about what is happening.

White dude: Fucking scumbag…can’t get laid with you know…conscious women?

hellkell
hellkell
10 years ago

Oh, fuck. Did I summon it? Sorry, folks.

KathleenB
KathleenB
10 years ago

hellkell: Well, did you say his name three times in front of a mirror at midnight?

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

@KathleenB:

With a video camera in hand…

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

damn… that would have made more sense if you had said “He appears when you say his name three times…”

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
10 years ago

What wrong with their brains is they don’t believe in consent.

Exactly. It’s the only explanation that makes any sense. For months now I’ve been trying to understand this phenomenon of the men on these and other boards who mock the very idea of consent. Who mock and deride the notion that women even want to be aroused by their partners. “‘Gina tingles”

How? How do you mock the very foundation of functioning sexuality, the very basis of good sex, the main thing that allows people to move beyond elementary to varsity level sex ? And consent is gender neutral.

They don’t believe in it.

Pecunium
10 years ago

Fuck… I really wish this wasn’t right after I said this was the sort of thing rape apologists say….

Passed out girl: Maybe it isn’t such a good idea to get SO drunk that you pass out around a bunch of drunk people. Something either terrible or mildly funny will happen because of it (e.g drawing dicks on people with a sharpie vs shitty fuckhead feeling you up).

See, she got drunk, so rape is what happens, and she ought to have known better than to have enough to drink that someone else would be able to abuse her.

Her fault, obviously.

Sharculese
10 years ago

What Would Brandon Do: A Comprehensive Guide to Preventing Rape and the Rest of Societies Ills

Sharculese
10 years ago

(For Ubermenschen Only)

Pecunium
10 years ago

More to the point… I don’t think the takeaway from that was supposed to be, “don’t get drunk”, but “don’t rape people, even if they are drunk.”

Joanna
10 years ago

texaswildfire’s lack of punctuation is upsetting =(

Quackers
Quackers
10 years ago

Yea Kirby it really is 🙁 I mean, is it really that hard to get sex without making someone completely intoxicated they can’t think straight?

Pecunium: Yea I see what you mean. I guess that’s why they are so outraged by false accusations and supposed shaming of men, yet they turn around and say women should expect rape if they dress like sluts/drink/walk alone at night. They insist rape is about sex and not violence or control. They deny a rape culture without even attempting to understand what it actually entails, and they are against rape awareness.

All this sounds like is them basically saying “deal with the fact that rape exists and that it might happen to you because we don’t understand consent, but keep your mouth shut and don’t accuse anyone ever.”

I get the anger at false accusations, I get angry when I hear about them too. But how is denying that rape is a problem and trying to bully feminists into shutting up about it going to help?

I wish there was a way to approach this topic without diminishing or pretending that rape isn’t that big a deal and trying to silence awareness about rape. From what I saw on the False Rape Society blog, false rape accusers are getting arrested and given jail time, so what more do they want?

And of course, the generalizing about all women being vengeful bitches out to harm men. I’m starting to see why some object to stories in the paper about false accusers. On one hand it’s important to know these stories exist, on the other hand it makes people like MRAs think all or most women are going to falsely accuse men and fosters hostility.

BlackBloc
BlackBloc
10 years ago

It’s funny how my brother went into ethylic coma at 19 and the results was that the people at the party got him urgently to the hospital instead of raping him.

It’s almost like young women aren’t supposed to do things that most men take for granted as part of their growing up rituals, but then that would imply that there’s a double standard, and who’s stupid enough to think that, huh?

Brandon
Brandon
10 years ago

@Pecunium: I always love that argument. It’s the “she got drunk so rape was inevitable” strawman.

There are two major things at play here:

1) The girl drinking
2) The scumbag groper/rapist

The girl can’t control the rapist, nor can anyone else. But she can control herself and her actions. I mean honestly, who would think that society is so loving and caring that one can drink to the point of passing out and not have one dickhead amongst the group not take advantage of that vulnerability.

As an analogy, say I was a journalist and I was in a war zone covering it. Do I deserve to get shot? Absolutely not. But I did put myself in a position that has higher risks of getting shot.

This girl made herself vulnerable. And while she isn’t to blame for getting raped. She is at fault for putting herself in that vulnerable spot.

This is the distinction feminists fail to see.

Quackers
Quackers
10 years ago

Exactly. It’s the only explanation that makes any sense. For months now I’ve been trying to understand this phenomenon of the men on these and other boards who mock the very idea of consent. Who mock and deride the notion that women even want to be aroused by their partners. “‘Gina tingles”

I think it’s disgust of female sexuality. They hate that women feel aroused by men that aren’t them thus they ridicule, slut shame and excuse rape because serves the bitch right for not sleeping with them.

Yet its completely normal and ok for them to express disgust at a fat or ugly chick, but then express peen tingles at a hot chick.

hellkell
hellkell
10 years ago

@KathleenB & Kirby: I did not say his name three times in a mirror while videotaping it, I swear.

LOL at Brandon saying he’d tell someone what was going on. I thought anyone outside his immediate circle (and even then, it’s a toss-up) was SOL and on their own in a shitty situation.

hellkell
hellkell
10 years ago

Brandon, the rapist in your scenario still chose to rape, I don’t care how drunk the girl is. Are you really this thick?

Brandon
Brandon
10 years ago

@Pecunium: I am not disputing the “don’t rape people, even if they are drunk.” issue. While it would be nice to have every person in the world follow that rule…they don’t. So one should be realistic and practical when out in society.

Dracula
Dracula
10 years ago

Something either terrible or mildly funny will happen because of it (e.g drawing dicks on people with a sharpie vs shitty fuckhead feeling you up).

Both those things are shitty, fuck-headed things to do in my book. The latter is way worse than the former, obviously, but neither is something you do if you aren’t an asshole.

Pecunium
10 years ago

Quackers: Part of it is what they consider, “false”. Any rape case which doesn’t end in a conviction = false.

All “false” accusations are assumed to be intentional, and malicious.

The difficulty in getting a rape conviction, is then used to show how much of a problem, “false” accusations actually are.

Then they do all they can to make it harder to get a rape conviction, and the cycle will continue, with “false” accusations becoming more prevalent.

What they think ought to happen in the event of a rape allegation that fails to result in a conviction is that the accuser be given, automatically, the maximal sentence the accused would have gotten; were he convicted. This, they say, will reduce the “false” allegations.

Due process? Actual proof of malice… unimportant.

Men, you see, can be locked up at the whim of a woman, so there is no need to assume any innocence when a man is not convicted.

This, you see, is fair.

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
10 years ago

Passed out girl: Maybe it isn’t such a good idea to get SO drunk that you pass out around a bunch of drunk people. Something either terrible or mildly funny will happen because of it (e.g drawing dicks on people with a sharpie vs shitty fuckhead feeling you up).

You know this shit isn’t standard operating practice right? There are lots of people who manage to get fucked up with their friends and still manage not to draw on them with sharpie or rape them, right?

Lauralot
Lauralot
10 years ago

Yeah, drawing on someone who is passed out drunk rather than, say, making sure they aren’t dying of alcohol poisoning or something is pretty awful as far as I’m concerned.

Shaenon
10 years ago

After reading dozens of threads like this, I’ve come to the conclusion that guys who are paranoid about false rape accusations fall into two categories:

1. Guys with little or no sexual experience, who have only the vaguest notion of how sex works or how women normally behave. Sure, maybe most women don’t jump out of bed after sex, cackle wickedly, and run for the police station to see if they can get an innocent man thrown in prison…but maybe they do! How should I know?

2. Guys who have legitimate cause to fear being accused of rape, because they rape women, or engage in behavior that edges dangerously close to rape. Sure, that unconscious drunk girl probably won’t remember what I did to her, but why should I have to worry at all? I’m a nice guy!

Pecunium
10 years ago

Brandon: @Pecunium: I am not disputing the “don’t rape people, even if they are drunk.” issue. While it would be nice to have every person in the world follow that rule…they don’t. So one should be realistic and practical when out in society.

Which is why you only mentioned that the wages of drunkenness is being assaulted. Some of them are “funny” others of them are “bad” but that’s what you get.

And not a word, from you, saying that rape ought not happen, but rather, a question of the abuse being “funny” or not, and that it’s the reasonable expectation.

Me…I figure that people ought to be allowed to get drunk, and other people shouldn’t stop treating them well. But that’s me… I have some empathy for strangers.

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