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Warren Farrell on Date Rape: Defending the Indefensible

George Orwell, meet Warren Farrell
George Orwell, meet Warren Farrell

Men’s Rights Activists tend to be fairly blunt; when they express a noxious opinion – and oh so many of their opinions are noxious – they do it in the most obnoxious possible way. It isn’t enough for Paul Elam of A Voice for Men to blame victims of rape; he also has to call them “STUPID, CONNIVING BITCH[es]” wearing the equivalent of PLEASE RAPE ME neon sign[s] glowing above their empty little narcissistic heads.”

Warren Farrell is different. He takes a softer approach. He would never call a woman a bitch or a whore or a cunt. When he speaks, he manages to sound gentle and caring. He talks about the importance of listening to others. He sometimes even manages to give the impression that he cares as much about women as he does about men.

And yet his ideas are as noxious as Elam’s. He is as much of a victim blamer as any slur-spouting MGTOWer complaining about “stuck-up cunts” on an internet message board.

It’s just that he does his victim blaming with such carefully evasive language that he’s able to hide the noxiousness of his ideas – and to avoid taking responsibility for them when he’s challenged on them.

So it wasn’t surprising that a lot of the questions directed at him during his Reddit Ask Me Anything session the other day were attempts to pin down the real meaning of some of his more troubling pronouncements over the years.

A Redditor by the name of fiskitall asked Farrell about a quote from his Myth of Male Power that I also had hoped to see him clarify:

It is important that a woman’s “noes” be respected and her “yeses” be respected. And it is also important when her nonverbal “yeses” (tongues still touching) conflict with those verbal “noes” that the man not be put in jail for choosing the “yes” over the “no.” He might just be trying to become her fantasy.

Though worded with characteristic evasiveness, Farrell seems to be suggesting that men should not be prosecuted for raping women who explicitly tell them “no” if they think that these women are somehow giving them a “nonverbal” go-ahead. His “tongues still touching line” suggests specifically that he thinks a woman who kisses a man is essentially consenting to sex.

So how does he explain this quote? He starts off by trying to explain the bit at the end about fantasy:

the quote comes from the politics of sex chapter of The Myth of Male Power. The point that “He might just be trying to become her fantasy” comes after a discussion of how romance novels and, in my 2014 edition, books like 50 Shades of Grey–books that are the female fantasy–are rarely titled, “He Stopped When I Said ‘No.'” The point is that women’s romance novels are still fantasizing the male-female dichotomy of attract/resist versus pursue/persist, and the law is increasingly punishing that as sexual harassment or date rape.

Beneath the weirdly academic verbiage – all that crap about “the male-female dichotomy of attract/resist” and so on – Farrell is advancing an idea that is really quite insidious: the notion that the popularity of rape fantasies in romance novels and in books like 50 Shades of Grey means that women actually want men to disregard their “noes.” Not only that: he seems to suggest that it’s unfair to prosecute men who rape women because, heck, for all they knew the woman is into that sort of thing.

As I pointed out in a followup question that he ignored,

I’m not sure how the fact that women read romance novels means that they don’t really mean no when they say no. That’s fantasy, not reality. I play video games in which people shoot at me; it doesn’t mean I want people to shoot me in real life.

He continues, his language growing more confusing and evasive:

the law is about dichotomy: guilty vs. innocent. male-female sexual attraction is about nuance. the court can’t begin to address the nuances of the male-female tango. the male role is punishable by law. women have not been resocialized to share the risks of rejection by expectation, only by option. the male role is being criminalized; the female increasingly has the option of calling his role courtship when she likes it, and taking him to court when she doesn’t.

The only real “tango” going on here is in Farrell’s language, in his attempts to so muddy the issue of consent that he manages to suggest that rapists are the victims of women’s “poor socialization” and caprice. In real life, the “male role” is not criminalized; men aren’t jailed for asking women out on dates, or going for a kiss at the end of the night; they’re being jailed for overriding a woman’s “noes” and raping them, though in actuality it is rare for a rapist to see the inside of a jail cell.

And that last bit – his complaint that women have “the option of calling his role courtship when she likes it, and taking him to court when she doesn’t” – seems to be little more than a deliberately confounding way of expressing his frustration that women are allowed to say no at all.

the answer is education about each sex’s fears and feelings–and that education being from early junior high school. we need to focus on making adolescence a better preparation for real love within the framework of respect for the differences in our hormones.

I confess I don’t quite know what he’s talking about here; as far as I can figure it, based on some of the things he’s written in the Myth of Male Power, the reference to “the differences in our hormones” is his way of suggesting that we should be more forgiving of boys when they make sexual “mistakes.” Boys will be boys!

the most dangerous thing that’s going on in some colleges is saying that a woman who says “yes” but is drunk can say in the morning that she was raped, because she was drunk and wasn’t responsible. this is like saying someone who drinks and gets in the car and has an accident is not responsible and shouldn’t get a DUI because she or he is drunk. we would never say the guy isn’t responsible for raping her because he’s drunk. these rules infantalize women and the female role, and criminalize men and the male role.

Well, no. They criminalize people who rape drunk people. A woman who is raped when she is drunk is not the equivalent of a drunk driver; she’s not the one doing the driving.

In his classic essay “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell described how political writers turned to evasive euphemism, and degraded language generally, in an attempt to disguise the sheer terribleness of the things they were trying to express.

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements.

It’s easy enough to see that this is exactly Farrell’s game. He can’t say “men shouldn’t be jailed for raping women who say no, because a lot of women have rape fantasies, and so maybe they’re into it” even though this seems to be the most straightforward translation of his basic message.

So instead he talks about how “romance novels are still fantasizing the male-female dichotomy of attract/resist versus pursue/persist”; he complains that “ the male role is being criminalized”; he talks vaguely about creating “the framework of respect for the differences in our hormones.”

But in the end, what he’s saying is worse than Elam’s rant about “conniving bitches” with neon signs over their heads. He just knows how to make the indefensible more palatable to a general audience.

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Retha
Retha
7 years ago

LBT: I believe you on what happened to you. I am sorry to hear that, and am glad to hear you are happy with your husband. (I actually want to go away because people asked me to, but wanted to tell you that I wish you all the healing, happiness and love you need.)

katz
7 years ago

I’m deducting an extra point for saying that you want to go away without actually going away. -12/10.

emilygoddess
7 years ago

@Cloudiah, I inherited a cat fountain and Grace approves. She used to dig at her water bowls and I couldn’t figure out why, but a little internet research suggested that kitties (especially older ones, like mine) have trouble telling where the water’s surface starts, and don’t want to stick their faces in and get a surprise faceful of water, so they agitate the bowl so the ripples give them something to see. Since I got the fountain, I haven’t seen her dig once, so that seems to bear out.

Then again, I inherited this fountain because Rascal, who now lives with my mother-out-law, wouldn’t use it. Fresh bowls, self-filling bowls, fountains, all fail before the chilly allure of the toilet. Nothing can tempt him away from it. So she passed the failed fountain on to me.

tl;dr your cat may vary

neuroticbeagle
7 years ago

Right now, Buster is sitting in front of a painting and meowing at it. Weirdo. … I shouldn’t call Buster weird. Maybe she’s just an art critic.

Buster is not alone: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/e3/08/af/e308afe4fff796d6f2425abcf0cdd119.jpg

emilygoddess
7 years ago

You know, I’ve been told off by newbies for being too mean to people who to me appear to be either trolling or convinced that every woman in the world should volunteer to be their mommy multiple times, and every single time I’m all, so what you’re saying is that I should just let them carry on pissing all over truth, logic, and whoever happens to be around at the time? Sorry, nope, not doing that.

We used to have this discussion a lot on a sj-themed mockery site I used to frequent. Ultimately we decided that people who had the energy and patience to engage and try to educate were welcome to do so, but the people who were tired of the same old crap or short on spoons or just fucking angry were also welcome to their response. Because sometimes you’re just sick of answering the same stupid question and coddling the same hurt fee-fees for the thousandth time.

Alex
7 years ago

I might be a little late to the party, but:
@Tinyorc:

My view is that the best way to deprive rapists of the cover of alcohol is to severe the link between the two completey, and emphasize that no matter how drunk or sober a person is, you must obtain enthusiastic consent. If you are unsure, you confirm it. If you are still unsure, you stop. If the other person is showing signs of pain or discomfort, you check in, and if necessary, you stop. If you are too drunk to trust your own judgement on any of the above, you stop. If you cross any of these lines, you are a rapist.

QFT

Children of the Broccoli:

if both parties are drunk to the point of blacking out or not knowing what’s happening, then there wouldn’t be any sex happening. If neither of them wanted to have sex with the other, then they won’t have sex. If one person is unwilling or unable to give consent, and the other person has sex with them anyway, the second person is the rapist. If both are drunk but able and willing to give consent, then nobody was raped.

Also, this.

Retha:

People who enjoy playing at rape and kidnapping in their scenes love rape so much that I am unsure if they are safe people. Even if they are not rapists themselves, I wonder if they will have as much sympathy with a raped friend as I do? Or would a rape story from a friend just aid them in their fantasies?

Are you fucking kidding me? I like to be spanked, held down, tied up, and have a hand over my mouth. If a friend told me such a thing happened to them without their consent, I would be HORRIFIED. Just as I hope someone who only enjoyed slow, tender sex would be equally horrified if a friend had been raped in a slow and tender way (emotional manipulation, or in the case of an adult and child are but two scenarios in which can and has happened). And I am equally horrified to have any kind of sexual assault happen to me, whether it involves things I enjoy during consensual sex or not. It’s the CONSENT that makes the difference between a horrific experience and an enjoyable one.

RubyRubyRuby:

Call me an armchair psychologist then, but I believe that people with a history of abuse or rape are drawn to BDSM because it lets them relive the abuse which they had no control over and were forced to endure, but in a way BDSM puts them in charge because subs “lead from the bottom.” They can (allegedly) relive victimization ‘safely’ but set the rules for dom/abuser to follow, and re-store those memories of abuse as something more palatable and less traumatic. I don’t think it’s a good thing.

Let’s say you’re right. I’ve undergone sexual abuse throughout my childhood and less so as an adolescent and now an adult. I enjoy mild kink (spanking, being tied up, having a hand over the mouth, being held down). I have other fantasies I have no wish nor intention to act out. I can’t say with any certainty whether or not they come from the sexual abuse I’ve endured, so for argument’s sake, let’s say they do. Why the hell would this “They can…relive victimization ‘safely’ but set the rules for dom…to follow, and re-store those memories of abuse as something more palatable and less traumatic” not be a good thing? In other words, who the fuck are you to tell me or anyone else how to cope with our past abuse if we aren’t hurting anyone?
This just plays into a belief I’ve really come to hate, that those of us who experienced child abuse are fucked up for life. FUCK. YOU. And by the way? I HAVE had counselling. Numerous times. It is actually possible to deal with a thing in more than one way. Interestingly, it was one of my therapists who told me it was okay for me to have the fantasies I had, that they didn’t make me wrong or fucked up or abnormal, and that I got to choose which ones I kept to myself and which to act out. Also interestingly? The more mild fantasies I’ve acted out with partners I trusted, the less really violent and impossible fantasies I seem to have. It grounds me. I’m with a real, caring, sexy person, and we’re playing and having fun. This will not turn badly, this will not get beyond my control, this will not hurt me, and I am not afraid.
The sexual abuse I dealt with as a baby left me afraid of big men and large hands well into young adulthood. Until my then-boyfriend of six years broke up with me and I slept with a big man who had the biggest hands I’ve ever seen and he didn’t hurt me. I chose to do it, and I’m glad I did. Am I supporting the patriarchy because I’m a small woman and I sleep with (and actually prefer) big men? Should I have continued to avoid big men even though it kept me with an unrealistic* fear of them?

TL;DR I’m an abuse survivor. DO NOT tell me my ways of coping are wrong when I’m not hurting anyone.

*Unrealistic in the sense that men won’t hurt you just because they’re a lot bigger than you, and men won’t not hurt you just because they’re relatively small. My abusive stepfather was actually of average build and was only 5’4.

Alex
7 years ago

What LBT said above, too.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: katz

You are the BEST mammotheer.

RE: Retha

I understand the meaning of your words, but they mean nothing to me. *shakes head sadly* You have learned nothing.

For everybody else, I am going to be That Educator again and pull out my copy of Stacy Haines’s Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma now. Here’s page 191, in the chapter “S/M, Role-Playing, and Fantasy”:

“Some people will tell you S/M is abusive, perverted, or wrong — in short, a “bad” way to express your eroticism. Many of the arguments against people who eroticize power play are the same ones that are used against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. And these same arguments have been used against women who have wanted to empower themselves sexually, and against sex itself.

“If you enjoy topping, bottoming, power play, or other S/M eroticisms, you are not alone. Many survivors find power play very erotic. Exploring the edges of your own limits and challenging your partners to find theirs can have its place in an empowered sex life.”

And on page 192:

The impact of child sexual abuse shows up in S/M play just as in any other kind of sex play. Some survivors who are into S/M consciously work with their history of abuse in their scenes … this can be very intense for survivors … this type of S/M play is not a substitute for therapy or any other type of concentrated healing from your abuse.”

Can you tell I find it IMMENSELY patronizing when some asshole stranger on the Internet tells me that the only ACCEPTABLE form of sex for survivors like myself is what they say it is? And how that sex is always fucking “normal”?

I ain’t normal. Stop shoving your morality down my pants, thanks.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

I just don’t understand why, if a person professes to be a feminist and supportive of rape survivors, that person would then go on to repeatedly dismiss the stated experiences of women and rape survivors.

And is RubyRubyRuby the same poste as Ruby Hypatia?

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

No, claims to be a different Ruby, sparky.

I just don’t understand why, if a person professes to be a feminist and supportive of rape survivors, that person would then go on to repeatedly dismiss the stated experiences of women and rape survivors.

Well, you know, we poor little rape survivors can’t make good choices on our own. We might do something UNFEMINIST. In the BEDROOM.

AND IT MIGHT PLEASE US!!!!!

contrapangloss
7 years ago

So, I’m also a bit late to the party.

So, to our R-names,

I’ll admit absolutely no fondness for kink, and the idea of it gives me the hebie-jeebies. I don’t like to hit people or humiliating them, and (while I have a high pain tolerance) I hate avoidable pain. Tattoos? No. Keep that evil needle pointed elsewhere, thanks.

BUT, I know better than to expect everyone to feel the same way I do. People have tatoos, and some of those tattoos are absolutely beautiful. There are absolutely amazing and awesome people who like kink. There are some terrible people, who like kink. There are people who like kink.

It doesn’t make them bad feminists, or unsupportive of victims, or any of that. I’ll admit that it’s good to keep awareness of the broader social context, and that some aspects of BDSM are troubling. That doesn’t mean that it’s wrong, just that we should be mindful.

Furthermore, unless you actually have a certification as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or mental health first-responder, don’t try to evaluate the effectiveness of coping systems you don’t actually have any experience with.

It’s about as useful as someone without any medical training telling someone who’s just thrown up and has the worst headache of their life that they should “go take a nap, or stop complaining and get over it.”

Which, by the way, could get them killed. (Symptoms of a brain bleed, for 500?)

In other words, don’t do it.

Frankly, as long as they both are enthusiastically consenting to preset boundaries, it’s none of yours, mine, or anyone else’s business what they like. Just like it’s absolutely no one else’s business if I like watching bad shark horror movies and discussing the biology in them animatedly with my great white shark pillow, Saruman. (He doesn’t talk much.)

The ONLY exceptions to that is if there’s doubt over whether one person really is consenting, or if the behaviors are an immediate life threat. And, in that case, the victim needs immediate and supportive help to get out of danger, NOT some hoity-toity internet person who thinks they know better telling them that all of their desires are the product of brokenness, and badness, and they need to get their head examined.

The more of a stigma there is against BDSM, the harder it makes it for people who enjoy kink to escape if they ever get into an abusive relationship. If someone is getting abused, and they know that people will judge them as depraved or less trustworthy, it’s a heck of a lot harder to tell someone about the abuse and get help.

The world would be a lot safer if people’s reactions to were more like:

“Oh, you like spankings. That’s okay. Whatevah. What? They did ____ without asking you? That’s AWFUL!”

and less like:

“Oh, you like spankings, with consent. That must mean that you didn’t really dislike it when they did _________, even though you said you didn’t want it.”

tcwill00
tcwill00
7 years ago

I would just like to offer hugs and warm kittens to every survivor in the mammotheers. you are all awesome folks.

katz
7 years ago

It is a mark of how much has been wrong with this conversation that the assumption that everyone who is defending the kinksters is a kinkster has barely even been touched upon.

marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

I don’t think the vast majority of the kink community actually concerns it’s self with consent or clear communication at all. I encountered more MRAs there who really couldn’t give a shit whether they were committing rape (felt entitled to it, actually) and others who defended their opinions and practices than I have amongst “vanilla” (gosh, that’s condescending) circles. As previously stated, I wasn’t the feminist I am now prior to encountering that crowd. I was radicalised by it.

I’d totally be on the same page as everyone championing the values of the kink community except my experience with the kink community has not reflected the values some people portray it as espousing. I don’t know where these oh so super awesome kinkster groups are because my experience with them was basically that of everyday life with misogyny magnified x 10 and defended as the one twoo way.

I think that has to do with people though, not kink. I don’t think everyone identifying as kinky is shit nor do I think kink makes people shit. I just think there’s an enormous component of shitty people associated with and involved in it.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: marinerachel

Yes, except the Rs aren’t talking about the kink SCENE. They are talking about kinksters who are survivors of sexual violence.

I have nothing but disdain for the local kink scene I ended up never joining (due to the sheer rapeyness going on) but there’s a difference between The Scene and Kinksters. It’s like equating the Gay Scene with actual queer people.

So to bring up the rapeyness of the scene is a derail. They were talking about us survivors, us kinksters, and how our partners must ergo BE rapey assholes. Which is a slap in the face of those of us who’ve actually survived.

pecunium
7 years ago

Retha: “Contradictions obviously make something untrue.” – I am wrong. It should be “Contradictions obviously mean something is untrue.”

Nope.

Example. I like being a good runner. I hate the training required to be a good runner. I hate the pain and discomfort my trainers put me through to get me in shape for races.

When I run a race, and do well, I am proud of my achievement. I am also in agony, gasping for breath and want nothing more than to lie down and curl up into a little ball.

I resist this; because if I do what I want, I will lock up and cramp like a motherfucker.

I also train, so that I can so well in races; even though training isn’t something I enjoy.

A huge bundle of prima facie contradictions.

All of which are resolved by, “the feeling I get when I recover from the pain of competitive running is worth all the discomfort and pain I get from running well in competition”.

The only substantive difference between me the athlete and the kinkters you bemean, insult and degrade, is that I am doing it for sport, and they are doing it for sexual pleasure.

Nuance, you should try it.

p.s. I wonder if they will have as much sympathy with a raped friend as I do?

More, I suspect. Because they understand consent (and it’s violation) more than you do, you judgemental twit.

katz
7 years ago

It also takes a certain measure of arrogance to assume that an apparent contradiction must mean the other person is lying and/or deluded, rather than that you’re misunderstanding.

pecunium
7 years ago

Ruby: If a person engages in self-harm, such as cutting, we would say that it is harmful and that this person has depression. Are you saying that if a depressed person cuts but doesn’t do any ‘real harm’ because they didn’t die then what they’re doing is not detrimental to their well-being?

I might. I have two friends who cut. They are alive because they cut. This is because by engaging in cutting shift the focus of their ideations to sensations related to the cutting, and stop thinking being dead would be better.

I see no reason why cutting oneself/being cut by someone else for sexual pleasure, or being intentionally physically harmed during a sexual encounter is any different.

Then you are stupid.

I’m not, “into kink”. I know a lot of people who are. I’ve had partners who are. I have larger limits than some do about what I will incorporate into my sexy-funtimes, but kink isn’t a focus of my personal pleasure. But, as I said, I’ve had partners who like it. So I do things they like. Not because I take a particular pleasure in it, but because they do.

I also like playing with weapons, and practicing a few martial arts. When I do that I agree to sets of rules, and inside those rules those people playing the game (it’s not always one on one) attack each other (sometimes with bare hands, sometimes with weapons). Sometimes I get hurt. I’ve even been bruised, and had moderate amounts of actual damage (a dislocated, or perhaps broken fingertip, some pulled tendons, strained joints; even a few minor concussions).

It wasn’t “detrimental to [my] well-being”. It was quite good for my well being (may even have saved me from assaults, or being killed, once or twice).

Does consent automatically make something good? Nope. People consent to doing bad things all the time. BDSM is one of them.

Does begging the question invalidate an argument? Every time. The only way your conclusion derives from the premises is if we assume, a priori that kink is damaging.

As shown, the arguments you make don’t actually support the conclusion you assert.

So, on it’s face, you are wrong. On the evidence of people’s testimony about their lives, you are wrong. On the basis of those who study human psychology, you are wrong. On the evidence of my own experience, you are wrong.

In every way I have tested, or can see to test, your claims, they are wrong.

In short, you don’t know a fucking thing about the subject.

ako
ako
7 years ago

I really hope that any friends of Retha and Ruby with self-injury issues don’t come to them for help. I’ve had friends with those same issues and simply repeating “YOU ARE IRRATIONAL AND DAMAGED!” at them would not be a good approach. Stuff like sympathy, listening, and not getting overly judgy of someone else’s coping mechanisms does seem to help. (I think, other things being equal, it’s better to not self-injure, but not everyone’s capable of totally healthy coping mechanisms at that particular point in time, and judging someone doesn’t make them stop.)

(Also, I did paintball once, and it was mostly fun, even with the pain of getting shot, up until one ended up hitting me square on the finger, at which point I curled up into a ball of pain and was giving off clear “No longer fun” body language, and the people I’m with stopped shooting at me, let me leave the zone, and helped me get some ice. Is someone going to declare those guys sociopaths and me a Tragic Victim with damaging cognitive dissonance?)

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

That was my biggest concern with this whole mess. Let’s say Retha or Ruby were to encounter someone who really was pushed into a BSDM relationship against their will and who needed some help getting out of it. If that person confessed what was happening to one of those two, and got the kind of “ick, that’s disgusting, you must be so messed up” response that they’ve been displaying here, then it would probably push the victim right back into the hands of their abuser. If you want to help someone you need to start with compassion, empathy, and support, not by declaring them to be too damaged to know their own mind.

contrapangloss
7 years ago

Cassandrakitty: EXACTLY!

That’s a huge, enormous, gigantic problem that a lot of people seem to ignore. Telling victims that they won’t be believed, or that people would hate them or think they’re crazy or irrational is one of the ways abusers often keep power over their victims.

And it really, really doesn’t help when ordinary people say things like ‘Kink is the sign of a damaged mind’ or ‘Strong people don’t get affected by —-‘.

Because, then the abuser sounds right, and the only way they they’ll ever be loved is to stay with the abuser…

I need brain bleach, now. Just… Agh.

Skanky Tits
7 years ago
Reply to  RubyRubyRuby

You know that not all women who are into BDSM are heterosexual and submissive right? As a survivor of actual sexual violence, I find it incredibly offensive and triggering when people try to draw some kind of false equivalence between my recreational activities and horrible traumatic shit that was forced on me. It feels scarily similar to rapist logic to ignore a woman’s stated desires and refuse to differentiate between consensual sex and rape.

Alex
7 years ago

For argument’s sake, let’s say BDSM is abuse. When the hell has judging a victim* of abuse the way Ruby and Retha are judging people who engage in BDSM ever helped a victim become a survivor and manage to leave the situation? Even judging the abuser the way they do is more likely to put the victim on the defensive than to actually help.

So yeah, I think those of us who either practice or at least understand BDSM are actually better at supporting victims and survivors of abuse than people like Ruby and Retha who seem much more interested in trying to convince people that BDSM is bad and that anyone who enjoys anything other than totally vanilla sex must be damaged.

*I use victim here in the sense that we’re talking about people who are still in the control of their abuser. Not sure how people here feel about that usage? If it bothers anyone, please let me know and I won’t use it like that again.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

“You know that not all women who are into BDSM are heterosexual and submissive right?”
QFT

Not all kink is sexual either. There are play parties where people break out their toys and play together for fun and to share what they know. Some people flog or tie up their friends. There are people who “race” to see who can get untied first. There are people who enjoy showing off their decorative rope armor or bullwhip skills and other people happy to help them demonstrate. (I know a married couple that met that way, awwwww.) Some people just like being in subspace for a while. That in no way indicates that they allow themselves to be mistreated or dominated in everyday life. There are all kinds of relationships that can involve kink and it is no more a sign that someone is abusive than if they liked to play first person shooters and laugh when they shoot their friends in game. It is a kind of adult play that not everyone has to like, but that no one should be ashamed of.
…unless your into that. Then, shame away!

I also want to point out that there are people who enjoy pain. Telling them to deprive themselves of pleasure because what they enjoy makes you feel uncomfortable is puritanical.Telling them that taking control of and seeking the kind of pleasure they enjoy in safe spaces with people they trust is just a sign of how “damaged” they are is cruel. It’s also incorrect.

Is it just me or do the R twins shaming of kinksters sound alot like: “What did a man do to you that drove you to be a lesbian?”

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

People keep pointing out that the kink scene has bad elements in it and that it can be unsafe and even rapey. How is that different from straight, vanilla scenes? There is some abusive, non-consensual, missionary position, lights off, man on top, married, monogamous sexing going on all over. Abuse happens in those kinds of relationships all the time, but nobody is calling that sort of relationship intrinsically dangerous, unhealthy or a sign of a damaged person.
Well, some rare radfems in the 70s did, but I don’t think their are many of them still around.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: pecunium

The only substantive difference between me the athlete and the kinkters you bemean, insult and degrade, is that I am doing it for sport, and they are doing it for sexual pleasure.

EXACTLY. My husband used to box for sport. He eventually quit, but is he supporting patriarchy because he enjoyed boxing? Because obviously that’s SO VIOLENT and he must enjoy assaulting other people! *eyeroll*

Seriously, I guess women’s rugby is the most patriarchal sport of all, all those women beating each other up for male spectatos and all. Christ.

RE: Lea

Abuse happens in those kinds of relationships all the time, but nobody is calling that sort of relationship intrinsically dangerous, unhealthy or a sign of a damaged person.

Yeah, that was also what really honked me off. My rapist was all about the hearts and flowers. And yet that’s supposed to be the kind of sex I ONLY will have, because it’s so obviously “better”? HAHAHAHAHA fuck that shit.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

“HAHAHAHAHA fuck that shit.”
Seconded

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

Correction: “…*there are many…”

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

That’s a good point about sports. I used to be a diver and would get literally bruised and battered by it. Sometimes you hit the board. Sometimes you land horizontally and smack the water hard. One time I didn’t properly kick out of a back 1 1/2 and smashed my knee into my nose. I was lucky it didn’t break.

I guess I’m really emotionally damaged to have put myself through all that all for the sake of ‘somersaults wee!!!!’

katz
7 years ago

This unstuck flounce particularly irritated me because of why zie came back. Zie wanted to make sure we knew how much zie cars about rape victims.

Because I’m getting a strong vibe that she doesn’t actually care about the people, but that she cares very much about being perceived to care about them, and specifically about caring more than anyone else.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: WWTH

Damn, I had no idea diving could be so harsh on the body. You learn something new every day. (Though I DID know about the whole back-splat phenomenon.)

Yeah, I’m really side-eyeing the Rs for bringing up how everything that looks at all violent MUST be violent… but only if WOMEN are doing it in bed. If men are boxing or playing hockey, well, apparently that doesn’t say anything about them at all! Because that’s not DEVIANT or some such shit.

Seriously, I’m STILL pissed at that double-standard.

RE: katz

This unstuck flounce particularly irritated me because of why zie came back.

I can’t believe I’m having to utilize this comic AGAIN, but yeah. To apologize PROPERLY, you have to be sincere (the R’s have claimed we verbally abused them, and have said outright they’re trying to pacify us), acknowledge what you did wrong (never did), and change behavior (NEVER FUCKING DID).

That’s why I expressed my disappointment early and said “you’ve learned nothing.” Seriously, I guess us little crazypants survivors are just being overly sensitive to our allies or some such shit.

Someone fetch me a barf bucket.

katz
7 years ago

I mean, who the hell says something like this?

I wonder if they will have as much sympathy with a raped friend as I do?

What kind of person measures other people’s levels of sympathy using their own as a benchmark? Someone who doesn’t give a toss about the friend and just wants to be seen as a pious, sympathetic person.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

Shorter R: “I’m ever so sensitive to rape survivors, as long as they have the sort of sex I approve of. Having been victimized in the past makes it impossible for a person to know what’s good for them. So, I tell them (saint that I am). I’m an authority on which sex is the correct kind of sex. The rest of you are twisted, sick and probably a danger to yourselves and others. If only everyone were as kind and thoughtful as I. I have the right kind of turns on’s and that makes me an all around better person than you. When you tell me I’m a condescending asshole who is wrong, that’s abuse.”

Can you feel the looooove tonight……

Gen
Gen
7 years ago

Back to the drunken sex discussion just for a moment (I’ve been away for the weekend), This

I’d rather play the wording game about ‘what is drunk?’ when we’re not living in a world where women are afraid to report their own assaults and rapes because they had a few drinks, and it was enough for them to be vulnerable but not enough for the court of public opinion to declare them drunk. But when it comes to sexual encounters when consent has any level of uncertainty, I wish people would be erring on the side of ‘not raping other people’, not on the side of ‘afraid to hurt feelings about sexual preferences.’

is more or less my pov too. I do not mean to take away the agency of drunk people or anything like that at all. I know people who are buzzed can safely and happily enjoy sexytimes without any raping going on.

I just think that in a discussion like this, when you leave even the slightest wriggling room, someone like Rilian will come and try to bulldoze it into a “but what if she just regrets it in the morning” or “but what if both the man and woman are drunk” or “but what if she only had one beer” or whatever other “but what if” they can come up with.

That’s why in discussions like these, I tend to take the hardline approach, because then there can be no doubt and no “confusion” (Lourde, how I hate the whole “but I’m just sooo confused! You need to drop everything right now and explain these basic concepts to me over and over again so that I can think up ways to try to invalidate what you say”).

Maybe I should modify it to “if you are the kind of person who worry that she’ll regret it in the morning or feel confused about the difference between drunken sex and rape, don’t sex when anyone’s been drinking”.

***

As for retha, that quip about Shrodinger’s Rapist just completely made me lose all faith that she’s arguing in good faith. To me it sounds like an extension of WTF’s “argument”: engaging in consensual play about rape/pain/whatever means that the person who engages in this play can not then actually be raped/hurt/whatevered.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it.

tinyorc
7 years ago

I also have no time for the “how drunk is too drunk?” question when it comes to discussions about rape. Because the question should never be “was there alcohol involved?”, it should always be “was there consent?” Two people can be drunk as skunks had still have completely consensual mutually fulfilling sex. Equally, someone can be raped after two glasses of wine. The levels of alcohol consumed have nothing to do with anything.

The reason I argue against the “never have sex with anyone who has been drinking” is not just because I believe drunk people have agency. I also believe that it’s actually actively harmful to consent culture and perpetuates dangerous myths about how and why rape happens.

The idea that you should have been sex with anyone whose been drinking just in case you rape them gives a lot of credence to the idea that “accidental” rape is a common occurrence: that it’s very easy for a well-intentioned person to rape someone because of the mixed signals and blurred lines caused by alcohol, which is the same myth that predators love to use as cover for their very deliberate predatory activities. It also lends to credence to the myth that there are women who don’t know the difference between drunken sex and rape, which is not only infantilizing, but plays right into the stereotype that all women are fickle bitches who will cry rape at the drop of a hat because they’re embarrassed about having a one-night stand.

Alcohol is the weapon of choice for most sexual predators. This is well-documented fact. Others don’t actively use it, but believe that the presence of alcohol means they don’t have to obtain consent. But that doesn’t mean alcohol magically transforms some people into predators, and others into prey. This actually dovetails nicely with the conversation going on about kink in this thread. Just because some people use kink as a cover for abuse and rape, doesn’t mean everyone should stop practicing BDSM just in case.

So for me, “never have sex with a drunk person” isn’t a useful message. The only people who will actually take it on board are people who already have a working knowledge of consent and who are conscientious enough about it that they would worry about accidentally raping someone. Meanwhile, it promotes the “alcohol makes consent so haaaaaard” narrative, which allows predators to maintain their cover and also allows them flip the tables and say “Well I was drunk too, so how do you know I wasn’t the one was raped?” So my hard and fast rule is “I don’t care how drunk the other person it, you must obtain consent.” That’s not giving predators any wiggle room, but it makes it much clearer that line between sex and rape is CONSENT, not one beer too many.

tinyorc
7 years ago

The idea that you should have been sex with anyone whose been drinking…

OK, excuse my incoherence, it’s quite late here and I am (lol) hungover. This sentence should read “The idea that you should not have sex with anyone who has been drinking…”

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: katz

I mean, who the hell says something like this?

Yeah, they really don’t seem to realize how pissed they got me by implying my husband DIDN’T FUCKING CARE. He was the one who held me when I went to the cops! He was the one who supported me through all that! He was the ONLY FUCKING PERSON in my fucking life at that time (asides from the rest of my system and someone I was paying for brain-health) who actually helped me during that time. My family were too busy pretending it never happened. My online friends helped as best they could, but were far, far away. And my offline friends… I had one. They were busy keelhauling me the night before for some perceived slight.

But my husband was there.

So yes, I CAN safely say he cared more about a rape survivor than they did. Because he treated me a bajillion times better than they did, even if he likes tying my hands sometimes.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

Also, regarding drinking and sex, I never understood why this was such a big deal.

Say me and hubby are drinking. Having a drink or two might lower our inhibitions and make it easier to say, “I WANNA,” but it won’t magically turn our “I don’t wanna,” into “I WANNA.” (And also, we’ve been with each other a long time. We can recognize if the other is maybe trying to initiate sex for less-than-healthy reasons, and are well-equipped to say, “Sorry, I’d rather not tonight.”) I have had awesome fun pouncing hubby when we’ve had a drink or two, because with him, I feel totally comfortable and safe saying, “I WANNA.”

But if you’re feeding people drinks in the interest of turning an “I don’t wanna,” into “I WANNA,” then you’re a creep and a predator, regardless of how many drinks you’ve had.

If you’re feeding people drinks in the interest of making them physically incapable of even SAYING, “I don’t wanna,” or shoving you off, then you’re a creep and a predator, regardless of how many drinks you’ve had.

If you’re specifically seeking out really drunk people with the hopes of taking advantage of their boozed state, regardless of how many drinks they’ve had, then you’re a creep and a predator, regardless of how many drinks you’ve had.

If you become a predatory person when you drink, then for the love of god, DON’T DRINK WITH OTHER PEOPLE. Preferably don’t drink at all. If you keep finding yourself in situations where you HAVE to drink, then I side-eye you and your fucking rationalizations.

If you’re not comfortable having sex with drunk people, for whatever reason, then DON’T HAVE SEX WITH DRUNK PEOPLE. This is a totally acceptable thing! For a while, me and hubby had an arrangement where no sex should ever happen before we were fully awake and alert. This doesn’t mean that other couples can’t have consensual sleepy sex, it just wasn’t in our comfort zone at the time.

It’s not the alcohol itself, most of the time. It’s how predators use it. They like to kick up all this dust with, “But what if we’re both drunk, we’re raping each other!” and “but how will I KNOW?” and “I had a drink and roofied her, so she must have raped me!” But it’s not really that hard, guys.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Did any of you follow the avatar links to Retha’s blogs? It makes a bit more sense when you do. Doesn’t excuse the whole “I guess you horrible people would probably want to your friends’ rapes” thing, or the not-pology, but it does make it a bit clearer that what’s going on here is an ick disguised as a political concern.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Wank, not want, though it wouldn’t surprise me if she came back with an argument that we want our friends to be raped at some point.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: cassandrakitty

Don’t care. If she had a bad experience and she’s coped with it by being douchey to me, she can still fuck off with her bad self.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

It’s not that, she seems to be a (former?) religious conservative. Which isn’t an excuse for her pissing all over people here, I just found it kind of funny when I went and checked out the links and was all “oh, that’s where the ew ick stuff is coming from”.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: cassandrakitty

And yet we got two of them in the same thread. *sigh* Lord save me from my saviors, who strip me of agency for my own good.

pecunium
7 years ago

Cassandra: I got the “this is a thing I don’t like; so I will find some overarching reason to decry it in all it’s forms” from the get go. I’m actually glad to hear that it’s more overt in other places.

Which, of course, means the real problem is a massive empathy fail on Retha’s part.

Kim
Kim
7 years ago

Cat people – why does she do that? It’s so weird, whenever she’s about to drink she yowls as she sort of settles into place.

She’s seeing off the crocodiles.

Retha
Retha
7 years ago

I don’t expect you to react positively to this entry. This comment is because I am sorry, not to manipulate anyone’s reactions.

I am sorry for partially agreeing with someone who used the word sociopath to refer to people who like to hurt others. Bad people are usually not mentally ill, and mentally ill people are usually not dangerous, or morally worse than other people.

I apologize for how I agreed with a part of what RubyRubyRuby said. It was done in such a way that people could easily conclude I endorse even more of it than I do.

I called it morally ugly to enjoy giving pain. Of course, taking out a splinter with a needle is not about giving pain, as you are not rejoicing in the pain of the needle, but helping to solve a problem. To anyone who does not like the displeasure or discomfort of a partner, but their pleasure: I have never intended that statement on you, and apologize if I expressed myself so badly that you feel otherwise. I realize that the thought that I find your non-hurtful behavior that ugly is a terrible thought. People are different and have turn-ons and turn-offs. It goes without saying that if neither you not your partner enjoys to hurt the other one, if neither puts their own need ahead of the partner’s, nor forces/ pressures the other into disliked things, the relationship is better than one with force, pressure, delibarate hurt and/ or selfishness. I believe every one of you who say an enthusiastically consensual, rough relationship with someone who do not want to hurt, but to give pleasure in a rough way, is not rape. I am sorry if I worded myself so badly that you thought you even needed to tell me that.

Rape is never okay, and mistreating people – even those who play games where “no” don’t mean “no”, where another safe word is used – is certainly wrong.

Where I reacted without listening, I apologize. (But there are places where I listened and could not understand and were too afraid to ask, noticing what happened to previous questions. In that matter, I cannot respond well.)

I am sorry for saying I will leave the thread, and not leaving it. That was because at one point I thought that staying out will calm angry and hurt people best. And at times after that I incorrectly thought coming back to empathise/ correct wrong perceptions/ agree that I learned from someone will work best. It obviously did not work. Right now, I am not here to make anger subside, but to apologize where I can – There are other things I won’t apologize for because I never said them, and others I won’t apologize for because I still believe them.
I don’t expect a positive reaction to this apology, and assume no amount of apology will help – especially since some things I was accused of are things I never said and thus won’t apologize for. In future I will use another nickname on this blog.

To apologize PROPERLY, you have to be sincere (the R’s have claimed we verbally abused them, and have said outright they’re trying to pacify us), acknowledge what you did wrong (never did), and change behavior (NEVER FUCKING DID).

1) Sincere: I know I am. How you judge my sincerity is up to you. Trying to pacify – I said “appease” – I care enough to have wished I could help with your hurt or angry feelings. I now accepted that your feelings is something I can do nothing to change.
2) Acknowledge: This comment will probably be insufficient for that. I did aknowledge and apologize, (in both this comment and some previous ones) but I know some people want me to apologize for even more.
3) Change behavior: a) I won’t ever speak in such a way that it sounds like a confusion between mental health and moral evil again, because the two are different. b) I will take even more care that even when I speak against hurting on purpose, I will do it in such a way that I never give any impression that it is okay to hurt people because they have rape-y fantasies. It is certainly never okay to rape.

(There is one point many of you tried to make towards me that I still have questions about, but the atmosphere is probably to hostile to ask clarification.)

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

No, Retha. Those games are not wrong. Calling kinksters evil is not changing your behavior.
Please, just go away.

Retha
Retha
7 years ago

Calling kinksters evil?
Not all kinksters enjoy giving pain. Not all who enjoy giving pain are kinksters.
I call enjoying to give pain, including emotional pain, evil. (An activity, not a people group) Not kinksters.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Not reading the teal deer, but seriously, people, if you say you’re going to exit a conversation then you should actually do so. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it.