Mister Yuck

PoliMicks - Hey, somebody's gotta bitch, right?

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Rape Myth #7: He doesn't look like a rapist and "He's my friend he can't be a rapist, I'd know."
Mister Yuck
polimicks
This one is going to be particularly upsetting to some people. And let me reassure you that the one specific in this post is not anyone who reads this. I am going to ask that if you feel the need to jump my shit for saying any of this, that you take a break first. Because I feel amazingly fragile for just having written it out.





He doesn't look like a rapist does he? He's smiling with his lovely wife. But he is. DNA evidence from multiple victims convicted this man as a serial rapist in England. The Thursday rapist, from 1998 until 2006 he attacked women ranging in age from 12 years old on up, there are no ages given for his adult victims. On the Thursdays that he was out assaulting other women, his wife thought he was tinkering on cars, and was grateful for a night to watch whatever she wanted on the television.

When I go back through my high school yearbooks, and see the picture of the guy who raped me, I am frequently struck by how very young and child-like he looks to me now. We were fifteen when he raped me, and he looked his age. He was also on the varsity football team, and had no shortage of girls to to choose from. In fact, after he raped then dumped me, he immediately took up with another girl, who managed to escape unscathed. I never told her he'd raped me, but he'd been asshole-ish enough to her without rape that she thought she understood what I was going through. After she dumped him, for pressuring her about sex, she sought me out.

The fact remains that you cannot tell if someone is going to be a rapist just by looking at them. If you could, the rape rate would be a lot lower. You just can't. It doesn't work that way.

And like I said in the last post, and will undoubtedly say again. I know that no one wants to admit that someone they like, respect and hang out with is a rapist or even could be a rapist. Hell, even after someone I knew admitted to rape in front of me, while denying it was rape, I didn't want to believe it. And I actually caught myself thinking for a second, "If she hadn't wanted it, why did she stay the night?" And this was with KNOWING that she was too drunk to drive home and that was the only reason she'd stayed there. She said no, and he didn't respect that. He got upset at her for crying afterward. And she'll never press charges, possibly because she blames herself for what happened, possibly because she knows her chances of getting any sort of justice are extremely nil. They'd dated, they'd had sex before...

And realize, that this is from a conversation with HIM. She never said a word to me or anyone I knew about this. Period. And he to this day does not believe there was anything wrong with what he did. Nope.

And part of this is not wanting to acknowledge that if he'll rape someone else, you're at risk, too, from someone you let into your home, who you have hugged, who you've maybe even made out with or had consensual sex with. You don't want to believe that this guy you trust would ever turn that trust against you or someone else. It's a sickening feeling and realization when someone you trust turns out not to be who you thought they were. It really is sick-making. It hurts a lot, and it's fucking scary when you realize, "I was alone with X so many times..." "If I had said no, would he have forced me anyway?"

One of the reasons getting into arguments with people about this, about the myth that women are running around higgledy-piggledy accusing men of rape without a care in the world, about the fact that sometimes otherwise decent people do amazingly shitty things if they think they can get away with it, or don't even consider those things to be shitty things, is that some of the hidden attitudes toward women that surface in these arguments frighten me. The idea that people I hang out with on a regular basis could think that the minute my ass sets one foot in their apartment/bedroom/car, I've committed to having sex with them should they decide they want it regardless of whether or not I want to, scares the holy fucking hell out of me, particularly when some of these guys might actually be able to take me in a fight. Or even if they themselves wouldn't do such a thing, that they would think it understandable or permissable for someone else to do that to me or any woman, it scares me.

Because underlying that is the reality that they really don't have my back. That someone could hurt me again, and they would blow it off because I was "asking for it." It's the fear that they really don't see me as a full human being who should be allowed to dictate who has access to her body.

And while in a lot of these cases, I strongly suspect that they would have my back, what is it that makes me different from those other women? Is it like my racist uncle who drops the N-bomb constantly but says, "I'm not racist, I have a black friend?"

I don't know. I just know that I worry, even if they do have my back now, what would it take for me to slip into that category with "other women" and lose that support.

{{{{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

I've always been amazed and appalled at the number of people who assume that they know enough about a friend, even a good longtime friend, to swear that they'd never do anything horrible, even if witnesses and videotape are involved. When I was finishing high school, my home town had an incredibly nasty hit-and-run accident where a father and his two daughters were bicycling down a low-traffic road and were killed by a drunk driver. Witnesses saw the driver speed off and saw him take a chug from the beer in his hand as he was doing so. The officers who arrested him found him in possession of enough alcohol to have killed Hunter S. Thompson. However, the judge was an old friend, and the coot never recused himself from the case due to conflict of interest: he let the driver go because "I've known [Smitty] all my life, and he'd never do anything like that."

If there's any good at all that came out of that whole situation, seeing as how trying him again would constitute double jeopardy, it's that Texas finally ended up with much more stringent open container laws because of it. Those laws don't bring that father and his daughters back, though, and they didn't make the driver even slightly apologetic for manslaughter.

You know, I'm sure what you say applies to many, but also the fact that certain people are just not rapists and they were falsely accused is a plain, stark reality. We don't live in a black/white 0/1 binary world.

What you talk about is not a myth. It is an assumption. You are assuming that most people accused of rape are rapists. Sadly, most people who accuse other of rape never make their way to courts and thus interviews and statistics.

Facts:

Men rape women. It happens. It's a sad fact of reality that I wish would go away, kind of like how I feel about murder and abuse of children.

Sometimes people are accused of things they did not do. In fact, it happens often. That's why there are laws (albeit somewhat broken ones) in place to try to prevent this sort of thing. I speak from personal experience that these laws don't really help. (Though I did get a nice official apology.)

Most people at their core are capable of being vindictive motherfuckers. History proves this particular fact in spades. Based on this fact alone, it has to be assumed that people are raped, and falsely accused of raping others, on a regular basis.

End Facts.

So, I'm not necessarily arguing your points; but I want to be certain that I point out that some people don't rape others, never have and are falsely accused. And it's not as simple as "I just know he wouldn't do it". Usually this is what people say to avoid getting into detail while in casual conversation. What you say, if taken the wrong way, can give fuel for alarmists out there and help to create a backlash that takes us back to the days where the news media is all like "Well, she was asking for it".

I suppose my overall point is: It's not a binary issue, even though the thing in question itself is really a yes/no type of event. Did it happen or not?

I've seen people accuse others of all sorts of heinous things that ended up being false. Rape, assault, theft, arson, murder, child molestation. And I lead a relatively normal life. I can't believe I'm the only person like this.

But I guess this is supposed to be about polemics and incendiary topics. Just keep in mind it's not all so cut and dry. Though I do understand it's difficult to have a neutral, unbiased perspective when one is a victim (nothing wrong with that, either) and when most "facts" taken into consideration are shaped by personal anecdotes (mine included).


And, uh, I lost my train of thought. Just insert some more seriousness here or something.


Keep up the excellent posts. Agree or disagree, I support you right to speak your wondrous mind!


I disagree with your rebuttal on two points.

First, you state that the OP's assertion is an assumption, rather than the discussion of a myth, based furthermore on the assumption that most people accused of rape are rapists. To put it in argumentative terms, identifying and acquiting a person on the basis of their looks is an appeal to emotion. In scientific terms, we'd be looking at a case of anecdotal evidence. Neither are sufficient to actually address the question of rape and culpability. While some people can believe all they want that they can judge a person's actions on appearance or understanding, the fact that we come in such wondrous variety would seem to poke one large hole in this argument.

Second, you make an assumption when you say "Most people at their core are capable of being vindictive motherfuckers. History proves this particular fact in spades. Based on this fact alone, it has to be assumed that people are raped, and falsely accused of raping others, on a regular basis." People being vindictive motherfuckers does not dictate the frequency at which they will be vindicitive motherfuckers, and therefore, we cannot know if people are falsely accused of rape on a regular basis. Given the amount of evidence we have to the contract, combined with the issues that rape itself raises, I believe it is extremely likely that rape that is reported is very rarely falsely accused. I believe the OP has previously given a statistic of 8% from the FBI for the cases in which a reported rape case is a false accusation.

Hm, I like your smart words. You're hired.
Also, if you were paying attention, I said I was talking about accusations, not necessarily filed reports. We all know most rapes and rape accusations never even make it to official reports. Of course, YMMV.

But I'd also love to see how that FBI stat was procured. Not that I'm saying it's wrong-- I'd just like to know.

I agree, you were talking about accusations in the broad term. However, I believe my reasoning still stands. Whether or not a statistic is going to refer to unreported elements is a secondary issue.

Yeah, now we're talking semantics and that's always a ball, eh?

No worries, you have good points. I'm not even disagreeing with them.

My thing with the statistic is that too often in my tenure of this fleshy suit have I seen stats cherry pickerd, intentionally or not. Hell, I've even done it before, without realising what I had done. Not saying Mickey cherry-picked, either. It's just that I want -all- the statistics, how they were procured etc. It really does matter.

For instance, if the stat is number of rape cases dropped after it was discovered during an official investigation that the accuser was lying (thus unlawful persecution-- a crime) then it should reflect that particular fact. Whereas if the stat was compiled through official reports and unofficial reports and otehr means, that would be good to know. Sounds like I'm nit-picking-- and I am.

However, I must say it doesn't really have any bearing on Mickey's overall point. I would just like to know, is all.

I know exactly what you mean. I think my point is that you were doing your own cherry picking in your initial statement, only with a Fermi problem, rather than a statistical report.

Ooooh, nice. That's a very good observation, and I can see that now that you point it out. I do think my initial intention was to cherry pick a bit (i.e. focus on one thing)... And honestly, though only a few hours later, I don't even know where I was going with it.

I rarely comment on these things because no matter what one says (aside from any kudos) they will get in a futile protracted discussgument with another party. So, I'd like to thank you for not engaging in that kind of thing. when I said "smart words", I wasn't being sarcastic. :)

The definitions and data used in the FBI reports are included in their annual "Crime in the United States" report. It can be viewed here: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/index.html

Specifically topics including forcible rape are separated from other sexual offenses. For forcible rape statistics in 2007:
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offenses/violent_crime/forcible_rape.html
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offenses/clearances/index.html
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_29.html
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_07.html
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_12.html
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_13.html
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_14.html
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_15.html
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_16.html
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_17.html
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_18.html
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_19.html

If you have any questions on any of these tables or other data you find on the FBI statistical reports, please feel free to ask me and I will help if possible. In my day job, I am an anthropological researcher and statistician so I am familiar with most statistical methods and descriptions.

Thank you-- you rule! :)

Any time - I use government data a lot so I am used to parsing the reports to find the parts I need...and the definitions they used.

You know, these links and datasources look to make for a great place to research things in general for certain thing I work on from time to time, so a massive "thanks" goes in your direction.

If you want to know how the statistics were collected, talk to the FBI and DOJ. They're the ones who gathered and reported them.

Oh, yeah. I'll just give them a jingle. ;)

Though the sources provided earlier work nicely for what would be required.

We don't live in a black/white 0/1 binary world.

No shit Sherlock! She's never presented it as such.

And I never really said she did... sherlock. ;)

Oh I assure you I'm no Sherlock - I'm a Watson! ;-P

For what it's worth - if I hear an accusation I like to get both parties sides of the story before coming to any conclusions about it.

From my own experience, sometimes things happen that were not intended to be bad and it's often a lack of willingness to talk about it that results in bad feelings. If we can get to a point where people can feel comfortable about talking about it then we have made progress. Eh, I'm pre-coffee and am having a hard time expressing what I mean...

Oh, I totally know what you mean and I hear ya. So, no worries, Watson, I'm down with what you're saying. :)

Thank you so much for these posts. I'm just starting to face the things I've gone through and am still dealing with accepting that I was raped. Even when I say it I still try to justify it as being my fault inside my head. It's not an easy thing to work out and reading this journal, seeing that it's not just me thinking like that and needing the reassurance that it's not on my shoulders.

Many a time, when alone with someone I was getting weird vibes from, I thought: AM I prepared to seriously injure this person?

I had a really close call when I was naieve and 14. Two brothers, and my friend and I were partying together, the older brother and my younger friend were talking, myself and younger borther didn't feel like part of the conversation. "Lets go to my room." Sure, Ok. It didn't even occur to me that he had any interest, I figured he was going to show me his artwork or something. He pushed me down on the bed, I was nervous, but not *freaked*. No, what are you doing? No...When I tried to get up and he pushed me down again, I said "Dude, NO." I pushed back, he tried to hit me, I blocked and backhanded him in the face. He had easily 70 pounds on me and was damn strong. I kicked him in the shins and headed for the door. when I got to the living room, my friend and his brother were sitting close, talking quietly. "I've gotta go." I said. My friend didn't even say anything to him and followed me out.

I wondered if he would call the cops or come after me with friends. He didn't. I ran into him a couple years later and got a glare, but that was it.

Thinking back, I suppose I could've reported him for even trying to go that far, but it never occurred to me. I was told he had a black eye-though I find it hard to believe I'd hit him that hard, I was physically unscathed, he wasn't going to try again.

If he had managed to go through with it, I think it would've been a LOT harder to report him and admit I was a victim than not, I don't know. Not even because no one would've believed me; he didn't have a lot of friends. First of all, we weren't supposed to be out, my folks would've locked me away the rest of my life, I don't like cops, and a court trial ...Just...yikes. I don't know.

If someone had pointed him out beforehand and said "He'll try to rape you." I would've thought they were nuts. Large but not tall soft-spoken friendly but socially inept 20-year-old native american. Apparently he was of the mind that women were 'something you mated with'. What kind of woman raises kids like that? Or is it learned later?

Glad I had that experience in a weird way, though; I think it kept me wary of future situations I might not have escaped from so easily.

There are far far more women raped than men who are falsely accused. Women most often don't report it, and when they do they are in for a huge amount of hate and vitriol thrown their way and most likely the rapist avoids conviction. While it sucks to be falsely accused, the incidence of actual rape that goes unpunished is so huge that I would rather concentrate on that.

Add to that the fact that a lot of men don't consider rape to be actual rape, and I just get sick.

Makes you stop and think if you really know the people you think you know.

Thank you for posting this. It seems to be very hard for some people to understand that some women go through life with this thought in mind. As a previous rape victim, you no longer have the privilege of assuming that the people you meet and like are safe and trustworthy - that illusion is shattered. Someone may look nice, be friendly, and spend years being a friend...then do something heinous to you or someone else. It isn't your fault for not being psychic.

Hi, I saw your journal on feministing.com, RIGHT ON with everything you're saying, there's WAY too much leniency towards rapists in this culture.

you are so amazing

(Anonymous)

2009-09-27 05:07 am (UTC)

and brave. Thank you for posting. Rape is the most underreported crime, not the most falsely reported and it's high time that people understand that. The past 10 months I've been so angry b/c a frat boy from out-of state raped one of my friends in the shower of the house i was moving into--virtually no one will believe her word over his b/c "he's such a nice guy, and would never do that," never mind that someone heard it and just thought it was bad sex (since one of our house mates has really raucous, painful sounding sex) and that she said it was him, had to spend a day in the hospital getting stitches and treatment for laceration and deep bruising but too bad, he was blackout. He doesn't remember. He'd never *ever* do that.
This is what these people say after he's had a history of crossing the line with women, making folks uncomfortable and writing "I really raped that oral exam. One more midterm to go" on facebook after he's been "accused" of rape.
To the man (and i'll be shocked if you're female) who wrote all that crap about it's not a black and white binary, do 63 hours of rape crisis training and then give me that argument. It's easy to talk about false accusations if you've never been there.

My heart goes out to you, Polimicks. Keep speaking out.
-Ira

Re: you are so amazing

polimicks

2009-09-27 05:31 pm (UTC)

Thank you for your kind comment.

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