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As the community is busy arguing about the finer details of date rape in the Rescue to Recommended diary, Are We Doing Young Persons a Disservice by Teaching them No Means No?,  an interesting article came up in my Facebook feed, an article about the Men's Rights Movement and their new campaign, Don't Be That Girl.

In the fore-mentioned diary where a teacher encourages both teenage boys and girls to see how they could have prevented a date rape scenario (a question that has it's own problems and issues), Tara the Antisocial Social Worker praised a program that has reduced rapes by 10% in the communities where it has been introduced. It's called Don't Be That Guy.

Some men have taken umbrage to the campaign. Don't Be That Girl is their response. Their campaign uses the same images and graphics of Don't Be That Guy yet sends an entirely different message:

Just because you regret a one-night stand doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual.
Granted, this blew up earlier this year in July but it's only today that I heard about it. And today I've been busy typing comments like a mad woman as I try to explain to folks that date rape isn't as mild mannered as it sounds and that rapists are people who plan ahead of time to commit a crime.

Our Western Culture has some serious problems when it concerns rape and I would hope that on a progressive website that we could at least agree that the words "No means No" were a beginning to change the conversation for the better. But I'm afraid that isn't so. In fact, the conversation here at Daily Kos is not all that different from the one that took place earlier this year in Edmonton.

First, let's talk about The Don't Be That Girl campaign in detail. It started in Edmonton, Canada with The Men's Rights Edmonton Association posting posters around the city:

The Mens Rights Edmonton association is taking responsibility for the campaign. One of its members, who did not want to identify himself, says this poster campaign was intended to counter the “Don’t be that guy” campaign that he says made “rape into a gendered issue.”

“We don’t blame victims for anything, we’re simply looking for an accurate discourse on the subject.”

This became a story after a Woman's Studies Instructor at the University of Alberta tweeted a photo of the poster with the accompanying text:

The tweet exploded with retweets and responses. The general consensus was that the men who started the Don't Be That Girl campaign were rape apologists and perpetuated a false stereotype:

“I think what their campaign is saying is that women lie about rape, about sexual assault to get back at a boyfriend,” said Karen Smith, executive director of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton. She cited national statistics as evidence that false reports don’t actually happen as often as some people may think.

“One to two percent of sexual assaults reported to the police would be false. And that would be the same for any other crime that would be reported to the police.”

But the responses weren't all negative. The association has found a lot of support as well. Global News Canada shared these responses from the Global Edmonton Facebook page:
Robert says, “No place in that ad does it say rape is right. It is okay to slam men but when an ad like this is out it suddenly is pro rape? Once again it does not say rape is right so why read more into it?”

Reid writes, “Why are “don’t be that guy” posters acceptable if the opposite aren’t? They’re making a presumption that all men are potential rapists and should be viewed and educated as such. False rape accusations are a reality. This sign is factual and correct.”

Chanceala says, “This ad actually doesn’t say rape is ok. It’s saying don’t be that girl that says whoo hoo let’s get it on and then cry foul after the fact. Women are not all innocent.”

Robin writes, “We are in danger of becoming so concerned with NOT being a “rape culture” that we swing the other way and demonize men in all circumstances, whether they are actually guilty or not. The “outrage” from people such as Don Iveson indicates to me that this is the way our community has swung already.”

How is all of this like a conversation about date rape on DailyKos? First, there is the assumption that date rape as a misunderstanding exists. Once again, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker points out in the comments that it is a fallacy that date rape stems from "miscommunication" or "misreading the signals" and gives us a link to read plenty of source material. And there are plenty of people in the comments that understand this and support this point of view.

Though there are many well-recommended comments, one of the most poignant has gone less noticed:

But the sad thing is that there are plenty of commenters that honestly believe if women communicated about sex beforehand that they would likely prevent rape from happening. Or if they avoided certain situations even though their peers are in those same places. The one that bothered me the most, however, included this in his comment:
Here is where I draw the ire of every woman on the planet but I am going to say it anyway.  The person who does not want sex has more of a responsibility to make that abundantly clear than the person who wants sex!  The person who wants sex thinks they are making it clear what they want by taking the other person back to their apartment, taking off some or all of their clothes and doing a lot of the rubbing and kissing and etc...  They believe that if the other person is willingly participating in all of this, it means they want the same thing.

The figurative saying that men are animals is correct but not just figuratively.  We actually are animals.  Ever see a male dog or cat around a female in heat?  How about a white tailed buck in rut?  They go nuts, they go raving mad to get that female.  I know that men are supposed to be civilised and in control of all of that but it takes incredible powers of restraint to so.  I have literally engaged in oral sex with a woman and moved up to position myself for entry only for the girl to say she didn't know me well enough to have sex with me.  It was like there was an animal in me trying to break loose that I had to hold back.  many women also do not realize that there is physical pain (AKA Blue Balls) that is REALLY painful and occurs when you are at that point and are stopped.  most women think this is a joke or a manipulation but it is real.

I honestly didn't know how to respond to this comment. And this is only a small piece of the entire comment. How do we even begin to even unravel the culture that allows this kind of thought to exist? This man really believes that men are animals and that control of that animal instinct is so extremely difficult that it just may not happen in certain circumstances. And that when that happens, it's the fault of the person who couldn't say no in a graphic enough way for that animal to understand.

I have written many times about the film The Invisible War and rape in the military. The message from that film that needs to be repeated again and again and again is simple: Rape is not a mistake.

Rape is not a miscommunication between two teenagers any more than it is a miscommunication between a commanding officer and his subordinate.

Rapists target their victims. Rapists don't look or act in any one specific way and they often appear to be model citizens, above reproach.

Watch the film. Share with friends. And please, if you have the ear of a young man or woman, please help guide them in a way that is helpful and productive and allows for both young men and women to embrace their own sexuality in ways that are healthy.

Originally posted to A Progressive Military Wife on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 02:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by This Week in the War on Women.

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