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Welcome back! It must be Thursday and time to tackle our weekly discussion on rape and sexual assault. We're into week five (skipped Thankgiving!) and gaining readers with each addition to the series.

Just a quick recap for those new to the series. We are sharing a list of statements that come from a 1990 survey of high school kids. They were surveyed before and after taking a Rape Awareness Program. Like the kids back then, we're taking a poll on each statement and comparing our responses with those from the 1990's. We're also discussing our responses in the comments and using the opportunity to expand our own knowledge, shine a light on our own pre-conceptions, and to discover new ways to discuss rape and sexual assault both within the progressive community and outside among family and friends.

I have been publishing on Thursday mornings and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. There are twenty-four statements in total and we're polling number six! A recap of statement number five can be found below the fold.

Statement #6: An unwilling victim could prevent rape if she or he wanted to.

Statement #5: True or False: Most rapists choose someone they know as a victim.

This statement is true.

The 1990 survey found that before taking a rape awareness class 44.3% of the students answered correctly. After the class, 74.1% answered correctly. That's a huge change compared to many of the other questions we've looked at.

Without taking a class but having 20 years of experience more, Kossacks answered correctly 91% of the time. We had only 6% voting false and only 2% voting Shades of Gray. This was also our lowest polling numbers with only 95 participating. If you would like to see more votes, please consider recommending the diary so it will see more eyes.

Something compelling has happened in 20 years for the numbers to jump so drastically. In fact, I would say something compelling happened in that Rape Awareness Class for about 30% of the students to change their answers. Since I wasn't sitting in those classes, I can only take an educated guess at what was exactly taught. But my guess it was a simple lesson - the majority of rapists are not strangers that attack in dark alleys.

The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) dedicates an entire page to this subject alone:

The Rapist isn't a Masked Stranger.

Approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.
73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.
38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
28% are an intimate.
7% are a relative.
U.S. Department of Justice. 2005 National Crime Victimization Study. 2005.

He's not Hiding in the Bushes

More than 50% of all rape/sexual assault incidents were reported by victims to have occured within 1 mile of their home or at their home.

  • 4 in 10 take place at the victim's home.
  • 2 in 10 take place at the home of a friend, neighbor, or relative.
  • 1 in 12 take place in a parking garage.

43% of rapes occur between 6:00pm and midnight.
24% occur between midnight and 6:00am.
The other 33% take place between 6:00am and 6:00pm.

U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics. 1997 Sex Offenses and Offenders Study. 1997.

In our last discussion on this topic, dougymi raised an interesting point and because of it, voted Shades of Gray:
However, a lot of rapes worldwide occur in wartime situations and I'm fairly certain those victims are not known to the rapist, but are chosen because they are simply there and helpless in the face of an armed rapist.  I have to think that over the years, that would be a substantial number, given the conflicts in Central Africa and elsewhere where rape was endemic.  
While we've been trying to stick with US statistics, I found the question compelling and decided to do a little research. And the best answer I found came from a response by Koosah:
Even in some of those situations, though, the rapists and victims knew each other pre-conflict.  They were members of different tribes or groups, perhaps, but they actually lived in close proximity until conflict broke out.  I'm thinking of Rwanda. Didn't the Hutus and Tutsi actually coexist until the conflict?  And Serbia...those women often knew the men who raped them. They came from the same villages, but had different religions. The women could give names of their attackers to the investigators after the war.
The truth seems to be hidden - the websites where rape and war are discussed don't mention how many of the rapists are known to the victims. It does not seem to be information that has been collected in the past. So we are left with suppositions. There is a broad description of War Rape and then explanations of how rape was used in different wars on Wikipedia if you would care to read more. This I do know - the statement above is true for the United States and should be suspect if applied to times of war.

Thanks for reading today's diary. I hope you leave a comment down below. And please don't forget to vote in today's poll!

Diaries in the Series:

True or False: Most rapists choose someone they know as a victim

True or False: Women provoke and invite rape by their appearance and behavior

True or False: Physically forcing someone to have sex is rape.

True or False: Rape Can Happen To Anyone

True or False: Most Rapists Commit Rape For Sex w/ Poll

Originally posted to A Progressive Military Wife on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 06:52 AM PST.

Also republished by Sex, Body, and Gender, Rape and Domestic Violence, and Sluts.


True or False: An unwilling victim could prevent rape if she or he wanted to.

3%3 votes
84%84 votes
13%13 votes

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Comment Preferences

  •  Point of Clarification? (10+ / 0-)

    Are you asking if EVERY unwilling victim can prevent rape or if ANY unwilling victim can prevent rape?

    The former is an obvious no and the latter is an obvious yes, and if you answer either of them the "wrong" way it's a pretty offensive response.

    •  That's why I picked shades of grey (7+ / 0-)

      after having personally deflected three rapists.  Incendiary topics should be written about with careful language.

      •  That's a good topic to discuss as well. (6+ / 0-)

        When this survey was written 20 years ago, I think this statement was less controversial than it is today. Assumptions were made then that are less likely to be made today, don't you think?

        •  I chose "false" for a reason (8+ / 0-)

          goes back to something the (substitute, male) gym teacher told us in a 1970s "safety lecture" about getting away from attackers.

          When I asked, "What if there's two of them," he answered, "Lay back and enjoy it." Right there in a gym full of girls in their teens. No other adults around to hear, though. Pissed me right the fuck off at the time but there wasn't a goddamned thing I could do about that. Report him to the principal? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.  Talk about a "he said she said" romeo-charlie-foxtrot situation....

          So I got into the kind of shape that got me (and a buddy) invited to football tryouts the next year (we were a small school with nearly no boys the right size/ temper to play linebacker, in the era of Bob Lilly). Didn't go, but felt complimented by the invitation.

          In your face, Mr. Lay back and enjoy it.

          But I'm not proof against assault. Had somebody else not heard me yelling and intervened one night in a Barksdale AFB dorm, the groping would've turned into a rape within a minute or two -- not an "acquaintance" rape or a "date rape" but a straight-up beat-down. My roommate wasn't home and her boyfriend (one of several, and this one was drinking hard that night)  thought I'd be a fine substitute, willing or not.  I got out of it with nothing more than bruises and an abiding fear of certain phenotypes, but that irrational moment of ... pucker-factor elevation ... on sight remains  with me 30-plus years on.

          And I have sisters-in-law, and nieces, and one of my sons is married to a beautiful girl who's frighteningly physically delicate, in my eyes.
          There are thousands of boys and men who've never thought about being raped themselves who find out they're not invulnerable, every day, too.

          So no.

          Unless and until we're as serious, as a nation and individuals and church leaders, school teachers, mothers and dads, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts and daughters and sons, and school staffs and counselors and Lions Clubs and Shriners and students groups of folks watching ballgames together, about stopping rape as we are stopping drunk driving, the odds are way too against the unwilling person(s).

          LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:48:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The survey was written years ago... (6+ / 0-)

      I didn't chose the wording and since I know the answer I hesitate to guide you one way or the other. I'm sorry.

      I would love to hear more about your thought process either way.

    •  Given the time frame (6+ / 0-)

      for when the question was created I chose to read it as meaning that anyone could prevent a rape if they really wanted to do so.  They key for me is adding the piece about desire.  If it stated "an unwilling victim can prevent rape" then the question changes.  Yes, you can prevent rape - it has happened, continues to happen and will happen.  But not solely based on degree of desire.

      "I'm not left wing because i'm ideological, or passionate, or angry. I'm left wing because I'm informed." - Mikesco

      by newfie on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:24:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The key to the poll question is... (18+ / 0-)

      the words "wanted to." Those words provide the context for, and framing of, the question. The implication is that those who are raped are not fully motivated to prevent their rape. That's not quite the same as saying they asked for it, but it's pretty damn close.

      I, myself, was the victim of an attempted rape by a man known to me. He threw me down and pinned me to the ground. He was so much stronger than me, I couldn't move. As I struggled to push him off he punched me in the head. He was aiming for squarely between my eyes but I turned my head just in time to receive the blow to the right side, which gave me a concussion. I managed to escape through a combination of guile and clothing that was impossible to remove without either ripping it off or relaxing his hold on me. He relaxed his hold, I jumped up and ran into the street, and Merciful Mother of God, fell right in front of a police squad car.

      I was clever but more importantly, I was extremely lucky. Had I chosen to wear a skirt that night my attacker would have succeeded in raping me, and all the "wanting not to" in the world would not have helped me.

      This same man went on to brutilize his girl friend, putting her in a coma and nearly killing her. She never fully recovered from her head trauma. For that crime he was sentenced to ten years in prison. The police had refused to charge him in my case because I knew my attacker and because he did not succeed in raping me. Had they done their job the other woman would have been spared.

      "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

      by Involuntary Exile on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:42:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm Into Logic (0+ / 0-)

    And a tautology is still a tautology, so to speak.

  •  I would suggest that one reason for a more (9+ / 0-)

    informed public is that sexual assaults and rape are reported more frequently than they were in the 1980s and were reported more in the 80s than say in the 1950s.  The "slut effect" of asserting any woman who is raped "asked for it" was a powerful incentive against reporting in those days.  However, most people still think of rape as something that happens to other people. I don't remember the exact stats but I think that most people have at most one or two degrees of separation from knowing a victim.

    I note the MRA continues to spread their particular brand of misinformation and it seems a lot of benighted souls grab onto their statistics such as 87% of all rapes reported are false reports and are because of vengeful wives and GFs or else reflect "buyer's remorse".  MRA sites are palpably toxic but enough pols pay attention to them to make lurking around their sites worth the trouble, just to anticipate talking points which might make it to the  mainstream  

  •  I would say that the rape could be prevented (7+ / 0-)

    "if she had the means to prevent it", which, sadly, hardly ever is the reality.

    I do not think that anyone, ever, "wants" to be raped, male or female.

    Thanks, angelajean, these diaries are so important and I am grateful that you are providing this education to this community.


    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:22:01 AM PST

    •  I think the important way to grasp it (8+ / 0-)

      is that it is not the responsibility of the victim to prevent it. It is the responsibility of the rapist to not be a rapist!

      Sure there may be a handful of times where the stars align and the person being assaulted can get the upper hand, but that is irrelevant to the question of who is responsible for whether a rape occurs!!!!

      Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

      by Bobs Telecaster on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:53:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought I made it clear that your comment (0+ / 0-)

        is my position. I would never blame the victim and I am sad that you read what I wrote and assumed that. Wow.

        "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

        by rubyr on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:38:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That depends on how you define rape. Take for (0+ / 0-)

        instance two intoxicated people hook up (very common, particularly on college campuses).  The next morning one party feels that they were taken advantage of.  Now many would describe that situation as rape, while others would think it was a result of both parties acting without full access to their mental faculties.  That situation could be easily prevented by restraint on all sides.

        "Because I am a river to my people."

        by lordcopper on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:58:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We discussed the definition of rape here: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ahianne, trumpeter

          And included this from the Attorney General of the US:

          The new definition of rape is: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
          If one of these people in your supposed scenario above did not give consent, it was rape.
          •  Given the situation I described, which as I stated (0+ / 0-)

            is all too common on college campuses, how can either party speak definitively as to their actions, or mindset?  Given the state of altered consciousness.

            "Because I am a river to my people."

            by lordcopper on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:18:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  As in all court cases, the accuser must provide (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ahianne, trumpeter

              evidence that the accused is guilty. But being drunk does not prove innocence and should not provide a legal defense. It doesn't stop lawyers from trying.

              If you're still wondering why being drunk shouldn't be a line of defense, maybe this will help:

              If you are drunk and choose to drive resulting in an accident that hurts someone, should you be held accountable? Hell, yes!

              When you get drunk, will you stick your penis in a pencil sharpener or in the window of a police car? Probably not.

              Why? Because you have made the decision ahead of time to never ever do that because it would hurt. So why can’t men learn to not place our penises in or on women who are not con- senting? If we as men make that decision before we drink, just like the decision to not maul our penis in a pencil sharpener...Then it won’t happen when we are drunk!

              Women do not report rapes or feel they have been raped after consensual “drunk” sex. They do report rape after their bodies have been violated.

              Being drunk does not cause men to rape. However, society does set men up to think they have certain rights to sex. Assumptions men make while sober carry over when they are drunk. Both sober and drunk men use invalid excuses such as a woman wearing revealing clothing or behaving flirtatiously as reasons for assault. BUT REGARDLESS of whether a person is drunk or sober, NONE of these ridiculous excuses make the act of rape acceptable. Men do not have a right to sex no matter how drunk they are or how drunk the woman is! It is men’s responsi- bility to understand this and be responsible for their actions.

              Alcohol does not cause and male culture do

              And if this still doesn’t make sense then listen up. Sex with a woman who is too drunk to con- sent is rape. If you’re not sure...then don’t do it! No matter what, if she doesn’t say “yes” or is too drunk to say “yes” then you can be charged with rape, whether or not you think it’s “fair.”


              •  Human behavior is extremely complex, and (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                decisions made in a drug induced stupor (alcohol or otherwise) are rarely the same as those made in the sober daylight, and that applies to the "accuser" and the "accused".  While alcohol does not cause rape, it does lower inhibitions and often sets the stage for actions that one would not want to explain while sober, and that is also true for men and women.

                "Because I am a river to my people."

                by lordcopper on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:41:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It does not change the fact that a person who (0+ / 0-)

                  commits rape while drunk is a rapist.

                  What do you think about the rapes in Steubenville?

                  •  Or the fact that a person who is willing while (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    drunk can't rescind consent when sober.

                    "Because I am a river to my people."

                    by lordcopper on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:13:07 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Not sure what I think about this (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      A person who is drunk enough can't necessarily offer consent. If you're too drunk for a Vegas marriage to stick, for instance, it is usually because you're not believed to have been able to consent. I think the same thing can apply here.

                      Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

                      by Bobs Telecaster on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:52:43 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Image this situation as it occurs in reality. Two (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        people, liberally using spirits, with some level of attraction. Surely you recognize that neither has the forethought to take a breathalyzer before acting.  That's just how things happen in reality.   Now if you want to change the situation to that of a sober guy taking advantage of a passed out woman, then I would agree with your point.  But that's far different than two people, equally inebriated, deciding to engage in some level of intimacy, neither exercising their best judgement.

                        "Because I am a river to my people."

                        by lordcopper on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:02:29 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

              •  Wouldn't both (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                angelajean, Batya the Toon

                parties in the accident need to be intoxicated in order for this example to be equivalent?  So two drunk people drive their cars into each other...  I think in the described scenario the defense would be trying to show that both parties were inebriated to the point where neither made sound decisions.  I would think the burden would be to show that the accused did have reasonable faculties about them to decide the other could not consent.  

                If only this was the problem we face today.  We haven't gotten past blaming the victim if they are in the wrong place, the wrong clothes, drunk etc etc etc.  

                "I'm not left wing because i'm ideological, or passionate, or angry. I'm left wing because I'm informed." - Mikesco

                by newfie on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:21:58 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The second paragraph of your quoted text ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                ... I don't know about that.  People can do -- have done! -- incredibly stupid self-harming things while drunk; google "stupid injuries while drunk" for a random sampling.

                Of course, once you've done something incredibly stupid and self-harming (or other-harming) while drunk, it would really make sense to stop getting drunk.  Or at least stop getting drunk without a trusted friend to stay sober and keep an eye on you.

                •  True. People do stupid things while drunk. (0+ / 0-)

                  But they also have inhibitions that are not easily overcome, even while very drunk. What makes those inhibitions stick when others are so easily overcome?

                  •  A good question (0+ / 0-)

                    and one definitely worth looking into further -- but it might be a mistake to generalize before that further study.  I mean, you've got people who don't hurt themselves or anyone else when drunk, but lose an inhibition as basic as toilet training; what do we make of that?

                  •  Re (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    But they also have inhibitions that are not easily overcome, even while very drunk. What makes those inhibitions stick when others are so easily overcome?
                    How many people voluntarily have sex drunk when they wouldn't have done so sober? Countless.

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 05:02:29 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  I voted no....I do not believe once the (10+ / 0-)

    victim has been selected... and rape is on the cannot stop it short of killing them or getting the upper hand.   Instilling fear is a mighty big weapon on control and that is exactly what it is.  Has nothing to do with sex other than the penetration process and that is again control.   Instilling fear to the victim paralyzes so many....No.. short of biting it off or inflicting pain while being paralyzed with fear...nope...
    Most people cannot think straight enough to talk their way out of situations like that.. like saying I have Aids, herpes, a sexual disease....I said it once but I have no clue where that line of defense came from but glad I had it... I had already been raped twice in my life.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:27:01 AM PST

  •  Prudence is a virtue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    An “unwilling victim”?  As opposed to what?  A willing victim?  It is the very nature of a victim that he is unwilling.

    Even if we eliminate the adjective “unwilling,” we are left with the question, “True or False?:  A victim could prevent rape if he or she wanted to.”  This makes it sound as though the person in question was already a victim, and we are wondering if this victim can do anything to prevent rape.  So let us rephrase it:  “True or False?:  A woman could prevent rape if she wanted to (for ease of expression, I presume the feminine case).

    We should not blame a woman who has been raped, of course.  There are a lot of people who need to believe we live in a just world, in which there is no such thing as an innocent victim, and so, like the friends of Job, they will assume she must have brought it on herself.

    On the other hand, it would be going too far to say there is nothing a woman can do to prevent being raped.  There are a lot of people who are imprudent, and they justify their reckless behavior by taking a fatalistic stance, not simply regarding rape, but with respect to the many dangers of life.  There are no steps one can take to absolutely avoid being harmed, but surely we can cut down on the odds. Are we to say it makes no difference whether we lock our doors, park in a lighted area, or avoid walking through dangerous neighborhoods late at night?  Of course not.

    Prudent women get raped too, but less frequently than their imprudent sisters.

    •  I wonder if you have any statistics to back up (7+ / 0-)

      your last statement:

      Prudent women get raped too, but less frequently than their imprudent sisters.
      •  I appeal to your intuition and common sense (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, denise b

        Am I to suppose that you actually doubt this proposition?  Would you counsel women not to take precautions, to be reckless and careless of danger, since there is nothing they can do to improve their chances of not being raped?

        I suppose that it would be possible to do a psychological study to find out if prudent people are less likely to be victimized by crime than imprudent people, but I doubt that any psychologist would want to waste his time trying to scientifically verify the obvious.

        •  . (5+ / 0-)

          Speaking as the father of two extraordinary young women, "A woman can reduce her risk of being raped" is not a statement I would object to; "A woman could prevent rape if she wanted to"... is.

          "Prudent women get raped too, but less frequently than their imprudent sisters" sounds like the moral of an Aesop's fable from hell. I want my daughters to exercise good judgment, of course, but I can't imagine telling either one, "Now, be a prudent woman!"

          "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

          by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:07:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What utter bull$hit! The problem lies with men. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Men should not rape. Period. It should not be a woman's responsibility to prevent her own rape. A woman should be able to walk down the street buck naked and expect to be left alone. The problem of violence and lack of self-control lies entirely with the rapist and his attitude that he is entitled to take what he pleases when he pleases.

            "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

            by Involuntary Exile on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:53:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Mostly, involuntary Exile, but women do (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              angelajean, Batya the Toon

              sometimes rape and they shouldn't do that either.

              The problem is always with the rapist.

              The answer must be with changing the world to make rape unacceptable.

              LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

              by BlackSheep1 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:56:20 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Women do occasionally rape, mostly children. (3+ / 0-)

                They are vile criminals who should be locked away from society forever. Needless to say, a child cannot be blamed for being "imprudent" or in any way responsible for the situation that led to their rape.

                "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

                by Involuntary Exile on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:02:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ah, but the pedophiles do blame the kids (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ahianne, angelajean

                  for flaunting themselves.... jury testimony about a two-year-old "shaking herself in my face every day" from one child rapist comes to mind. And then you get the FLDS nutjobs ...

                  Look, what I'm saying is, we have to change the culture.
                  Nobody has the right to commit rape, regardless of gender, age, or anything else.

                  LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                  by BlackSheep1 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:14:48 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry Mark, this wasn't meant for you. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angelajean, Ahianne, HudsonValleyMark

            It was meant for disinterested spectator.

            "Some folks rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen." - Woody Guthrie

            by Involuntary Exile on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:58:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I figured, but thanks for the clarification n/t (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              angelajean, Involuntary Exile

              "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

              by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:58:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Whew! (4+ / 0-)

              I was trying to figure out what you had against Mark's statement - albeit his discomfort for using the word prudent instead of it's definition.  For me I am comfortable with the word prudent but wouldn't use it with my daughter (at least not purposefully) because she would look at me like I was from the 18th century.  

              I think we need to bear in mind that this is a difficult subject to clearly articulate.  Yes, we want our loved ones to be safe and if that means taking precautions to do so then that is what it means.  It doesn't mean if you do not take precautions then the victim is to blame - heck no!  And it doesn't mean if I suggest precautions be taken that I am blaming the victim if something were to happen.

              "I'm not left wing because i'm ideological, or passionate, or angry. I'm left wing because I'm informed." - Mikesco

              by newfie on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:38:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  not that I mind the word "prudent" (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Batya the Toon

                I agree that it's kind of anachronistic. But really my point was that I don't want to bin people as "prudent" and "imprudent." And I certainly never want our daughters to bin themselves in a derogatory category. "Imprudent women" sounds uncomfortably like "fallen women," although I don't think that's what the other poster was going after.

                Anyway, I agree with your comments.

                "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

                by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:09:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I think we need to be careful even with giving (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                newfie, Batya the Toon, irishwitch

                advice about precautions. When parents are doing it for their daughters, that's one thing. You are responsible for your children and your children only.

                When societies (and large organizations like universities and the military) rely only on precautions to potential victims as a way to prevent rape, they only end up creating different victims. And that's what our society has been doing for decades - warning women about certain behaviors of their own yet doing very little to make rape something that men just can't imagine doing. In fact, I am tempted to say that rapists are encouraged by all of the warning of women because it gives them a sense of validity - "I'm raping a woman who should know better and shouldn't be here in the first place."

                •  Let me focus on (0+ / 0-)

                  precautions.  Let the government/society focus on dealing with the crime and the criminal behavior.  At least the way I see it.

                  Don't be too tempted on that though.  I think folks like that are able to make an excuse out of anything.  I need to help my family protect itself to the best of their ability.  And that means making it darn clear that being assaulted is never a victim's fault.  but even in saying that - people have a hard time making these distinctions for themselves let alone being able to apply it to individuals or society at large.  

                  "I'm not left wing because i'm ideological, or passionate, or angry. I'm left wing because I'm informed." - Mikesco

                  by newfie on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:33:06 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I think it's not so much "should know better" (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  as "clearly is in the Fair Game category, because if she were in the Respectable Lady category she wouldn't be dressed like that / dancing like that / drinking / out of her house at this hour."

                  There really is (and has long been) this categorization of women, and it has always been up to women to make sure they are perceived as being in the Respectable Lady category by not doing anything inappropriate.

        •  The danger there is that we would never wish (3+ / 0-)

          to make a so-called imprudent woman feel to blame for being raped.

          •  What is prudent? (5+ / 0-)

            When I was sexually assaulted by a doctor during an employment physical, first, the employer said I was making it up and besides it was my fault and fired me. But woman after woman told me what THEY would have done to prevent it. Apparently I am the only woman in the world who was unprepared to meet an assault by a doctor. So I guess I was "imprudent" because, you know, I just didn't think to bash him over the head with the examining room lamp and run out into the hallway without clothes on or didn't scream loud enough to be heard through a nearly soundproof door. Prudent is another way of saying "it's your fault". Bull fucking shit. Would you tell a victim of an iPod theft it was her, excuse me, his, fault because he left it on the bus seat for 2 seconds while tying a shoe? How imprudent!

        •  Appealing to common sense and intuition are great (6+ / 0-)

          when we're making decisions based on gut instinct. But part of what we're trying to do with this series is find basis in fact. It means pushing the envelope on our own beliefs and trying to figure out why we think something and if there are actually facts to support what we think.

          And if I took your statement to be true, what do I assume about all those victims who share their stories here? Oh, were you one of the imprudent ones?

          Isn't that victim blaming all over again?

          Most of my reading about this topic has been related to the military. It is increasingly clear in military circles that taking personal action to prevent rape does not prevent rape. Rape prevention in the military has focused on changing potential victim behavior under the assumption that rape can be prevented in this manner. Buddy system, don't go out at night, don't drink, don't dress provocatively, don't wear make-up, do wear make-up, don't join the military in the first place... you name it and someone has suggested that a person could have prevented their own rape. In fact, many of the victims wonder after the fact what they did wrong when they didn't do anything wrong at all. Rape numbers have increased, not decreased, in the military. Some of the increase is possibly due to the new climate that allows victims to come forward and find support from outside organizations. But rape is still happening at twice the civilian rate. Many, many of these victims would be what you would call prudent.

          This is where we need to focus at the end of the day:

          Men are more likely to commit sexual violence in communities where sexual violence goes unpunished. (National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2004).                                                                                  
          •  Start with the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angelajean, irishwitch

            fact from above - three quarters of all rapes occur in situations that warrant no precautions or prudence if you will.  That number is likely a bit higher since there are a number of rapes that never get reported or discussed and I think these would lean heavily toward non-stranger assaults.  So talking of precautions or prudence is worthless and - as I tried to state above - very difficult to articulate well.  It isn't worth discussing when we talk about rape.  We need to focus as you suggest - making sure that rape does not go unpunished.

            "I'm not left wing because i'm ideological, or passionate, or angry. I'm left wing because I'm informed." - Mikesco

            by newfie on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:47:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  "intuition and common sense" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          angelajean, Ahianne

          So that would be a "no", then?

    •  I was also extremely bothered by the (5+ / 0-)

      phrase "unwilling victim" and the idea that someone might be able to avoid being raped if she/he  "wanted to."

      Does anyone really want to be raped? The idea that women secretly do want to be raped is a pernicious one, often used by rapists to justify their crimes.

    •  Oh, disinterested spectator, you're so cruising (3+ / 0-)

      for a HR here.

      Prudent women get raped too, but less frequently than their imprudent sisters.
      That's exactly the same thing as saying it's the victim's fault.

      The victim went out without an escort.

      The victim dressed provocatively.

      The victim behaved provocatively.

      I don't assume the feminine case for ease of expression, btw, and I'm female. So I'll just come out and tell you: the level of misinformation and misogyny implicit in your comment renders it a steaming pile.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:54:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  shades of gray (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    fighting back is good I'd think.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:37:43 AM PST

    •  Many women who fight or try to fight loose (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elmo, angelajean, Ahianne

      that battle and are either seriously injured or dead. Fighting is not always the best solution. I do not have links but have heard police say that every situation is different and the victim needs to assess for themselves if fighting back is the best course.
      Not so sure what I would do in that case. I was acquaintance  raped once and did not fight back, he was a wimp and it was over almost before it started, but if he had been more violent or I if I thought my life was in danger, I may have fought harder.
      Thanks again for this diary series Anjelajean! I really do appreciate the hard work you put into this series and staying with the diary for comments, answers, etc.
      Peace and Blessings!

      United we the people stand, divided we the people fall.

      by Penny GC on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:50:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, each woman should use her best judgment (5+ / 0-)

        but each woman ought to have some basic self-defense knowledge and skills to bring to bear.
        Years ago, studies indicated that in most cases women who resisted early on--by yelling or running or speaking forcefully--were able to get out of the situation without further harm.
        I believe those results were derived from so-called stranger rape attempts, however, and the dynamics with acquaintance rape are different.
        Twenty years ago, I used to be a serious martial artist and a self-defense instructor as well. I think the techniques we taught were useful. Of course, it's hard to identify what works, exactly, when the result desired is a non-event, so to speak.

        Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

        by peregrine kate on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:01:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  not sure I understand the question (0+ / 0-)

    by definition rape involves an unwilling participant who's been overcome to some extent by some application of force.

    Legally, the answer is no.  Because nowadays consent isn't part of the base legal calculation.  It can be a possible affirmative defense obviously, but that will usually require some evidence of willingness which your hypo removes.  

    Ignoring the law and looking at it from a lay perspective, then you get a much broader definition of unwilling.  Is the wife who has sex with her husband to satisfy him but doesn't really feel like it "unwilling?"

    What about someone who doesn't want to have sex but does not communicate that lack of desire or do anything to express lack of consent? If we are talking a first-time encounter, then the answer is easy...but what if there is a decent history of recent consensual sexual contact?  Then you enter into the mistake of fact as to consent realm and such a person, had they merely exhibited a lack of consent might not have had sex they didn't want to have.

    I think if the intent of the question here is to say someone shouldn't be expected or required to fight off the person forcing them to have sex against their will, then I think that answer is no, there is no and should be no requirement there.  The onus and the risk for want of a better word remains on the person initiating sex to make sure the other person wants to.

    However, the more frequent and recent prior consensual sexual contact is, the more mistake of fact as to consent muddies the waters here.

  •  Sometimes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I took rape/assault prevention classes in Philadelphia in 1972, and thankfully have never had to use what I learned. What was taught:
    1. If you're reasonably fit, and wearing comfy shoes, running is often a good option.
    2. Instead of yelling "rape!", yell "Fire!" -- people are more likely to respond.
    3. The two best places to smash a man are his crotch and the top of his foot. Try a two-fer: raise your knee up hard into his crotch, and then on the down-stroke stomp on his foot.
    4. If you're able to make yourself vomit, that is likely to discourage all but the most persistent rapist.

    SO: rape isn't the victim's fault for failing to prevent it, any more than murder is. BUT we also must not give women and girls (and boys, for that matter) the message that there's no way to ward off an attack (so you may as well lie still, go limp, and not try).

    The other lesson: In a rape trial, if the victim did not fight back and was not physically injured -- other than internally, of course -- it's a lot easier for defense counsel to argue that it was consensual sex rather than rape.

  •  Yes in two lessons. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    1) She put an aspirin between her knees, as the 40 IQs will tell her to do.

    2) Then she gets her head blown off.

    Suggestion for Facebook: 50 free "starter friends" automatically as soon as you sign up.

    by dov12348 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:25:13 AM PST

  •  Another meaningless trolling question (0+ / 0-)
    Statement #6: An unwilling victim could prevent rape if she or he wanted to.
    By definition, any and all persons "want to" prevent rape.

    If a person does not "want to" prevent a sexual act, then the sexual act is consensual.

    I am sure a diary will be posted next week informing us all of the correct answer to this question, but the question is meaningless and only serves to confuse rather than enlighten.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:56:57 AM PST

  •  I did a research project (3+ / 0-)

    My senior year at the U of MN Twin Cities. It's an urban environment in the middle of the city. The project was a survey of students we encountered on campus about their thoughts on their level of risk for victimization of various crimes, including sexual assault, other physical assault, stalking, and theft. We compared these responses to a nation-wide sample and to actual rates of victimization.

    The results were statistically significant, showing that just as with the nation-wide sample, women at the university over-estimate the likelihood that they will be sexually assaulted by a stranger and underestimate the likelihood that they will be sexually assaulted by someone they know. This skewed perception was reinforced by frequent crime alert emails we received throughout my time there about stranger rapes.

    Men significantly underestimated their likelihood of being  victims of theft, sexual and physical assault (from both strangers and people they know). They also admitted to paying far less attention to their surroundings and planned routes than women, and were more likely to admit to having earphones in and listening to music and using their phones while walking around than women.

    On the other hand, women frequently admitted to going to extremes to try to prevent being victimized, including behaviors that we know do not prevent victimization. This almost certainly feeds into self-blame for women who are assaulted (although this was beyond the scope of the study).

    So in sum, men drastically underestimate their chances of victimization and don't do enough to be aware of what's going on, which makes them easy targets for thieves.

    Women, on the other hand, are hyper-vigilant in public to the point that they restrict their behavior even in ways that do not help them. Including: not taking night classes at all, avoiding places where they could be cornered/isolated by a stranger, and not walking alone.

    People are getting the wrong messages about what crimes they need to be most wary of and how to address  their personal safety.

    My overall point as it relates to this question is, women already go to great lengths to avoid being raped. They curtail their own freedom and are afraid because they are constantly told they might be raped by strange attackers. Despite all of these precautions, women continue to be sexually assaulted at high rates. They are not aware of the likelihood of date and acquaintance rape. We do not prepare women to deal with known people. It's a also a little ridiculous to expect that a woman who is on a date with a charming man should be prepared to beat the crap out of him or run away at a moment's notice to avoid being questioned as to whether she did everything she possibly could have to prevent being raped. This also isn't a gender-specific issue, men are frequently date-raped too.

    Is fheàrr fheuchainn na bhith san dùil

    by bull8807 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:38:18 PM PST

    •  Your comment is spot on. (0+ / 0-)

      I would love to see this entire comment in diary form. I think it would be eye-opening for many people and the conversation would be enlightening. Especially if you could link to the study. But even if you can't, it would be worthwhile.

      •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I would love to do that sometime, the study was an undergrad project and was not published, but I have all the data and lit reviews and the final report with all of the methods. I could upload everything if anyone is curious about the statistics and how we did things. It might take me a while to get everything together however; I don't have a computer at home right now and typing on a tablet isn't ideal.

        Is fheàrr fheuchainn na bhith san dùil

        by bull8807 on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 07:59:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The notion that victim could prevent raoe (0+ / 0-)

    if she wanted to is toxic as well as false. Even a well-trained student of martial arts can't always stop. It also doesn't take into account that no individual kno0ws how he or she will react in an actual situation.

    Two quick stories:  

    1) A friend of mine had studied karate at  college for nearly 3 years and was going to try for black belt.  Her instructor (ex-military and 4th dan black belt) overheard her telling a friend that she was sure she could hanfle any situation, including a would-be rapist--she basically said the guy would be very sorry.  Her instructor decided to wait outside behind a tree at the exit of the gym (he was smart enough to alert the campus cop). WHen she came out, along, he jumped out. She didn't attack. She simply froze.  She knew what to do but she froze. It happens.

    2) My late first husband had 4 black belts in various martial arts and 3 brown.  He was, as one frien summed him up, someone whpo knew hot walk down an alley and  emerge safely. He'd also banded together with other students from hsi neighborhood to deal with a local  gang who had put one of them in the hospital.  But one night in the Village, somebody came up behind him. He could something very gun-shaped in his back. He handed over his wallet. He said, "If it had been a knife, I'd have taken it away from--wouldn't be the first time. I'd have used a spin kick, and I can kick pretty high. But a gun is a different story. You cannot outrun or outkick a bullet."  He was right.

    NO ONE knows how he or she will react to an attack--until it happens.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:05:15 PM PST

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