Warning: This blog and the articles linked discuss a comment thread in which perpetrators talk about assaulting women.
A recent thread on the popular internet forum site Reddit has been making it’s way around the internet all week. The subject of the thread? A rapist’s account of sexual assault. The original poster on the site solicited stories from users who had committed rape, and asked ”what were your motivations? Do you regret it?”
Reddit is not known for being a bastion of enlightened thinking towards subjects such as sexism, feminism or sexual assault. Its users are mostly male and like on most sites where you can remain mostly anonymous, there often a lot of deplorable commentary. It will probably come as no surprise that most of the responses are at times extremely unsettling. Jezebel (a sometimes controversial feminist news site) did an excellent job picking out quotes to showcase the various attitudes displayed by Reddit users within the thread:
Here are some of the reasons why rapists said they raped or almost raped from the original thread.
(What they perceive as) mixed messages:
She ran to my bed and didn’t want me to touch her. I didn’t understand what had happened. This hypersexual person who had offered to give me head suddenly didn’t want to touch me.
I got peer pressured in to hooking up with this girl. I kept saying I didn’t want to and my friends kept saying I had to lose my virginity. They say this for about a week and finally new years come so I figured might as well. We are both completely wasted and go to a room. I was to drunk to get it up so I fingered her and ate her out but she wasn’t really into it. So I stopped and then threw up all over her and I passed out. I guess she ran out and told them I raped her. She never said stop or anything but I could see how she could have froze up in fear. I don’t doubt she feels molested and I feel like an awful person but it
wasn’t rapeas SnugglesWithRuggles pointed out it was rape.
Most girls don’t really understand how horny guys are, how much stronger guys are, how guys will rationalize what they do. I see feminists and women on the Internet saying that no means no and women should be able to get as drunk as they want and not be sexually assaulted, and I couldn’t agree me. But the reality of the situation is that women have to be careful because guys are one way when they’re hanging out and another way when they’re horny or worse drunk and horny. That doesn’t make what happened okay, but it is what it is.
I was an extremely isolated youth who came from a broken home. My escape was the internet. At about sixteen I was exposed to alot of PUA material, which (not having a father or mother really around) shaped my life up until I was about 20. Most of the material was very objectifying and sexually aggressive towards women.
There are more examples at the original article.* Basically, the posters adhere to every excuse we often hear associated with rape culture and sexually violent actions. While the thread is quite depressing (as expected), I think there’s a positive way to spin it. Due to the nature of the website, most people expected the thread to devolve into a victim blaming, rape apologist catastrophe. While a portion of the responses on the thread are like that, there are many that aren’t. Women and men spoke about the need for men to step-up and call their friends out on violent behavior, particularly in street harassment. Some posted about how women given the task of protecting themselves from rape, instead of teaching men not to commit rape in the first place.
By no means should we glorify or commend any of the original responses, but at least it started quite a few meaningful, and hopefully productive, conversations. For one, this thread is proof that more needs to be done to educate people, especially youth, about the negative effect of gender stereotypes, what healthy sexuality looks like, and what consent is. In each of the accounts posted, it’s clear that the writer has failed to understand at least one, if not all of these concepts. Most importantly though, I think this thread proves that women and men are willing to critically examine the thoughts and actions of these perpetrators and hold them accountable for what they did. One user, quoted above, did not originally refer to what he did as rape, but later corrected his post after being confronted by another user. I think threads like these, while controversial, can lead to more candid and contextual discussion about what it means to live in a culture plagued by sexually violent crime, and how we can change it.
*One of the posts quoted in the Jezebel article (concerning a man who claimed to be a serial rapist and is now married) has been questioned by many of the users as possibly fabricated. Since Reddit is anonymous for the most part, all the posts should be taken with a grain of salt.
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