Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

A quick comment
March 17, 2009 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I wanted to say something about the discussion happening in this AskMe, but in a way that does not derail the thread itself. So, here I am.

"Rapists know they are causing pain and distress, on a premeditated basis, and they don't care."

This comment is true of some rapists. However, many rapists do not fall into this category. There are times when a man sincerely believes that "no" means "yes," for example. Even when this is the case, the resulting sex is still rape. Rape is not limited to those sexual encounters where the rapist is aware that his victim has not consented. This is true of the word as I understand it in a general sense, and it is also true of the crime "rape" in the United States.

I wanted to pull this out because I think it's important... It's tempting to want to define rape as this one very terrible thing, but it's unfortunately more of a continuum, and limiting it to the extreme end does not help the many rape victims whose experiences do not fit in that box.


Sorry, I hope this isn't an obnoxious post. I just feel strongly.
posted by prefpara to MetaFilter-Related at 12:19 PM (321 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

Also, I am not sure whether or not the discussion about what rape is or is not is really relevant to the resolution of that question or more of a tangent. Just in case everyone is like omg yes, it's a total derail, maybe we could have that conversation here instead?
posted by prefpara at 12:23 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm with you. I haven't commented in the thread, because trying to define whether rape occurred within this context seems like folly based on the information provided by the poster, but the line that you highlight struck me as well. Without further qualification, the comment is heading in a dangerous direction.
posted by tentacle at 12:25 PM on March 17, 2009


Just my theory, but that whole question is bullshit:

Throwaway email is whatwhatinthebutt00@gmail.com.

You guys got played.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:35 PM on March 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Haven't we established that metafilter doesn't do assrape very well? Or is that just man-on-on-man prison-based assrape?
posted by dersins at 12:38 PM on March 17, 2009


Even if the question is bullshit, I think the concern of this callout is valid based on the comment in question. Rape is not about the intentions of the perpetrator, but the violation of the victim.
posted by studentbaker at 12:42 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Blazecock, I think that throwaway e-mail is just a reference to a YouTube video, for humor's sake, and not indicative of a bullshit question.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:04 PM on March 17, 2009


M.C. Lo-Carb!: "I think that throwaway e-mail is just a reference to a YouTube video"

That may be where the questioner got it from. But "What, what / In the butt" originally derives from John Donne's Elegy XVII.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:10 PM on March 17, 2009 [24 favorites]


Blazecock, I think that throwaway e-mail is just a reference to a YouTube video, for humor's sake, and not indicative of a bullshit question.

If I was raped, I don't think I would be jokey about it. So that leads me to doubt the question's substance and provenance. I really don't mean to derail, and maybe a fake question doesn't invalidate the larger discussion, but I do think we got played for suckers on this one. Rape is a serious matter, so I hope I'm wrong.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:11 PM on March 17, 2009


If I was raped, I don't think I would be jokey about it.

People often use humor to distance themselves from something that is upsetting. The original poster seems conflicted about whether or not she should take what happened to her seriously. She wanted input on whether or not she was overreacting. So I think it's plausible that she would either try to diminish and de-fang what happened to her through humor, or affect a nonchalance about it that she doesn't feel out of a sense of guilt or discomfort.
posted by prefpara at 1:18 PM on March 17, 2009 [24 favorites]


If I was raped, I don't think I would be jokey about it. So that leads me to doubt the question's substance and provenance. I really don't mean to derail, and maybe a fake question doesn't invalidate the larger discussion, but I do think we got played for suckers on this one. Rape is a serious matter, so I hope I'm wrong.

Nothing in the original question indicates this woman realized, at the time of writing, that what happened to her was rape. Yes, she said she felt violated, but I don't think it occurred to her, based on the question, that she was out and out raped, just that she had experienced a betrayal of trust. She's pretty emphatic about how she loves the guy and doesn't want to break up, which again indicates a lack of realization here, so the in light of that (admittedly extrapolated) mindset, the semi-jokey throwaway e-mail doesn't seem so terribly out of place. Sometimes you have to laugh so you don't cry, after all.
posted by Caduceus at 1:19 PM on March 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Or what prefpara said.
posted by Caduceus at 1:20 PM on March 17, 2009


If I was raped, I don't think I would be jokey about it. So that leads me to doubt the question's substance and provenance.

I don't think you would either, but that many rape victims are is one of the saddest and most telling signs of how deep a violation it can be.
posted by jamjam at 1:50 PM on March 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


This isn't obnoxious in the least. You've framed the problem well, in tone and content.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:58 PM on March 17, 2009


The original poster seems conflicted about whether or not she should take what happened to her seriously.

FWIW -- no where has it been established that the OP is a "she." It could involve a gay couple which "...discussed the fact that neither of us is interested in pursuing any anal play."
posted by ericb at 1:58 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


You guys got played.

That was my initial reaction to, but there really is no way of knowing one way or the other. I think the "always treat the gun like its loaded even when you know its not" rule is the appropriate one in borderline cases.
posted by Bango Skank at 2:01 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've put in some time in rape crisis hotline work, and agree with prefpara - it's not so terribly unusual for someone to try out humor as one way to process what they're feeling. For this particular question, who knows, but in general it probably wouldn't hurt anyone to be more aware that there are a lot of different ways of processing a sexual violation. Especially when the violation is committed by someone the person knows - that adds some very specific layers of confusion and disbelief and self-doubt to the experience.

Thanks for pointing this out, prefpara.
posted by Stacey at 2:07 PM on March 17, 2009


Just my theory, but that whole question is bullshit

I share your theory, unless the OP is doing a very poor job of describing the incident.

The positions don't sound very conducive to the act.
posted by CKmtl at 2:14 PM on March 17, 2009


Reading many of the answers in that thread is like reading the writings of aliens from another world. I have no ability to empathize with the viewpoint.

I have experienced unwanted, unconsented sexual impositions from former lovers, and I interpreted the situations as no more than that. It did not harm the relationship. (See my comment for completely analogous situations) The women were not bad, they were trying to explore and navigate the highly ambiguous, messy waters of an adult sexual relationship. There are typically many embarrassing wrong turns, misteps, and miscommunications along the way. See, I empathize with them because I have made the same basic wrong turns along the way. Perhaps there are people who genuinely see sexuality as something so inherently traumatizing, that the ordinary bumblings and fumblings of youth can be a source of post traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately for them they will probably become traumatized once they get into a relationship with a normal fallible person. Perhaps they should wear little colored ribbons, so they can find each other, and share in their formalized, passionless, red tape Vulcan sex scripts together: I would like permission to lick the left nipple in a counter-clockwise motion. Do I have permission? I would now like to lick the left nipple in a clockwise motion. Do I have permission?

And for what? Are there really people so narcissistic and sensitive that getting their left nipple licked in an unexpected, and unwanted rotation could be a source of long term mental agony? Are they like this with everything in their lives, or is it only sex? Like when someone gives them a Christmas gift they don't want, do they curl up in fetal position, sobbing behind the Christmas tree?

In either case, perhaps the pain is real, but why should I care about it? If you can't empathize or sympathize with a view then you just can't -- you can certainly sympathize with the pain itself, but not the source of the pain. A paranoid schizophrenic might believe Bolivians are transmitting brain-eating rays into his head, and it genuinely sucks that he has to feel this deep anxiety, but it certainly doesn't convince me that Bolivians are doing such a thing, or deserve to be treated as if they have. I can certainly sympathize with rape victims, because I can imagine how I would feel if coerced under threat of violence to engage in humiliating acts with someone I was not attracted to. That is very easy to identify with. But once we take out the threat of force, and add in an already intimate partner, the situation no longer represents anything I can emotionally recognize as rape.

It's something I have experienced, and did not emotionally recognize as a traumatizing experience, so, of course, that is what sets my viewpoint.
posted by dgaicun at 2:21 PM on March 17, 2009 [18 favorites]


The OP has indicated that the question is real and that she is a she. I think we do her a disservice by assuming it isn't real. We are better off assuming she is real than not. If she is real, calling her statements "bullshit" would be the worse thing we could do.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:22 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I also agree that the rape talk isn't really helping. She needs to decide what happened back there and what she thinks about it. It may be that it was or wasn't rape. None of us were there. We need to give her some ways to work through the feelings she has about all of this. I'd also like to point out that some people got the timing wrong on the act and the protest. The OP indicated that the protest and the act occured at essentially the same time because the penetration occured "before she could finish" saying no. Regardless of the rape/no rape issue, several posters were getting the factual background as reported by the OP wrong.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:27 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are there really people so narcissistic and sensitive that getting their left nipple licked in an unexpected, and unwanted rotation could be a source of long term mental agony?

If you seriously can't tell the difference between getting your left nipple licked in an unexpected and unwanted rotation and having an unlubricated dick in your arse without warning, you are liable to run into problems when it comes to expressing your sexuality.
posted by Acheman at 2:28 PM on March 17, 2009 [39 favorites]


Perhaps they should wear little colored ribbons, so they can find each other, and share in their formalized, passionless, red tape Vulcan sex scripts together

Honestly, putting forth your point by sticking to the actual "I've had women stick fingers up my ass without warning" comparison is probably a better idea than going on for a sarcastic paragraph with this kind of thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:28 PM on March 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


dgaicun, you think finger penetration is completely analogous to a cock?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:29 PM on March 17, 2009


And anyway, assholes and cocks come in different sizes, you know, so even if those fingers you experienced were 5 together in the shape of a stabbing beak, you in fact have no idea how they compare to the OP's asshole and her bf's cock.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:34 PM on March 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


But once we take out the threat of force, and add in an already intimate partner, the situation no longer represents anything I can emotionally recognize as rape.

Until the 1970s, most legal definitions of rape agreed with you. However, after much hard work, laws was brought around to recognize that it was possible for women to be raped by their husbands. Until then, it was assumed that it was just impossible for a husband to rape his wife. The very fact that they were married indicated that whatever he did to her, you couldn't actually call it rape. Right? Because, you know. Right?

The existence of an intimate relationship and the lack of objection in your example doesn't mean it's not rape. There are a lot of possible reactions to an act of rape, but that doesn't make it not rape. The general understanding of rape/sexual assault these days is pretty much "forced sexual activity without consent." This fits; your example fits. Glad you didn't find yours a detriment to any of your relationships. But whether or not forced sexual activity without consent is experienced as a relationship problem, it still counts as forced sexual activity without consent.
posted by Miko at 2:40 PM on March 17, 2009 [22 favorites]


Also, note there wasn't "threat of" force, there was actual force.
posted by Miko at 2:43 PM on March 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


However, after much hard work, laws was brought around to recognize that it was possible for women to be raped by their husbands.

And I could be raped by a hypothetical wife. Through the threat of force. Not if she grabbed my balls in an unwanted way while I was sleeping to "spice things up".

Threat of force is different. It implies you endure something unwanted or violence will be applied to the situation. In neither this example or the OPs example was this the case. The bf desisted and apologized at the first sign of distress.

Glad you didn't find yours a detriment to any of your relationships. But whether or not forced sexual activity without consent is experienced as a relationship problem, it still counts as forced sexual activity without consent.

Well, no you aren't glad, because it means we have conflicting emotional definitions of rape. If the word of the law is on your side now, that is of no matter. If enough people feel as I do, or take action, then the word of the law will no longer be on your side.

The sick and sad thing is it has nothing to do with facts, but fundamental differences. The law here can only be a matter of who gets more power and manages to impose it on those it contradicts. Hopefully it will be the people who form a plurality, and, hopefully, for the sake of self-interest, that plurality will be the one with the same essential emotional responses as ourselves.


you in fact have no idea how they compare to the OP's asshole and her bf's cock.

Does the size of her asshole and her boyfriend's cock suddenly determine whether it is rape or not? I was not aware such variables entered into the equation. If so, let our lesser hung brethren finally rejoice: you can do no wrong with an itty-bitty schlong.

"I've had women stick fingers up my ass without warning"

Friends!, cortex, Friends!
posted by dgaicun at 2:59 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Miko, you didn't miss the threads wherein dgiacun provides and vociferously defends his no-fail solution for the kids forgotten in cars problem, did you? Cuz it was awesome.

me/ bookmarks dgiacun
posted by small_ruminant at 3:02 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uh, is it ok if I still don't think that Askme is about rape without agreeing with anything this guy just said? As if there's no difference between men and women in terms of practical ability to force intercourse, or that intention and intimacy excuse any violation of someone's actual legal rights...dude, just, please, don't help.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:04 PM on March 17, 2009


I smelled a MeTa on this thread from a mile away. I almost posted it myself, but I wasn't sure if I was a week out from my self-imposed disemboweling over Best Answers. Then I realized that the only train wreck worse than that thread would be a train wreck ABOUT that thread, which would be like the first train wreck except doused in kerosene, lit on fire, and somehow involving clowns.

I don't think it's AskMe's place to tell someone whether or not they were raped. Yes, the OP may have been raped. It is NOT our call.

My first year of college, it was required that we all go to this ethics forum thingy where we were given a scenario with drunken college kids and "Was this rape? Yes? No?" and the whole point of the exercise is that the ONLY PERSON who can decide if this WAS rape is the victim. If the victim feels that this pushes the boundaries past "really bad mistake" and into "crime" then yes, it was rape. If not, even if we think that we would consider ourselves raped under those circumstances, it's NOT FOR US to say.

I have never seen anything uglier than 400 college students simultaneously going up in flames arguing about this. There's nothing more subjective or harder to quantify than what date-rape may or may not have been. Rape is not as cut and dried as we think it is from an outsider's perspective.

Someone needing our help needs just that - help. If you want to tell this girl who has been through a horrible experience that said experience was rape, I think it would help if you also mentioned ways she can get support. She's freaked out enough to be asking the advice of internet strangers, there's absolutely no need to freak her out even more. She may come to the conclusion that this was date rape, but that's her conclusion to make and being TOLD "YOU WERE RAPED" I guarantee is not going to make her feel any more able to make a healthy decision in the matter.

As I mentioned inthread, I went through an experience with an non-consensual sexual encounter in a long term relationship and it sucked. I had people on all sides telling me simultaneously that I was raped and that my partner didn't mean to do it, that it was a misunderstanding. For years, this messed me up in the head. Seriously. I was afraid to be in control in any sexual situation and if something reminded me of the incident, I would fall to pieces. I've gotten better and have effectively put it behind me, but it took YEARS. Now, looking back, I don't feel like it WAS rape, but that line is for me to draw. I'm not even going to describe the incident because I don't want to open it up for debate, I'm just saying, some people think it was - and for a long time, I agreed with them, but now that I've healed from it, I do believe that it was a violation, but not one that had any advance planning or explicit intent of malice, and my own definition of what I would consider to be rape would have to involve one of the two. That is, what I would consider in the event that someone were to cross MY boundaries. Not anyone else's.

She needs our support, not our judgment. Let her decide if it's rape or not, and no matter what, our place is to offer advice, not condemnation for her or her partner.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:05 PM on March 17, 2009 [29 favorites]


Oh, it's trolling, thank you small ruminant. Here's a nice semi-digested mass of vegetable matter for you.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:05 PM on March 17, 2009


Perhaps there are people who genuinely see sexuality as something so inherently traumatizing, that the ordinary bumblings and fumblings of youth can be a source of post traumatic stress disorder.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that having a dick stuck up your ass to the point of making you bleed, even though you specifically told the person you were not interested in that particular act, is not part of the ordinary bumblings and fumblings of youth for most people. Thank god.

He forced his dick into her without her consent. As Miko points out, that would fit the definition of rape in many places. The circumstances in this case could be such that it isn't. But you comparing penetration causing bleeding to having your nipple licked the wrong way or a Christmas present you don't like is really ridiculous.
posted by Mavri at 3:08 PM on March 17, 2009 [9 favorites]


Aww, Potomac- you DO care!
posted by small_ruminant at 3:09 PM on March 17, 2009


and, hopefully, for the sake of self-interest, that plurality will be the one with the same essential emotional responses as ourselves.

And for the record, Miko, do you believe your side is the plurality of people?

Do you believe that most men and women (their combined opinions) who received an unwanted finger in the ass while rolling around naked on the bed together during sex, would consider themselves "raped"? Would most men and women suffer the long term cognitive sequela of rape?

If your answer is 'no' what does this say about your position?
posted by dgaicun at 3:09 PM on March 17, 2009


The bf desisted and apologized at the first sign of distress.

This idea, which dgaicun is not the first to express, is a little like the five second rule of rape, isn't it?

I think what people have been telling you, dgaicun, is that some acts are never permissible absent consent. It's easy to come up with examples of acts which are not a big deal (your girlfriend fondles your balls in the middle of the night: a relatively small deal). But imagine that a plastic surgeon surprises you with some ether and you wake up with a new nose. He thought you'd like it! Or maybe as you're going under and he starts to cut, you murmur "stop" and he stops. Does that mean what he did was OK? In general, stopping is better than not stopping, but it doesn't make wrong things right. If I start taking the cash out of your wallet, you tell me to stop, and I stop, I still stole whatever cash I already extracted.

You may welcome a surprise penis. Generally speaking, however, I believe the presumption should be that a person's right to their bodily autonomy is paramount and mandates that consent be obtained prior to any form of penetration, especially a new form, especially without warning (an opportunity to express or deny consent).
posted by prefpara at 3:10 PM on March 17, 2009 [9 favorites]


I have no ability to empathize

dgaicun, you could've stopped right there.
posted by dogrose at 3:11 PM on March 17, 2009 [16 favorites]


Good job everyone, nothing speaks to an specific and extremely individual situation like this one more than a series of incoherent analogies. I mean how would you like it if I took the model airplane you were making and tried to make it fly, and even got some passengers and a pilot and got them to line up to board the airplane but it couldn't fly, could it? Because, it's only a model. Unlike this situation, which is a real, and confusing, airplane, which needs the jet fuel of our non-generalized, unpolitical, help.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:17 PM on March 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Potomac, I am taking that personally. And I would like to point out that this is not the AskMe thread.
posted by prefpara at 3:19 PM on March 17, 2009


meant to hit preview, dammmit

dgaicun, here and in the hyperthermia thread, you've argued that because your experience is thus-and-so, then everyone's experience is, was, or should be thus-and-so. This is the very opposite of empathy. Do you not realize that? I mean, you don't have to empathize if you don't want to. But when you only connect to other people's experiences based on how similar they are to yours -- don't delude yourself that it's empathy. It's narcissism.
posted by dogrose at 3:19 PM on March 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


I smelled a MeTa on this thread from a mile away.

Oh good god yes. I'm like a sommelier at this point, so refined has my nose for these things apparently become.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:21 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Very well said, grapefruitmoon. I think you're right about the victim's definition - at the same time, there's a good federal legal definition for sexual assault that can come into play when someone wants to prosecute. But I didn't like the way the AskMe gang handled this one, either.
posted by Miko at 3:32 PM on March 17, 2009


there's a good federal legal definition for sexual assault that can come into play when someone wants to prosecute.

Probably no federal jurisdiction unless there was some instrumentality of interstate commerce involved. Therefore likely a local issue.

But these aren't decisions for us, they are decisions for the OP.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:37 PM on March 17, 2009


Oh, Ironmouth, I'm not suggesting it's a federal issue, for heaven's sake. Just pointing out that legal language exists for this. "Rape" isn't even the criminal charge, the word is so vague. It's "sexual assault" or "abuse" and has different degree classes, just as other violent crimes do. I just wanted to add to grapefruitmoon's point - yes, it's the victim's choice to take, but when someone wants to prosecute something there are standards for it which have to be shown.
posted by Miko at 3:40 PM on March 17, 2009


Threat of force is different. It implies you endure something unwanted or violence will be applied to the situation.

I am amused by watching you work so assiduously to avoid perceiving the violence within the situation.
posted by Miko at 3:43 PM on March 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


sorry Miko, didn't mean to make it a federal case.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:47 PM on March 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm like a sommelier at this point, so refined has my nose for these things apparently become.

"Sir, may I recommend the 1997 Chateau du Flameout Sangiovese to go with your Braised Strawman?"
posted by scody at 3:47 PM on March 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


In the OP's situation, her boyfriend surprised her with a sudden act she had explicitly, in advance, denied consent for which left her bleeding.

dgaicun, rather than a finger, consider this scenario:

You and your lover have discussed bend over boyfriend. You and she have agreed on your mutual disinterest in pursuing it.

Unbeknownst to you, she gets herself a dildo and strap-on harness, and surprises you one day in the shower (let's pretend she could put it on without your noticing) by shoving the dildo inside you without warning or lubrication, leaving you bleeding.

Would that still seem like just a wrong turn or misstep?
posted by Zed at 3:48 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, Miko's absolutely right, there are standards that need to be met should she press charges. Absolutely. You can't, for the sake of an argument, prosecute someone for hitting you in the face with a cucumber while you were having sex and call that "rape." This, I do believe, would fall under the standard definition. But we are neither the OP nor are we a grand jury.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:53 PM on March 17, 2009


It's probably not a great idea for me to say anything about any of this.

Still, I'm tempted...
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:56 PM on March 17, 2009


Oh right, rape, not buttsechs. *shuffles off*
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:58 PM on March 17, 2009


You don't actually have to run down the front page of Metatalk and leave a pointless comment in each thread, turgid dahlia.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:03 PM on March 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


In the OP's situation, her boyfriend surprised her with a sudden act she had explicitly, in advance, denied consent for which left her bleeding.


This is a gross overstatement of the language in the AskMe, and seems as clear a display as one could wish for that most folks in the thread, on both sides, are more interested in being right than they are in helping this woman. ("Previously, as in several months ago, we discussed the fact that neither of us is interested in pursuing any anal play. As I feel his penis there, I forcefully say "No," but before I can finish he ends up shoving himself into my ass with no preparation.")

(I'm never sure why, in situations where people are disinclined to exercise any critical thought about the certainty of their own positions, it seems necessary to overstate the case so frequently. If your position is so damn certain then maybe you should just stick to the facts.)

My comment isn't really, or isn't nearly exclusively, aimed at Zed, but at both threads generally.
posted by OmieWise at 4:21 PM on March 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Doing anything new -- EVEN IN A RELATIONSHIP -- does not just require saying no. Especially so when you've already negated the very idea previously. Especially so if you DO say no. Doing anything new -- especially like anal sex -- requires EXPLICIT CONSENT.

I think this is where the disconnect may be occurring in that thread.

I don't intend to align myself with dgiacun's tirade above, but I do think there's a HUGE difference between something like, say, putting on sexy lingerie for the first time, or tickling someone with a feather, and anal penetration.

I think it's pretty obvious to most of us here that anal sex--in fact, penetration of any kind--requires consent.

But I think the, "Don't try anything new without explicit consent," while sounding mature and responsible, may not be realistic and doable in a long-term relationship. And I think that's where a lot of those who are saying, "Hey, hold on a moment with the rape allegations" are coming from.

On the other side of the argument, having the assertiveness and capacity to say "No," and having the trust that your partner will honor that NO, should be a given in a relationship. I am not in any way advocating trying to "get around" some previously-discussed taboo, which has already been firmly defined as a limit. Again, there is ambiguity in the poster's comment about "we had both said we had no interest in anal sex," which could be construed as anything from a general "Meh, anal sex," to a "OMG NO NEVER" limit.

Let me just stave off any arguments that might follow this comment with this: No, I DON'T think the rule is "anything goes until one of you says no", which pretty much leaves the door open for rape and then an apology--that's where the "no penetration without prior consent" rule comes from.
posted by misha at 4:23 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


dogrose: you've argued that because your experience is thus-and-so, then everyone's experience is, was, or should be thus-and-so.

No, this is false, I just unambiguously stated the exact opposite:

"The sick and sad thing is it has nothing to do with facts, but fundamental [emotional] differences... Hopefully it will be the people who form a plurality [that the established law protects], and, hopefully, for the sake of self-interest, that plurality will be the one with the same essential emotional responses as ourselves."

Now for a true example of what you just said, consider Miko's comment to me:

I am amused by watching you work so assiduously to avoid perceiving the violence within the situation.

Notice how she assumes her own emotional response is some sort of "fact" that I know to be true and am "avoiding". There is no such thing as a "fact of violence", only what is emotionally experienced and understood as violence -- and this psychology is not shared by all humans either within or between cultures.

I repeat: I personally experienced it (unwanted sexual imposition) and did not emotionally experience it as violence. There is no "assiduously avoiding" that. It is simply the facts of my own emotional machinery. An uncomfortable/painful, surprise sex act foisted on an intimate partner, but without the want or willingness to inflict emotional distress, is not something I experience as "violence," and thus not something that can logically transformed into violence in my mind.

I'm sure if it was something I emotionally experienced as violence this would not be the case.

I'm sorry others experience such situations differently, but I believe you are the minority, and I do not believe your perspective should be the one that carries any higher order legal threat to myself or the majority population who would not experience the situation in the same way.
posted by dgaicun at 4:39 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Rape defenders to the rescue!

Why do I even bother clicking on these threads? But still, thanks to prefpara for attempting this conversation. I tend to keep my blinders on so that I can pretend there aren't so many people hellbent on defending their right to push the limits of a consent and bodily autonomy because apparently they can't get off without a little coercion.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:42 PM on March 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


Does the size of her asshole and her boyfriend's cock suddenly determine whether it is rape or not?

I don't think anybody but the OP is entitled to label it "rape" or not. My comment addressed your assertion that an unexpected finger and a unexpected cock are "completely analogous". That they apparently are for you, does not mean that they are for most people, much less the OP. WTF this needs to be spelled out?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:01 PM on March 17, 2009


I repeat: I personally experienced it (unwanted sexual imposition) and did not emotionally experience it as violence.

I repeat: dgaicun, here and in the hyperthermia thread, you've argued that because your experience is thus-and-so, then everyone's experience is, was, or should be thus-and-so. This is the very opposite of empathy.
posted by dogrose at 5:02 PM on March 17, 2009


My comment addressed your assertion that an unexpected finger and a unexpected cock are "completely analogous".

Completely analogous = Unappreciated, surprise penetration by an intimate partner (and at least one case with a little bleeding). It did not mean, e.g. that fingers can urinate.

you've argued that because your experience is thus-and-so, then everyone's experience is, was, or should be thus-and-so.

Repeat it all you want; I said the opposite. Other people do emotionally experience the same situation as violence, and they don't "need to" experience it like me. It would be better for me if they did, and better for society if they did, if in fact a plurality does share my emotional outlook (as I think they do); but that doesn't mean these other people are objectively wrong or "need to" be another way, it just means there are irreconcilable differences, and laws necessarily designed in such a way that people with mutually incompatible perspectives can't be equally served.
posted by dgaicun at 5:48 PM on March 17, 2009


Other people do emotionally experience the same situation as violence, and they don't "need to" experience it like me. It would be better for me if they did, and better for society if they did

Saying people *should* (or it would be "better for them") experience things the way that you do is a very problematic viewpoint. Your experiences are no better or worse than anyone else's. Society is made up of an amalgam of ALL experiences, so to say that it would be best if your experiences are the ideal reactions is both arrogant and narrow-minded.

It is also, as mentioned, the opposite of empathy. Empathy means that you're able to put yourself in someone else's shoes, even if they're of a totally different sort than your own, not just "I can totally identify with people who react the same way I do!"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:10 PM on March 17, 2009


Saying people *should* (or it would be "better for them") experience things the way that you do

I did not say it would be "better for them" or that they should do anything or that my emotional response is "better" or "ideal". I said exactly the opposite.

Please read my comment again. Re-read the sentence you chose to quote! (though it would have been better if you quoted the full sentence)
posted by dgaicun at 6:24 PM on March 17, 2009


dgaicun, you're coming off an jackass at most and as completely ignorant at best. I don't know if it's a culture or language barrier or what, but seriously, you sound incredibly self absorbed and narrow minded. I don't know if English is your first language, but again, by the most charitable reading you're coming off as a complete idiot.

You argue in one sentence that you're not advocating all people must have the same experiences as you and then in the next sentence you say people should have the same experiences as you and that society would be better for it.

As to the original thread, it probably would have been better if everyone had tried to help her instead of trying to insist she was raped or not raped. It's just a loaded word and concept, one that western society has succeeded in branding as almost worse than death. What man wants to be known as a rapist? How can one redeem themselves after being branded a rapist? That the guy was wrong in this situation is indisputable, I'm just not sure that attempting to brand it as rape will help the situation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:37 PM on March 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


dgaicun, is English your first language? You keep saying things, and then claiming they mean the opposite of how everybody else is interpreting them, which leads me to conclude that either you don't understand the meanings of the words you're using very clearly, or that you're a disingenuous troll. Which is it?
posted by Caduceus at 6:39 PM on March 17, 2009


You argue in one sentence that you're not advocating all people must have the same experiences as you and then in the next sentence you say people should have the same experiences as you and that society would be better for it.

Saying people "should" think a certain way, is not the same as saying that it would be better for me and a society that thinks like me if they thought that way. The opposite would be just as true. It would be better for Miko and a society that think like Miko if I thought as they did.
posted by dgaicun at 7:03 PM on March 17, 2009


"... society that thinks like Miko"
posted by dgaicun at 7:05 PM on March 17, 2009


For example if someone was 30 feet tall it would be better for me and society if we didn't have to accommodate them, but that doesn't mean they are somehow morally "wrong" for being 30 feet tall, it just means it causes all the non- 30 foot tall people problems.

Moral-emotional heterogeneity creates game theoretic problems. In a society where everyone killed indiscriminately, murder would not be a crime. And in a society mostly full of people like myself, who often find spontaneous acts of intimacy pleasurable, and almost never traumatizing, this will work against the interests of the person or minority of persons who often experience such acts as traumatizing. This society will not be organized to accommodate them, because their best interests would conflict with the best interests of most people.
posted by dgaicun at 7:26 PM on March 17, 2009


And in a society mostly full of people like myself, who often find spontaneous acts of intimacy pleasurable

dgaicun, she didn't want anal sex, it had been discussed before. She also said no as he attempted to do it. Comparing it to a spontaneous act of intimacy is really missing the point of she experienced, as you insist on viewing it through your own filter.

You're repeatedly doing this and you're repeatedly looking like ignorant or trollish.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:40 PM on March 17, 2009


I don't need you to "think like me," dgaicun - that would be quite difficult since even I don't know what I think about the incident, though it seems to me the OP was clear in expressing her boundaries and that they were ignored. I do think you're being as extreme and obstinate in arguing that the description could describe "a spontaneous act of intimacy" as those who are arguing that it describes rape.

However, your whole stance kind of precludes any good-faith resolution, so best to let it lie.

Again, I think grapefruitmoon said it best. What happened bothered the OP, and she'll have to figure out how to think about it. The extreme responses probably aren't that helpful, though they can be helpful in illustrating a range of possible interpretations.
posted by Miko at 7:49 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait- are you Dwight Schrute?

apologies to nola
posted by small_ruminant at 8:15 PM on March 17, 2009


MetaFilter: Somehow Morally Wrong For Being 30 Feet Tall.
posted by Mister_A at 8:19 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


uh, will there be special driving slippers for the 30-foot guy? 'Cause I don't know how he's supposed to safely drive his 12-foot baby around if there aren't.
posted by scody at 8:52 PM on March 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


"Don't slipper one when she's told you not to" is a fairly straightforward proposition, isn't it?
posted by Wolof at 9:07 PM on March 17, 2009


Metafilter: "assholes and cocks come in different sizes"
posted by bardic at 9:09 PM on March 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Miko: "I do think you're being as extreme and obstinate in arguing that the description could describe "a spontaneous act of intimacy" as those who are arguing that it describes rape.

Why are either one of us being "extreme". I fully accept that some people would be traumatized by this. But I wouldn't, and know many people who wouldn't. I can't tell individuals how they feel about something, I can only tell you how I think the law should handle a situation like this based on my assumptions about society. My assumption is that most people would not interpret this analagous vignette as rape. Would you? I find your position contradictory. You believe it fits the bill as "forced sexual activity without consent" which is the "general understanding of rape/sexual assault," yet you are simultaneously not sure if you interpret it as rape.

I find it highly, highly doubtful you have a looser definition of rape than the "general understanding". This kind of revealed contradiction is known as "moral dumbfounding," and I think it reveals the following in this context: A) the 'official' definition of rape far too broad, and does not align with the general intuitive understanding of rape; and B) This implies something more essential that defines rape in most people's emotional perspective beyond just the initiation of an unwanted act.

Here is how I think most people feel: A surprise initiation by a non-intimate is always rape, but a surprise initiation by an intimate is rape if it's an act of force which is insensitive to distress and under implied threat.

This is consistent with my vignette, which most people (I believe) would not emotionally experience as "rape," even though there is unwanted penetration.


Brandon Blatcher: Comparing it to a spontaneous act of intimacy is really missing the point of she experienced, as you insist on viewing it through your own filter.

I do appreciate the example of an adequately constructed English sentence. We from Krakozhia no speak-a so well good.

Everyone is interpreting the situation through their own filters. It's a necessity. The old anal discussion, and the "not in time" no, don't sway my emotional interpretation very far compared to the fact that there was no "want or willingness to inflict emotional distress" on the part of the boyfriend, who stopped and apologized at the first sign of distress.

I'm not saying others who feel this is rape are "wrong," but I can say their emotional vantage point is completely alien to my own.
posted by dgaicun at 9:10 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


gross overstatement of the language in the AskMe

I assume you're not quibbling with "bleeding." Or "surprise." Or the characterization of something that happened months ago as "in advance." Which leaves only "explicitly denied consent."

According to the OP, they had talked about it. She had expressed her disinterest in anal play. She doesn't seem to have any doubts that he understood her expressed disinterest.

How is this not explicit denial of consent? And if it's not, then what would be? This is not a rhetorical question. I really don't understand. Would she have had to have expressed it as an imperative? Stated it repeatedly? Put it in writing?

I don't consider my characterization an overstatement, or a distortion.

I am sure I consider it both ludicrous and offensive to claim the action just a misstep, and analagous to the situation of digital anal penetration that wasn't in the context of denied consent. That would be why that was the position I argued against.

I didn't participate in the AskMe thread, because I didn't think I knew anything that would help the OP. I share your regret that it devolved into an argument over terminology that I don't feel was useful to the OP. I don't know whether it should be called rape. And I don't appreciate my words being used as an exemplar of a host of positions I didn't take. And, no, you can't call something the clearest possible example of a host of superlatively bad things, and make it all right by saying your words weren't aimed at the author. One might almost characterize that as engaging in distortion. Or being more concerned with asserting the rightness of one's cause than with accuracy.

Your response was a pretty good, if not perfect, example of why I usually have the good sense not to argue on the Internet.
posted by Zed at 9:28 PM on March 17, 2009


penetration of any kind — I must ask here, do Wet Willies count? If not, "of any kind" is probably not the phrase you're looking for. I'm kidding, but I'm not.

People generally do not do a discussion any favors when words like: "any," "all," "always," "never," "none," "must," "ought," and "should" appear. These are great words if you're looking for emphasis and strong statements, but they are lousy for building definitions and consensus. For anything more behaviorally complex than, say, a cricket, those words have less and less actual utility. When discussing the comparatively rich subject of human behavior, those words indicate to me more agenda than reasoned thought, and are wonderful for robbing the world of nuance.
posted by adipocere at 9:51 PM on March 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I am more interested in kink than him, but he tries to accommodate me every once in a while."

"Kink" can cover a lot of ground. I'm wondering if that might have been the source of some unclear or misleading communication.
posted by dws at 10:30 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I *cough* have known male friends who have, during the tender act of fuck, received a surprise, and very much unwelcome finger penetration from previous lovers.

That's pretty darn impressive considering the lovers' fingers would have had to fit past your friend's head.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:11 PM on March 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


heh.
posted by taz at 11:57 PM on March 17, 2009


How is this not explicit denial of consent? And if it's not, then what would be? This is not a rhetorical question. I really don't understand. Would she have had to have expressed it as an imperative? Stated it repeatedly? Put it in writing?

I don't consider my characterization an overstatement, or a distortion.


Assuming that you don't actually understand the point OmieWise was making: there is a marked difference between a talk a few months ago, and a recent talk. There is also a difference between an in-depth discussion and a "Hey what do you think about butt sex?" "No, not so much." "Ok." conversation.

The point is, we don't know where on that continuum that talk of theirs fell. It was certainly long enough ago that it might've been completely immemorable to the boyfriend. This is in contrast to your assertion that it was DISCUSSED in all big capital letters, and therefore the boyfriend made a gigantic mistake by considering anal fair game.

Now, admittedly, boyfriend made a gigantic mistake by not discussing and receiving consent for anal, but it doesn't help to assume a level of discussion (that is, frank and memorable) which was not explicitly stated.
posted by TypographicalError at 12:53 AM on March 18, 2009


So I'm a bit late to the party, but I'm posting anyway. I think the problem is not so much the definition of rape, but of rapist. People seem to be doing one of the following:

1. This guy raped her. Therefore he's a rapist, and he should die in a fire.

or

2. This guy doesn't seem like evil incarnate. So he can't be a rapist, just some dumb guy. Therefore, he didn't rape her.

Of course, both are wrong. Yes, what he did is rape, but the point is that just like rape can be on a continuum, so can a rapist. Given the context, I don't think this is an evil guy. Did he do something completely stupid and wrong? Yes. Should he be made to understand what he did? Yes. Does he need to die in a fire? No. Point is, just because it's rape doesn't mean he's evil.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 1:02 AM on March 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


It may be that it was or wasn't rape. None of us were there.

So, if you tell me you don't want anal sex and then, a few weeks later, i ram my cock up your arse so hard you're bleeding, you don't think that's rape?

Or, as grapefruitmoon puts it,

In the OP's situation, her boyfriend surprised her with a sudden act she had explicitly, in advance, denied consent for which left her bleeding.

Yes, yes, yes.

I'd hate to spend some time with those of you who appear to think the way to change someone's mind about something they've clearly expressed an opinion on anyway is not anything as weak as, you know, talking to them about it, but doing it anyway and seeing what happens.

"Oh, you are still fatally allergic to peanuts? Guess I should have checked..."
posted by rodgerd at 2:29 AM on March 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Isn't someone going to post the "dicks fuck assholes" rant from Team America? Or do I have to do it?
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:43 AM on March 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I couldn't agree with grapefruitmoon more on this.

It seems some people have the idea that this is cut and dry. I really don't read it that way. The term "explicitly denied consent" keeps coming up, but she never really says that in the post. We don't know what the previous conversation consisted of other than a general agreement that they were not interested in anal. She also states that he is aware that she is into trying new things (as in they've had previous discussions about that also) and this seems to have been totally brushed aside as a motivator for him.

That thread reminded me of an incident from a few years back. Sometime in mid-summer friend and I were relaxing after a night of fun having a conversation outside an apartment building. This must have been about 2:30-3:00ish in the morning, downtown. As well anybody knows you meet and see all kinds in big cities, especially late at night. As we where happily talking away, I noticed a middle-aged woman comes around the corner about a half block down the street an begins walking in our direction. I really didn't pay here much mind. I have no idea if she didn't notice at first or not, but we were fairly loud and in a lighted area. As she moved to within 30 meters of us, looking directly our way, she yells "RAPE!" It took me only a few moments to realize a couple of things. A) Whether she was crazy or not, she was using that very powerful word totally wrong. B) If just one person (out of the hundred + windows overlooking us) had acted upon her word, although nothing close to rape was happening or was going to happen, I could have figuratively been "fucked in the ass".
So I think people should think a bit before yelling that word out, especially since they weren't there and obviously don't have a full account of the facts.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:08 AM on March 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


To add about the "discussed it previously" issue - no one here has ever discussed a sexual act with someone and dismissed it, and then later got curious and changed their mind? I must be the only one....

I'm not saying that's what happened, but over the course of a few months things can change. Heck maybe he misinterpreted body language of some sort.
posted by Big_B at 6:55 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I fully accept that some people would be traumatized by this. But I wouldn't, and know many people who wouldn't.

HORSE. SHIT.

If someone forcefully and totally unexpectedly stuck something in your ass to the point where you BLED, you would indeed be traumatized. So would anyone else. Whether you would consider it sexual assault or not is debatable, but ANYONE in that situation would experience it as "traumatic" on some level. Not saying they would all need therapy for the rest of their lives, but it would be pretty damn upsetting.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:10 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm just a little unclear on the mechanics involved. Unlubed = hard to access, right? How could he manage to get in, unlubed, in less time than it takes to say "no"? I'm not doubting the story, I just don't quite understand the timeline.
posted by Bugbread at 7:35 AM on March 18, 2009


Yes, what he did is rape, but the point is that just like rape can be on a continuum, so can a rapist.

The problem with this statement is this: rape is not a continuum in the eyes of the law. Either you are or are not guilty of rape, and in the former case, you're going to jail and getting a permanent black mark against you for all time. This, for a moment of stupidity. It does not seem fair.
posted by TypographicalError at 7:46 AM on March 18, 2009


rape is not a continuum in the eyes of the law

As Miko pointed out earlier, rape is indeed a continuum in the eyes of the law. Like murder, it's a graded offense. Different states will have different systems, but there will generally be a number of possible crimes.

For example, in New York state, there is "rape" in the first, second, or third degree. There is a "criminal sexual act" in the first, second, or third degree. There is "forcible touching." "Sexual abuse" in the first, second, or third degree. "Aggravated sexual abuse" in the first, second, or third degree. And a hodgepodge of additional possible sexual crimes. You can take a look at how these different crimes are defined by reading the New York Penal Law, Article 130. Or look it up for your own state.

The law recognizes that rape is not a binary thing where there is a clear category of "rape" and an equally clear category of "not rape." Moreover, in every criminal trial, the jury decides whether or not to convict the defendant. In making that decision, they rely on their personal morality and idea of fairness. So the law, which recognizes the complexity of rape, is applied by people who are confronted by the same ambiguity that we have been discussing here.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it doesn't work to say, well, we can quibble over what rape ought to be, but rape is defined by the law very clearly. It isn't. And I continue to believe that, although it is difficult, the conversation about what is and is not rape is an important one, and worth engaging in.
posted by prefpara at 8:16 AM on March 18, 2009 [13 favorites]


I find your position contradictory. You believe it fits the bill as "forced sexual activity without consent" which is the "general understanding of rape/sexual assault," yet you are simultaneously not sure if you interpret it as rape.

It's not contradictory. The narrow point I'm willing to make is that the incident sounds like it could fit the legal definition of sexual assault if the OP chose to prosecute it. However, the legal definition only applies if she brings it into a legal context, as grapefruitmoon points out. Whether or not she wishes to pursue a legal decision that this incident was an illegal sexual assault is up to her. It seems like we might agree on that. So whether or not I interpret it as rape is immaterial to the question of whether or not the OP or the law could interpret it as rape (sexual assault). All I'm saying is that with what we've been given, it could fit the definition.

The only reason I got involved here was to call out the idea that the existence of an intimate relationship does not mean that this can't constitute rape (sexual assault) under the law. The law hasn't generally supported that idea in 40 years. Having an intimate relationship might mean you're less likely to construe the incident as rape, but not that it's not prosecutable if you do.
posted by Miko at 8:21 AM on March 18, 2009


I don't think it's AskMe's place to tell someone whether or not they were raped. Yes, the OP may have been raped. It is NOT our call.

This. A thousand times this.

Okay, I am trying to think how to say this without sounding like I'm rendering the guy inculpable and pulling a blame-the-victim thing, because I am NOT -- I am pointing out why I believe that the only people who really know what happened and WHY are the OP and her boyfriend.

Now that that's clear:

A lot of what is leading people to call this rape hinges on the "they said no before" conversation. Let's look at what she said.

"Previously, as in several months ago, we discussed the fact that neither of us is interested in pursuing any anal play."

That one sentence is all we know about any prior discussion, and it is unfortunately somewhat vague. We do not know the details of the content of that conversation, we do not know what either of them may have understood the working definition of "anal play" to be, and we do not know about any subsequent conversations that may have happened. I am not saying that this not-knowing gets the guy off -- I am only saying that it is a gray area which does not give any of US enough information to diagnose the situation. Only the OP and her boyfriend know the entire content of that conversation, and only the each of them know what the each of them were thinking during that conversation and during the shower incident.

And that is why the OP and her boyfriend need to have a talk about what the fuck he was thinking, because that is information she needs to decide for herself what she wants to call this incident.

Now.

To those who are advocating that maybe she is experiencing trauma and thus "doesn't realize she was raped" -- okay, this line of thinking has me a little uncomfortable because; isn't one of the things a rapist counts on is persuading his victim how she should feel about the situation? How would it be helpful to persuade her to feel a certain different way about a situation? Isn't that still taking the power out of her hands, just in a different direction? Would it not be more helpful to remain neutral and empower her to reach her own conclusion about the situation, and THEN proceed with the rape counseling advice if she has decided ON HER OWN that that is what it is? Instead of "you need to accept you were raped, whether you believe it or not", why not "here's what rape is, you have the right to decide if that definition applies to what happened to you"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:25 AM on March 18, 2009 [12 favorites]


In light of prefpara's comment, I amend to say:

sounds like it could fit a legal definition of sexual assault
posted by Miko at 8:26 AM on March 18, 2009


Was she wearing her Don't Ass Fuck Me slippers?
posted by klangklangston at 8:27 AM on March 18, 2009


adipocere: "75penetration of any kind — I must ask here, do Wet Willies count? If not, "of any kind" is probably not the phrase you're looking for. I'm kidding, but I'm not.

People generally do not do a discussion any favors when words like: "any," "all," "always," "never," "none," "must," "ought," and "should" appear.


Point taken, adipocere. And you're right--I should avoid using absolutes. As others have stated far more eloquently above, this is anything but a cut-and-dried situation.

I also don't want to come off as blaming the victim--that wasn't at all my intent. I'm just with Miko on the "it's not for us to say she was raped, but for her to determine" argument, and there's a lot of judgment and calls for the police to get involved in that thread.
posted by misha at 8:52 AM on March 18, 2009


Generally, if an explicit 'No' is said, no matter who's doing it, it's rape.
posted by kldickson at 8:56 AM on March 18, 2009


The fact that several commenters think she's overreacting, let alone not thinking it's unwanted nonconsensual sexual contact (rape, but not forcible rape), is illuminating. We really haven't come all that far, baby.
posted by theora55 at 9:06 AM on March 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


I know. I'm a broken record. I just think it's really important to know what the law is and isn't.

Generally, if an explicit 'No' is said, no matter who's doing it, it's rape.

This is not true if by "rape" you mean "rape under the law." For example, in NY, the victim must prove that he or she

"clearly expressed that he or she did not consent to engage in
such act, and a reasonable person in the actor's situation would have
understood such person's words and acts as an expression of lack of
consent to such act under all the circumstances"

Therefore, saying "no" is not enough. The law does not look from the perspective of the victim (did the victim consent?). The law looks from the perspective of the defendant (would a reasonable person in the defendant's position have understood the victim to be expressing that he or she did not consent?). Interestingly, it doesn't really matter whether or not the defendant actually understood that the victim did not consent as long as the jury thinks that a reasonable person would have.

The "under all the circumstances" language is permission to argue that this was one of the times when "no" means "yes." It means you take everything into account - body language, prior relationship, prior behavior, etc.

So a "no" can be insufficient.

The focus on whether or not the victim said "no" seems broad (since it covers cases where the victim said no but continued to undress, or so on) but is actually quite under-inclusive. There are many cases where a victim of rape does not explicitly or otherwise say or imply that he or she does not consent. Usually, this is because the victim is terrified and believes that saying no will lead to violence, perhaps fatally.

(None of this is meant to suggest that I think it is appropriate to tell the OP that what happened to her was or was not rape. Nor do I think that that is helpful. However, in the context of this conversation, I think (hope) this is relevant.)
posted by prefpara at 9:13 AM on March 18, 2009


god, I hate these "am I overreacting" questions. It's completely understandable that people want to ask things like that, but they're really really unfortunate questions. there is no "overreacting" to situations like those. There's just how you feel and how you want to deal with it. If all of metafilter told her "shit yeah, you're overreacting," would that make her feel better? would she all of a sudden slap her forehead and go "oh shit! i better stop overreacting?"

the whole idea of overreacting to something like that is so steeped in the social misogyny of "the hysterical woman" that, even when we're trying our best to approach the topic sensitively we still reinforce that stereotype by graciously answering the question. in other words, we (despite our best intentions) legitimize that kind of self-doubt by acting like the question is a good one.

the simple truth, as usual, is also the hardest. no, she's not overreacting. she's reacting. she feels a certain way, and she has to figure out how to deal with it. It may be that she will no longer be comfortable around her boyfriend because of this. It may be that, despite really incredible amounts of love on both sides of the relationship, her feelings for him will always be couched in a general feeling of being unsafe with him. It may be that she can't continue dating him, and that will suck for her, and suck for him. If so, it could certainly feel completely unfair, and it would be. It sucks, and it's not fair, but that doesn't mean she's wrong. She feels how she feels. She's not wrong to feel that way, no matter how unfair it might seem to all parties involved. If she feels like she can get over it, and in the end it won't be a huge deal to her, then go for it. But if the ending here isn't happy, that doesn't mean it's wrong. It just sucks, and I feel bad for her. But that's the way it is.

I really hate this whole idea that she could be overreacting to something like this. It's offensive down in the very core of my being. This isn't a dinner setting mistake, or a broken piece of furniture. You don't just shrug it off because you're for some reason supposed to. It is inherent to the foundation of modern sexual equality that people of sufficient emotional development are allowed to feel however they want about their own bodies and how they share them with others. It's as true for men (who, it turns out, are also allowed to be hurt and even damaged by things) as it is for women. The question should never be "is it okay that I feel this way?" The question should always be "how do I choose to deal with this completely legitimate feeling?"
posted by shmegegge at 9:21 AM on March 18, 2009 [42 favorites]


As others have stated far more eloquently above, this is anything but a cut-and-dried situation.

Sounds pretty cut and dried to me.

No is not a big word, or a long word or a word you hear wrong. Yet in the space of her saying it or just starting "N..." he managed to shove his erect penis into her unlubricated, unprepared and unwillingly ass. The sheer speed of that violence, of that act, is chilling.

It's cut-and-dried that she isn't overreacting. It's cut-and-dried that he was so unfathomably wrong in this, you'd think (or pray) he was retarded. It's cut-and-dried that couples' therapy is the very least he should be subjected to.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:21 AM on March 18, 2009


There's no evidence it was unlubricated. Lotion is mentioned, as is bleeding...they are not mutually exclusive.

I hate how closely I've read that post now...it's been making me feel icky and sad for days.

There should really be a questionnaire for all anonymous ask-mes:

1. Have you filled in all the important details of the scenario?
2. Have you asked an explicit question or series of questions?
3. Do you already know the answer to your question? Are you sure?
4. Have you used any vague or confusing phrasings that leave open for debate the chronology of events or exact words said by participants?
5. What the fuck are taters? Seriously wtf are they.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:32 AM on March 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


The law recognizes that rape is not a binary thing where there is a clear category of "rape" and an equally clear category of "not rape."

Actually, no. The decision to pick a charge is one thing. But the question of whether the defendant committed the alleged act is another thing. And the answer is always a yes or no one.

Having said that, this case would likely not be prosecuted on the facts we have here. The Empress has it. Legally, it is a very difficult case to make out that original conversation to mean no at the time of the encounter. Like nearly impossible. People have said they wouldn't try a sex act and then later decided they would like to try that very much. She did not here, but an abstract conversation isn't going to be found by a judge to be a no to an encounter several weeks later. Or a jury.

Plus a prosecutor does not want to prosecute this case because it involves someone actually honoring a request to stop. You'd have a real problem getting that past a judge. Prosecuting a person who stops immediately upon being told no? That case is getting dropped.

Let's be clear here. No meant no. When told stop, he did. Immediately.

If a case like this ever went to trial, the argument of the defense is that the moment he learned of her non-consent, he stopped, apologized and rendered aid.

This whole thing has been an exercise in social dynamics. Somebody said rape at the top of the thread and the ball just rolled. People told the OP that she would never be able to trust him again. How do we know that? Does somebody have a time machine? We don't know. The speculation on both sides was nuts. People were constructing scenarios based on the bf's desire to keep up with her. They were also sure he "meant to do it" based on a three paragraph blurb. We have no idea of these people's motives. Its all guessing. That's why the only proper advice for the OP is to ask him.

When people answer these questions they should break down what the poster says line by line. Not doing that lead to people not reading the fact that she was saying no as he was going in there. They spun an alternative scenario, where she said no and he kept going. The facts given by the OP do not support that fact.

After that was pointed out, people turned to the conversation held weeks ago to create the "no" they were looking for. From a legal standpoint what was described isn't legal notice of non-consent. The purpose of the conversation was not to warn him not to try anal with her, it was to discuss stuff they really aren't into. Certainly, no one could walk away from that conversation and think it was about consent for a future sexual encounter. It simply was not, as described, a discussion about consent for a particular sexual act. It was a discussion of things they were and were not "into."
posted by Ironmouth at 9:52 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why do I suddenly feel like we're going to be seeing retreads of this conversation a year from now between D.A. Cabot and Detective Benson during the second half-hour of an episode of Law And Order: SVU?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:30 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna throw caution to the wind and defend dgaicun here, because it seems like he's being pretty badly misinterpreted. While his first comment was definitely over-the-top, he was speaking to the issue of so many commentors in the AskMe thread declaring with definitive authority that the poster was raped, and so dgaicun responded with a counter-factual from his own experience to show that, well, maybe or maybe not, people tend to view this sort of thing differently.

The damaging effects of rape are about 10% physical at most and 90% emotional/mental at least (I know there are obviously horrific exceptions to this, but I'm speaking generally.) Thus, it almost all depends on what viewpoints and emotional responses the victim brings to it. Most people will tend to have a great amount of emotional investment in remaining in control of what happens to them sexually. Others, such as dgaicun (and I happen to share this view as well) view sex as an almost entirely positive experience, do not have a strong emotional attachment to control over what happens to them, and would thus prefer a world where spontaneity and surprises are encouraged and savored withing LTRs. Of course they (we) would, because from our viewpoint, there's all upside and no downside. So that viewpoint exists, which is contrary to declarations that This Was Rape from people who weren't there, which gets us to grapefruitmoon's point that:

The only person qualified to say whether this was rape or not is the author.

I didn't participate in that thread largely because people who disagree with that, and believe they are personally qualified to decide what happened, turned the whole thing into a fucking trainwreck from the beginning, largely ignoring the actual question at hand. The description of the incident was pretty thorough, IMO, but we'd need video, audio, a stopwatch, a flashlight and a ruler before we could answer all of the questions remaining, and we'd still be no closer to determining what was in the poster's head as it occurred.

Anyway, if anonymous has been checking out this MeTa and has somehow read this far down without throwing up over strangers picking apart a particularly bad sexual experience of hers (or possibly his), let me just throw in my 2¢ and say that the best answer you got was the first one. If you feel like you were raped, DTMFA and tell him why in no uncertain terms. If you don't, then don't let others convince you that you were. If you feel like your boyfriend deserves the benefit of the doubt here, that's your call, but you need to make damn sure that nothing like this ever occurs again, and if you don't think he deserves that benefit, see #1 and DTMFA.

Best of luck to you.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:58 AM on March 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why do I suddenly feel like we're going to be seeing retreads of this conversation a year from now between D.A. Cabot and Detective Benson during the second half-hour of an episode of Law And Order: SVU?

I don't know, does illiad write for TV now or something?
posted by Caduceus at 11:05 AM on March 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why do I suddenly feel like we're going to be seeing retreads of this conversation a year from now between D.A. Cabot and Detective Benson during the second half-hour of an episode of Law And Order: SVU?

Except the plot will be about a murder of a commenter due to bad blood on an internet forum.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:26 AM on March 18, 2009


As the one who made the offending comment, I'll say that the poster here does the same thing that many in that AskMe thread are doing: taking a single item out of the context in which it is presented in order to get all righteous about it. My statement cited was preceded by a dozen or so sentences arguing against applying a definition of rape in this situation--all of which are ignored in this complaint. And in the original question, the definition of rape is applied outside consideration for the context of the situation the poster was describing, not to mention outside the poster's own definition of the situation. The term is being thrown about irresponsibly.

There are times when a man sincerely believes that "no" means "yes," for example. Even when this is the case, the resulting sex is still rape. Rape is not limited to those sexual encounters where the rapist is aware that his victim has not consented.

You are creating a definition in which rape exists but the rapist does not, unless 'accidental rapist' is on the horizon. Publicly twisting the language in this way is a disservice, particularly to victims of rape.
posted by troybob at 11:34 AM on March 18, 2009


This has nothing to do with anything having to do with this thread, but I just saw mention of "lubricated" and "lotion" in the same sentence, and this is just a public service message for all of humanity.

Ahem.

LOTION IS NOT LUBE, OMG. DO NOT PUT LOTION ON SOMETHING AND THEN STICK IT IN YOUR SEXY BITS. THIS IS WHY LUBE EXISTS, BECAUSE LOTION IS NOT IT.

The end.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:45 AM on March 18, 2009 [10 favorites]


You are creating a definition...

I did not create the definition. This is the legal standard. You can be convicted of rape despite not intending to rape or realizing that you did not have the victim's consent.

I am reading you as repeating your point, which I quoted, essentially that rape is a crime of intent. It's not.
posted by prefpara at 11:49 AM on March 18, 2009


There are times when a man sincerely believes that "no" means "yes," for example. Even when this is the case, the resulting sex is still rape. Rape is not limited to those sexual encounters where the rapist is aware that his victim has not consented.

This is wrong from a legal standpoint. Rape is not a strict liability offense. You must have the mens rea, or mental state necessary to commit the crime of rape. This is not so for statutory rape however, which is a strict liablity offense.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:51 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you think this is bad, imagine what it is like for first year crim law students. The discussions in that class were like world war III.

It is the most emotionally charged subject in criminal law, by far. Raging liberals suddenly forget all of their belief in due process and all sorts of things. Only for this one crime.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:53 AM on March 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Except the plot will be about a murder of a commenter due to bad blood on an internet forum.

But they can't prove it because they can't find the body.
posted by Mitheral at 11:53 AM on March 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Except the plot will be about a murder of a commenter due to bad blood on an internet forum.

Dammit! They already wasted using a melty-faced Carol Burnett as a murderess on last night's episode.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:54 AM on March 18, 2009


As the one who made the offending comment

Jesus how could you be such a #$@%?! Everyone, EVERYONE, knows that Greedo shot first.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:58 AM on March 18, 2009


You are creating a definition...

I did not create the definition. This is the legal standard. You can be convicted of rape despite not intending to rape or realizing that you did not have the victim's consent.

I am reading you as repeating your point, which I quoted, essentially that rape is a crime of intent. It's not.


prefpara, you are misinformed. Essentially there are strict liability offenses and non-strict liability offenses. A strict liability offense is one where the mere commission of the act is all that is needed to convict. Only the actus reus the act itself need be proved by the state to ensure a conviction.

The vast majority of offenses are not strict liability offenses. The state must show both the actus reus and the mens rea or state of mind to commit the crime. These elements are usually not seen in the statutes because these elements are common to all crimes. (However, the NY statute above does appear to take that into account.)
posted by Ironmouth at 12:05 PM on March 18, 2009


But they can't prove it because they can't find the body.

Well, of COURSE they can't find it! They read the AskMe about how to dispose of a body FIRST, duh.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:05 PM on March 18, 2009


"This is wrong from a legal standpoint. Rape is not a strict liability offense. You must have the mens rea, or mental state necessary to commit the crime of rape. This is not so for statutory rape however, which is a strict liablity offense."

I'd object to how you're presenting mens rea here, in that you seem to be arguing for a stricter interpretation (and state laws vary). But negligence is still mens rea; and rape is not generally written as a specific intent crime, at least as far as I know.

More to the point, you can be convicted of sexual assault if a reasonable person would have foreseen that their actions would lead to sexual assault, even if the defendant didn't intend rape. (Your state laws may vary.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:19 PM on March 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


You can be convicted of rape despite not intending to rape or realizing that you did not have the victim's consent.

The fucked-upedness of this is the point I'm trying to make. It's silly enough that one can be convicted of a crime of force without employing it or attempting to do so, even sillier that some people define this as justice.
posted by troybob at 12:27 PM on March 18, 2009


Well, of COURSE they can't find it! They read the AskMe about how to dispose of a body FIRST, duh.

Explaining the joke ruins the joke.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:30 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


It simply was not, as described, a discussion about consent for a particular sexual act. It was a discussion of things they were and were not "into."

People keep saying this, and I genuinely don't understand it. (And I am genuine. I don't think this was necessarily rape, but I do think it was really fucked up.) The conversation might not have been explicitly about consent, but isn't saying you aren't into something implying that, at the very least, their partner should have the explicit conversation about consent before just doing it?

Maybe it's a matter of degrees? If someone said they weren't into having their nipples licked counterclockwise, then it's not really that violative to do it anyway w/o asking. But if someone says they're not into being whipped and then someone busts out a riding crop and makes a bloody mark down your back, many (most?) people would consider that a more serious violation.
posted by Mavri at 12:33 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


The fucked-upedness of this is the point I'm trying to make. It's silly enough that one can be convicted of a crime of force without employing it or attempting to do so, even sillier that some people define this as justice.

But it's necessary to avoid situations where a rapist thinks the following examples imply consent: a) she was drunk, b) she was dressed provacatively, c) she was his gf/wife, d) he bought her dinner, e) etc. The reasonable person standard, as explained by klang, means that if a reasonable person would have realized that you lacked consent, then it was rape, even if you were too stupid or neanderthal to realize it. I see no problem with this.
posted by Mavri at 12:39 PM on March 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Explaining the joke ruins the joke.

I heard that once as "Explaining humour is like dissecting a frog, that is, you can do it, but the frog dies in the process"
posted by patricio at 12:44 PM on March 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Raging liberals suddenly forget all of their belief in due process and all sorts of things. Only for this one crime.

Oh, and let me guess, frothing-from-the mouth conservatives suddenly forget all of their tough-on-crime rhetoric in their rush to defend hapless rapists.
posted by JenMarie at 1:23 PM on March 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'd object to how you're presenting mens rea here, in that you seem to be arguing for a stricter interpretation (and state laws vary). But negligence is still mens rea; and rape is not generally written as a specific intent crime, at least as far as I know.

More to the point, you can be convicted of sexual assault if a reasonable person would have foreseen that their actions would lead to sexual assault, even if the defendant didn't intend rape. (Your state laws may vary.)


I am trying to avoid getting in too deep on some of these issues, as it really doesn't add to the discussion and makes it more complex than it needs to be. The answer to this is somewhat complex. Rape is generally a general intent crime, but attempted rape is a specific intent crime.

But it does not matter here, because the moment the lack of consent was made known to the bf, he stopped. These are the words of the OP. Unless she is lying, which we have no evidence of, there is no rape here. His act of stopping immediately demonstrates a lack of intent to rape. These are the facts we have been given here. There would never be a prosecution under the circumstances given by the OP for the reasons given above.

But it's necessary to avoid situations where a rapist thinks the following examples imply consent: a) she was drunk, b) she was dressed provacatively, c) she was his gf/wife, d) he bought her dinner, e) etc. The reasonable person standard, as explained by klang, means that if a reasonable person would have realized that you lacked consent, then it was rape, even if you were too stupid or neanderthal to realize it. I see no problem with this.

None of these are actual defenses to rape, except the spousal one, which is modified but alive and well in many states. The requirement for mens rea is still there and those who say that intent is not needed are wrong. General intent can be either willful or negligent.

But we have no prosecutable rape because the moment the person became aware of lack of consent they stopped.

The conversation might not have been explicitly about consent, but isn't saying you aren't into something implying that, at the very least, their partner should have the explicit conversation about consent before just doing it?

The topic of conversation was not future sex acts, it was a general discussion of sexual preferences. There can be no "implied lack of consent." The indication of lack of consent has to be at the time of the sex act. Indeed a reasonable person could have forgotten that discussion at the time.

Listen, the bf seriously fucked up and did wrong, but there just isn't a case here for a rape prosecution.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:38 PM on March 18, 2009


Raging liberals suddenly forget all of their belief in due process and all sorts of things. Only for this one crime.

Oh, and let me guess, frothing-from-the mouth conservatives suddenly forget all of their tough-on-crime rhetoric in their rush to defend hapless rapists.


Sure seemed that way to me when I was there. There were a lot of them conservative fools when I was in law school.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:40 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


The topic of conversation was not future sex acts, it was a general discussion of sexual preferences. There can be no "implied lack of consent." The indication of lack of consent has to be at the time of the sex act. Indeed a reasonable person could have forgotten that discussion at the time.

I wasn't talking about consent for the purposes of it being rape or not. I already said I didn't think it was necessarily rape. I was talking about the fact that some people didn't seem to think the guy did anything wrong--morally, ethically, whatever--even though that prior conversation had happened. That conversation should at least mean that there should have been a step two between the vague anal sex talk and the anal sex attempt. Even if it was just, right before he penetrated her, to say, "Do you want to do this?"
posted by Mavri at 1:59 PM on March 18, 2009


If he didn't have any reason to think he had consent for the act, and I don't see any reason for him to think so, then he shouldn't have to wait for her to say no.

That just means anything someone can do quickly is kosher. If someone surprises me and punches me, the fact that I don't protest until after the punch lands doesn't mean we were boxing.
posted by Salamandrous at 2:00 PM on March 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


And I belatedly realize that I quoted you, discussing rape, to ask a question about the opinion of some people who were not discussing rape. Sorry.
posted by Mavri at 2:00 PM on March 18, 2009


I wasn't talking about consent for the purposes of it being rape or not. I already said I didn't think it was necessarily rape. I was talking about the fact that some people didn't seem to think the guy did anything wrong--morally, ethically, whatever--even though that prior conversation had happened. That conversation should at least mean that there should have been a step two between the vague anal sex talk and the anal sex attempt. Even if it was just, right before he penetrated her, to say, "Do you want to do this?"

Agreed. I was only speaking in terms of it being a prosecutable rape.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:07 PM on March 18, 2009


If he didn't have any reason to think he had consent for the act, and I don't see any reason for him to think so, then he shouldn't have to wait for her to say no.

That just means anything someone can do quickly is kosher. If someone surprises me and punches me, the fact that I don't protest until after the punch lands doesn't mean we were boxing.


That is an exaggeration. Sex is an act that people engage in consentually. Striking a person is not generally a consensual act. Lack of consent is not an element to a second-degree assault. Lack of consent is an element in a rape.

I'm just laying out the law as it is. Plus these are people who have been dating for 2 years. Not every new move that one might put on the other needs actual verbal consent. I'm speaking merely from a legal point of view. Obviously what the BF did was wrong. But it wasn't a prosecutable rape.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:11 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was talking about the fact that some people didn't seem to think the guy did anything wrong--morally, ethically, whatever--even though that prior conversation had happened.

I don't assume the guy did nothing wrong; but as a guy who also has little understanding of the way women emotionalize sex, and as a guy who has been on the other end of this situation without resultant feelings of violation and emotional upheaval, I hold open the possibility that the situation here has more to do with guys' sexual clumsiness, and it seems to have more in common with the myriad other non-sexual ways people in relationships unintentionally hurt each other than it does with sexual assault.

That's why I think so much of the interpretation lies in what actually happened in the months between this conversation and the offending sex act. How many other limits were surpassed in that time, within the context of sexual experimentation (which the poster admits she initiated) with or without specific conversation about it? (And without the same emotional response from either person?)

When I met my partner almost 17 years ago there were things I did not imagine I would ever do or enjoy, that we have since done and enjoyed, by fumbling our way through, without explicit consent or discussion. I don't assume everyone is like us, but unless I happen to run with a particularly perverted crowd, I don't think it's so uncommon.
posted by troybob at 2:17 PM on March 18, 2009


When I met my partner almost 17 years ago there were things I did not imagine I would ever do or enjoy, that we have since done and enjoyed, by fumbling our way through, without explicit consent or discussion.

Did you come to enjoy anal play after something was shoved into your ass, making you scream and bleed and after you had said no?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:32 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did you come to enjoy anal play after something was shoved into your ass, making you scream and bleed and after you had said no?

Pretty much sums it up.
posted by troybob at 2:43 PM on March 18, 2009


And what is this obsession with 'prosecutable rape'?

The justice system might not be the last place I'd turn for a just understanding of rape, but it wouldn't be near to the top of the list. The number of rapes that are prosecuted successfully is pathetically small, and has little to do with women's experiences of sexual violence.

I think my analogy was apt, in any case. There is plenty of consensual hitting in our society, boxing is only one example. And plenty of non-consensual sex, unfortunately. And I think it did approach, if not constitute, willful negligence to assume consent for anal sex with-penetration-so-swift-she-had-no-time-to-protest-beforehand in this situation.
posted by Salamandrous at 2:47 PM on March 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Not every new move that one might put on the other needs actual verbal consent

You seem to be overlooking that consent had already been explicitly denied.
posted by rodgerd at 3:32 PM on March 18, 2009


I was talking about the fact that some people didn't seem to think the guy did anything wrong--morally, ethically, whatever--even though that prior conversation had happened.

I don't think that anyone thinks the guy "didn't do anything wrong." On the contrary, I think we all agree that he fucked up like whoa, and the only difference of opinion is whether or not this fuck-up-like-whoa can or can not be called rape -- or, more accurately, whether anyone outside the OP has the right to decide that in the first place.

But I think we all agree that he DID do something wrong.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:33 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Explaining the joke ruins the joke.

I heard that once as "Explaining humour is like dissecting a frog, that is, you can do it, but the frog dies in the process"


See, in this situation, the frog is kind of like the joke. Get it? Because a joke succeeds when it is put together, but it's not funny anymore when you dissect it!

And while explaining the joke may ruin the joke, I still think that explaining the joke that explains that explaining the joke ruins the joke is funny, while explaining the joke that explains that explaining the joke that explains that explaining the joke ruins the joke is funny actually ruins the joke again. Suck it, Hofstadter.
posted by turaho at 3:42 PM on March 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Explaining the joke ruins the joke.

I didn't get that it was a joke in reference to THAT comment. I CAN NOT BRAIN TODAY. I HAVE TEH DUMB.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:55 PM on March 18, 2009


And what is this obsession with 'prosecutable rape'?

The justice system might not be the last place I'd turn for a just understanding of rape, but it wouldn't be near to the top of the list. The number of rapes that are prosecuted successfully is pathetically small, and has little to do with women's experiences of sexual violence.


I think that's what this thread is about. Yes he did something bad and the OP will have to figure this out herself. But the people claiming here that the conduct fits the legal definition of rape are mistaken.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:10 PM on March 18, 2009


You seem to be overlooking that consent had already been explicitly denied.

Could someone please state where she says (in any manner) she "explicitly denied consent". Because I think that is one of the main contention points for some people here to vacillate on labeling this guy rapist.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:34 PM on March 18, 2009


Could someone please state where she says (in any manner) she "explicitly denied consent".

First she explicitly denied consent several months earlier when she said she wasn't interested
Previously, as in several months ago, we discussed the fact that neither of us is interested in pursuing any anal play.
Second, at the time she was pretty unambiguous:
As I feel his penis there, I forcefully say "No,"
It doesn't get much more explicit than either of those, frankly. Why is this even a debate?
posted by dersins at 4:49 PM on March 18, 2009


The first statement is very ambiguous as none of us know the content of the discussion and the ability to misconstrue what was said could have been tremendous. The second quote you thoughtfully left out something didn't you?

I forcefully say "No," but before I can finish

That's why this is a debate.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:55 PM on March 18, 2009


My point being. No matter how many times somebody in here says "she explicitly denied the act", this has yet to be made explicit itself without a follow up from the OP for clarification.

I also think him sexually assaulting her and him misconstruing the situation could be mutually exclusive. Except that one would inform the other, and should inform you on the situation.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:12 PM on March 18, 2009


"Listen, the bf seriously fucked up and did wrong, but there just isn't a case here for a rape prosecution."

I want to be clear here: We both agree on this point. However, I'd like to point out that legal and prosecutable are not the same thing, as there's plenty of stuff that's illegal but there's no chance in hell of being charged. Most of it is vestigial code from when legislating morality was more overt, but it exists.

I'd also like to point out that because most of us (don't want to speak for all) agree that this was a) fucked up, and b) not prosecutable, the complexities of mens rea are a lot more interesting to me than quibbling over the linguistic nuance. In this case, were the thread not such a shithole, that "Not Rape" thing might have been instructive.

(Not to take away from the fact that the Rape Question is an obviously more weighty one, it feels like arguing whether eating the last slice of pizza is theft in the eyes of the law. What if he didn't pay for the pizza? What if he only ate a couple bites and then was called out, so put it back?)
posted by klangklangston at 5:18 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think I could trust pizza-eating guy anywhere around my take-out boxes again.
posted by taz at 5:38 PM on March 18, 2009


MetaTalk: the tender act of fuck.
posted by gjc at 6:05 PM on March 18, 2009


First she explicitly denied consent several months earlier when she said she wasn't interestedPreviously, as in several months ago, we discussed the fact that neither of us is interested in pursuing any anal play.

This is most certainly not an explicit denial of consent. The best example of an explicit denial of consent is the "no" she used as he tried to have anal sex with her.

I have been very careful with my use of my words. It most certainly isn't a prosecutable case from a legal point of view because it is unlikely to survive a motion to dismiss.

Having said that, I do not believe a rape took place here. I believe the BF stupidly tried to have anal sex with his girlfriend without asking her if it would be ok first, causing her both physical and psychic trauma. However, he stopped immediately upon her telling him he did not have consent. This makes him a stupid idiot, but not a rapist.

Frankly, I don't even think there is a case for second-degree assualt here, imho.

The question was poorly handled however and veered off into the subject of rape really, really quickly. People were refighting earlier battles.

I'm also surprised at the level of speculation in the thread, with some people going so far as to speculate what the guy knew or didn't know about anal sex or the terrible conversations that the bf was going to be having. Others, more sympathetic to the bf, perhaps, speculated that he was trying to keep up with his more kinky gf.

We have no idea about any of that and nobody helps anybody by going outside of the facts as presented.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:56 PM on March 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yes, counselor, but how do you feel about the last slice of pizza question?
posted by klangklangston at 7:32 PM on March 18, 2009


What is that?
posted by Ironmouth at 8:41 PM on March 18, 2009


Ok, I see it. Fact specific, who owns the pizza to start out with? If the eater paid along with others I don't know if it would be petty theft. Its a contractual question and I don't see a crime in there.

Putting it back means nothing, he had dominion and control over the property of another. That's why you're still on the hook for car theft even if you joyride and put it back.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:46 PM on March 18, 2009


I wish I didn't find the responses in this thread to be so depressing. Not because I'd ever be able to kick a dog or understand why anyone would. But because the unilateral community response -- he is effed up, fix his meds, leave him -- is so far from the responses given to this question.

Boyfriend kicks our dog, once, out of character?
Animal abuse is bad bad news. Leave, get his meds checked or make him get therapy.

Shoving an unlubed, uninvited, unwelcome hard penis up a girlfriend's asshole?
Might be rape, might not, the semantics really depend on so many factors, and really, it's out of character, so why jump to conclusions? How are we one to judge what it is? Because if it's not rape, you're really making a mountain out of a molehill, people change their mind over the course of a relationship, so you'd better be sure about that definition you're slinging around. Are you sure there weren't other complicating conversations that made him think it would be a good idea? Mistakes happen, maybe he was aiming wrong. It wasn't premeditated, it was in the heat of the moment, aren't you human and make mistakes too? He stopped when you screamed, what more do you want? There are lots of degrees, he probably misread your signs, and you're the one into kink, so really, it wouldn't legally qualify as rape, so I'm sorry you had a bad time with it, and hope you're able to work through it. How come you didn't say no faster?

So glad we cleared this up.
posted by barnone at 9:23 PM on March 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


When a dog and a human female are equally capable of making decisions for themselves, barnone, I'll join you in that sarcasm.

But for now, I'd prefer to grant each individual human being the dignity of having the freedom to decide for herself the exact nature of the way in which she has been wronged. We have more clear-cut laws about domesticated animals precisely because they do not have the same intellectual power to ascertain the subtleties of a situation.

For what it's worth, I don't see anyone in the other thread leaping to the black-and-white "it's abuse" decision that you see - on the other hand, I see people advising the OP there to "get some help to get to the bottom of this" -- JUST as I see people advising the OP in this case.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:29 PM on March 18, 2009


My argument has nothing to do with the ability of animals or humans make decisions for themselves. And if you think the OP was only asking for folks to respond with the intellectual ability to name a wrong, legal or otherwise, we are entering this conversation from two different planets. I'm interested here in the emotion and arguments brought to bear in each of these cases.

Just for an example.

JamJam dog: There is not a chance in hell you should stay with this man under any circumstances...His anger was the anger of a sadistic sociopath who got caught in the act, and the best he could do was make up some story that had the dog doing something you haven't witnessed in three years of the phone ringing.You are a very fortunate woman. Can you imagine what you might have experienced, 8 months pregnant and vulnerable yourself with your baby as a hostage? What your baby might have gone through, unable to talk and as totally at his mercy as your dog was?

JamJam woman: A wedding? The bachelors' party isn't the only place there's a lot of free-floating sexual hostility toward women when men are in a group together in all the gatherings surrounding a wedding. He may have gotten caught up in some of that, and this act may not reflect his own basic nature. Nevertheless, this is pretty serious, and cries out for exploration in couples therapy at least.


Trotter dog: You (the friend) took the dog away and wondered if your husband would do this again. So no [not over-reacting]. But your husband made the choice to kick a dog; he wasn't overcome by anything, much less a fit of anger. He chose, but it's up to you to decide if the gravity of his action ought to affect your ability to be with him.

Trotter woman: The greater question is what the nature of rape is, and the very first thing I thought was if this is rape, then what is a man drugging a woman at a bar and bringing her home, forcing sex on her, all against her will? My personal concern is that we are attempting to enter the boyfriend's mind, but we can't; we have no way of assessing his motive or intent. Yet the thrust of the he raped her argument is that he did choose to rape her: the very nature of rape—that the aggressor chose, against the victim's wishes. The tenuous leap of logic is that rape happens by the choice of the aggressor—to forcefully have intercourse—but is ultimately defined by the choice of the victim—to vocally refuse it. The problem being, of course, is that when one thinks of rapists one thinsk of creepy, violent, drunken men—not one's boyfriend. There is sound logic for the case that the boyfriend raped her, but that conclusion comes with the very real price of diluting the act of rape to the point of cultural irrelevancy.....What the poster's boyfriend subjected her to is reprehensible. I'm not convinced it's rape. We call rape a crime because it's inherently evil, and I fail to see a profoundly evil element in either her boyfriend or his actions. I'd call the boyfriend an asshole, a miscreant, untrustworthy, and overall scum. But not evil.

hal_c_on dog
hal_c_on woman

This whole thing is such a mess - I'll be around if you'd like to continue this offline.
posted by barnone at 10:10 PM on March 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


Yeah, the dog thing is high dudgeon time. You might as well say that because he kicked a dog once, he'd have no problem killing six million Jews.

(Back to the pizza question: Wouldn't it also depend on how the purchase of the pizza was handled? If, for example, the pizza eater had paid in with the others it has been explicitly stated that he was paying one eighth of the price—for a standard 16-slice pizza—and had eaten a third piece, wouldn't that deprive someone of their property? What if he hadn't paid, but put the slice back after pretending to eat it [a "joyride" of the pizza] and being rebuked? Obviously, it deprived the owner of the use and control of their property, however, his putting it back would be evidence that he didn't truly mean to eat it himself.

I do hope that we can both agree that if this is petty theft under the statutes of a state, that it is unprosecutable. And at least somewhat silly.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:21 PM on March 18, 2009


I saw the dog question earlier and realized a Meta is brewing with some outrageous accusations in there (JamJam's stood out).

Mmmmm, pizza. What if he regurgitated the pizza and replaced all said "stolen property"?
posted by P.o.B. at 10:32 PM on March 18, 2009


barnone: I see where your frustration is coming from, but I can tell you that even in the dog thread (and I love dogs) I would've given the husband more of the benefit of the doubt than he's received there. Part of that is my natural inclination towards the "defendant's side," (I can still remember being nine years old and upset that fucking Noriega of all people was found guilty) but most of it is that when I read these sorts of scenarios I create a mental film-strip in my head of how it all went down, and reading the dog question, the only thing that fits my real-world experience with any plausibility is that the husband wasn't so much actually kicking the dog as he was forcefully shoving the dog outside with his foot, while concurrently yelling, which the OP described as something she'd never seen him do before.

It seems highly likely that the OP, in coming across a surprisingly "out-of-character" moment from her husband which she likely only had a second or two to observe, would be highly liable to conflate the violent tone of his voice - which, again, was something frightening and unusual - with a forceful, but not actually harmfully violent act towards the dog. I could be very, very wrong here, of course, but I've also never seen anyone ever kick a dog, and simply can't picture someone kicking a dog they've cared for over a number of years unless there was a complete psychotic break.

Otherwise, I'm sorry, but EmpressCalypso's argument is absolutely pertinent. A woman can decide whether she was raped or not, the dog doesn't get to decide for itself whether it was abused. Along those same lines, one can't kick a dog with the hopes that it might be a shared and beloved experience between the dog and the person kicking it, which seems to have been the extremely mistaken and misguided thought process with the boyfriend in the anal-sex question. If the dog-kicker was actually guilty of kicking the dog, then it was an act of abject cruelty upon a creature incapable of defending itself or saying "no." The anal-sex question at subject here shows none of those elements, at least on its face.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:41 PM on March 18, 2009


We had pizza distribution down to a science in the freshman dorm at college. Everyone chipped in equally, and the person who had ordered the pizza and collected everyone's money got to pick the first slice when the pizza arrived. Then that person got to choose who would pick the next slice, and so on down the line until everybody had a piece, then the order was reversed, and reversed again (and again if necessary) until the pizza was fully distributed. Those were the rules, and nobody could complain about their portion even if the pizza was sliced in a way that made some pieces bigger than others. If you tried to grab a slice out of turn, even by accident, you were usually caught immediately and your pizza privileges were revoked until the next pizza was ordered, but in the cases where someone was able to snag a slice and get it in their mouth before anyone realized what was happening, the violator was either pummeled mercilessly and excluded from eating any more of the pizza, or else punished by having their turn skipped later on when the bong was passed around. Sometimes both. Unless it was their weed, in which case all was forgiven, or as was more often the case, forgotten. There were other rules, such as if you touched another piece with your hand while picking your piece you lost your next turn. Friendships were occasionally damaged irreparably over the pizza ritual, and I suppose if someone had wanted to press charges over a stolen piece of pizza it could have been argued that we had all willingly entered into an oral contract, but the contract also included specific avenues of redress for any perceived grievances. It would never have gotten to that point anyway, because the pizza code was sacred. Everyone else would have been honor bound to stand as a witness, and lie under oath if necessary, against the person who tried to break the code by involving anyone outside our select group of stoned, broke, and hungry freshmen.

And on another note, do we really have enough information to make honest accusations in the two contentious Askme threads? Who cares? This in the internet, dammit, and we won't be dissuaded from getting our outrage on!
posted by Balonious Assault at 11:58 PM on March 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Shoving an unlubed, uninvited, unwelcome hard penis up a girlfriend's asshole?
Might be rape, might not, the semantics really depend on so many factors, and really, it's out of character, so why jump to conclusions?


For the record, you're paraphrasing something I said to continue the "rape or not" discussion, yet I've specifically stayed outta that mess. Please don't bring my quotes into it, thanks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:32 AM on March 19, 2009


kldickson: "Generally, if an explicit 'No' is said, no matter who's doing it, it's rape.

Man, that kind of law would fuck shit up here in Japan. (No, not in the "Japan is full of tentacle-rapist pedophile sickos" bullshit that always comes up on the internet, but the regular Japan that isn't interesting enough to be plastered all over the blogosphere). "駄目" (dame), which means, basically, "no" or "stop", is the standard word-one-says-while-having-sex. If just the explicit saying of the word were enough to make something by definition rape, you'd be stuck in the weird situation of there being a ton of rapes with the consent of the victims.

Not that it affects who is right or wrong in this argument, nor that it supports one side or another. Just a cultural aside.
posted by Bugbread at 5:03 AM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll tell you what upset me about that thread. troybob said that the people who were characterizing the experience as "rape" were being insulting to women who had been raped. When I shared my perspective as someone who has been raped, troybob invalidated my perspective.

I don't need to come here for Men Explain Things to Me. I can get that lots of other places.

I especially don't need men who have never been raped to explain how rape survivors feel to me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:44 AM on March 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't need to come here for Men Explain Things to Me. I can get that lots of other places.

What are you suggesting, Sidhedevil? Should troybob/men be allowed to share his/their perspective or not? Look at where the question marks appear in the original post. One (of three) says "What would motivate him to do this?" which pretty clearly, to me, says "if you have insight into his perspective, please share."

You were both participating in a derail, as 'rape' isn't part of the question. But, somehow, you seem to have it in your head that your experience as a rape survivor is the only relevant one, and that anybody who "pushes your buttons" in answering the question is a shitty person for upsetting you.

I don't particularly care what you need from MetaFilter. I do care about learning from you and your experiences (and from troybob's) so creating an atmosphere where many types of people are comfortable participating is important to me. But not to the point that it means some perspectives are verboten because they might hurt somebody's feelings.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 8:21 AM on March 19, 2009


But, somehow, you seem to have it in your head that your experience as a rape survivor is the only relevant one

No, not at all. I am saying that my experience as a rape survivor is relevant to a discussion of how this debate might be perceived by rape survivors. I did not say that I spoke for all rape survivors, nor that the perspective of people who are not rape survivors is irrelevant.

I'm saying that when someone is talking about how rape survivors might react to this debate, perhaps they might want to listen to rape survivors' reactions.

and that anybody who "pushes your buttons" in answering the question is a shitty person for upsetting you.

What? No, that is not what I said at all. troybob said that calling this rape was, in his opinion, offensive to women who were rape survivors.

I said that I had a different perspective, and that in fact, the people who were dismissing it as something that could never be rape because he stopped seemed more offensive to me, as one rape survivor.

He did not, in response, say that he had a different perspective (which would not have bugged me a bit; of course other people have different perspectives); he reiterated his original point (and misparsed my comment) as follows:

'All the people' aren't saying there's no way it was rape because he stopped; they're saying that it calls the label of rape into doubt.

when his original point was that the reason nobody should call this rape was that it would be offensive to women who were rape survivors.

Now, as far as I know, I am the only person who is a rape survivor who has identified myself as such in the comments on the thread. troybob's perspective is certainly different from mine, and I welcome that. However, I find him telling me what rape survivors' perspectives are, or should be, pretty ridiculous.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:37 AM on March 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also, I am sure that there are other people reading the thread, and posting on it, who are rape survivors. And I imagine that some/many of them have different perspectives than I do on it, and of course it's not a vote.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:38 AM on March 19, 2009


Last comment on this:

and that anybody who "pushes your buttons" in answering the question is a shitty person for upsetting you.

troybob was the one who brought up the concept of "upsetting rape survivors," not me. Don't put that on me--my scroll button works fine, and if I didn't want to read a discussion about rape, I wouldn't.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:41 AM on March 19, 2009


Fair enough. I think you are responding more strictly to his last sentence, where I feel his "original point" is primarily focused in the first two paragraphs of his comment, so your emphasis on what somebody said that upsets you comes across as a bit passive aggressive. Admittedly, this is, in part, my baggage, as I've been distressed for quite some time by what I see an orthodoxy creeping into metafilter as to the "one and only" proper response to gender issues.

As long as you're not saying troybob shouldn't have shared his opinions, I have no quarrel your comments. But I hope you can see how "I don't need to come here for Men Explain Things to Me" may have come across that way.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 9:11 AM on March 19, 2009


I'll tell you what upset me about that thread. troybob said that the people who were characterizing the experience as "rape" were being insulting to women who had been raped. When I shared my perspective as someone who has been raped, troybob invalidated my perspective...I especially don't need men who have never been raped to explain how rape survivors feel to me.

That's funny, because in the thread itself that's not what you said bothered you:

But to be honest, my own rape-survivor buttons have been pushed a lot harder by all the people saying, in effect, "there's no way that was rape because he stopped"...

I took some care to point out that you were mischaracterizing what people were saying. For instance, I was not saying that 'there's no way that was rape because he stopped'; I was saying that several details given by the questioner leaned away from the definition of rape, including the fact that he stopped immediately, and also that it was not labeled as such by her. Making this argument did not at all comment on your perspective; it pointed out that you were oversimplifying an argument that I took some time and care to make.

But also, the strongest statement I made toward 'explaining how rape survivors feel':

It seems an insult to women who have been raped to apply the label of rapist to someone who stops what he is doing at the first sign of your distress.

I don't think it's a particularly presumptuous statement (really--'seems'?), and it reflected more my recollection of the fashionable date-rape scene, when college girls would argue, to me, "like, even if I'm drunk and naked in some guy's room at, like, 3:00 a.m. and I say 'yes', the guy should know that I'm, like, drunk and really mean 'no'." I wasn't the only one bothered that the accusations of actual rape victims were being trivialized in this mess.

Also, I would note that nowhere in my comments did I make assumptions about your sexual history the way you did about mine.
posted by troybob at 9:17 AM on March 19, 2009


fashionable date-rape scene? Oh boy.
posted by taz at 9:40 AM on March 19, 2009


fashionable date-rape scene? Oh boy.

'Fashionable' modified 'scene', and more in the sense that back in the day many people I knew would actually make romantic dates to attend campus protests on the subject.
posted by troybob at 9:52 AM on March 19, 2009


Even the silly college girls who didn't understand what date rape was? What was everyone protesting, anyway? Date rape, or silly college girls claiming they were raped?
posted by taz at 10:15 AM on March 19, 2009


I'd like to take a moment to thank Ironmouth for providing a concise run-down of the legalities of this situation.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled MeTa. Complete with tagline.

MetaTalk: This in the internet, dammit, and we won't be dissuaded from getting our outrage on!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:51 AM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even the silly college girls who didn't understand what date rape was? What was everyone protesting, anyway? Date rape, or silly college girls claiming they were raped?

I never really got the nature of the protests; I didn't go; I just recall they were the thing to do, like going to a concert; and that a side effect was sincere, intelligent, theretofore non-traumatized girls having hours-long conversations on whether their past sexual encounters could be strictly defined as rape; I stopped listening at the invocation of 'mind rape.' I don't know that this was universal, but I remember being among a group of people who became frustrated that real crime--the reporting of which had already been problematic in that defense of such relied on casting doubt on the victim--was being trivialized for the sake of what looked like a fad.

The point behind my unfortunate description is that ever-expansive and vague definitions of rape do no favors for people so victimized in that misusing the term weakens its legitimate use.
posted by troybob at 10:52 AM on March 19, 2009


So, it's all the wanna-be rape victims that are to blame for "real" rape victims not getting a fair shake? If only it weren't for all those fakers maybe the real victims could get some satisfaction, but the way things stand you just can't trust people to tell the difference between real rape and something like "mind rape"?

And if those people "do no favors" for rape victims, where can we find the people who are doing favors for them? Because it's not you. You stopped listening quite a long time ago, according to you. You aren't some expert because you once heard someone silly say a silly thing. Don't cry over the "real" rape victims who you won't even listen to right here, right now, and then say you stopped listening a long time ago, and tell stories about how all that blah-blah about rape was just the fashionable thing of the moment, and all that kerfuffle just led to silly girls wondering if they'd been raped or not.
posted by taz at 11:06 AM on March 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Now this thread is a derail also.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:11 AM on March 19, 2009


taz: That story was nothing more than an explanation of why I voiced that particular perspective, a further explanation of why my original statement (It seems an insult to women who have been raped to apply the label of rapist to someone who stops what he is doing at the first sign of your distress.) was not some definitive statement on 'how rape survivors feel,' as had been charged. There was a period of time when 'rape' was being used irresponsibly, and I'm not the only one who remembers it; my characterization was a side statement on how I personally experienced that time and how that experience (amongst many others) contributed to my thought process.

Basically, my statement is that 'rape' is not a term that should be used lightly. I don't think a lot of people disagree about that.

You're commentary is disingenuous. You took the conversation (which itself is based on a complaint that entirely ignored my central argument) on a particular tangent such that I explained it, and then you tried to bury my entire argument in that triviality.
posted by troybob at 11:43 AM on March 19, 2009


Just an FYI, this showed up on Jezebel this afternoon. Can't figure out if it's good or bad that they didn't link to the MetaTalk.
posted by giraffe at 11:43 AM on March 19, 2009


From Jezebel.
posted by moxiedoll at 11:43 AM on March 19, 2009


Jesus H. G-d. I can only imagine the reaction of the OP, first a MeTa about her experience, now Jezebel... if I ever had something that personal that I posted to AskMe, the LAST thing I would want is it plastered on MORE websites.

Jeez. us.

Why do our baser instincts equate other people's personal trauma with entertainment?! Man, we are an effed up species.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:50 AM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Agreed. I would feel completely and utterly humiliated if my one anon question ended up... anywhere. I think Anna is on vacation, so I'm in the middle of shooting an email to Dodai.

They didn't do a damn thing when I complained about Catholic bashing, so I don't have my hopes up.
posted by giraffe at 11:58 AM on March 19, 2009


(I realize it is completely irrational to be angry that things on the Internet can be seen by anyone.)
posted by giraffe at 12:01 PM on March 19, 2009


Sorry for my superfluous post on the Jezebel thing. I didn't make it this far down in the thread.

Maybe it was just me... but they didn't seem to find as many ambiguities in the situation as some of us had.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:50 PM on March 19, 2009


Maybe it was just me... but they didn't seem to find as many ambiguities in the situation as some of us had.

Are those beans really black beans? I mean, they're not quite BLACK, I think that perhaps "dark" beans would be better. Do they really want to be called "black" beans, or is "colored beans" the preferred nomenclature? Does naming them as "black" re-inforce "black" as a pejorative term in the white vs. black, good vs. evil debate - are we saying that these beans are "evil?"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:56 PM on March 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


Joe, that's because MeFi's full of vile moral relativists.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:56 PM on March 19, 2009


Metafilter is mostly male, while Jezebel is mostly female so that probably accounts for some of it. Anyone known the stats on readership gender on Jezebel? I think it's about %60 v 45% on Mefi, but could be wrong.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:07 PM on March 19, 2009


There's a big framing effect here, though: the AskMe was ostensibly asking people what they thought; the Jezebel post is telling people what they think about what people on AskMe thought. Two very different approaches.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:14 PM on March 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "Metafilter is mostly male, while Jezebel is mostly female so that probably accounts for some of it. Anyone known the stats on readership gender on Jezebel? I think it's about %60 v 45% on Mefi, but could be wrong."

Pure guesswork, but I believe that at the very least 85% of their commenters are female.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:16 PM on March 19, 2009


From Jezebel: Sexual access to part of a woman's body doesn't mean access to all of it. When I kiss a man, I am not giving him permission to handle my breasts. When I consent to a man handling my breasts, I am not consenting to him fondling my genitals. If I choose to perform oral sex, I am not consenting to vaginal or anal penetration.

This is a ridiculous set of statements. More appropo:

Does access to genitalia entitle you to pinch someone's ass? Does handling breasts allow you to suck on someone's toes? Can you call someone a whore during sex after 1 encounter? 5 encounters? Never? Only with consent? Does consenting to be called a whore also give consent to be called a slut?

The implication at Jezebel is that you must receive explicit consent for all of these things.

Consent is not black and white, and for schmucky guys who don't know thing one about anal, it's even more confusing.

Usual disclaimer for this thread: this guy screwed up.
posted by TypographicalError at 1:22 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


TypographicalError: "Consent is not black and white"

As I feel his penis there, I forcefully say "No," but before I can finish he ends up shoving himself into my ass

Sorry, but that's black.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:25 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think it's about %60 v 45% on Mefi, but could be wrong.

I think you might be off by around 5% or so, but that's just a guess...
posted by dersins at 1:27 PM on March 19, 2009


Metafilter: We go to 105%.
posted by explosion at 1:27 PM on March 19, 2009


Well, I just got an inappropriately rude response from the editor who wrote the post, so I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say that the story was not written in good faith.

I think Brandon Blatcher meant 60% female posters on Jezebel vs. 45% female posters on Metafilter? Maybe?
posted by giraffe at 1:28 PM on March 19, 2009


It's dark gray. 85%, 65%, whatever. Not black.

I'm also irked by those who imply that the difference in perspective between the Jezebel write-up and the AskMe thread is due to male vs. female reader/authorship numbers. Please.
posted by amtho at 1:31 PM on March 19, 2009


giraffe: any chance of seeing the response, or would that be violating the privacy of the editor who wrote you? This is becoming a little interesting from a media criticism point of view.
posted by amtho at 1:32 PM on March 19, 2009


No, I meant 60% v 40% male/female ratio on Mefi (again, total guess), but alas I am a product of the public school system.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:33 PM on March 19, 2009


Well, considering reply included, "when you publish things on the Internet [...] they are visible for people to see, link to and comment on" (which I mentioned in my email, thanks), I wouldn't find it unethical to post it in its entirety, but I'm not very much interested continuing to stir up a shitstorm.

Partially because I have to spend a ridiculous amount of time on a train soon, and I'd want to see that in real time. Also partially because I'm far too weak-willed to deal with that crap.
posted by giraffe at 1:38 PM on March 19, 2009


amtho: "I'm also irked by those who imply that the difference in perspective between the Jezebel write-up and the AskMe thread is due to male vs. female reader/authorship numbers. Please."

I was content to let others make what seemed to me the obvious inference. But I'll own up and say that the idea that women might have a different response to this highly-charged story than men strikes me as - let us say - not farfetched.

Does that irk you because you think it's stupid? [That's OK - it wouldn't be the first time.] Or is there another reason?
posted by Joe Beese at 1:48 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can we just agree, men and women alike, that anal sex needs to be approached with the careful planning, preparation, and real-time communication of a NASA space launch?
posted by Pastabagel at 2:02 PM on March 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


The Jezebel progression refers to assumptions that you have consent to "go all the way" just because you've made it to 1st, 2nd, 3rd base. Your egs

Does access to genitalia entitle you to pinch someone's ass? Does handling breasts allow you to suck on someone's toes?

invert that progression.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:05 PM on March 19, 2009


Amen, Pastabagel.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:09 PM on March 19, 2009


...anal sex needs to be approached with the careful planning, preparation, and real-time communication of a NASA space launch?

"What? In inches?! I thought we were talking centimetres!"
posted by ODiV at 2:14 PM on March 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


You should probably remove the bat from your penis before launch though.
posted by Tenuki at 2:23 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


A brown starfish photo. On that topic. Really?
posted by jamaro at 2:23 PM on March 19, 2009


jamaro: "A brown starfish photo. On that topic. Really?"

from the author, in the comments...

If you can find me a better open-source, PG-13, non-triggering picture to illustrate a post about anal rape within a relationship, please email me a link to it. As it is, this is the closest I could think of. Please refrain from calling me crass until you try it.

This one has fire!
posted by Joe Beese at 2:27 PM on March 19, 2009


If you can find me a better open-source, PG-13, non-triggering picture to illustrate a post about anal rape within a relationship

Easy.
posted by jamaro at 2:30 PM on March 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


jamaro, you're supposed to email her.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:32 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've subsequently read her replies to that post. Doesn't sound like she's welcoming suggestions.
posted by jamaro at 2:36 PM on March 19, 2009


Doesn't sound like she's welcoming suggestions.

eh, it's Jezebel. THEY KNOW EVERYTHING BETTER THAN YOU, BITCHEZ.
posted by scody at 2:49 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Well, considering reply included, "when you publish things on the Internet [...] they are visible for people to see, link to and comment on" (which I mentioned in my email, thanks), I wouldn't find it unethical to post it in its entirety, but I'm not very much interested continuing to stir up a shitstorm.

Partially because I have to spend a ridiculous amount of time on a train soon, and I'd want to see that in real time. Also partially because I'm far too weak-willed to deal with that crap.
"

If I had the diligence required to troll, I'd accuse Jezebel of raping the OP again. (I also might say that kicking a dog was the same as raping it.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:54 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


My comment on the post (which they probably won't publish):

I sincerely hope that you discovered the identity of the Anonymous poster on Metafilter and asked her permission before turning her ordeal into your own personal rant against anal sex and rape, because if you didn't, hey, way to go for victimizing her even further!

Wow. That was spectacularly inappropriate.

posted by misha at 3:17 PM on March 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


hey, klangklangston, we owe each other a soda now.
posted by misha at 3:18 PM on March 19, 2009


Can we just agree, men and women alike, that anal sex needs to be approached with the careful planning, preparation, and real-time communication of a NASA space launch?

The guys who lost the Challenger because of an O-ring failure? I don't think so.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 3:53 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


The original AskMe poster has asked me to post this here, as I emailed her myself at the throwaway gmail address and she responded. She still wishes to remain anonymous, so I am sure you will all respect her wishes and not ask me to disclose her identity. This is her correspondence with the Jezebel editor who wrote the commentary linked to above in this thread:

"I was unable to articulate the full context of what happened in that post, and I since regret that my boyfriend's actions have been interpreted as they were.
I was raped, by the standard definition of the word, but it was not, in my opinion, out of malice. I know this man better than anyone, and I will be staying in this relationship with him and working it out.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could clarify this in your post somehow, or if you could remove the post. I know that I put it on the internet for everyone to see, but still, out of decency, I am asking you to please consider my request. This is not as cut-and-dry as it seems."

Megan's response:
"I wish you luck in what you've chosen to do.
We don't remove posts, but my editor agreed to post a portion of your email tomorrow as we're done publishing for the day today to alert readers of your response."
posted by misha at 3:54 PM on March 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


...Well, it sounds like the OP has come to a decision about a) how to view the incident and b) how to proceed, which -- at the end of the day -- was originally all she wanted to do.

So even though this looks like this is going to go gallumphing out of control in two different places now, it looks like there is that silver lining that the OP achieved her original goal, and I'm going to call that a good outcome, anyway, and I too wish her luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:00 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Megan sold out a fellow woman for page clicks. I hope she still considers herself a feminist.

They (writer Sadie) also stole this FPP today.


This was one of their more Metafilter heavy days. One of the writers must be a user.
posted by anniecat at 4:10 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


my editor agreed to post a portion of your email tomorrow as we're done publishing for the day today

I'm glad they're going to do some sort of update, but, I, it's, I—

Isn't this the internet? Shouldn't publishing an update be something that doesn't need to, like, meet a press deadline? Because it's on the web? And CMS software? And adding a note would presumably take about as much time as writing an email explaining that you aren't going to add a note yet would take?

I dunno. Not really worth pushing on, but that's weird. So little autonomy from a web writer seems bizarre.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:27 PM on March 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


They (writer Sadie) also stole this FPP today.

Well, the writeup gives a via to Jossip, who gives a via to buzzfeed, and I've seen Dan Meth's stuff popping around the web for a while now, so I'm not sure that's a fair conclusion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:30 PM on March 19, 2009


What I note is that the editor has agreed to post the email portion tomorrow, not the writer of the email explaining that. So adding the note would take the editor some time. A different person writing the email explaining that the editor isn't writing the note would not take the editor any time.

As for the print deadline / on-the-web / CMS software thing, it just sounds, to me, like work/life balance. Sure, many (most) writers on the web work near 24 hour calendars (not in the sense of "writing 24 hours a day", but "writing at any given point within the 24 hours that make up a day), but that's not an intrinsic part of the job. It doesn't seem strange that some people might decide to stop working at 5 or 6 p.m., even if they have internet access 24/7. So it doesn't seem anti-webby or arcane that the editor has said "I'm done working today, I'll do it tomorrow". Seems like a pretty sane way to run one's web-life, if you can manage it.
posted by Bugbread at 4:38 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Megan's response:
"I wish you luck in what you've chosen to do.
We don't remove posts, but my editor agreed to post a portion of your email tomorrow as we're done publishing for the day today to alert readers of your response."


Because that gets you more $$$pageviews$$$, amirite ladies?

Wowee. I've been a pretty loyal Jezebel reader up until now, but they're immediately off my daily reading list from this point on for their gross mishandling of this story. That isn't feminism, that isn't considering or respecting another human being's complicated situation, that's just more tabloid journalism. And who needs that?
posted by saturnine at 4:41 PM on March 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


That isn't feminism, that isn't considering or respecting another human being's complicated situation, that's just more tabloid journalism.

Um, it's a Gawker site. Of course it's just more tabloid journalism. That's what Nick Denton does.
posted by dersins at 4:46 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


What bugbread said. If it's not a breaking story or important then I can see an editor pushing it off 'till tomorrow, especially if it's a touchy subject on a non-news site.

So little autonomy from a web writer seems bizarre.

Actually not, especially with the breezy, in your face style that Jezebel seems to have. I've seen good wrters go years without a problem, to the point where the editor gives them more or less free reign and then boom, the writer gets something majorly wrong or worse, pisses off a major advertiser. You can apologize for getting something wrong, but pissing off the money train is huge fustercluck.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:47 PM on March 19, 2009


Yeah, I think I can see the other side of the fence from here if I squint a little. It remains foreign and bizarre to me, but that's just me. I'm glad I'm not under someone's thumb like that in my creative ventures and writerly habits, certainly, but then I'm not writing professionally in any meaningful sense.

Whatever the circumstances driving it as the practical way to deal with the situation, it still feels like the wrong way to deal with it, but, feh. Sorry, Anonymous, but you'll have to wait for tomorrow for us to in theory partially amend co-oping your relationship troubles.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:53 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


that's just more tabloid journalism.

I am shocked, shocked, to hear such a term in reference to a site where the starfish post is book-ended by two photo-only posts about celebutante legwear.

Shocked, I say!
posted by CKmtl at 4:55 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jezebel has gotten me through many a work day. But I am disappointed in the way they treated this. Here, I think most people understood it was a weird and complicated situation and while people may not have agreed on it, they talked about it from many different sides. Megan at Jezebel just presented one side of the whole thing and seemed to shoot down anyone who disagreed. She didn't tell the whole story.

I find myself reading Jezebel less and less. And stuff like this is the reason why.
posted by darksong at 4:58 PM on March 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Um, it's a Gawker site. Of course it's just more tabloid journalism. That's what Nick Denton does.

I have (had, I guess) the same respect for Jezebel's approach to popculture and women as I do for Lifehacker's approach to... uh... lifehacking! Something being tarred with Denton's name doesn't automatically make it tabloid journalism. It just makes it a business model based on pageviews and advertising.
posted by saturnine at 4:58 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


We don't remove posts, but my editor agreed to post a portion of your email tomorrow as we're done publishing for the day today to alert readers of your response."

I've never read Jezebel, and now I'm certainly not going to start. Grossly mis-representing someone's personal situation that they posted for advice on an *advice forum* and then refusing to retract the post on policy? And then only posting a "portion" of an email? But not now, we'll do it tomorrow?

I mean, I know this is the internet, where ethics go to die, but DAMN. That's just COLD.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:03 PM on March 19, 2009


I'm glad I'm not under someone's thumb like that in my creative ventures and writerly habits,

Well, writing for a magazine or website doesn't have to a creative outlet, it could just be a way of paying the bills.

Whatever the circumstances driving it as the practical way to deal with the situation, it still feels like the wrong way to deal with it, but, feh.
Yeah, we're not gonna help or anything, but we'll talk smack about your problem and use it as soapbox for our own issues, no sweat. No, we won't take it down, we got a policy, see, we just can't, it's POLICY. Oh, you want us to post an update? Yeah, yeah, send it, but happy hour is starting so we'll do it tomorrow.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:21 PM on March 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm not a big fan of Gawker sites either, but they aren't all bad. Kotaku, for example, is a nice read. Sure, they report rumors as well as news, but are quick to make a correction whenever a rumor turns out false.
posted by Bugbread at 5:21 PM on March 19, 2009


I've often gotten the impression that the Gawker sites are more or less independent, and just share a similar layout and ownership. Jezebel's rubbed me the wrong way for a while though. The site's very schizophrenic about what it wants to be, and whether it wants to be pro-women, or just tear down celebs for fashion choices.

It's kind of sad when Fleshbot appears to be the more women-friendly GawkerMedia website.
posted by explosion at 6:24 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've seen Kotaku do something similiar to this also. They went ahead and printed something that was off base, unfactual and came close to causing collateral damage to some people I knew.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:29 PM on March 19, 2009


Thanks again for setting this up, prefpara. I think AskMe needs a little steam valve at times.
posted by OrangeDrink at 6:53 PM on March 19, 2009


Megan has now retracted her promise to post anything from the OP on Jezebel, citing as a reason the OP's decision to update this thread:

"you can tell her that since she decided to post our correspndence elsewhere I wont be posting it as an update to Jezebel."

And this after her, "anything on the internet is fair game for reprinting" argument.

Cortex (and jess and matt and pb if you are reading this thread), if this is a breach of Metatalk, like posting MeMail correspondence would be, feel free to delete this--I am just stuck dumb by this woman's response.

And now, apparently, I have to break this new development to the OP?!
posted by misha at 6:56 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow. What a snotty columnist.
posted by CKmtl at 7:13 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nah, I think as far as the ethics of personal confidence go on this one it's pretty much between you and Megan, and this isn't exactly personal information being revealed. And man does it seem like some petty, vindictive behavior on her part besides. Jesus.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:28 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Megan has now retracted her promise to post anything from the OP on Jezebel, citing as a reason the OP's decision to update this thread:

"you can tell her that since she decided to post our correspndence elsewhere I wont be posting it as an update to Jezebel."


Megan of Jezebel.com, you're nothing but a creep. Wait until your readers find out what a jerk you are.
posted by anniecat at 7:30 PM on March 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


So wait, just so I've got this straight: Jezebel will post the story of a rape victim (lifted from another website) to decry rape, but then will essentially say "FUCK YOU" to the rape victim herself when they get publicly criticized for having lifted the story in the first place?

Ah. So the pervasively smug, petty, narcissistic, Mean Girls tone over there really isn't just an editorial voice, but how they actually feel about women outside their clique. Got it. They're feminists, except when they're misogynists! They contain multitudes! And an infinite supply of gross stories about taking a really smelly dump. Seneca Falls Convention commemorative t-shirts for everybody!
posted by scody at 7:36 PM on March 19, 2009 [19 favorites]


To be fair, they already had it slugged as EXCLUSIVE BUTT RAPE VICTIM INTERVIEW INSIDE!

(I often feel that Jezebel is to feminism as trade unionism is to Bolshevism.)
posted by klangklangston at 7:41 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


misha: "you can tell her that since she decided to post our correspndence elsewhere I wont be posting it as an update to Jezebel."

In other words, "if I cannot use this situation to my personal greatest advantage with a web exclusive, I'm not interested."

Jezebel: Making a buck off women's backs since 2007.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:42 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ. I've always felt kind of ambivalent about the clique-y atmosphere over at Jezebel. But this? Petty and vindictive doesn't even cover it; this is fucking vile.
posted by elizardbits at 7:48 PM on March 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


"OMG, you bitch, you shared our generic correspondence with the internet, how dare you!!!!! Screw you and your rape problems, I'm NEVER posting an update about your personal situation to the post I made your personal situation!!!!!"

Jezebel, indeed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:01 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not posting a follow-up or reply or apology or anything disgusts me. So fuck it. In the spirit of everything-on-the-Internet-is-fair-game regardless of how it makes anyone feel, here's what I sent and the response I got, complete with my too-angry-to-spell-check awfulness. All I did was delete the reply/shows details stuff from gmail.

Erin [my fake last name]
to dodai, megan

4:11 PM (6 hours ago)

I just wanted to drop you guys a quick email to express my displeasure with this post:
http://jezebel.com/5174083/fun-relationship-surprises-dont-include-forced-sodomy

I think it is an important discussion to have, and Megan has always been one of my favorite editors, but as both a Jezebel reader and a regular commenter at Metafilter, this has really crossed a line for me. The OP of the question posted anonymously for a reason. I know it's ridiculous to complain about the fact that things on the Internet can be seen by anyone, but in a situation like this, the OP came to Metafilter because it is an accepting, thoughtful, highly moderated community of people who are willing to shell out $5 for posting privelages.

Linking to this AskMe, editorializing it and then opening it up to discussion and judgment only serves to futher humiliate and victimize the OP. I'm not demanding that you should remove the post or no longer link to AskMe, but I am disappointed. No matter how respectfully the subject matter is treated, it is ultimately disrespectful to the OP to allow people to comment on her situation in an unmoderated (comparatively) and unhelpful way. It is especially disrespectful because, given the fact that the OP is anon, it is impossible to contact her to ask her permission first.

I'm sorry to go on so long, and I hope I have made my point without being rude. I totally understand if you choose to delete this email and move on as though nothing happened. I was just far too disappointed to not say anything at all.

Thanks for your time,

Erin
Gawker username: jejune
Metafilter username: giraffe
4:19 PM (6 hours ago)

----

Megan Carpentier
to me, dodai
show details 4:19 PM (6 hours ago)

I'm not a Metafilter user or commenter, and we were linked to it by people that were. So I'm afraid I don't feel beholden to your definition of what is or is not appropriate in a forum in which I don't participate and which I've frankly never read before that I can remember.

Our comments are actually fully moderated by Hortense.

Yes, it is silly to complain that we linked to and published about an article that is not password protected or limited insofar as who can read it, and the woman was specifically asking for advice. I'm sorry if you feel that MetaFilter is a limited community, but there is nothing on the post or anywhere particularly accessible that denies permission for linkage or republication. Given your use of acronyms I don't even recognize, I'd say you have been a member there long enough to bring that up with their management if it's something you would like to see happen. But, when you publish things on the Internet -- like comments on Gawker sites which have been republished in various news sources, sometimes even with links and attribution -- they are visible for people to see, link to and comment on. That is the point of at least one post on Jezebel reminding people that oversharing can have consequences you don't expect.

-Megan
posted by giraffe at 8:07 PM on March 19, 2009


Mean Girls is right, scody, and they've been at it a while. Here's a lovely example - a couple Jezebel writers discussing sexual politics and hating on other women, including the particularly offensive suggestion by one of the writers that she hadn't been raped because she's "like, smart".
posted by donnagirl at 8:13 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Count me as another person who will never, ever direct my web browser to Jezebel, and will freely shit-talk its inimitable brand of inane slop whenever the opportunity arises.

It's cute, that they consider themselves writers.
posted by nonmerci at 8:24 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd never heard of jezebel.com or any of its writers before today, but from what I've seen I'm inclined to agree with the disgust over Megan and her horrible demeanor. One question, though: Isn't "shameless hack" pretty much her job description?
posted by Balonious Assault at 8:25 PM on March 19, 2009


Jezebel on sex: "Consenting to one thing doesn't give carte blanche for all others. If something bad happens, it's HIS fault for being a scheming creep."

Jezebel on internet ethics: "Consenting to one thing gives carte blance for all others. If something bad happens, it's YOUR fault for oversharing."
posted by CKmtl at 8:26 PM on March 19, 2009 [18 favorites]


Wow. Such a condescending tone to her response.

She'd fit in great here.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 8:26 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


including the particularly offensive suggestion by one of the writers that she hadn't been raped because she's "like, smart".

Oh yeah, and wasn't she the same one who was grinding the "Roman Polanski got a bad rap" axe for awhile? Presumably because calling it rape when an adult male drugs and anally penetrates a 13-year-old against her will is just patriarchal bullshit, because, like, teenagers are sexual beings too. DUH.
posted by scody at 8:36 PM on March 19, 2009


Well, that's all spectacularly disappointing. I read Jezebel pretty regularly and am mostly entertained by the site but this whole business is pretty awful on their part. I usually like Megan's take on the U.S political scene but even before this I found her pretty shrill when it came to discussing sexual politics but could usually just skip past all that. Now I'll be skipping a lot more than just that.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:41 PM on March 19, 2009


donnagirl: "Mean Girls is right, scody, and they've been at it a while. Here's a lovely example - a couple Jezebel writers discussing sexual politics and hating on other women, including the particularly offensive suggestion by one of the writers that she hadn't been raped because she's "like, smart"."

Ah, thank you! I've never read Jezebel, but I had an image in my mind that it was a kind of ditzy tramp hangout. Like a bunch of female frat boys, mainly concerned with having sex and making fun of people. Then people in this thread were talking about Jezebel not 'really being feminist' or the like, and I was wondering "Wait? It's a feminist blog? Then where was I getting this dumb tramp image from? What site am I mixing it up with?"

Reading your link, I realize that I read that transcript a long time ago, and I just assumed that the website was like the interview, and that created my mental image of Jezebel, after which I forgot about the interview, leaving only the image.
posted by Bugbread at 8:49 PM on March 19, 2009


And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.
2 Kings 9:37
posted by troybob at 9:01 PM on March 19, 2009


on jez: The comments on that forum are making me SO MAD, MY GOD. Some days I don't know whether to weep for this world, or set things on fire.

Ah, once again MetaFilter has made me proud.
posted by troybob at 9:07 PM on March 19, 2009


I have tended to read Jezebel in the past -- not really out of any affection for the site but because I'm subscribed to their RSS feed and they update a lot. And I have to say, I kind of understand where they're coming from, about their right to post a link to that question. It is publicly accessible. Anyone through Google can get to it, now.

But, at the same time, I'm really turned off by the way that they have responded to any comments or criticisms about it. They have every right to behave as they have, but.. Well, okay, I can't come up with a better way to put it than Vonnegut did: "God damn it, you've got to be kind." There's just no good to it.
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:43 PM on March 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, and I just got to the point in the comments over there, where they've decided to debate whether or not "most men would do this." That's just sickening. That's up there with posting "I'd hit it," or "women are always trying to con either a ring or a baby out of a dude."

It's one thing to appreciate the spirit of openness about shared experiences as women, so that this sort of thing can and is discussed, but it's another thing to foster an atmosphere of Us-vs-Them as they appear to have. There's no good in it.

I usually try not to be very critical of others, while on Metafilter, because I really don't want to get into heated discussions, and I just don't see much value to it. But I guess I'm just really shocked to see that the site I've casually read for a while now, in my Google Reader, is associated with such vitriol and mob-mongering. Many of the people they're discussing, both abstractly and as particulars, are worthy of vitriol, yes, but, all the same, there's a superficiality of their discussion, along with a complete intolerance for criticism on the part of the siterunners, that I find disturbing.
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:56 PM on March 19, 2009


Jezebel to Anon: We did this to you because we wanted to, and there's nothing you can do about it. What? No, you can't fucking speak; shut up, bitch!
posted by taz at 10:13 PM on March 19, 2009


I'm sorry if you feel that MetaFilter is a limited community, but there is nothing on the post or anywhere particularly accessible that denies permission for linkage or republication.

And all of sudden we're back in the 4th grade? Kid gets up to sharpen pencil, you steal his seat: "What? I don't see your name written on this desk!". OH SNAP!

Since when did etiquette and decency become a domain of rules and laws? If it ain't the law then it cain't be wrong?

By this Jezestandard, what the AskMe boyfriend did was A OK, since it, like, didn't break the law, so it would be, like, silly to get upset about it. "I didn't see your name written on this anus!"

These are the kinds of attitudes that create totalitarian states. If people can't negotiate their differences with mutual concern and respect like adults, then eventually a nanny comes in and makes everyone's life boring, miserable, and safe with spankins and restrictions.
posted by dgaicun at 11:17 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


They're feminists, except when they're misogynists!

Which would be what I like to refer to as "Animal Farm feminism."
posted by rodgerd at 12:24 AM on March 20, 2009 [11 favorites]


This is just bizarre, really. It utterly blows my mind that in exploiting this post that is essentially about consent or lack thereof, Jezebel defends it's action by saying that there is nothing on the post or anywhere particularly accessible that denies permission for linkage or republication" - which is telling the original poster, "hey, tough titty girlfriend, you didn't say we couldn't do it.

Before the original poster could finish forcefully saying "No", Jezebel had gone and done it. The poster put a contact email in her post, so they could have contacted her first, but they didn't. Because they thought she might say "no". So they published the article as a surprise! To help her! They thought she would be open to it, apparently, but didn't bother to ask.

At least the boyfriend apologized afterward, and agreed to talk with a counselor. Jezebel doesn't apologize, and won't let her speak.
posted by taz at 12:50 AM on March 20, 2009 [21 favorites]


ey, tough titty girlfriend, you didn't say we couldn't do it

Well, actually, she did, which is what (to me, anyway) makes his behaviour so objectionable, arguments that there's some sort of "statue of limitations" on saying no notwithstanding.
posted by rodgerd at 12:58 AM on March 20, 2009


I have some sympathy to the Jezebels. AskMefi is public, after all, and an anonymous poster posts knowing that anyone can read about her personal situation. To a large extent, AskMe works because it's public. So making a post about this question doesn't strike me as wrong in itself. But the tone of that post, combined with the shitty, defensive attitude the poster later showed really seems wrong. And the pose of sympathy toward the AskMe poster as a victim is made quite ugly by her willingness to turn around and hurt that poster when Anonymous meekly revealed that she didn't want to be the subject of a shouting match about rape.
am I contributing to the problem by posting here? maybe it's time to close this down?
posted by grobstein at 1:01 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm just really shocked to see that the site I've casually read for a while now, in my Google Reader, is associated with such vitriol and mob-mongering.

Yeah, remember when the Vatican said that the 9-year-old Brazilian girl's abortion was bad and that all the adults involved would be excommunicated? There was a lot of unnecessary bashing of the Catholic laity every other day for like two weeks. I'm not I'm not even Catholic anymore, but that was the beginning of the end for me.

My problem here is that Megan has openly talked about her rape more than once, but apparently was unable or unwilling to put herself in Anon's shoes for a moment. "Hm.. would I like it if other people dissected my rape on the Internet without even letting me know it was going to happen beforehand..?" In the past, she's treated a lot of sensitive topics with respect. I expected a lot more from her.
posted by giraffe at 3:43 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


So I can go back to ignoring Jezabel, the site I didn't know existed till this thread?
posted by chunking express at 7:33 AM on March 20, 2009


The reaction from Jezebel is making me literally ANGRY WITH RAGE.

If I ever find a link from Jezebel anywhere on the internerds, I am putting a comment with a brief description linking to this thread. It is my new mission to make sure that people who read this bullshit have a clear view of exactly what they're contributing to. And yeah, I do mean contributing. They have ads - you look at that shit, you're paying their rent.

ANGRY. WITH RAGE.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:44 AM on March 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Reading the comments over there, I kind of felt a need to make sure I hadn't been somehow castrated by the sheer force of the Jezebel readership's will for my crime of ANAL RAPE! by virtue of having been born a man. Well, born a boy who grew into a man.

Total girl-zone.
posted by owtytrof at 7:47 AM on March 20, 2009


I've posted a note to my Facebook and livejournal describing the decision on Jezebel's part not to revise their post, despite requests from MeFites, including the OP. I'm not sure if it will get anyone I know to stop reading Jezebel, but I feel really strongly that people need to know about this bullshit if they're going to be giving them any site traffic.

I don't think the English language has invented the words for how disgusted I am that they could, even indirectly, profit off someone else's good-faith question in this twisted way.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:10 AM on March 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whenever a situation like this comes up, I always worry about joining in on the pile-on, because the MeTa thread will inevitably find its way to the targets of our collective outrage, (if it hasn't already) and anything I say has the possibility of making us, as a group, look a little bit worse, particularly to outsiders. (See the UserFriendly incident.)

But Jesus, this is really fucked up. I need to seriously consider how much I want to keep reading non-Jez Gawker blogs.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:23 AM on March 20, 2009


Some background to shed light on the attitudes of the editors/moderators and why I'm not actually surprised they are being so callous about the OP's situation:

"Be Nice! We frown upon critique, cynicism and negative remarks. If you don't have something nice to say, it would be best if you said nothing at all."

"We reserve the right to ban for any reason. We do not owe banned commenters an explanation, although we may give one if we feel like it. As always, banned commenters can re-apply for commenting privileges after 2 weeks."


There was a while when I loved Jezebel, and respected their editors, especially Dodai, but this is it. They've crossed a line and have proven that they really only care about page views, and do not care about individual women.

(Not meaning this to be a Jezebel derail.)
posted by anthropoid at 8:27 AM on March 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Never mind the drama, it's good to know that the original poster is moving on. That's an excellent positive footnote to all of this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:31 AM on March 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yes, whether or not we were any help at all, it is good to know that the OP is doing well.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:38 AM on March 20, 2009


Well, I assume that the mediareport commenting in the Jezebal thread is the same as the mediareport here. So there's at least some attempt at reasonable discussion.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:42 AM on March 20, 2009


From mediareport's Jezebel profile: "mediareport has no friends."

It's ok, you can come sit by me and we can trade lunches.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:59 AM on March 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm really impressed with the OP - right on for her. All this folderol would have spun my head around quite a bit at a very confused time in my own life. She appears to have stayed grounded and made a solid decision she's happy with, regardless of the Enormous Stakes people tried to put on this for her as standard-bearer for their own worldview. She wins. She's about the only entity in this ridiculous kerfuffle that I admire and is looking quite a bit saner to me than pretty much everyone else who's gotten wound up in this teapot drama.
posted by Miko at 9:06 AM on March 20, 2009


Jezebel: Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women

The way people were talking around here, I thought this was some feminist political site. It's a gossip site, and the commentary reflects that.

And as I've always said, the further you drift from MetaFilter, the greater the chance you're going to run in to some dumbass people.
posted by troybob at 9:12 AM on March 20, 2009


I'm really impressed with the OP - right on for her.

Absolutely agree. It takes a lot to deal with hundreds of random strangers talking about and severely judging your very personal drama.

She's about the only entity in this ridiculous kerfuffle that I admire and is looking quite a bit saner to me than pretty much everyone else who's gotten wound up in this teapot drama.

This I disagree with. Do you truly feel the rest of the discussion was worthless? I think it's ok to get "wound up" about things that have real effects on specific people (OP) and help to reveal the nature of something into which you may have put time and perhaps some energy (a popular website).
posted by anthropoid at 9:14 AM on March 20, 2009


Megan has now retracted her promise to post anything from the OP on Jezebel, citing as a reason the OP's decision to update this thread:

"you can tell her that since she decided to post our correspndence elsewhere I wont be posting it as an update to Jezebel."


You can add me to the roster of people terminally disgusted by this. Megan should display a "Christ, what an asshole" plaque on her desk the way Truman had "The buck stops here."
posted by languagehat at 9:18 AM on March 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry if you feel that MetaFilter is a limited community, but there is nothing on the post or anywhere particularly accessible that denies permission for linkage or republication.

I wouldn't guess that the Jezebel post was wrong from a legal standpoint, but surely someone should mention to that crew that "All posts are © their original authors" pretty explicitly denies permission for republication (not that republication would be A-OK if the copyright notice wasn't there).
posted by ssg at 9:22 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


grobstein: And the pose of sympathy toward the AskMe poster as a victim is made quite ugly by her willingness to turn around and hurt that poster...

What pose of sympathy?

The Jezebel piece reads more like "This woman's guy is stupid and gross because, like, x, y, z. Oh, and also, she's stupid for not realizing that he's stupid and gross." The closest thing to being sympathetic is, paraphrasing, "Here's hoping she stops being stupid."
posted by CKmtl at 9:24 AM on March 20, 2009


The front page of the site reads Jezebel - sponsored by DUPLICITY.

I think MetaFilter is judging the site by a standard they just don't subscribe to. The story they posted from AskMe was nothing more than their version of a "News of the Weird' feature, so you would expect unreflective commentary along the lines of OMG, you know they're lying about global warming because it's snowing outside.
posted by troybob at 9:39 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


there is nothing on the post or anywhere particularly accessible that denies permission for linkage or republication

© 1999-2009 MetaFilter Network LLC
All posts are © their original authors.

Of course, the original author could not assert ownership of her extensively quoted comment without relinquishing her anonymity, so yays for Jezebel. What a bunch of vile pukes.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:55 AM on March 20, 2009


When I first wrote to Megan (verbatim my bolded comment above), and she literally replied with a message ending in "fuck you," I did mention that, Alvy Amerpsand.

Also, there is a throwaway mail in the question that could have been written to, if they really wanted permission to use the poster's words.
posted by misha at 10:40 AM on March 20, 2009


sorry for misspelling your name.
posted by misha at 10:42 AM on March 20, 2009


Do you truly feel the rest of the discussion was worthless?

Pretty much. I learned a few things about the law thanks to some very knowledgeable people both inthread and backchannel, and I appreciate that. But I do think the rest of the discussion accomplished astonishingly little, and didn't go very far to helping the OP with anything she didn't know already - that she has a problem to attend to within her relationship. Is the discussion about consent important? Sure. In this context with this audience? It wasn't very good.
posted by Miko at 10:51 AM on March 20, 2009


But I do think the rest of the discussion accomplished astonishingly little, and didn't go very far to helping the OP with anything she didn't know already

To be fair, I think that was the role of the AskMe thread. This thread I think was meant to play a different role, and it wasn't meant necessarily to help the OP. I think it's important to discuss consent in terms of public forums, considering how pervasive public forums are in all of our lives right now.

I may have more of a personal investment in this discussion in terms of how we communicate in an age of extremely public interaction with media, since I think the topic is interesting. But I do think it can have certain implications, and I do think it's important to discuss how sacred content here should be.

I have also been a reader of Jezebel in the past. This was just really disappointing, though not surprising.
posted by anthropoid at 11:01 AM on March 20, 2009


I tend to link to Jezebel a lot though I find their commentary, especially when it comes to religion and guys, to be pretty lackluster and sub par. They don't really rely on journalist standards of any sort of standards that involve any sort of rigor. They're a gossip site that tries to pretend to talk about feminism. They also like to claim their not a social community either. Gossip sites, in general, care less about journalistic integrity and more about just posting whatever crosses their desks and what they can spin. Jezebel does the same thing but likes to mask it as serious.business. They like to view themselves as a feminist blog but they're not. They're a gossip site and trying to frame themselves as something different isn't honest.

However, after this nonsense, I'm gonna ignore them from now on. I've disliked how they've become ever since the massive layoffs and change in pay structure. I disliked them before but they sometimes linked to some pop culture topic that I needed to be aware of. Now, no longer.

and I'm sure they'll miss the one or two click throughs I sent them. so there!
posted by Stynxno at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2009


I disagree with you strongly on this, Miko.

Whichever direction the OP chooses from this point on, she could go there in the midst of a convoy of supporters, and I think that's about the best outcome for a person who asks a question because he or she is confused by something that happened and really doesn't know where to turn.
posted by jamjam at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2009


Sure, fine. You're right that the AskMe was really where the OP is the focus. I am just finding very little of use to take away from this discussion - the Jezebel development is interesting for those who are concerned with public-forum issues, I can see that. Whatever, I'll be quiet. if others have gotten something positive out of it I suppose that's good enough.
posted by Miko at 11:15 AM on March 20, 2009


Make that "if others have gotten something positive out of it I suppose that's good enough." No reason for me to qualify it.
posted by Miko at 11:16 AM on March 20, 2009


I thought the thread was instructive even if not at the usual level around here (not that I helped with that myself, I admit). In questions like this I never thought AskMe was supposed to provide a definitive answer as much as throw out some different perspective to someone who might be too close to the situation to see it.

I was shocked to see 'rape' invoked so quickly and consistently throughout the discussion, particularly as it seemed that the question was steering away from that label; but it was definitely informative to see that many people interpreted it as such, even though I disagree. In general, I think the rough spots around here tell us as much as the smooth ones.
posted by troybob at 11:22 AM on March 20, 2009


I'm glad I didn't chat about "surprise buttsecks!" in that thread now that I've been hipped to the fact that the internet is, in fact, public. Who knew?!

I'd also like to say hey if we're being non-responsive and you want someone to update or even close your thread that is making you feel awful you can call us on the phone and we'll get out of bed to help you out. I'm glad I don't have to make human vs. revenue distinctions here for my job. Ick.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:41 AM on March 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


You and the rest of the Mod Squad are class acts, jessamyn. It's unfortunate that incidents like this serve as reminders of how exceptionally moderated this community is, especially when compared to the unenlightened and callous responses of the Jezebel management.

Lifehacker is lovely but Gawker Media won't be getting any more clickthroughs from me until they offer redress and apologize for their behavior.
posted by anifinder at 2:26 PM on March 20, 2009


I think the discussion has been productive in discussing rape as a continuum and not a black-white issue without anyone truly going up in flames. I thought that Ironmouth did a particularly good job outlining the legal framework that might apply in this situation or one like it. So, I'm going to disagree with Miko - I think that the discussion has been productive in going over what may or may not constitute date rape without everyone losing their minds.

Hell of a lot more productive than similar discussions I've had in meat-space, that's for sure.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:28 PM on March 20, 2009


outlining the legal framework

Outlining a legal framework.
posted by rodgerd at 6:59 PM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I used to read Jezebel, and even commented a couple of times. Then I only read the Fine Lines feature. Then I stopped reading it altogether. Because you know what? The people there are mean, and the site itself is fucking stupid.

I'll take Metafilter on its most misogynist day over a fauxeminist gossip blog on its best day. You guys can be real jerks sometimes (so can I, or I wouldn't be here), but at least you're willing to have a discussion about it where we can hash things out. (And honestly? Someone who works as a professional blogger doesn't understand the acronym OP? Did I read that letter correctly?)

I read through this whole kerfuffle when the original AskMe was posted; I just really didn't have the heart to comment, since it hit a little too close to home so soon after the Yes Means Yes thread. But it means a lot to me that the OP is doing better, despite all the bullshit internet drama. Wherever you are, take care of yourself and let the people who love you take care of you a little (or a lot), too.
posted by peggynature at 7:04 PM on March 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


At least some bloggers have a conscience.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:38 PM on March 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Really classy redaction. Thanks for posting that, Indigo Rain.

(See, Jezebel! It's not that hard!)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:24 PM on March 20, 2009


A commenter at The Curvature:

Paul on March 20, 2009 12:30 am

Those commentators on that Meta Filter thread are “wastes of eggs and sperm” to quote the late Kurt Cobain (he coined the phrase after a woman got raped during a Nirvana concert - while the band was playing an anti-rape song!)

Even though we’re trapped in an ocean, use those teaspoons everybody


Yep! Another satisfied customer.

*Leans back in chair, locks hands behind head, nods head knowingly grinning*
posted by P.o.B. at 12:17 AM on March 21, 2009


Wait, what am I supposed to be using teaspoons for? I only brought a soup spoon!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:36 AM on March 21, 2009


Thanks for making an effort over there, mediareport.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:51 AM on March 21, 2009


"Those commentators on that Meta Filter thread are “wastes of eggs and sperm” to quote the late Kurt Cobain (he coined the phrase after a woman got raped during a Nirvana concert - while the band was playing an anti-rape song!)"

Well, no, he says in the liner notes to Incesticide: "Last year, a girl was raped by two wastes of sperm and eggs while they sang the lyrics to our song 'Polly.' I have a hard time carrying on knowing there are plankton like that in our audience. Sorry to be so anally P.C. but that's the way I feel."

(Man, I've been on the internet since '95 debunking Nirvana myths!)
posted by klangklangston at 9:53 AM on March 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Plankton?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:29 AM on March 21, 2009


I'm guessing he meant Plankton as in the lowest of the low. But probably a step up from dog-kickers.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:51 AM on March 21, 2009


Yep! Another satisfied customer.

When coming upon comments like that, I enjoy imagining the person stumbling into some of this intertubular network's darker corners and their head assploding as in Scanners.
posted by CKmtl at 12:35 PM on March 21, 2009


I enjoy imagining the person stumbling into some of this intertubular network's darker corners and their head assploding as in Scanners.

When coming upon comments like that I like to say "Yep! Another satisfied customer." In all it's ironic and recursive goodness.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:54 PM on March 21, 2009


It seems an insult to women who have been raped to apply the label of rapist to someone who stops what he is doing at the first sign of your distress.

I agree with Jezebel. This man PLANNED this unwanted sexual attack. Whatever you want to call it, his behavior is disgusting and disturbing in the context of what should be a loving relationship. And I hope she dumps the fucking piece of shit. I really don't understand how anyone can defend the guy.
posted by agregoli at 10:32 AM on March 22, 2009


(I agree with her on THIS point - he planned it. That is disturbing).
posted by agregoli at 10:34 AM on March 22, 2009


I really don't understand how anyone can defend the guy.

It's easy to condemn him when we only know of a single action he did, filtered through the eyes of another person. This doesn't mean that no one should believe her or that his actions were justified, but we're only hearing a part of the story. We don't know him, her or their history. The original poster and she indicated that this was extremely out of the ordinary for him, hence her desire to continue the relationship, albeit after they deal with what happened. If she can forgive him and defend him, there's no reason an outsider can't.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:07 AM on March 22, 2009


I really don't understand how anyone can defend the guy.

There's a difference between defending him and simply not condemning him. My personal stance is that this is a really shitty thing that happened to the OP. I hope she finds a way to get some peace from this - whether that's with him, or not. Either way, it sucks.

If she decides it was date rape, then the next question is: does she want to still continue a relationship with the man who did it? The answer isn't automatically "no." Nor should it be. He's a dude with many other characteristics and flaws and, hey, there's probably some stuff about him that's pretty awesome or she wouldn't be with him in the first place. I don't defend what he did. Not in the least. Not for a second. But I also don't think that it's fair to condemn him as a horrible rapist. It's totally, totally reasonable that she wouldn't continue the relationship. Maybe she shouldn't, but that's not our call to make.

This is part of the reason that date rape is so complicated and weird. Like I said, I've been through it and stayed in the relationship and no, it never happened again. It messed me up a ton and A LOT of that was the fear that someone who I trusted and loved would be capable of totally ripping my boundaries to shreds. And that's the really tricky part - she TRUSTED and LOVED this guy. It's really, really hard to pin the label "rapist" to that because then it puts you in the position of having to say "OMG, I dated a rapist." It's a total mindfuck. This isn't to excuse his actions, just to say that condemning him for them leaves out the parts of him that make this so horrible in the first place - that he was someone the OP loved.

He's a guy. Who did a totally horrible thing. That's all.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:14 AM on March 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I really don't understand how anyone can defend the guy."

Then go back and reread the thread. Unless you mean "I understand, but disagree". In which case, say what you mean.
posted by Bugbread at 3:25 PM on March 23, 2009


I did say what I mean. As I always do.
posted by agregoli at 7:41 PM on March 23, 2009


I've read the thread, and all defenses include believing that he might not have thought his "surprise" (his word) first-time penetration in the anus with a hard penis would be painful and terrifying. This is so implausible to me that I can't believe anyone believes it. So, like agregoli, I don't understand how anyone can defend the guy.
posted by palliser at 6:54 AM on March 24, 2009


I think a lot of people just don't have that much trouble believing he could be a reckless idiot on that front. It's just about the worst possible situation for reckless idiocy to manifest, but that doesn't make it anything like implausible.

I don't have a position on it either way; I don't know what was going on in dude's head and I don't expect to ever now, and I'm gonna trust anonymous to have that insight into his character and their relationship that we as outsiders getting only a glimpse of the situation very much lack. I hope for her sake that she's not being a sucker, but I'm going to extend her the benefit of not declaring her to be one by fiat.

I agree in the strongest terms that it was a fucking stupid, thoughtless thing for him to do. I also understand how people can defend the guy from the charges of being a willful, conniving rapist. There is a lot of grey here, a great big swamp of human frailty between the end points of what seems often to be treated as a strict binary Monster Or Angel assessment.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:07 AM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have no interest in defending this guy, I think that he was stupid and wrong, but to say that it is "implausible" that he would have such grave misconceptions about anal sex is frankly unrealistic to anyone who has watched any contemporary porn. I have encountered too many men who believe that porn is an accurate representation of appropriate everyday sexual activity and are surprised when their wives and girlfriends don't look and act like the air-brushed, silicone enhanced, hyper-sexual characters portrayed on screen. In porn anal sex requires no preparation or consideration and is always welcomed lustily in even the most improbable situations and positions. So if this guy learned every thing he knows about sex from porn (and unfortunately there are such men out there) it is not at all implausible that he thought his actions would be acceptable.

Of course I recognize this is nothing more than rank speculation, but we should try to keep in mind that positive education in these areas is incredibly lacking and the amount of harmful dangerous information and ideas out there is staggering.

All that I can hope is that both the AskMe and this thread has served as an education to some woefully misinformed readers and maybe conversations like this will become less necessary.
posted by Bango Skank at 8:10 AM on March 24, 2009


I don't understand how anyone can defend the guy.

Because you are reducing the situation to an incoherence. You painted a clear picture in your head to understand the story. You've also implied a few ideas to turn the dial to a crisp black and white. Obviously your notions of the guys culpability are righteous. Therefore anyone who thinks differently, even slightly, are outrageously wrong.

People have written three to five paragraph statements elucidating succinctly what they thought about the situation, and included qualifier statements about how they did not think it was right or that they were not defending the guy. BUT since they didn't immediately state he raped her, well then obviously they're defending him!

I'm going to fake like I didn't preview and see cortex say it better than I just did
posted by P.o.B. at 8:41 AM on March 24, 2009


Oh, well then, three to five paragraphs. That's settled!

In my retelling, I deliberately left out her final "No," which may or may not have left her lips in time to prevent him; her months-ago "not interested," which he may have forgotten about; and the whole "let's do a back massage!" setup. If I reduced the picture to very few details, that was in his favor -- take his best case, and then what?

Just his word -- "surprise" -- combined with first-time anal penetration, is enough that I find this indefensible. Anyone with an anus would know this was going to be painful. I stand by "implausible."

And if a guy walks into a library late in the evening, rips the clothes off the first book-shelving librarian he sees, throws her on the ground and penetrates her, it's not a defense that he watches a lot of porn and so thought this would work. Jesus.

Only the OP can decide what this was.

Her decision to try to work it out with him is hers alone to make. I hope she watches not just for future violations of a sexual nature, but for a general failure to respect her boundaries. It can start out pretty subtly and get terrible. I see what you are saying, cortex, about how only she knows him and their relationship well enough to answer a question like that, but sometimes when you are with someone who doesn't respect your autonomy you give so much ground that you don't even recognize yourself anymore, and all you know is the relationship. It's possible to be worse than a stranger at seeing what's happening.
posted by palliser at 11:26 AM on March 24, 2009


And if a guy walks into a library late in the evening, rips the clothes off the first book-shelving librarian he sees, throws her on the ground and penetrates her, it's not a defense that he watches a lot of porn and so thought this would work. Jesus.

That's your example? I have no idea why you think your scenario bears any resemblance to the one being talked about.

People are just trying to present their "well on this sort of reading, it might be that this is what was going on..." ideas of what was going on, in the absence of 1) being there or 2) having both sides of the story. While I'm fine with people having diverging, conflicting or even diametrically opposed positions, it would make dealing with a tough issue much better if people didn't immediately dive in for the "you're a bad person because you don't agree with me" barbs or the "are you so stupid that you really think your perspective is a good one? really?" eye-rolling.

I know some people are just fighty. I also know that I'm not one of those people. Giving people the benefit of the doubt [the boyfriend the other posters here, the AskMe Hive Mind generally] works for me as a general rule. I'm sure others have differing perspectives, but if we've learned anything from the Jezebel thread, it's that knee-jerky groupthink isn't a great way to explore tricky gender/sex/power issues. I'd hope we can do better.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:32 AM on March 24, 2009


I was responding specifically to the point made by Bango Skank, that this man may have been acting out something commonly seen in porn.

No, I don't think this situation is like that one. I was making the point that because scenarios like the one I described are common in porn, it can't be that men think what happens in porn happens in real life.
posted by palliser at 11:37 AM on March 24, 2009


I was making the point that because scenarios like the one I described are common in porn, it can't be that men think what happens in porn happens in real life.

I don't know how much porn you watch, but scenarios like the one you describe aren't that common. Further, some of what happens in porn does happen in real life. No, the cable guy doesn't come over and immediately have cute girls disrobing and fellating him, but people do sometimes have spontaneous sex in surprising ways for the sake of variety and spontaneity. Most importantly, some people's education about sex and sexual boundaries is woefully poor and they do, unfortunately, get their education from dirty magazines, porn movies and lies their friends tell.

All bango skank was saying is that some people have really terrible ideas about what a loving sexual relationship is like, and ... hang on, I'll just cut and past the last bits from his comment verbatim:

it is not at all implausible that he thought his actions would be acceptable.

Of course I recognize this is nothing more than rank speculation, but we should try to keep in mind that positive education in these areas is incredibly lacking and the amount of harmful dangerous information and ideas out there is staggering.

All that I can hope is that both the AskMe and this thread has served as an education to some woefully misinformed readers and maybe conversations like this will become less necessary.


this isn't as unreasonable a position to take as you're making it sound.
posted by shmegegge at 11:48 AM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


And by the way, I think "knee-jerk" is unfair. I gave a coherent explanation for why I didn't think there was a potential for this to have been an accident -- basically, that he must have known this would hurt. Others, I understand, think it was plausible that he didn't know this would hurt. I still don't agree, and that's where it stands. But my position is not a reflexive reaction to a stimulus (I see post by a woman -- has to do with hetero sex -- RAPE RAPE RAPE), it is thought-out and sincerely held.
posted by palliser at 12:01 PM on March 24, 2009


My example was cartoonish, and Bango Skank's point was subtler than that. I regret the remark. (Though I still think personal possession of an anus would outweigh the vicarious experience of porn in forming one's idea of whether this would hurt.)
posted by palliser at 12:04 PM on March 24, 2009


Presume for the moment that dude has never shoved an unlubricated cock-facsimile up his own ass. That he has an anus doesn't mean he automatically has a good-sense understanding of what it's like to have one's anus penetrated.

Again: foolish, thoughtless behavior in any case. But you're presupposing that a guy couldn't be dumb about something, and again I think that's a big part of where people are disagreeing with you. People are all kinds of stupid about any number of things.

The anus is not some magical oracle that whispers secrets about itself and its kin to its owner.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:04 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like, "Oh I say, are you still down there, old thing?"

"Nah I had to go relieve myself."

posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:25 PM on March 24, 2009


And by the way, I think "knee-jerk" is unfair.

I wasn't talking about you specifically.

But, if we're thinking about context, choosing one of the mods' other professions - mine, librarian - and using it as a rape example wasn't really a great idea. I'm fairly certain you didn't mean anything about it, but to me it felt creepy and weird.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:48 PM on March 24, 2009


I realize that unlubed anal sex would be painful, but this realization didn't come from having an anus, it came from the popular zeitgeist. If I had to rely on my anus only to tell me things like that, the lesson I would learn would be "poop comes out every day, and that doesn't hurt, so I guess it's not a particularly painul orifice".
posted by Bugbread at 3:01 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


choosing one of the mods' other professions - mine, librarian - and using it as a rape example wasn't really a great idea.

Definitely nothing revealed here but my own porn illiteracy, but I'm sorry for being creepy.

Toodle-oo! Off to deliver some temperance pamphlets!
posted by palliser at 4:15 PM on March 24, 2009


Wow I really should have checked back sooner, thanks jessamyn, shmegegge, and cortex for covering for me, I agree with just about everything you guys have said since my last comment.

palliser: I very deliberately started off by saying that I was NOT offering a defense for this man's actions to then turn my comments and cast them as defense not only for him but for rape in general is pretty unfair. I see that you backed down a bit from that stance and I appreciate it but I would still like to put it out there that I in no way intended to condone sexual assault in any form.

I think that everyone here is in agreement that rape = bad but if that is as far as this conversation goes have we accomplished anything? I am much more interested in how situations like the OP's arise. If it was not a case of pure sadism (which I personally don't think it was) what else can explain his actions? To that end I was suggesting one of many possible ways such incredibly wrong ideas can be birthed and spread. Specifically I was thinking of how the mechanics of sex are portrayed in porn and did not have any specific plot-lines in mind. If the boyfriend happened to be a man who's only knowledge of anal sex came from porn it ceases to be "implausible" that he would consider it "painful and terrifying" even if it was preformed abruptly. I have an anus and I still needed to be educated on how to approach someone else's. That was my only point of contention.

The last line of my comment above was meant in all earnestness - I truly hope (and believe) that these discussions have caused someone out there to think critically about the importance of sexual boundaries and what it means to be a caring and responsible lover. If the best we can manage to say is rape = bad I don't think we have contributed anything meaningful to the discourse.
posted by Bango Skank at 4:59 PM on March 24, 2009


Metatalk: "People are all kinds of stupid"
posted by Mitheral at 7:15 PM on March 24, 2009


« Older Joe Beese: Trotting out this l...  |  What's the plan for Metafilter... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments