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The Soapbox: Rapists Know The Answer Is “No”

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Despite endless work by anti-sexual violence activists trying to change the narrative, the myth persists that rapists —at least so-called “date rapists” — are men who got a little out of control with lust one night and accidentally went too far. It doesn’t help that this is the story that we usually hear on those very rare occasions when rapists tell their side of the story, usually to escape social consequences or even jail.

But recently a self-identified rapist went on Reddit and, for whatever reason, told a story that social research shows is much closer to the truth: Rapists rape because they like to rape. They aren’t confused about consent, nor are they overcome by lust. The pleasure is from the act of overpowering a woman and making her submit against her will.

From his piece:

[A]fter a while it became boring to go after the sluts and sorority girls that would easily throw their cunt after you. I wanted the thrill of the chase, and that’s what led me to forcing myself on girls.

He goes on to explain how their fear turned him on:

[T]he great nights were the ones who squirmed, ones who didn’t want to give in. I’d have to shush them down, and try to work on them slowly enough so they didn’t know what was going on until it was pretty much already happening.

He goes on to explain how he avoided detection, mostly by making the victims blame themselves and relying on the fact that in “he said/she said” situations, the “he” gets the benefit of the doubt.

It’s a chilling account, but social research shows that this mentality is the norm, not the exception, amongst men who commit acts of sexual violence. Researchers David Lisak and Paul Miller have done extensive work interviewing men of a variety of ages and have found that as long as you avoid using the word “rape,” men who enjoy forcing themselves on women are pretty forthcoming about what they do. They will not only admit to forcing themselves on women, but the researchers found they’re often eager to talk, because they’re proud of themselves for being clever and domineering enough to assault women and get away with it. Lisak explained to NPR: “In fact, they are eager to talk about their experiences. They’re quite narcissistic as a group — the offenders — and they view this as an opportunity, essentially, to brag.”

Far from being ordinary men who get out of control from lust, the roughly five percent of men interviewed who are rapists are men who seek out opportunities to rape women. Like the Reddit rapist, they pride themselves on their methods of identifying victims and separating them from potential help. They also eagerly explained how they avoided facing consequences, mainly by attacking drunk women. Rapists, it turns out, are acutely aware that if the victim was drinking, she’s much more unlikely to report it, and even if she does, the police are unlikely to do anything about it. As added protection against getting caught, most rapists attacked acquaintances, probably because they know that they can claim innocence, saying they thought she had consented.

But when they get a chance to tell their story to another man without legal consequence, the truth comes out: They knew she didn’t want it. And that’s why they did.

You can follow Amanda Marcotte on Twitter.

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