Dear Richard Dawkins: Your “Hypothetical” Is Still Rape

What a sick, sad man you are, Richard. First, you run a Twitter tutorial in getting away with rape:

Image shows Dawkins lecturing with a screen behind him. Across the top of the screen is, "Moral: Make sure she stays unconscious, fellas." Below is a screenshot of two tweets from Richard Dawkins. First tweet says, "Raping a drunk woman is appalling. So is jailing a man when the sole prosecution evidence is 'I was too drunk to remember what happened.'" Second tweet says, "Don't EVER rape anyone, drunk or sober. But also, don't accuse anyone of a crime if you can't remember what happened (& no other evidence)." Below, on either side of his head, is the slogan, "It's only rape if she remembers."
My interpretation of Dawkins’s noxious opinions. The tweets are his own words.

Then a woman who was raped at the age of 14 comes forward to tell you how your “how to get away with rape” tweets harmed her, and all you can say is:

Image shows Dawkins lecturing with a screen behind him. Across the top of the screen is, "Moral: Make sure she stays unconscious, fellas." Below is a screenshot of two tweets from Richard Dawkins. First tweet says, "Yes, I believe you. Why would I not? Unlike the hypothetical case of my tweets, you have clear & convincing memories.'" There is a link to the New Statesman article. Second tweet says, "In my tweets I explicitly stated that I was considering the hypothetical case of a woman who testified that she COULDN'T REMEMBER." Below, on either side of his head, is the slogan, "It's only rape if she remembers."
Dawkins responds to a rape victim with all of his classic tact and care – I mean, defensive and arrogant whining. The tweets are his, the image is mine.
Image shows Dawkins lecturing with a screen behind him. Across the top of the screen is, "Moral: Make sure she stays unconscious, fellas." Below is a screenshot of two tweets from Richard Dawkins. First tweet says, "Obviously some drunk people remember well what happened. I was talking about a limited case where a witness admits she can't remember.'" Second tweet says, "Obviously some drunk people remember well what happened. I was talking about a limited case where a witness admits she can't remember." Below, on either side of his head, is the slogan, "It's only rape if she remembers."
And the arrogant, defensive whining continues, ending with a “Why didn’t you come to meeee in private?!!!” flourish.

I’m avoiding expletives here, because your poor brain shuts (further) down when you hear them directed at you. But I do have to say, you’re being such a reprehensible little… man. Instead of doing the right thing, saying “I’m sorry, rape is rape. I’m so sorry for the pain my sordid little not-hypothetical-until-I’m-called-out tweets have caused, I shall stop tweeting and go educate myself on these matters forthwith,” you just keep digging and digging. And you lied to her. Really, you did. You lied to her, and to us, when you said of course you believe, because really, you only believe because she’s making you look like the… quite awful person you are being, and additionally, hasn’t named one of your friends as her rapist. You’re pretending some memory is all the evidence you need to believe, but this is what you really believe:

Image shows Dawkins lecturing with a screen behind him. Across the top of the screen is, "Moral: Make sure she stays unconscious, fellas." Below is a screenshot of two tweets. First tweet is from Oolon and says, "Lucky this 14yr old had "clear and convincing memories" or @RichardDawkins wouldn't believe it was rape'" Second tweet says, "@oolon Well, would you believe it if she had unclear, unconvincing or non-existent memories? (Except that there was another witness)." Below, on either side of his head, is the slogan, "It's only rape if she remembers."
The rape-culture apologist emerges in full.

It’s not having no memory at all, is it, Richard? You’ve moved the goal posts. We must have “clear and convincing” memories, not mere memories. We must have a witness. Or we cannot say that the sex that happened without our consent is rape, much less report it to authorities. No, you want us to shut our mouths, because how terrible is it that a poor man who simply takes advantage of women (or anyone) while they’re too drunk to know what’s happening could be accused of rape? *delicate upperclass shudder* Why, if men were only allowed to have sex with people sober enough to enthusiastically consent, there would be fewer opportunities for men to get their jollies, and that’s just terrible!

As for those women who might enjoy getting drunk, or are perhaps too young and inexperienced to know our limits? He has advice for us, ladies:

Image shows Dawkins lecturing with a screen behind him. Across the top of the screen is, "Moral: Make sure she stays unconscious, fellas." Below is a screenshot of a tweet that says, ".@mrgregariously Exactly. If you want to drive, don't get drunk. If you want to be in a position to testify & jail a man, don't get drunk." Below, on either side of his head, is the slogan, "It's only rape if she remembers."
Shark. Jumped. Not that he hasn’t had plenty of practice in jumping cartilaginous fish lately.

That’s it, girls (and boys, and other genders who might like to have a few): in Dawkins’s world, we are not to get drunk if we wish to avoid sexual assault. And if we do get drunk, and someone decides to rape us, we are not to go crying to the courts about it. He may have done a no-no to you, but really, you shouldn’t ruin his life just because you were a wasted little slut he took advantage of.

Richard Dawkins, you love to pretend you’re one of the smartest men going. So tell me: how is it that you’re so profoundly, so willfully, so determinedly ignorant that you cannot understand that when a person is too intoxicated to consent to sex, sex should not happen at all? How can you fail to understand that if a person has sex with someone too intoxicated to consent, it is rape?

Let me repeat that: having sex with someone who is too intoxicated to consent is rape.

In your hypothetical*, where the woman can’t remember a thing and there is no evidence (of what? sexual intercourse?), she was too drunk to consent and if sex occurred, it was rape.

In the real world, when a person decides to take advantage of someone too impaired to understand what’s happening, and engages in any form of intercourse with them, that person has raped, and is now a rapist.

We can talk about courts and evidence and hypotheticals until we are brick red and lose our voices from screaming at each other, but at the end of all that, if someone is too intoxicated to consent, and one or more people decided to have sex with them in that state, that person was still raped.

Listen to the people who are trying to talk sense to you:

Image is a black rectangle. Across the top and bottom, it says, "Sex with a person too intoxicated to consent IS RAPE." In the center is a red square, with tweets pasted in on left side. Beth Lakin says, @RichardDawkins If you can't remember, you can't consent. So how do we handle the fact someone had sex with you without your consent?" Jeff the Kopite says, "@RichardDawkins @DefuseSec if one party is aware that the other is intoxicated and unable to give consent and still engages in sex, its rape." Danostrowski says, "yup @erasmuslijn @RichardDawkins "Fact: When intoxicated, an individual cannot legally consent to sexual activity." http://goo.gl/qplbYJ." Emma says, "@RichardDawkins if a woman is too drunk to even remember, she's too drunk to consent. Men take advantage of that situation. #ibelieveher." On the right is a silhoutte of a person who is falling over backwards with a bottle dropping from their hand.
People attempt to talk sense into Dawkins. I wish them the best.

And we don’t need the courts to find the evidence is beyond all reasonable legal doubt to decide whether or not to believe the victim who says they have been raped. We do not need a conviction in a court of law to decide whether or not we believe the victim who says they were raped by a specific someone. Tell you what, if you’re so worried about men getting accused of raping people who are too intoxicated to consent to sex, how about tweeting this remarkably simple solution:

IF YOU WANT TO AVOID BEING ACCUSED OF RAPING SOMEONE, DON’T HAVE SEX WITH A PERSON WHO’S BEEN DRINKING.

Easy, amirite?

How about this tweeting this one, too, Richard:

IF YOU WANT TO BE IN A POSITION TO AVOID BECOMING A RAPIST, DON’T RAPE.

And don’t forget to tweet what we’ve discussed here today:

SEX WITH A PERSON TOO INTOXICATED TO CONSENT IS RAPE.

It’s really that simple. Remarkable, isn’t it, how much clarity is achieved when we sweep aside all these byzantine and ever-changing rules for victims like, “Don’t ever get drunk under any circumstances,” and just tell potential rapists not to rape. No, not even if xir clothes are sexy. No, not even if xe’s passed-out dunk. No, not even you can screw xir without leaving a single bit evidence. No, not even if xe consented to kissing and then decided xe didn’t want to continue. No, not even if xe signals mere reluctance rather than screaming “NO!!!” and beating you to death with the nearest implement. If you don’t have crystal-clear consent, don’t have sex. Then you won’t ever have to worry about being a rapist.

And you can bloody well stop covering for them.

 

*Your hypothetical is bloody useless, because if she can’t remember a damned thing and there is no evidence of anything happening, that means we have a situation that will never ever happen anywhere on earth and we can bloody well ignore it.

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Dear Richard Dawkins: Your “Hypothetical” Is Still Rape
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35 thoughts on “Dear Richard Dawkins: Your “Hypothetical” Is Still Rape

  1. 1

    Thank you for This.

    A few months ago i might have said ‘i hope he reads this and the penny drops’.
    Not any more.

    Richard Dawkins,you and your ilk.We Don’t want you in OUR movement anymore.

  2. 2

    I was listening to Howard Stern awhile ago and he flat out said, if a woman is drunk and you have sex with her, that is rape. How is it a “shock jock” can get this but a “horseman of atheism” can’t. It’s almost as if atheism by itself doesn’t result in ethics.

  3. 3

    From Oppenheimer’s piece [Possibly redundant TW for rape]:

    He offered to walk me back to my room, but walked me to his instead. I don’t have a clear memory of what happened after that. I know we had sex.” She remembers calling a friend from an elevator after leaving his room. “I was in the elevator, but didn’t know what hotel.”

    Not much different than the piece to which he’s responding:

    Pain. Being dragged off the bed onto the floor. Being pulled by my hair. Held down. A friend walking in and seeing what was going on and running in to rescue me. He pushed her out and locked the door. I remember the screaming and banging on the door while he continued to rape me while I drifted in and out of consciousness.

    True, the latter piece goes into detail, but it’s hardly “clear.” It’s clear enough; we get bits and pieces, enough to have a general idea of what happened. But these memories are not clear.

    So either (1) Dawkins is lying and arbitrarily changing his standard about what constitutes memory to save face; (2) he refuses to accept Smiths description as sufficient despite her explicitly stating the only detail we need consider: whether or not someone had sex with her when she was too drunk too consent; or (3) he would have us believe that his whole spiel about poor memory due to alcohol wrt to rape accusations has nothing to do with the Oppenheimer piece, and he’s just being a jackass because that’s who he is.

    My money is on 1, 2 and the second clause of 3, personally.

  4. 4

    It was extremely well-written, Dana and “Bravo!” on the language-control Reading Dawkins lately, I sound much, much more like Tim Minchin’s “Pope Song”.

    I don’t know when exactly it happened, but all of Dawkins science-y bits fell off. He’s been hearing tons of evidence pointing towards one or more of his friends being less than ethical (to put it very mildly). Instead of looking at the evidence, looking at his conclusion (friend = innocent), noticing that the two don’t reconcile and adjusting his hypothesis to fit the facts, he plugs his ears, closes his eyes and continues to chant extremely harmful tripe.

  5. 5

    *Your hypothetical is bloody useless, because if she can’t remember a damned thing and there is no evidence of anything happening, that means we have a situation that will never ever happen anywhere on earth and we can bloody well ignore it.
    Of course Dawkins knows this and it wasn’t a hypothetical but rather an attempt to degrade and demean Alison Smith, to call her a liar without directly saying so.

    Anyone who defends Dawkins is a horrible, horrible person.

  6. 7

    Yes, Dawkins really is rejecting the scientific method with a vengeance. Maybe he just doesn’t understand how the scientific method works and why you don’t get to pick and choose when you use it. You can be more or less rigorous as warranted, but if you outright reject the scientific method in any case then you’re never really doing science, you’re just cherry picking methods to get your desired result.

  7. 8

    You’re doing good things here. They are appreciated.

    Something that just struck me though… “If you want to be in a position to testify and jail a man, don’t get drunk.”

    Seriously? As if girls/women wander the world looking for chances to “jail a man”? How seriously broken is his thinking, that he would think of and type that sentence and not be repulsed by his own mental state at that moment? Richard Dawkins apparently thinks that women are looking for excuses to throw “innocent” men in jail. I’d be not the least bit surprised if we learned that Dawkins has his own history of reasons for women to “jail” him.

  8. 9

    When all of this broke years ago and no one was naming naming names yet he was was my first choice for “one of the ones being warned against”. I don’t why but he sets my radar off.

  9. 10

    I’m trying to stay away from this because it is so rage inducing (might be seen as a good thing seeing that I can actually feel emotions about this subject these days) but that first tweet is so incredibly clueless.
    Does he think that reporting a rape is the equal of “oh gosh someone stole my bike lets file a police report”.
    Does he think that the police will just believe the person reporting a rape without doing some investigating and directly imprison the accused?
    Does he think that you can be raped without it leaving ANY traces? Then why bother with rapekits
    Doesn’t he know how invasive the rapekit procedure is?
    Doesn’t he know how hard the police questioning is (if they bother to believe the victim) when they try to get details?
    Doesn’t he know how hard the people around a ‘nice’ person come down on the accuser because they can’t believe the nice person did it?
    Doesn’t he know how hard the defense in a lawsuit tries to destroy the victim (at least in the USA)?
    Perhaps a certain guy out of Oxford needs to get on the internet and read how people are treated when & after reporting a rape.

    Note: I’m a guy, not living in the USA, From personal experience the justice system (in the Netherlands) will not imprison a person when all they have is a (s)he said (s)he said situation as would be the case in Dawkins ‘hypothetical’.

    P.s. am I allowed to call him a wanker since that is technically accurate even though he’s married?

  10. 11

    “If you want to be in a position to testify and jail a man, don’t get drunk.”

    This is from a man who is ostensibly against Sharia. What other legal protections should be denied to people who’ve drank, Richard? Can we just kill junkies? Either way, their testimony doesn’t matter, apparently.

    Sad, sick little man is right, Dana.

  11. 13

    When he tweeted that at me I got to meet some of his followers, all up for the discussion of “hypothetical” fantasy situations that never happen in the real world. But magically make rape, not rape… Including one lovely specimen who dispensed with the philosophisin’ and went straight to it isn’t rape without force. Doubled down, despite the fact the law fortunately doesn’t agree, then said chill out and made some rape jokes. That is who Dawkins is encouraging, people who either are or will likely be rapists, if they get the chance.

  12. rq
    15

    Also, I can’t help but think of his defense as a version of the “Were you there?” argument… Oh, you say you blacked out and were probably raped – were you really there? You say she was raped, but – were you there?
    It’s disgusting.
    Also, your mind might not, but your body remembers – there’s a difference between waking up hungover unraped, and waking up hungover raped. Big difference.

  13. 16

    That was the same guy who made the “dancing in front of an oncoming train” analogy, I think. When I tweeted at him something like “because rapists are exactly like 100 ton locomotives” he sarcastically congratulated me on understanding the analogy. Then when I pointed out that he just implied men have no control over where they stick their penises suddenly I was stupid and didn’t understand analogies.

  14. 17

    Hmm.

    I guess all you need to do to get rich white people to care about wrongful convictions is to hypothetically accuse a rich white guy of being kind of a sexist d-bag. In an interview.

  15. 18

    Here in the UK men can be, and have been, convicted and imprisoned for raping or sexually assaulting women who were to drunk to consent.

    So Dawkins is showing just how ignorant he is.

  16. 20

    Improbable Joe @6

    I’d be not the least bit surprised if we learned that Dawkins has his own history of reasons for women to “jail” him.

    Me neither.

    The man might as well declare himself an MRA and start running around shrieking about false rape allegations.

    (sorry ’bout the double post)

  17. 21

    Are you thinking of the Ched Evans case, Matt? Perhaps Dawkins should visit google and look it up.

    I wonder whether he can manage the idea that someone who sets up another to be raped – gets them drunk, keeps them in a room, whatever – then they don’t need even to have touched the person to be convicted of rape? Maximum sentence life, of course.

  18. 22

    Does Dawkins understand that first you report the rape, then the police investigate to find evidence? No one collects rape evidence, either the police or a hospital, until a rape has been reported. Or, until a body has been found. If the victim is dead, would Dawkins still support a rape charge? After all, she can’t testify at all.

  19. 23

    Improbable Joe @ #6,

    I’d be not the least bit surprised if we learned that Dawkins has his own history of reasons for women to “jail” him.

    Me either. The amount of outrage he expresses over a woman not keeping her rapist’s secret anymore and his insistence that she wasn’t raped in the first place because she was drunk let’s me know that if he has never raped an intoxicated woman, he’s at least thought for some time now that it would be OK if he did.

    I hope that instead of a rapist, he’s just the sort of sexist who think’s he’s a prince for not “taking advantage” of women too drunk to consent, even though those women are clearly fair game.
    Either way, he sounds like the guys from Meet the Predators. He believes a man does not need to get consent from a woman if …
    That’s all I need to know to know I don’t ever want him anywhere near me.

  20. 25

    thank you for pointing this out. it’s been bothering me for days, because it made it so stunningly obvious that Richard was trowing a tantrum and saying he believed the author of the New Statesman article, and asserting that she had a clear memory, and Alison Smith had NO memory, where the truth is, both of them had incomplete memories, so either he’s lying, or he never actually read either account, AND he’s lying.

  21. 26

    Alison Smith elaborated over Twitter (link via SallyStrange’s comment). This is how similar their accounts are.

    [CN: Rape] So let’s talk about what it’s like to be raped while drunk. Mute me if you don’t feel you can read this, self care first.

    I was drinking. I’ve never been a heavy drinker, but I honestly didn’t think I was anywhere near my limit. I was tipsy then blacked out

    I remember blurs of someone helping me stumble into a shower. I remember throwing up. I remember someone taking off my top.

    I remember someone raping me from behind while I was laid on top someone else. I remember waking up and realizing I didn’t know

    what was happening and where I was. I remember the agony of my hangover the next day. I remember feeling ill over what had happened.

    I’m pretty sure that is nothing like being a drunk driver. Anyone know what it’s like to be a drunk driver? We should compare notes.

    I apologize for my flippant response, but it’s that or burst into flame from the rage I feel and yet more victim blaming bullshit from RD.

  22. 27

    culuriel says @18

    If the victim is dead, would Dawkins still support a rape charge? After all, she can’t testify at all.

    But she’s a Good Woman, at least potentially: the sort who doesn’t upset him or contradict him or have her own voice anymore. But he wouldn’t support a rape charge unless some manly menz of the police said so. After all, the woman doesn’t remember a thing about it.

  23. rq
    29

    [TW]

    Does he think that you can be raped without it leaving ANY traces?

    Without leaving the kind of traces a rapekit is useful for, yes, this can happen – a rapekit won’t be of use in every rape, especially if there hasn’t been any penis-insertion, ejaculation, or a condom used. The ANY traces are often subject to a lot of scrutiny and analysis, with all kinds of potential (and theoretical) scenarios proposed to explain them away as not-rape-traces (rough sex, that kind of thing).
    The first trick, though, is getting the police to believe the charges in the first place. That one – that one, I think, is the most difficult.

    the justice system (in the Netherlands) will not imprison a person when all they have is a (s)he said (s)he said situation as would be the case in Dawkins ‘hypothetical’

    Also, while the police won’t imprison in that situation (I hope they don’t do that anywhere), I would sure hope they at least open a case and investigate – properly, with compassion, etc. (and yes, the sarcastic laughter is breaking out here). Imprisonment comes after the court trial (and only with a guilty verdict), so nobody has to fear imprisonment just from being accused of rape (or any crime, for that matter). It’s the investigative process and trial they should fear. And really, it’s easy to avoid: DON’T RAPE.
    Dawkins sucks at hypotheticals, is what I’m also trying to say. :)

  24. 32

    In the US a cop recently said “If you do not want to get raped by a cop then follow the law in the first place so you don’t get pulled over.”

    https://twitter.com/EqualityRising_/status/513372095863341056/photo/1

    THIS is where we are at. THIS is rape culture and half the atheosphere has doubled down.

    We are not human beings.
    We are not to be listened to.
    We are assumed to be liars.
    We are of zero value in this community.
    ZERO.

    Not true?
    Then stop treating us like zero.

  25. 35

    IJoe:

    Something that just struck me though… “If you want to be in a position to testify and jail a man, don’t get drunk.”
    Seriously? As if girls/women wander the world looking for chances to “jail a man”?

    Yeah, that bullshit from Dawkins doesn’t even make any damn sense. It’s predicated on the ridiculous idea that a woman would want to get raped so that she could testify against and jail a man. It shows that Dawkins doesn’t understand the first fucking thing about sexual assault and rape.

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