The risk factors for being raped: a complete list

1. Being within fucking-distance (or even groping-distance) of someone who rapes people.

The risk factors for being raped: a complete list

113 thoughts on “The risk factors for being raped: a complete list

  1. 102

    [email protected] (Pteryxx @ 98, [email protected])

    Thanks. I understand prima facia to mean something along the lines of ‘at first glance’, i.e. without analysis; or ‘reasonable unless rebutted’. In either case, whatever is prima facia (insert abstract noun here) is subject to scrutiny and may (or may not) ultimately be shown to be otherwise. I’m not sure if you meant it that way. If you do, then I’ll agree with what you wrote – but will add that finding a solution to rape is not black and white; it’s not an either/or situation where either you provide vulnerable people a list of behaviour modification tips, or you teach a demographic not to rape. I think it’s a both/and situation. We need both to teach people how not to be rapists and how not to get raped, and how to prevent the formation of rape conducive environments. As such, a prima facia conclusion with regard to rape prevention may only produce superficially beneficial results, or partial results. I believe that a “second glance” is warranted.

    I’m saying this for several reasons. One is that I have two daughters, one of whom is on the cusp of puberty and I want to do whatever I can to help her and for her to be safe; another is that I disagree with the premises that (a) the single common denominator in rape is the presence of a rapists, and (b) advising women (and people in general) that there are preventive steps that could be taken is not helpful, or is wrong prime facie (which usage of the term I take to mean something along the lines of ‘it only requires one glance to see that it is wrong’).

    I disagree with (a) because while true, the presence of a rapist is only a necessary condition for a rape. Two other necessary conditions are a person who is at risk of being raped, and an environment/situation which supports the rapist. If all three conditions are present, there is sufficient cause for rape; if any of these causes are not present, there will not be a rape. This is so obviously true that to say otherwise would be so ridiculous as to make the possibility for further discussion impossible.

    On the other hand, accepting the obvious conclusion that there are other conditions that must be present for there to be rape in now way diminishes the importance of addressing each of the conditions. I will address them one by one below.

    The presence of a rapist
    As noted above, if there is no rapist, there will be no rape. No sane person could disagree with that. The best suggestion out there so far is just a slogan: “Men: don’t rape women” (or, “People: don’t rape other people!”). How do we do that? I’ve said, and others have said, that we need to teach people, perhaps especially boys and men, the meaning of consent – what it looks like and what it’s withdrawal looks like; we need to teach kids how to empathize, how to be compassionate, and the value of respect and personal boundaries. Similarly, we need to teach young people about sexuality, and about the physical and psychological changes they and their peers go through as their bodies mature and they begin to gain a more sophisticated sense of personal identity and agency. No doubt this list is incomplete. These are just some of the things I believe would help reduce instances of rape or sexual assault.

    Now what would it take to transform these ideas into actions? And in which environments would they be affective, and where would they not be? With regard to the first question, what I’ve described is education or training that happens either at home or at school, or both. But there are obstacles that, for as long as they exist, will limit the extent to which we can help people understand, value, and protect the importance of consent. In the public domain, where even evolution is deemed too political to teach in high schools, and where political and religious conservatives have radically defunded and, or revised health-ed curricula (think abstinence-only), there is and will be tremendous political and financial resistance to providing the resources necessary to support this change of outlook. In the private domain of family-life, there are obstacles as well, including the effects of patriarchal family dynamics which support sexism misogyny and rape culture, and the effects of Abrahamic religions with regard to the same. There is a huge demographic out there that has walled itself off from the possibility that there even is such a thing as rape culture, let alone that their beliefs or behaviours could contribute to its existence. We may never reach them.

    That doesn’t mean the sea change that is needed is impossible to bring about – only that it will take a long, long time (think generations – think, the time it has taken to get from Alan Turing being chemically castrated to the legalization of Gay marriage – and think about how even now, we’re not where we need to be with regard to full protection and equal rights for LGBTQ people). As a parent, I’m afraid I don’t have that kind of time. And neither do all the other parents out there with children who are part of a demographic that historically has been afflicted with high rates of sexual assault and rape. I hope you can appreciate how I also don’t have time to wait for a one-pronged approach to rape prevention (teach your children not to become rapists!) to succeed. It’s not practical.

    One final thought on preventing rape by teaching people how to not become rapists – everything I wrote above, addresses just one culture – North America, my culture. The usefulness of teaching people not to rape is, in my opinion, universally valid, and it is a noble goal. But there are innumerable obstacles that will make it difficult to accomplish in other countries as well, due to factors rooted in each of those culture’s social-economic-political-religious structure. Similarly, I am well aware that my own cultural demarcation lines and privilege radically circumscribes what I can do to teach people in other cultures not to rape. I’m trying to imagine myself in the mountains of Pakistan saying “Hey guys, raping women or girls because you think they’re behaving immodestly – yeah, don’t do that”. I’m not seeing that as being very effective – I’m sure you don’t either. But if nothing else, I want to point out that teaching people not to rape is not/will not be easy, and if it is to be successful at all, we need to get past mere sloganeering. Because, slogans don’t prevent rape.

    I’ve run out of time – I want to write more about the other two necessary conditions for rape; may take a while though.

  2. 103

    See @21. People have told women how to avoid being raped since time immemorial without making the merest dent in rape statistics. Teaching people what rape IS, on the other hand, demonstrably decreases rape incidents.

    Which would you rather — a society with women being taught to do a rain dance of behaviours that make it their fault if/when they get raped, or a society where all PEOPLE are taught what rape IS, and demonstrably less rape? Because this actually is a dichotomy. There’s finite resources available toward rape prevention, and teaching women that they’re vulnerable and need to protect themselves from men makes them prisoners unnecessarily, and excuses the behaviour of the men who take advantage of those untoward situations to be able to say “bitch was asking for it”.

  3. 104

    People have told women how to avoid being raped since time immemorial without making the merest dent in rape statistics.

    Bullshit. To claim this you would first need to claim that rape statistics haven’t changed at all. If rape statistics hadn’t changed at all, then there would be a possibility that this were true. The thing is, rape statistics have changed. Have you heard of ‘history’? Rape was rife, Jason – the real kind. Roman empire ring a bell? Not to mention, the issue is so much more complex than the black-white bullshit you like to cough up, that it’s impossible to say what’s causing what in any case.

    Teaching people what rape IS, on the other hand, demonstrably decreases rape incidents.

    Demonstrably? You throw this word around like it means something by itself. Prove it. And no, on-line newspaper articles don’t count. Why you even tried that is beyond me.

    Because this actually is a dichotomy

    Yeah, it is a kind of dichotomy – a false one.

    teaching women that they’re vulnerable and need to protect themselves from men makes them prisoners unnecessarily, and excuses the behaviour of the men who take advantage of those untoward situations to be able to say “bitch was asking for it”.

    Nobody is using the existence of rape-prevention techniques as a way of excusing rapists. I can see it now. A cop comes up to a rapist, the rapist says “bitch was asking for it” and the cop’s all like “solid argument, you’re free to go”. IT. NEVER. HAPPENS. Nobody in their right mind would recognise that as a valid excuse, you moron – it is a fiction that you have swallowed and made your own.

    People are vulnerable, women and children especially. They do need to watch out for themselves. I’m not just talking about rape here, but about a whole host of other dangerous situations The world is a dangerous place, and people need the truth. They need real advice and support. They don’t need molly-coddling.

    Don’t tell me to lock my car, tell them not to steal cars! Don’t tell me to look when I’m crossing the road, tell them not to drink-drive! Don’t you get it yet? This argument is a false dichotomy. And for the record, by putting a lock on your car, in no way whatsoever are you affirming that stealing cars is fine.

    I don’t know how you manage to lose yourself in my arguments so thoroughly, but I’d be interested to see how much of what I say you will flat-out ignore, how much of it you will misunderstand and how much of it you will shamelessly misrepresent. Base.

  4. 105

    [email protected]

    See @21.

    Oh c’mon! – Did you really not read what I wrote? Go back and read every/any post I wrote and you will see I am advocating teaching people how not to become rapists to reduce rape.

    People have told women how to avoid being raped since time immemorial without making the merest dent in rape statistics.

    I understand what you mean – and I think that you (and others) are making a logical error.

    Let me explain. First, the probability of a rape that happened is 1. Because it happened. If you want to argue that for the rapes that happened, whatever preventative measures people took, whatever advice they were given, was ineffective, I will of course agree with you because it’s true. It’s definitely, absolutely, and obviously true. And it’s equally true that since rapes have happened in innumerable situations, that advice specific to those situations was ineffective in those individual situations. As the article Petryxx linked said We all know people who did everything “right” and were raped anyway.

    But since time immemorial there have been rapes that were begun but not completed, or rapes that were contemplated but not instigated in otherwise seemingly similar situations (e.g people have been raped in their kitchens – but people have also not been raped in their kitchens; people have been raped in Frat houses – and people have also not been raped in them; etc). Why? Because, as I said before, either there was no would-be rapist, or there was a would-be rapist but the subject was not deemed to be sufficiently at risk/vulnerable for the duration of the situation, or, the situational environment did not support a successful rape at all, or long enough. In many of these situations the person was not raped because the preventative measures he/she took or were advised to take were effective in that situation (and no, I am not endorsing the view that if a person gets rape they did the wrong thing or made a bad decision; nor do I believe such a view follows by necessity – sometimes we do not have choices, and so are not making ‘decisions’ per se; sometimes there is no way to bring enough elements of a situation within our control, etc.).

    Only if you conflate a successful rape (probability = 1) in one situation with the possibility of rape in another situation (probability < 1) can you make the argument that because the advice given in the first situation was ineffective in that situation that it will not be effective in any other situation. Similarly, it is also mistaken to argue that because the environment in one situation was conducive to rape, the environment in any other similar situation is not malleable, and so we shouldn’t bother trying to make it inhospitable to rape.

    In case this is still not clear, let me put it another way. You wrote People have told women how to avoid being raped since time immemorial without making the merest dent in rape statistics.

    What you write is true (as I wrote above), but you are conflating statistics for completed rapes (and we can be certain that rape is under-reported, and incidents of rape are higher than what statistics suggest) with rapes that were, as I said, contemplated but not instigated, or begun but not completed.

    How do we quantify these? I don’t think we can quantify the first type (although recent research shows a disturbingly high number of college aged men would engage in non-consensual sex if they thought they could get away with it), but there is no reason to conclude that the only times rapists contemplated rape they also completed a rape (and interviews with rapists bear this out). Instead, we have to conclude that rapists actually do engage in a sort of risk-return calculus (and yes, there is research that supports this http://ijo.sagepub.com/content/55/4/626.abstract). With regard to quantifying the second high-risk situation, where rape is attempted but not completed, there are at least two measures; one would be, obviously, the number of reported rape attempts (but in just the same way that rape is under-reported, so to may attempted rapes also be under-reported); the second is the rate of incidence of non-consensual sexual touch (I am guessing that under-reporting here is probably even higher than for completed rapes or attempted rapes).

    As such, I would argue that if the rate of contemplated but not instigated rapes, and the number of attempted but unsuccessful rapes is higher than the number of completed rapes, from time immemorial (or even from just last year), then we have to conclude that in least some instances, preventative steps by the subject (either to decrease her/his risk, or to alter the environment, or because other actors in the environment made it an inhospitable environment for rape) made a mere dent. Perhaps even made big dent.

    Are the rates for unsuccessful rapes higher than for completed rapes? Hard to say, for the reasons I gave above. However, in a 2010 study of sexual violence in the US, the CDC found that over the course of their lifetimes, 18.3% of women surveyed had been violently raped (their rapists are not likely the sort who are merely confused about what constitutes rape or consent, and who would therefore benefit from being taught that no means no and yes means yes); 8% were raped in situations where alcohol and/drugs were a factor (and violence or coercion were not factors); and 13% were coerced into uwanted penetrative sex. That’s a total of 39.3% of women. On the other hand, the survey also found that 5% of women had experienced violent, attempted (but not completed) rapes; 31% reported having received unwanted sexual contact, and 33.3% had had to endure non-contact, unwanted sexual experiences. Here’s a link to the survey: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf#page=27

    Given that 70% of women experienced unwanted sexual touch or intimidation, it is not at all unreasonable to conclude that for many of them, had some factor been different (e.g. how they were perceived by their interlocutor, or how the over-all environment was), the aggressor would have escalated his behaviour to rape. It’s ludicrous to conclude otherwise.

    And to the extent that any of those other factors were within the control of the woman who reported the sexual assault or harassment, it is also ludicrous to suggest that preventative measures are prima facia wrong.

    Which would you rather — a society with women being taught to do a rain dance of behaviours that make it their fault if/when they get raped, or a society where all PEOPLE are taught what rape IS, and demonstrably less rape?

    I would prefer a society where there was no rape; to accomplish that I think we need to be focused on all three factors in order to prevent rape. But to respond more directly to what you wrote, I think you’ve made a false bifurcation, and one laden with strongly felt, but ultimately unhelpful language.

    First, I do agree everyone should understand what rape is, what consent is etc. But I also don’t think that will end rape. Second, I absolutely believe that no one should ever be afraid to go anywhere or feel uncomfortable or wary simply for being themselves. I especially don’t want that for my children. But unfortunately, presently, the world is not a safe place for them. It’s a difficult balance I need to strike, between encouraging them to go forth with full force, and being alert to danger. If you have children I’m sure you understand.

    There’s finite resources available toward rape prevention,

    I agree that resources are finite, but there may be more resources than you realize, and what resources there are could be deployed or configured more efficiently.

    For example, teaching people about the necessity for consent and pointing out what rape culture looks like, what sort of behaviour should be condemned or refrained from and so on, is work that can and should be done – amongst other places – within the family. We need to teach all of our children, our nieces and nephews and our brothers and sisters these things. If we do not shrug this responsibility, then there are tremendous resources available.

    Similarly, if we teach our families what sexual aggression looks like, how not to be bystanders, or how to avoid facilitating sexual aggression or rape, we also are able to positively affect the over-all environment and make it inhospitable to rape. Again, there are tremendous resources available if we make it our own responsibility. If you doubt this, just consider how differently high school kids today view homosexuality versus how homosexuality was viewed a generation ago (yes, there is homophobia in high-schools, but there is so, so much more acceptance and tolerance).

    and teaching women that they’re vulnerable and need to protect themselves from men makes them prisoners unnecessarily

    I agree that if all we do is teach women over and over again to be afraid, to be dependent, to live in fear, then yes, you would be correct. There are definitely unskilful ways to go about it. But the fact that there are does not mean that there are also not skilful ways to go about it which empower women (one suggestion, re-frame the issue; not vulnerability, but risk management – note the passive connotations of ‘vulnerability’ in comparison to the active connotations of ‘management’).

    Also, the fact of being vulnerable in one situation does not constitute being vulnerable in all situations. Nor does knowing in what ways, or to what, one is vulnerable, make a person more vulnerable. Moreover, since we are all vulnerable to outside forces (colds, flus, muggers, being emotionally hurt, possible betrayals of trust, financial insecurity, etc.,), and do our best to protect ourselves from those forces, why would anyone suggest that when it comes to protecting oneself from rape, it is an unreasonable imposition to do our best to protect ourselves? It’s like you’re ‘othering’ this sort of vulnerability in a way that takes away agency. And that, frankly speaking, teeters dangerously close to disempowering women.

    and excuses the behaviour of the men who take advantage of those untoward situations to be able to say “bitch was asking for it”.

    I’m sorry, but that’s just doesn’t follow from the premise.

  5. 106

    @ Stephen Grant:

    A cop comes up to a rapist, the rapist says “bitch was asking for it” and the cop’s all like “solid argument, you’re free to go”. IT. NEVER. HAPPENS.

    Jesus fuck dude, you yourself linked to RAINN and you somehow missed this?

    The majority of sexual assault are not reported to the police (an average of 54% of assaults in the last five years were not reported). Those rapists, of course, will never spend a day in prison. But even when the crime is reported, it is unlike to lead to an arrest and prosecution. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 3% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.

    Massive, massive fail dude. Just wow.

  6. 108

    @107

    Jesus fuck dude, you yourself linked to RAINN and you somehow missed this?

    You got a laugh out of me here. You sound like you’re in college, all tits and ambition, so I’ll humor you.

    1. Linking to a site doesn’t require a person to read all content on that site (bizarre assumption to make)
    2. I didn’t miss it; it’s just not relevant to my argument.

    The majority of sexual assault are not reported to the police (an average of 54% of assaults in the last five years were not reported). Those rapists, of course, will never spend a day in prison. But even when the crime is reported, it is unlike unlikely to lead to an arrest and prosecution. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 3% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.

    The fact that rapists go free in no way whatsoever gives any support for the argument that saying “the bitch was asking for it” is a recognised excuse. None. Null. Zero. This was my argument. I never claimed that all rapists get caught. I never even claimed that most rapists get caught. As for the percentage of rapists that serve time, I made no claim whatsoever.

    Saying I failed doesn’t make it so. Here’s a basic strategy for arguing with me.

    1. Take something I said that you don’t agree with.
    2. Read what I say very carefully.
    3a. Find some evidence to contradict it (if you choose to contradict something I didn’t say, like in this instance, it’s called a ‘straw man’)
    3b. Create an argument that is so strong it requires no evidence other than logic alone, but remember to contradict something I said (as opposed to something I didn’t say)
    4. Tell me about it.

    You might be surprised at how receptive I am to logical argument and overwhelming evidence. Good luck!

    P.S. – The blockquote mistake isn’t a fail so much as it is indicative of your basic approach to argument (and dare I say, life in general). You wrote your post, and didn’t take the extra five seconds to preview it first. If you won’t take five seconds to preview it, there’s little hope of you taking the few minutes or so needed to review and revise it. This is the trademark of sloppy thought and loose argument.

    Slow and steady wins the race.

    If the little fishy insists on swimming out to these depths, he should expect sharks – we don’t bat an eyelid and we don’t miss a trick.

  7. 109

    Linking to a site doesn’t require a person to read all content on that site (bizarre assumption to make)

    /facepalm

    See, the point was that cops/judges/juries do actually dismiss rape victims on a regular basis, specifically because she flirted/seemed receptive/didn’t say no emphatically enough. RAINN isn’t the only source of information for this, just happened to be on the site you cited as Irrefutable Proof of Everyone Being Wrong, and I found that amusing.

    I didn’t miss it; it’s just not relevant to my argument.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    I’ll grant you one thing: I doubt rapists routinely go free because they explicitly stood up in court and claimed a “bitches” defense.

    How do you not understand that the scenario described by “bitches be asking for it” is not literally an exchange of the nature you describe? Reductive rhetorical devices aren’t hard, dude.

    You might be surprised at how receptive I am to logical argument and overwhelming evidence.

    I have more pressing things to do than attempt to educate someone who is wrong on the internet. But perhaps someone else will take you up on that.

  8. 110

    A cop comes up to a rapist, the rapist says “bitch was asking for it” and the cop’s all like “solid argument, you’re free to go”. IT. NEVER. HAPPENS.

    Actually…

    http://skepchick.org/2013/08/when-i-didnt-consent-why-i-reported-why-i-didnt/

    A few weeks after that, the police called me at home.

    “Miss Wojnowski?”

    “Yes?”

    “This is ____ from the Decatur Police Department. Your rape kit came back. No semen was found. Evidently nothing happened. Please let your parents know.”

    [click]

    “But….”

    http://jezebel.com/the-student-athletes-guide-to-not-raping-anyone-1177994230

    After the rape, the woman left the Chi Psi house immediately. She called a friend who met her on the way back to her dorm. She was crying hysterically and she told her friend what had happened[7]. She reported the incident to the resident advisor of her dorm, to a university housing security officer, campus police and to Ann Arbor police.

    She was taken to University Hospital for a rape examination, which showed vaginal tearing.

    Brendan Gibbons admitted to having sex with the young woman but claimed that it was consensual. “She never asked me to stop. We were both into it.” He stated that his whole life would be ruined, the girl always wins[8].

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/08/23/i-am-a-false-rape-allegation-statistic/

    The detective looked at me. His whole demeanor changed; he tried to seem kind, avuncular. “Tell me you made the whole thing up. This whole thing will disappear. Nothing will happen to you. You can leave, if you just tell me you made it up. Tell me you made it up and you’re sorry for lying, and I’ll let you leave.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/08/13/2457991/virginia-law-enforcement-rape/

    Until last week, Norfolk, Virginia police classified sexual assault claims to be “unfounded” — or not valid — by default. According to the Virginian-Pilot, a 22-year-old woman’s case prompted Norfolk police chief Mike Goldsmith to update the policy so that officers must now assume rape victims are telling the truth.

    The woman reported the attack immediately to police, only to be told, “If we find out that you’re lying, this will be a felony charge.”

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2011/09/18/rape-myth-1-shes-probably-lying/

    The problem in Baltimore is striking, but Baltimore is hardly the only city affected. If you need to change your crime rate, deciding that more rape accusations are “unfounded” is a simple administrative solution.

    These examples are why we can’t trust raw law enforcement numbers, which provide the citations for “women lie” arguments. If a police force doesn’t know what is and isn’t rape, how can it decide which rapes are falsely reported? If a police force decides that in he-said, she-said situations, “she” is arbitrarily not to be trusted, how can we trust their decisions on whether or not she lied? If a police forces continue to endorse rape myths, why would we trust their reporting numbers uncritically?

    That last is citing research articles, by the way. Police departments misclassify rape allegations as false or unfounded at a rate ten to forty times the rate of demonstrable false allegations, if they bother to record them at all.

    …Yeah, you’re so far wrong it’s not even funny.

  9. 111

    Nah Pteryxx, what’s funny is how quickly a self-identified skeptic whose first comment includes “people here get banned for disagreeing” has to start testing the waters by glad-handling other commenters with pompous self-fellating and abuse. So I threw him in moderation.

    Steven Grant, behave civilly toward your fellow commenters and actually engage with their arguments, rather than crying “strawman” and ignoring the evidence presented, and maybe your comments will make it through moderation. Protip: raging about how I’m curtailing your Free Speech (as though this blog is a public utility) isn’t going to get your comments published. Pushy assholes like you are a dime a dozen, and your arguments are not novel even in this very thread, much less the blog or blog network. You’re not saying anything I haven’t heard — but you are saying it with an intent on doing damage to discourse, and you don’t get to dominate someone else’s blog like this.

  10. 112
    Yet a significant number of men do not recognize or acknowledge coercion as assault. AAUW research shows that 43 percent of college-aged men admitted to using coercion to have sex, including ignoring protests, being physically aggressive and even forcing sex, but none of them recognized or defined their behavior as rape.

    That is horrifying.

    Bullshit. To claim this you would first need to claim that rape statistics haven’t changed at all. If rape statistics hadn’t changed at all, then there would be a possibility that this were true. The thing is, rape statistics have changed. Have you heard of ‘history’? Rape was rife, Jason – the real kind. Roman empire ring a bell?

    You don’t have rape statistics from Roman times, and you don’t have statistics about how many women back then danced naked in dark alleys, so why do you shoot your mouth off like that? Have you no shame?

    And what’s “the real kind”? Is it “legitimate rape”?

    Don’t tell me to lock my car, tell them not to steal cars!

    I was shocked to discover last year that many people in the US do not, in fact, lock their cars. I think it’s because there’s little motive or opportunity for car theft in the places in question: everyone who could possibly afford even the cheapest car already has one, and you can’t move a car three countries over in a matter of days.

  11. JT
    113

    #60
    1. Rape is not committed by “mentally ill people”. There is nor correlation between being mentally ill and being a rapist.

    Umm, Im thinking if youre raping someone you sure as shit aren’t “mentally healthy”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *