Is there a rape switch?

This question is shorthand for a larger and more nuanced set of questions that has emerged over the last 24 hours here and here as people engage in this very interesting and important discussion about rape, especially wartime rape and related post-apocalyptic rape cultures.

“The switch” is a term I first heard from a student, who wrote a term paper for me on this in 1993. The basic idea of a switch would be supported if more or less randomly (though age biased, likely) selected men, put into a certain situation, tended to commit rape on a much larger scale … or more exactly, a much larger percentage of the men rape under those circumstances … than would ever be predicted based on anything anyone knows about these men before or after the circumstances prevail.

In other words, when all the young men stay home, they are mostly not going to rape anyone. In contrast, when the same exact men go off to war, an alarming percentage of them rape. Switch off, switch on.

In the gentile society in which we imagine ourselves living (at least according to many of the comments on the above cited post) the switch is off, and stays off for most people’s lives. But there are circumstances in which most men’s switch is turned on. The switch being on does not mean that rape will happen. It simply means that the man (with the switch on) is now a rapist, whether he actually rapes or not (but he probably will), and when the switch is off, he is not (so he probably won’t). It is a bit of a metaphor, and a strained one (see comments by commenter Elizabeth) at that.

The evidence for what is often known as “wartime rape” (which the student would simply refer to as the conditions under which the switch is on) is both hard to adduce and overwhelmingly strong. There are a lot of reasons why it is difficult to enumerate rape in wartime. However, people have been thinking and writing about this for a long time, and even collecting some data, and those who are in the business of psychology, sociology, criminology, and behavioral biology who study such things as rape and homicide have largely come to the understanding that rape in wartime is often quite common, that American soldiers in Vietnam represent a middling case (which means it is shocking and disturbing) while Bosnia/Serbia represents a truly over the top example.

But there are many (see comments on the posts cited above) who simply refuse to accept this, mainly for the simple reason that it can’t be so, or if that does not work as the reason, because it is an affront to the men in the military to suggest this. I understand this second point quite well, and some of my best friends are men who were in Vietnam. For the moment, I simply choose to believe that none of the men I happen to know ever raped anybody. They are men that I know would never do that. But as a scientist I have come to accept that it is quite likely that men have something that can be described metaphorically as a rape switch, that those men whom I know are not special, and that while the switch has been off the whole time I’ve known them, it was probably on while they were serving in long term combat rolls in Vietnam. At the moment, I’m not asking any questions.

ResearchBlogging.orgWould you like some evidence? The evidence is complex, abundant, and cited all over the place. If you are a person who simply does not want to believe this, then I can do little to help you. But if you are a person who wants to insist it is not true, please consider addressing the evidence. I can give you a starting place.

The following quote comes from Gottschall (2004). The sources cited by Gottschall are all included below.

While there are no reliable statistics on wartime rape due to the reporting biases of the opposing sides and the reluctance of victims to come forward, these increases can range from the calculated 300% to 400% increases over American civilian rape rates that accompanied American breakouts in France and Germany toward the end of World War II (Morris, 2000, p. 170) to rates of increase that likely reached into the thousands in the weeks after the Red Army first swept into Berlin and committed between 20,000 and 100,000 rapes (Brownmiller, 1975; Ryan, 1966; Siefert, 1994). Incidentally, these figures represent good examples of the mushiness of wartime rape statistics: The American figures are almost certainly underestimated because they are based solely on rapes reported to authorities, and estimates of the number of Red Army rapes in Berlin climb as high as 1,000,000 (Grossman, 1999, p. 164). A partial list of countries that have been identified as loci of mass rapes conducted by military or paramilitary forces just in the 20th century includes Belgium and Russia during World War I; Russia, Japan, Italy, Korea, China, the Philippines, and Germany during World War II; and in one or more conflicts, Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burma, Bosnia, Cambodia, Congo, Croatia, Cyprus, East Timor, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Kosovo, Liberia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Pakistan, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam, Zaire, and Zimbabwe.1

1This list is drawn from the following sources: Amnesty International (1997, 1998, 2000); Barstow (2000, p. 3); Brownmiller (1975); Chelela (1998); Ghiglieri (2000, p. 90); Littlewood (1997); Menon (1998); Neier (1998, pp. 172-191); Oosterveld (1998, pp. 64-67); Swiss and Giller (1993); Tanaka (1999, pp. 174-176); Thomas and Regan (1994).

Sources:

Amnesty International. (1997, February 19). Rape, killings and other human rights violations by the security forces. Retrieved March 1, 2003, from http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engAFR620061997

Amnesty International. (1998, November 23). Democratic Republic of Congo: War against unarmed civilians. Retrieved April 15, 2003, from http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engAFR620361998

Amnesty International. (2000, June 30). Sierra Leone: Rape and other forms of sexual violence must be stopped. Retrieved April 20, 2003, from http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/2000/15104800.htm

Barstow, A. (2000). Introduction. In A. Barstow (Ed.), War’s dirty secret: Rape, prostitution, and other crimes against women (pp. 1-12). Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press.

Brownmiller, S. (1975). Against our will: Men, women, rape. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Brownmiller, S. (1993, January 4). Making female bodies the battlefield. Newsweek, 37.

Chelala, C. (1998). Algerian abortion controversy highlights rape of war victims. Lancet, 351, 1413-1414.

Ghiglieri, M. P. (2000). The dark side of man: Tracing the origins of male violence. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books.

Gottschall, Jonathan (2004). Explaining wartime rape Journal of sex research, May

Grossman, A. (1999). A question of silence: The rape of German women by Soviet occupation soldiers. In N. Dombrowski (Ed.), Women and war in the twentieth century (pp. 116-137). New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.

Littlewood, R. (1997). Military rape. Anthropology Today, 13, 7 17.

MacKinnon, C. A. (1994b). Turning rape into pornography: Postmodern genocide. In A. Stiglmayer (Ed.), Mass rape: The war against women in Bosnia-Herzegovina (pp. 73-81). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Menon, R. (1998). Borders and bodies: Recovering women in the national interest. In 1. L. Sajor (Ed.), Common grounds: Violence against women in war and armed conflict situations (pp. 301 338). Quezon City, Phillipines: Asian Center for Women’s Human Rights.

Morris, M. (2000). In war and peace: Rape, war, and military culture. In A. Barstow (Ed.), War’s dirty secret: Rape, prostitution, and other crimes against women (pp. 167-203). Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press.

Neier, A. (1998). War crimes: Brutality, genocide, terror, and the struggle for justice. New York: Random House.

Oosterveld, V. (1998). When women are the spoils of war. UNESCO Courier, 51, 64-67.

Ryan, C. (1966). The last battle. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Siefert, R. (1994). War and rape: A preliminary analysis. In A. Stiglmayer (Ed.), Mass rape: The war against women in Bosnia-Herzigovina (pp. 54-72). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Swiss, S., & Giller, J. (1993). Rape as a crime of war: A medical perspective. JAMA, 270, 612-615.

Tanaka, Y. (1999). Introduction. In M. R. Henson (Ed.), Comfort woman: A Filipina’s story of prostitution and slavery under the Japanese military (pp. vii-xxi). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Thomas, D., & Regan, R. (1994). Rape in war: Challenging the tradition of impunity. SAIS Review, 14, 81-99.

Comments

  1. #1 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    I see a problem with this: The quote you give begins with: “there are no reliable statistics” then proceeds to give a bunch of statistics. They’re not reliable. The numbers are assumed. That’s not precisely a terribly sound argument.

    …also, any statement that men are rapists whether or not they actually rape anyone is, for lack of a better word, complete bullshit. If you rape someone, you’re a rapist. If you don’t, you’re not. I know you’re trying to make a point here, but you’re doing it wrong.

    While I’m on the subject, I disagree with your definition of a “rape switch” too. Switches don’t raise probabilities. They turn things on and off. If you flip a switch and the light doesn’t come on, there’s a fault. Are you saying that a man who doesn’t rape in war is faulty?

  2. #2 Jared
    June 3, 2009

    While it may be the violence or mentality associated with war time leads to a “switch” being turned, is it not also possible that individuals enlisting in the military tend to have a greater propensity for violence to begin with? I am curious as to how one would run a control for this type of research and how one would know the accuracy of reporting. While it seems true that war does increase rape statistics, what evidence is there that personality of the individual does not play just as great, if not greater, role in causing this?

  3. #3 Monado
    June 3, 2009

    I think that in Bosnia, rape was a policy, condoned and encouraged. In Vietnam, it was winked at but it was not policy.

    I remember reading someone’s comments on being in Vietnam that “The chaplain didn’t rape [and more or less everyone else in the group did].” Even more disturbing are the comments like “everyone raped one woman and then the last one shot her” or that you were a “double virgin” until you had raped and killed [the same person, I think]. I’ve met a few Vietnam vets and I don’t ask them, either.

    There’s an analogous “theft switch.” Researchers found that if you left something lying around, as long as it looked like someone was coming back for it or it belonged to someone, most people left it strictly alone. As soon as something told them it had been abandoned, almost anyone would take it or take parts of it. In “good neighborhoods,” it can take a few days; in “bad neighborhoods,” the transition to “abandoned” is much faster and sometimes amounts to “Can I help it if they didn’t nail it down?”

  4. #4 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    See, there’s a problem with the “theft switch” analogy. There comes a point where something has been left long enough that pretty much everyone considers it abandoned. There is no line between theft and salvage, just a gradual increase in the number of people who consider it one of the other, based not just on time, but on what the actual object in question is as well.

    The line between rape and not rape is substantially more clear.

  5. #5 M
    June 3, 2009

    Rystefn, you’re right. I merely wanted to find an example that those of us who haven’t been soldiers in the field might recognize. An even more trivial example is the swearword switch. Most of us can “set a flag” that swearing is or is not allowed where we are: in church, with parents, out with friends, in solitude, etc.

    Any of them can be classified as “will I get caught?” or “will I be punished?” vs. nobody cares, nobody’s looking, nobody’s in earshot.

    A surprising number of men say they would rape if they knew they wouldn’t get caught. But perhaps that’s not real enough to get an accurate answer.

  6. #6 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    Oh, I have no doubt far more men would rape if there were no chance of being caught than most of us would like to admit, but I’ve been a soldier, and it’s not quite so universal as I’ve seen it painted around here over the last few days.

    I can’t really speak to the swearing thing, though, as I’ve got no filter to switch on or off in the first place. I understand the gist of what you’re saying, though.

    To be clear – I’m not saying that there aren’t circumstances under which far more people will rape than otherwise would, but I disagree with the descriptor of these circumstances as a “switch,” as that implies a universal. I also disagree with the description of people who never rape as rapists.

  7. #7 Eamon
    June 3, 2009

    Rystefn@1 is spot on – rapists rape – that is the sole definition applicable to that crime.

    Personally, the very use of such a description as “Rape Switch” is insulting and dehumanising to atleast half the human race.

  8. #8 Geoffrey Falk
    June 3, 2009

    In the gentile society in which we imagine ourselves living….

    You meant “genteel,” no? “Gentile” is somewhat different.

  9. #9 will shetterly
    June 3, 2009

    “There comes a point where something has been left long enough that pretty much everyone considers it abandoned.”

    Rystefn, that’s more cultural than you think. My family lived by an Ojibwa reservation for years. Visitors would sometimes ask if we had a problem with theft. Dad always said that sometimes we did, but when Indians stole, they stole things they could use. Whites would steal anything that wasn’t locked up, using exactly the logic you’ve offered. For example, the Ojibwa would stash things in the woods they weren’t using, like snow shoes during the summer. They were perfectly safe from other Ojibwa, but outsiders would take them simply because they could.

    Apologies for the digression. Mostly, I want to say that I have no idea whether there is a “rape switch,” but I do know people who have been privileged all their lives have no idea what they might do under hard circumstances.

  10. #10 Matt Springer
    June 3, 2009

    “While it may be the violence or mentality associated with war time leads to a “switch” being turned, is it not also possible that individuals enlisting in the military tend to have a greater propensity for violence to begin with?”

    Most men in most armies throughout most of history have not been volunteers.

  11. #11 john l
    June 3, 2009

    I guess one of the things I’m wondering here is, is there a ‘natural’ or default position for the switch? Because it seems like much of the argument in the previous thread was centered around the assertion that (a) all men, or most men, will rape unless they’re prevented from doing so, or, let’s say, discouraged from it.

    But wouldn’t it be just as accurate to say that (b) few men, will rape unless they’re encouraged to? How would we know the difference between (a) and (b)?

    It’s tempting to think of wartime as something like a state of nature, but of course that’s not true: wartime is a culture in exactly the way, and to exactly the extent, that, say, a factory assembly line, a monastery, or a Take Back the Night rally is a culture. I don’t buy the argument, though you don’t make it explicitly, that a soldier is somehow a more “natural” man than an accountant.

    Rystefn says “far more men would rape if there were no chance of being caught”. Whereas I could just as easily say, “far less men would rape if we lived in a less aggressive society, one with deeper community ties, etc.”.

    I think it’s too easy to believe that we live in Hobbesian world, where the ‘natural’ act is vicious, and the culturally bounded act is not, and to believe, too, that certain circumstances bring us back to the state of nature, which is the norm to which we will fall unless civilization lifts us out of it.

    Look at it this way: the military is a fantastically intricate and total culture, as artificial as any I know of. Are you so sure that proper way to describe being in the military is to say that it stops whatever the thing it is that prevents men from raping. Why not that it turns ordinary or normal men, against their nature or their default, into rapists?

    Finally, let me question your deployment of statistics. Let’s say 100,000 women were raped in post-War Berlin. You can make the number higher if you want, but let’s say 100,000 rapes. That still doesn’t mean there are a 100,000 rapists. In a peacetime city, a few men are responsible for many rapes, while the majority of men never rape at all. So your statistics are, I’m afraid, meaningless, unless we know how many soldiers were there, and how many rapes were committed, on average, by the men who were truly rapists.

    Finally (again) I can’t imagine living in a “gentile society”, at least any more than, as a Jew living in West Texas, I already do…

    Joke. That was a joke.

  12. #12 Helen Krummenacker
    June 3, 2009

    John, I was bothered by that, too. I assume the word meant was genteel, although gentle would be also appropriate. But it takes a moment to parse that and not wonder what the level of Judaic influence means to the society. :)

    Anyhow– do the levels increase that much, really? As opposed to, say, a college frat kegger, where the point seems to be to get freshman girls drunk and vulnerable? Or the johns who beat and rape prostitutes? Somewhere in every nation at peace, that is happening many times in one week.

    There would be difference in motivation, of course; in war, the soldiers are punishing the enemy through the women. Their victims are othered not only by sex and class differences, but the religious/racial/national differences involved in the war. Which probably makes it easier for a larger percentage of men to get involved in rape– men who don’t other women as a group could still find hate on the battleground. But do they have as much opportunity as rapists do in a civilian population? The answer to that would depend on the war, I think.

    Anyhow, I don’t think there’s a special ‘switch’. Rape is almost always primarily about power and/or hate. Furthermore, homosocial situations create a sort of mob groupthink feedback between men that encourages the disparagement and othering of women. War is simply a situation where hate is ramped up, power is strictly hierarchical (meaning the grunts need someone to look down on), homosocial situations are the norm, and there is often no policing of what is done to the enemy.

  13. #13 Ralph
    June 3, 2009

    > The switch being on does not mean that rape will happen. It simply means that the man (with the switch on) *is now a rapist, whether he actually rapes or not*

    What?

    So, that means that, for example, if someone breaks into my house, and that is supposed to be a trigger for murder, *I now am a murderer regardless of whether I actually attack the intruder at all*?

    I know I am not a scientist, bu surely something is not right in this logic?

  14. #14 Jason Dick
    June 3, 2009

    Ralph,

    The way I understood Greg’s statement was that he was using the term “rapist” to talk about a person who could commit rape, given the opportunity. This doesn’t mean that they have raped or necessarily will, merely that they are likely to if the opportunity arises.

    Personally, I have no problem with the idea that I may (and probably do) have a rape switch. I do recognize that I may well have such desires (not yet, fortunately). They’re nothing to be ashamed of, but something to be acutely aware of and guard against (if they should occur). I would not wish to harm any girl or woman in such a way, after all, particularly not one that I love (most rapes are by people who know the victim, after all).

  15. #15 sailor
    June 3, 2009

    The switch idea, with its implications of “on/off” does not seem to be warranted. We don’t normally kill. In war we do kill, it is cultural – you might as well say there is a “murder switch”. Killing is aggression, so is rape, so is being brutal. Set the cultural norm to make one of these normal, the others will increase too.
    However, it is possible with the right leadership to fine tune this so you mainly just get the killing, however it might be at the cost of having a somewhat less aggressive army.

  16. #16 Ralph
    June 3, 2009

    Jason,

    That’s what I got from it as well, and my intention was to illustrate just how inconclusive the whole notion is. The idea that anyone is capable of anything if put in the right situation is nothing new. The difference here is that that author claims to have found just the kind of situation that turns every man into a rapist. Because he actually went on and committed the act? No, because he simply found himself in the situation you’ve just defined.

    So apparently you can turn anyone into anything just by declaring so.

    Also, am I the only one who thinks rape in warfare is not representative of the phenomenon of rape, but of the nature of warfare?

    In warfare, women are spoils of war. Just like the body parts of the male enemy combatants (often paraded about and worn as macabre souvenirs), children, possessions, or anything else the warriors lay their eyes upon and decide they can do whatever they want with it because they’ve *conquered* it.

    So, in reality, every man is a potential murderer, torturer, looter or slaveholder. Under the right circumstances, anyone is capable of anything. This is nothing new.

    Except now you don’t even need to be capable. You just need to be under the circumstances.

    Boggles the mind.

  17. #17 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    I see a problem with this: The quote you give begins with: “there are no reliable statistics” then proceeds to give a bunch of statistics. They’re not reliable. The numbers are assumed. That’s not precisely a terribly sound argument.

    The author is asserting a different conclusion than you are, but is being a bit more honest about it. Have you gone and looked up any of the original sources? Do you get the point that this is complex and a certain amount of knowledge is actually needed before drawing full blown conclusions that are not merely your own form of PC?

    While I’m on the subject, I disagree with your definition of a “rape switch” too. Switches don’t raise probabilities. They turn things on and off.

    The reason the term “switch” is used is because it is specifically a metahpor for off and on. I’m not saying that the switch is not switch. But you have got the idea a bit muddled anyway. Let’s say there was a plumber switch. Off, you can’t sweat pipe for shit, on you can do anything a plumber can do. If it goes on, do you automatically dive under the nearest sink to see if there is anything you can fix?

    You’ve gotta put a little more effort into wrapping the ol’ mind around this one.

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    While it may be the violence or mentality associated with war time leads to a “switch” being turned, is it not also possible that individuals enlisting in the military tend to have a greater propensity for violence to begin with?

    In one sense, absolutely, as I imply in my post. Men of soldering age are in fact responsible for the vast majority of violent and sexual crimes anyway, so that will always be true.

    However, also keep in mind that Vietnam was not like Iraq, for instance. That is one of the reasons that Viet Nam is so interesting is that so many people were drafted unwillingly into the military. Unfortunatley, this does not bode well for the idea of a control on the data. I don’t think Iraq is as much as a problem with rape (though I could be wrong). That is a volunteer army.

    My money is on this: The context and the training, and the overall culture that emerges (to no small extent as encouraged or discouraged by the overlords of the whole process) is more important than self selection, but yes, self selection has got to be a factor.

    Just like in the store you can buy different kinds of switches. The metaphor holds!!!

  19. #19 Michael Spencer
    June 3, 2009

    Is it not the case that people in groups act differently than individuals alone? I wonder if war rape a special case of this unexplained phenomena. Other examples abound and include mobs.

    When I was a young lad I was very involved in the anti-war and civil rights movement, and frequently witnessed groups behaving in ways that individuals would find appalling. A far more trivial observation– isn’t it the case that committees and other gatherings of otherwise rational humans often behave inexplicably?

    There is a wider view I suppose. Is it even possible that war rape is a subset of a ‘gathered human’ behavior that is sometime sociopathic and very often inexplicable?

    Or not. Like everyone here, thinking about the subject is so repugnant that it can be a struggle to type the word ‘rape’. Greg’s leadership here is important.

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Rystefn: Oh, I have no doubt far more men would rape if there were no chance of being caught than most of us would like to admit, but I’ve been a soldier, and it’s not quite so universal as I’ve seen it painted around here over the last few days. (and your note about “universal”)

    I agree that we have to be caeful to not overgeneralize, but …

    If a “universal” has to occur in 100% of the cases, there are no behavioral universals in humans or any other mammal.

    If a “universal” has to occur in 80% of the cases, there are far far fewer behaviral universals in any mammal than most people (experts even) think. Behavioral universals are never close to that, which is one reason that the concept of universals is problematic.

    If I laid out the stats I showed in my LAST post on rape and aid “this was Vietnam, folks” lots of people would pile on and say “no, no, you are harming the reputation of the soldierz!!!” but those were stats for the US in the 1980s. If rape stats went up by 25% in war, there would be a lot of rape. All the experts seem to think the numbers are much much higher than that. What if rape rates doubled in war? What if they went up by 300 percent? If you are starting with numbers like from my last post and then doubling and tripling, you get a lot of rape.

    Also, a switch per se does not imply ubiquity. It simply implies that there are two states.

  21. #21 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Personally, the very use of such a description as “Rape Switch” is insulting and dehumanising to atleast half the human race.

    It is a hypothesis with a reasonably large amount of support. A hypothesis that has not been falsified. If it is true, the real dehumanization potentential is actualy for the OTHER half of the human race than the one you are at present concerned about!

    I also think, I quickly add, that if there are (metaphorical) feloneoius switches of any kind, then we must (as I have suggested before) rethink our whoe concept of criminality, crime, and punishment, and more importantly, about how we raise our children.

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Helen: I totaly meant Genteel. John and others: Please understand that the bottom line here is that the single biggest evolutionary novelty for human beings is the significant expansion of …. and increase in …. and complexification of …. and reliance on …. our brains? NO!!!!! On learning. The way we are is determined by our upbringing to a very, very large degree.

    It is totally possible to have a society, I think, in which rape is not only not the default for day to day society, but would be a very hard switch to turn on under any circumstance in the majority of men.

    There are not for most things built in defaults, in my opinion.

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Helen: You are giving us the Brownmiller hypothesis with power and hate. I dont’see how one can conceptualize rape without addressing power and hate (and the class related things you mention). The thornhill hypothesis is that rape is about sex. I don’t see how one can conceptualize rape without reference to sex.

    Ralph: What Jason said.

    Sailor: There might be a murder switch. But again, this is a metaphor . Can you have an army that rapes very little but is very aggressive? Good question. Empirically it seems so. The North Vietnamese Army did very little raping, but I think they were pretty aggressive.

    Ralph:

    So apparently you can turn anyone into anything just by declaring so.

    that would be dumb

    Also, am I the only one who thinks rape in warfare is not representative of the phenomenon of rape, but of the nature of warfare?

    No. Everyone thinks these are different but related phenomena.

    But, you oversimplify anyway. Women might be the “spoils of war” in war, but not always and in fact often not. Victoria’s hypothesis on the switch was matched by another hypothesis that rape was a reproductive strategy. Rape-murder in warfare, which can be the norm (see comments upstream … the last one shoots her..) kinda falsifies that. But in other cases, the women are literally carried off and made part of the victor’s society. (See Bible, for instance)

    So, in reality, every man is a potential murderer, torturer, looter or slaveholder. Under the right circumstances, anyone is capable of anything. This is nothing new.

    Yes and yes, but if it is something we all already knew, which we did, why are people suddenly so resistant to the idea that men are fundamentally demonic unless you do a lot of work on that problem? It does indeed boggle the mind.

  24. #24 Ralph
    June 3, 2009

    > It is a hypothesis … that has not been falsified.

    Are you sure that’s not because it is *unfalsifiable*?

    To use the example of the plumber: The plumber fairy comes along and gently touches a random dude with her magic plumbing wand. Plim! She’s turned the magic plumbing switch and he’s now a plumber!

    We watch and… nothing happens.

    — Shouldn’t he be plumbing away by now?
    — No, not really.
    — But you’ve just turned his plumbing switch.
    — Yeah. But that just means that, if he *feels* like plumbing, *now* he can.
    — And if he doesn’t ever feel like plumbing?
    — *Then that’s Ok too*. Still a plumber.
    — And you know this because…?
    — Because I’ve just turned his plumbing swtich on. Didn’t you see? Before that he couldn’t sweat pipe for shit.
    — Oh, did he ever try to fix some plumbing before and failed miserably? Then we could get him to try it now and…
    — No, he never tried anything. Never felt like it. But look at him now; just *waiting* for the chance to work some pipe.

    * a toilet nearby overflows *

    — Oh, look, look! There he goes…!
    — Nah, he just went right past it. Never even gave it a second look.
    — Oh, well. Still a plumber.
    — How do you figure?
    — Jesus– The switch is ON, can’t you see?

    Nope. Sorry, I can’t.

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Michael: Is it not the case that people in groups act differently than individuals alone? I wonder if war rape a special case of this unexplained phenomena. Other examples abound and include mobs.

    Totally.

  26. #26 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Ralph: Right. But this is a canard. See comments above about universals, which is the real answer. Remember, the switch is a metaphor. There are no switches. Only a metaphor, because it is a behavior that on the surface acts like a switch (as opposed to a spectrum or some other metaphor).

    The evidence is clearly stated in my post.

    a) All the men grow from puberty to 30 years old in a non-war context and a few of them rape women violently, a larger number carry out date rape, a fair number are abusive in some way or another That’s Canadian or US society, for instance.

    b) Those same men also go to war and do 18month stints in battle. Almost all of them rape somebody during that time, and a few are real rape-mavens about it all.

    Swtich. Off On. Metaphor. Not hard. Easy. Why am I talking like George Bush Senior.

    … because I have to run, kthxbye

  27. #27 Jason Thibeault
    June 3, 2009

    Would it be more fair to all parties involved to say that there’s an *aggression* switch, which is turned on by virtue of being in a war zone and being forced to, or told to, kill others without first knowing them; and that aggression switch’s position factors heavily in whether or not a person is capable of rape? That way this switch that is definitely turned on in a war zone is not specific to rape, since rape is an act of aggression, and aggression is a way of life in combat.

    Or is this trivializing the point?

  28. #28 endless psych
    June 3, 2009

    I have to say isn’t this just a slightly more palatable form of “all men are rapists”… Given it’s likely that the dehumanising aspect of war, towards the enemy, civillians who happen to be related to the enemy, more then likely leads to war crimes like rape etc (There is a fair bit of writting on this idea – can’t recall references as I too am having to run ;) but I think the Mai Lai massacre would act as an illustration or perhaps Abu Garhib?

    Certainly Abu Garhib (and the Stanford Prison experiment) might suggest that sexual violence is used as a means of dehumanising captives. Rape could be a logical extension of a series of “rape switches” in which some form of cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias combine to take someone down the spiral of believing an entire group of people are less then human. Thus it doesn’t matter what gets done to them?

    Mayhap anyway.

  29. #29 john l
    June 3, 2009

    @Greg: “almost all of them rape somebody during that time…”?

    What is “almost all”? Because as far as I can tell, there’s nothing much that “almost all” soldiers do in war. I mean, if Paul Fussell is right in the Great War and Modern Memory, it’s not even the case that “almost all” soldiers fire their weapons at the enemy in combat. For one thing, a good many of them are too busy pissing their pants in fear. So I’m not sure war has anything approaching a universal effect on aggression, let alone on a subset of aggression like rape.

  30. #30 Ralph
    June 3, 2009

    > but if it is something we all already knew, which we did, why are people suddenly so resistant to the idea that men are fundamentally demonic unless you do a lot of work on that problem?

    I don’t know about everyone, but this is not what I am disputing. I live in a poor region of a 3rd world country ridden with drugs and violence (you can probably attest that checking my IP) – I know what men are capable of. It’s just that this whole hypothesis is a huge logical non sequitur to me.

    It seems similar evidence could be interpreted to favor points regarding the brutality inherent to human nature, human behavior in warfare, human behavior in large groups, what people can do when they feel vindicated, that there’s no one watching, that there will be no repercussions, etc.

    I can’t connect the evidence presented with the particular interpretation that this is a specific case of male dominance over females – and on top of that conclude that it’s because of a “switch” that *may or not* cause the behavior evidenced.

  31. #31 Ralph
    June 3, 2009

    PS: I know the switch is metaphorical. Just one more reason why it’s hard for me to take it seriously; metaphors make great targets for Texas Sharpshooters.

  32. #32 Ralph
    June 3, 2009

    *Texan.

    (Enough, I’m off as well.)

  33. #33 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Why the focus on rape???

    How about theft, murder, violence, pillage and so on??

    EVERY CRIME increases during war, for a simple reason: there is no authority to force people to respect the law. It’s that simple.

    Remember the looting in Iraq, or the massive pillage of stores after Hurricane Katrina? It’s the same phenomenon!

    When the police is not around, most humans will turn into pretty nasty beasts. Both men and women, and with respect to pretty much any crime we have a law for! No?

  34. #34 Ronja
    June 3, 2009

    Thomas,

    You are so wrong, even though you are partially right. If it was only the police and the risk of being caught by them that stops people from stealing from each other and killing each other, there would never have been a human society with any police force to begin with. In order for there to be police, they need to funded. In order for that funding to emerge, people must peacefully submit to taxation – if even 10% of all tax collectors would always have been murdered and the tax money stolen (and your assumption would give a far higher percentage), nothing that is tax funded would ever have been practical.

    However, to have empathy and generosity is a good evolutionary trick for a group-dwelling animal, so most of us, when under safe circumstances, feel for our fellow human beings rather automatically and want to get along.

    It is the destruction of safety (both real and emotional) combined with seeing examples of what other people are getting away with that leads to extreme behaviors during wartime. IMHO.

  35. #35 Jesse
    June 3, 2009

    To the people dismissing this idea out of hand on the basis of the lack of accurate statistics: even the most conservative estimates point to a 300% increase – which is noteworthy. The actual increase is almost certainly higher than the most conservative estimate but how high does not really bear on this issue.

    I’m not sure I am all that impressed with this hypothesis though. All it says is that situational factors are better at predicting behavior than dispositional factors – or even that situational factors play a role in addition to dispositional factors. Yawn – see Milgram and more importantly the work of Walter Mischel.

  36. #36 DuWayne
    June 3, 2009

    Wow, lots of comments and no time to read them all.

    My gut reaction to this is that it’s total bullshit. I want it to be bullshit – almost need it to be. But I then consider the recent discussions about torture and my acceptance that while the circumstances are far-fetched (i.e. on a scale with getting struck by lightening three times, each time standing in the same spot) I can think of hypothetical situations in which I would not only condone torture, but wouldn’t hesitate to engage in it myself.

    Humans are quite complicated animals. Human minds are incredible and incredibly adept at rationalizing, compartmentalizing and in extreme stress, breaking. The closer humans get to the primitive mind, the more likely they are to engage in what we would consider reprehensible acts. When people are required to break their social conditioning, such as soldiers are required to do – is it any surprise that some of them will break with it more completely? And when people never receive certain types of social conditioning – acts that we find repugnant naturally happen.

  37. #37 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    John, non-firing combatants were a problem in the World Wars, when we thought war could still be run in a civilized fashion. The only problem is that civilized warfare is so terribly inefficient. Modern military training has been revamped to fix that. Those numbers are not repeated in more recent conflicts.

    Thomas, we’re focusing on rape because people don’t, by and large, talk about it. This post is a product of the Silence Is the Enemy project. As you, and presumably the others who are tempted to yawn at this information, can see, there is quite a bit of resistance to the ideas in this post. It needs to be talked about.

  38. #38 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Stephanie: you think there is a silence about rape. Really? Have you been reading the news lately? Not only there is no silence about rape, but it is frequent for rape to be mentioned even before murder, in the mainstream media!!!

    You know what there is a silence about: victims of false accusation of rape. NOW that’s silence! Event though some studies showed that around 50% of rape claims are false and even though the overwhelming majority of people freed by the Innocence Project were convicted on rape charges. Who has a thought for the poor guys roting in jail as we speak, who will have their life ruined by sex-offender registration requirements when they get out, and who are INNOCENT?

  39. #39 Jason Thibeault
    June 3, 2009

    As a victim of a false accusation of rape, I feel eminently qualified for this:

    Thomas, fuck you.

    We’re talking about rape of women that is actually happening right now, both abroad in war-torn areas and between our own shores, where charges are not pressed or women are silent because of either a sense of the futility of bringing the charges, or some misplaced guilt where they think it’s their own fault they were raped. And given the media’s penchant toward painting rape victims either as “asking for it” by daring to wear anything less than a burka, or as complicit by virtue of not being able to defend themselves somehow against larger, more aggressive males, it’s no surprise women in North America can be silent about so egregious of offenses.

  40. #40 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    Thomas, silence means it doesn’t come up every time someone talks about rape. Cite your studies, both on media treatment and on false rape accusations. I did my senior thesis in college on rape myths, and your assertions don’t match the literature of the time.

    For that matter, your assertions don’t match the easily found data. 49 sexual assaults of 238 exonerations by the Innocence Project does not an overwhelming majority make.

  41. #41 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    No Jason: fuck YOU!

    You’re an idiot and a tool. Rape is a crime, but so are many others, and to say that there is a silence about rape, you must have your head stuffed so deep in your ass that you can’t see the light of day!

    BUT there is a silence about false rape! And there are also things that we can do to help:
    – women who make false allegation should be named, charged, prosecuted and jailed (instead of getting away with it)
    – men accused of sex crimes should not have their names published in the media, until a verdict is reached

    Now that would be progress for everybody, both men and women, because the less false rape allegations the system has to deal with it, the easier it is to prosecute the real rapes. Of course a retarded moron like you can’t comprehend that much.

  42. #42 Pieter Kok
    June 3, 2009

    Greg, you can’t have your cake and eat it. You point out that universality never approaches anywhere near 100%, but at the same time you stand by the metaphor of the switch, the essential feature of which is universality. In your words: “Swtich. Off On. Metaphor. Not hard. Easy.”

    Perhaps not easy enough.

  43. #43 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Stephanie: the media is just about me reading it, I don’t have a study, but I did notice a few cases where, because female advocates like you are so vocal, crimes against women get so much attention that similar crimes against men go completely unnoticed.

    Do you remember all the media coverage about acid attacks in Asia against women? Did you know that 40% of victims of acid attacks are men?

    Do you remember all the media coverage about honor killings of women in Muslim countries? Did you know that there are also honor killings of men, and they outnumber those of women?

    Again, it’s great that you’re working on behalf of victims, but there are other victims too (oftentimes male) who don’t get the media attention.

  44. #44 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    Thomas, when you point out that men are also victims of rape, which is quite true, you might want to give some thought to the implications of that. As it is, you’re still assuming that anyone opposed to rape is only concerned about women. There’s a contradiction there.

  45. #45 Jason Thibeault
    June 3, 2009

    I am neither an idiot nor a tool, thank you. But you, sir, are a zealot for a noble cause and as a result you are blinded to the fact that there are other causes that are important, so you are telling us to stop fighting one cause because another one is more important to you. This is sad. Underreporting of rape and overreporting via false accusations are NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.

    Yes, the media is very good about reinforcing the heinousness of rape, but that does not equate to there being “no silence” about it. Roughly 25% to 37% of rapes in the US are reported (depending on if you believe the Department of Justice or the FBI). That means about two out of three women who are raped are simply living with the psychological and physical trauma inflicted. And in fact, less than 10% of rape of males is reported. Even if you roll in the possibility of fake accusations of rape, the burden of proof is so high that, while a rape accusation can tarnish your reputation severely (trust me, I know this), even in a lot of cases where rape actually happened, rapists can get off scott-free. The system as built presently should have some form of deterrent against false accusations, but not at the expense of driving the problem of rape even further underground.

  46. #46 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Stephanie: yes, I assume that anti-rape activists are not concerned about men (of whom more than 100,000 are raped every year in prison). The proof is simple: what has been done to reduce the rape of men in prison? To raise awareness of it? To punish the offenders? NOTHING!

    Now compare that to the advances in awareness, prevention and prosecution of rapes of women. If the same activists who fought against rape of women where concerned about rape of men, prison-rape would be a thing of the past (after all, it’s a close and contained environment, how difficult is it to prevent rape in there??)

  47. #47 D'oh!
    June 3, 2009

    Do you remember all the media coverage about honor killings of women in Muslim countries? Did you know that there are also honor killings of men, and they outnumber those of women?

    No, I didn’t know this and quite frankly I doubt it. Please give references/statistics to back this claim, including what kind of killing is being included under the term “honor killing.” It is, after all, a term which can be easily stretched to make any kind of point.

  48. #48 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Jason: we all care about our causes, that’s what makes us human, not zealots!

    I respect anti-rape activists like you, and I think they have done a great job fighting for their cause.

    BUT I also think I have some legitimate criticism:
    1. Please don’t forget the men who are victimized (often by the exact same crime)
    2. Please don’t propagate feminist lies, pseudo-science and anti-men sexist hate speech

    As an example of the latter: are you familiar with Domestic Violence issues?

    Do you know that for nearly 30 years feminists were using pseudo-science to justify the belief (not the fact) that men were the only ones who are violent in a relationship? For 30 years, dozens of studies were fudged to support this LIE. Eventually, the truth came out: one third of hospital visits related to DV are from men, victimization studies amongst younger couples show that women are slightly more violent than men. And it turns out that the most violent form of relationship is same-sex female (i.e. lesbians).

    You’re thinking: what’s the big deal? Based on the successful LIE and relentless lobbying from misguided feminist who believed in it, legislation was passed. We have thousands of DV shelters, but practically none for men. We have the Violence Against Women Act, which assumes that only men perpetrate violence, and dictates automatic arrest of males (predominant aggressor doctrine). We have restraining orders that allow women to kick out a husband of the family home without any kind of due process!

    My point is: the feminist movement also has a dark sexist side that has ruined countless men’s lives, and some men like me, are starting to wake up to this fact!

  49. #49 gwangung
    June 3, 2009

    Some points:

    A) The Zimbardo experiment, I think, is relevant here. The social pressure of groups can push behaviors into disturbing areas. A rape switch would not be inconsistent with this.

    B) Military training has inherently dehumanizing components. It’s a necessary component of training. Majority of people have empathy and see people as people. That, for a soldier, is contra-survival. Part of military training is to depersonalize, dehumanize everyone who is not a soldier for your side. It wouldn’t be surprising if that triggers rape in some individuals.

  50. #50 --E
    June 3, 2009

    Thomas, the difference is this:

    Many victims of rape do not speak up, whether for fear or shame.

    Whereas I’m pretty sure nearly 100% of all men who are falsely accused of rape are perfectly happy to stand up and declare the accusation false.

  51. #51 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    Thomas, again you’re seeing what you want to see instead of what’s there. I have spoken, and not infrequently, on the topic of people assuming lawbreakers get what they deserve, which is one of the main reasons prison rape is not fought vigorously. It’s also talked about in other places where I hang out.

    But that’s quite enough of you derailing this thread to talk about your pet causes. The children who are affected by the topic of Greg’s post include boys. How about you focus on them for a bit.

  52. #52 Jason Thibeault
    June 3, 2009

    Thank you Thomas, but I never forget about men when discussing rape, even if the topic is specifically about rape of women. I’m just not as prone as some to derail a topic by screaming and wailing “what about the men!?” when that’s not the matter up for discussion.

    I find prison rape to be every bit as horrid, if not even more egregious because the people charged with keeping prisoners not only in line, but also safe, regularly have to turn a blind eye to such acts for them to be happening as often as they are. I’m also of the opinion that the jails of North America are full of non-violent offenders e.g. pot smokers, who serve as nothing more than rape fodder for the more aggressive criminals, but I’m not going to discuss that here, because that’s not the topic at hand.

    Likewise, I am aware of studies suggesting that domestic violence happens relatively equally between male and female transgressors, and I am also aware that men underreport this abuse by a significantly higher margin than women, probably because of the societal constructs put into place suggesting that men should be considered less masculine if they are abused by a woman. And in cases of woman-raping-man, just try to get any man to report it outside of “I got laid”. (Your suggestion that lesbian couples are more violent is spurious without some proof, however, as it contradicts a number of other studies I have seen in the past.)

    –E is correct in that those falsely accused of rape don’t just meekly accept their new reality. Unfortunately for far too many rape victims, meekly accepting their new reality and all the trauma that was caused, is considered an acceptable course of action. That’s why we’re discussing this. Because silence is the enemy.

    Now, you have valid points, but you’re derailing the conversation repeatedly. In arguing that other types of rape are happening and thus are underreported, you’re arguing the main point, while at the same time belittling the instances of rape that are the topic of discussion, e.g. systematic rape of an entire population of women by an army of men.

  53. #53 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Thanks Jason!

    I guess I am part of a new generation of men who feel discriminated against, and abused by feminist-inspired legislation, especially in family court. Many of us are VERY VERY ANGRY, and especially so at the media which completely fails to report what I think are massive human rights abuses against men!!

    But that is not the topic here, and I don’t want to crash the comment section.

    So I am gonna take off!
    Peace!

  54. #54 will shetterly
    June 3, 2009

    Greg, while I’m generally sympathetic to your thesis, I’d really appreciate something to back up the claim that most US soldiers in Viet Nam raped. My Google Fu is weak; I’m not finding that. (I admit, I’m not looking hard because I don’t believe it, but still, I’m not finding it.)

    That said, I think it’s silly for anyone to argue that there are not conditions under which a person (definitely including women here) is more likely to rape. In war, two very different people, the gleeful plunderer and the despairing nihilist, are both more likely to rape, the one because he can, the other because he sees no reason not to. (Generic “he” there acknowledging that this person is far more likely to be male.)

  55. #55 john l
    June 3, 2009

    Thomas, easy does it. I agree with you about some stuff, though not by any means all of it. Still, I think your personal investment in this is counter-productive. I called out Stephanie for dragging her own experiences into this. I don’t think you’re being much better.

    On the other hand, Stephanie, “49 sexual assaults of 238 exonerations” may not be an overwhelming majority. But it is a shitload. A more relevant statistic would be how many sexual assaults that the Innocence Project investigated ended in exoneration of the convicted party. But in any case… We’re talking about 20% here. Not a figure to dismiss, especially if one of those 49 is you, or your brother, or husband, or son.

    According to the IP’s website, they take on about 250 cases a year, and have been operating for 17 years, though perhaps not at that level. That means about one out of 17 convictions is overturned — or perhaps much more, if the IP took only a few dozen cases in the early years. I don’t know if it’s higher or lower for sexual assault, and I also assume they tend to take on convictions that look prima facie fishy. It’s probably impossible to estimate what percentage of all people in prison on sexual assault charges are there falsely. But one out of 17 is a hell of a lot. That indicates a non-functioning justice system to me — non-functioning, in this instance, for men.

    I mean, I don’t think we would accept one out of 17 women being falsey convicted of prostitution (that is, even if we agreed that any prostitutes should be in prison, which I don’t), women perfectly innocent of the crime who have their lives ruined by being railroaded. That would be unacceptable to me. As are these statistics on false convictions on rape.

  56. #56 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    Right-o lots of talk this morning while I was away, so this is me trying to catch up. Apologies if I miss anything, if you care, feel free to point it out to me, and I’ll try to address it.

    Will@8: I’m pretty sure it’s exactly as cultural as I think. You’re not even showing a difference in the spectrum of what some people consider abandoned, but ignoring the difference between something immediately useful to trek through snow and something useful in the future/for a different reason. Most people who go to the even minimal trouble to pick something up off the ground believe it to be useful in some way or another. I’m sure if you check, you’d find most of humanity would consider an object found lying about in the middle of the woods unattended to be abandoned and therefore salvage, not stealing.

    Greg@16: “The author is asserting a different conclusion than you are, but is being a bit more honest about it.” In what way am I being dishonest? Kindly point it out, and I’ll rectify the situation.
    “Do you get the point that this is complex” Of course I do. You’re the one who’s pretending it’s as simple as an on/off rape switch, not me. I’m the one positing a more complex and nuanced situation, you’re the one calling all soldiers in all places in all of history rapists. Don’t tell me I came to some simplistic PC conclusion when I point out that your metaphor is a bigoted and hateful oversimplification. If you want to call yourself a rapist whether or not you’ve ever committed rape, that’s your choice. The moment you start referring to me as a rapist when I’ve done nothing of the sort, I say I have a damned good reason to stand up and call you out on it.

    Greg@19: Thank you for pointing out that there’s no such thing a a behavioral universal. Now all you have to do it stop trying to redefine the word “universal” to allow yourself to continue pretending that there is. No amount of increase in the number of victims makes it universal. Only an increase to 100% in the number of perpetrators. That would be a switch. On. Off. Rape. Not rape. Nothing less would make that an apt metaphor.
    If your two states are “unlikely to rape” and “more likely to rape,” that’s not like any kind of switch I’m familiar with. You work with electronics at all? Ever come across a switch that makes a light go from “unlikely to turn on” to “more likely to turn on”? How useful would that be?

  57. #57 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    Rystefn, not all circuits consist of three elements (i.e., power supply, switch and light). And seriously, you’re arguing about the analogy here. Focus on the questions of fact.

    John, the Innocence Project focuses on DNA. Rape evidence is going to constitute a large portion of the testable evidence. Note also that this means that these are cases of misidentification, not false claims of rape. Again, however, this is irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    Will, if you can find the Brownmiller in Google Books, my understanding from a previous post on this topic is that the Vietnam data is there.

  58. #58 catgirl
    June 3, 2009

    I don’t think it’s so difficult to think of a “rape switch”, considering that these same people are accepted to have a “kill switch”. Most people aren’t murderers but they can go to war, kill people, come home and never kill another person. The reason is that they see wartime killing as being fundamentally different than other types of killing. (No, I’m not saying that they’re all murderers, and I’d kill to if I were in their position.) So, it’s not so surprising that they could view wartime rape as somehow different than rape during their normal lives, especially when they are told to do it.

    However, I don’t think there’s a specific “rape switch” any more than there is a specific “kill switch”. I think a huge part of this can be explained by group conformity. People are very easily influenced by what others are doing, especially in a stressful situation like combat where group cohesiveness is important. This is different to simple, straight-forward peer pressure. Also, it’s more complex than the men just realizing that they can get away with it. If a lot of people in your group are doing something, or if it just seems like a lot of them do it, it’s easy to start to view that behavior as just normal. One effective campaign to reduce teen alcohol consumption was to educate teens that most of their peers really don’t drink as much as they think. There are plenty of other social psychology experiments that show a similarity to the issue of increased wartime rape, such as the Zimbardo prison experiment and the Asch conformity experiments.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asch_conformity_experiments

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_study

  59. #59 catgirl
    June 3, 2009

    Also, consider the Milgrim experiments. If soldiers get pressure from their commanders to rape, it’s not surprising that they obey, especially in an environment where following orders is necessary.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

  60. #60 catgirl
    June 3, 2009

    For 30 years, dozens of studies were fudged to support this LIE. Eventually, the truth came out: one third of hospital visits related to DV are from men, victimization studies amongst younger couples show that women are slightly more violent than men. And it turns out that the most violent form of relationship is same-sex female (i.e. lesbians).

    [citation needed]

  61. #61 john l
    June 3, 2009

    No. The Innocence project, by their own admission blames most false convictions on false eyewitness identification. Which means that those women, accusing those men, was a big part of the process. Whether they were raped by someone else, as opposed to pulling a Tawana Brawley, none of us can say.

  62. #62 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    John, (1) go look at the data the Innocence Project posts on clearances, particularly the last column, and (2) you’re still off-topic, unless you’re saying that the women and children raped in wartime are making things up.

  63. #63 catgirl
    June 3, 2009

    My point is: the feminist movement also has a dark sexist side that has ruined countless men’s lives, and some men like me, are starting to wake up to this fact!

    This is a typical straw-man argument. It’s really easy to say that feminists are just man-haters in an attempt to discredit us, but it’s not true for most of us. Caring about victims is not a zero-sum game. I care about people who are the victims of rape, and they are more commonly women. Prison rape is terrible. Most feminists have a lot of complaints about our current prison system, including the prevalent rape.

  64. #64 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    Stephanie@56: No, not all switches work that way. I’m merely following the same sort of switch Greg earlier said he was talking about. He made a specific reference to the standard household light switch, which, by the way, is also the standard assumption most people make when you start talking about switches. A writer talking about some other type of switch would reasonably be expected to say so unless the context made it abundantly clear (if, for instance, the entire rest of the article was about railroads, for example). However, since Greg made specific reference to the light switch himself, I don’t have to assume that’s what he meant. Yes, I’m talking about the metaphor. The title of the post is a question, and I’m answering it. The answer is no. I then went on to explain why I answered as I did. If you feel this is somehow irrelevant, that’s your problem, not mine.

    You want to focus on the facts, though? That’s fine. Let’s do that. Greg called me a rapist. He didn’t do it out of the mistaken belief that I raped someone. That would be an honest mistake, though an understandably infuriating one. No, he said to me, in essence, “I don’t care that you’ve never raped someone, that the idea sickens you, and you’ve gone out of your way to both help victims and to see perpetrators brought to justice. You’re a rapist anyway.” Why did he do this? Because of some need he feels to cram people into neat little universal compartments, it seems, even though he readily admits that he’s redefining the word “universal” to do so. I didn’t sign up to go to Kosovo and fight to stop monsters like that to come home and be called one.

  65. #65 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    Rystefn, you weren’t fighting monsters. You were fighting human beings who were doing monstrous things in a situation that encouraged and pressured them to do those things. That’s kind of the point.

  66. #66 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    Maybe your definition of “monster” is different than mine. This happens. It is, however, a commonly accepted usage of the word. Unlike Greg’s usage of both “switch” and “rapist.”

    Regardless – let me rephrase: I didn’t sign up to go to Kosovo and fight to stop human beings who were doing monstrous things like that to come home and be called one.

    Kindly explain how that changes the point of my statement in any way.

    If the point of the post was that war makes people more likely to do terrible things, I can’t argue against that, and I won’t try. That’s not what it looks like to me. To me, it looks like the point was to call me and uncounted people like rapists and a long-winded attempt to justify doing so.

  67. #67 Sigmund
    June 3, 2009

    Someone mentioned a point earlier that doesn’t seem to have been addressed. The point is whether the increase in the rates of rape in certain circumstances is ‘universal’ as Greg seems to be implying rather than selective. In other words is it the case that combat situations simply allow the small number of rapists to rape to their hearts content. In that situation it is possible to have 100% of women raped yet it may still only be a small percentage of men who are conducting the rapes.
    An analogy would be a modern city where the forces of law and order are removed. It is almost certain that the rates of rape would increase but its not certain that the average law abiding male member of society would start raping. In contrast it is much more probably that men who are already rapists, free from the censure of the law, would increase their activity.

  68. #68 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Jason (26) that does not trivialize the point, but it is a fundamental question in behavioural biology: Are there specific mechanisms or general trends? Another reason I’m uncomfortable with the rape switch idea. I don’t like functional mechanisms that are too specific in the brain.

    Endless (27) It is not a form of “all men are rapists”. It is, rather, the empirically refined and more realistic form of “all men are rapists”. And it is not really milder, but maybe a little.

  69. #69 will shetterly
    June 3, 2009

    Rystefn, “abandoned” assumes you have locks or some way to secure a thing. It assumes that land belongs to a person rather than to everyone. It may be that your cultural bias makes you think European-influenced morality is universal, and it’s certainly true that my quick explanation sucked, so rather than continue to sidetrack the discussion, I’ll just agree to disagree.

    Stephanie, I can only get unhelpful snippets of Brownmiller; my Google Books Fu is also weak. I have no problem with a claim that many soldiers rape. War is designed to make people do unnatural things. But if you want to argue “most”, I think someone should cite something more than their memory of a ground-breaking book written decades ago.

  70. #70 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    John (28): “Almost all” may not be the best way to put it, I agree. But there are situations in which “the vast majority” works, and where “most” works. And, where “not many” works.

    Ralph (29) “I can’t connect the evidence presented with the particular interpretation that this is a specific case of male dominance over females – and on top of that conclude that it’s because of a “switch” that *may or not* cause the behavior evidenced.” … I personally am not comfortable connecting a male dominance theory and a switch theory either.

    I think Browmiller’s data and characterisation are pretty good. I think her theoretical explanation is only partly right and leaves out a lot.

    Thomas (32): NOt even close to simple, no. Also, I have spent years living in a society in which there were no police whatsoever. What you suggest happens did not happen at all.

    Ronja (34) You make the good stuff sound so evil. Which means you are probably right (Pagel’s Rule)

  71. #71 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Hi catgirl,

    Here is your citation: it is a research paper written by a female feminist who was pissed at her sisters fudging numbers:

    http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/V74-gender-symmetry-with-gramham-Kevan-Method%208-.pdf

    Also, did you know that the “1 in 4 woman raped on campus” is a lie deliberately spread by sexist feminists? Here is your citation:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/lukas/lukas200604270647.asp

    Another one:

    http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_1_campus_rape.html

    Now don’t get me wrong. I respect people who fight for women’s rights, but I do have a problem when they start fudging statistics, create anti-male hate theories, and advance pieces of legislation that are sexist, oblivious to male victims and men’s constitutional rights (like due process, presumption of innocence).

    My point was not a straw-man argument, because I wasn’t arguing anything: I was just stating that feminist organizations lost my support because I perceive their legislative efforts as anti-male, instead of pro-equality.

    You said that feminists are not man-haters: “most of us” anyway. How about the ones who are? What did you do to teach them that hating is wrong? Did you distance yourself from them? You have a responsibility to do so, if not, you’ll lose support from men like me!

  72. #72 Jason Thibeault
    June 3, 2009

    I want to try that “aggression switch” posit again. It seems more apt when service men and women like Rystefn take umbrage at the idea that by virtue of being in a war zone, their “rape switch” was turned on. Since we don’t know whether a particular person will rape, and we do know that the army conditions people to be aggressive, and we do know that rape is an act of aggression, whether that “aggression switch” is turned on or not seems to me to be an excellent indicator as to whether or not a person is capable of rape. It may not be a 100% accurate predictor, but it certainly seems to have a positive correlation in my mind.

  73. #73 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Jesse (34)I’m not sure I am all that impressed with this hypothesis though. All it says is that situational factors are better at predicting behavior than dispositional factors – or even that situational factors play a role in addition to dispositional factors. Yawn – see Milgram and more importantly the work of Walter Mischel.

    You may be right. On the other hand, consider this. Sit there and think about homicide … what it would take for you to do it. Then think about rape … what it would take for you to do it.

    Most western men can probably be easily coaxed into seeing homicide as an option …. in the various comments on these threads there is strong evidence for this. But not rape.

    Yet, when we guys all go off to war we seem to be quite capable of both.

    This is why the switch feels good. In a bad way, of course.

    DuWayne (35) Cheers.

    Thonmas (37): Stephanie is right, except she understated it. Not silence, but out and out denial (of the extent of rape in wartime EVEN BY YOUZ WHITE PRIVILAGED GUYZ!)

    Jason (38) Thank you, right on.

    Pieter (41) I insist on having my cake and eating it too… Universals are probably almost always bad ideas as hypotheses. I have resisted the rape switch idea consistently, but it refused to go away. See DuWayne’s comment about about complexity.

    You are right ,it is definitely not easy.

    will shetterly (53) See OP.

    Stephanie and catgirl, thanks for the kickass comments.

  74. #74 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    I love the fact that this thread has pushed its way into the PZ zone on Most Active (right sidebar, 24 hour page)

  75. #75 ris
    June 3, 2009

    Take a picture of it.

  76. #76 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    I did. I took a screen shot. Suitable for framing.

  77. #77 CyberLizard
    June 3, 2009

    The thing that set me off in the original post, and appears to be setting off others, is the feeling of personal attack. Being a man, reading about a “rape switch” that all men supposedly have triggers a visceral response, especially since it’s about such a reprehensible act as rape. I can imagine it would be especially troubling to someone like Rystefn, who is a man, a soldier and, based on his comments, presumably been in combat; the exact circumstances that Greg is describing that turn on this “switch”. This is what happens when statistics, which work great for analyzing a group, come up against an individual person. It doesn’t make it any easier for that individual to just say, “oh, I’m an outlier”. It still feels like a personal attack.

    Just saying that “all men are rapists” based on our capacity to perform the act under extreme circumstances is a bit too philosophically fluffy for me to accept out of hand. You can make basically the same statement about all people and any behaviour. But what does that buy us as far as classification of the behaviour or trying to understand and prevent the occurrence of said behaviour?

    All of what I’ve said doesn’t provide any answers. I’m still muddling through all this in my own head, trying to wrap my brain around it. I’m not so hot in the metaphorical arena.

  78. #78 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Why is my comment with citations for catgirl not being published?

    Greg: can you provide a citation for the silencing of rape during war? I believe reading a story about that very topic on the front page of cnn.com just a couple days ago! I don’t remember reading a story about false rape victims, do you?

  79. #79 catgirl
    June 3, 2009

    Thomas:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque

    Anyway, what claim have I made that you want sources for? I’ll be happy to provide them.

  80. #80 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Catgirl: I actually took the time to research my sources for you, but my comment got “moderated”. Who the hell would moderate that? Maybe it got caught in some spam filter and it’ll appear later!

  81. #81 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    Will@68: At risk of wandering off on a tangent, I feel I should respond to this. Abandonment in no way requires locks or any method of securing a thing… Are you trying to say that before the invention of the lock, nothing was abandoned? That makes no sense. Nor does it assume that land belongs to a person. This is completely unnecessary to the idea of abandonment. All that’s required is for someone to leave something behind without the intent to reclaim it. Nothing more. This isn’t some cultural European bias thing. It’s a pretty hypocrite I’d be to start talking about universals like that at this point in the conversation.

    By the way, I spent a fair chunk of my formative years in a (sub)culture where anything not in immediate use is open to claim; my definition of the line tends to drift far away from the norm in American general society, so I’m speaking from the perspective of an outlier here. Not sure how much light that sheds, but hopefully it’ll curb a few assumptions about “European-inspired morality.”

  82. #82 catgirl
    June 3, 2009

    Thomas, it’s a common rule on many blogs that comments with three or more links are moderated for spam. Re-post your main sources and if any of them come from WorldNetDaily or Conservapedia, please try harder.

  83. #83 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    Thomas, on Sb, anything with more than one link will automatically get held for moderation. Now that it’s been mentioned here, Greg will retrieve it when he checks back in on the thread.

  84. #84 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Catgirl: this is a research paper written by a female feminist who was pissed at her sisters for fudging domestic violence numbers:

    http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/V74-gender-symmetry-with-gramham-Kevan-Method%208-.pdf

  85. #85 will shetterly
    June 3, 2009

    Uh, what’s “OP”?

  86. #86 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    This is about the “1 in 4 women will be raped on campus” lie:

    http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9502/sommers.html

    And this is about the campus rape industry (which I suspect Greg might be part of):

    http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_1_campus_rape.html

  87. #87 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Catgirl: Please don’t misinterpret my facts as hostility, I respect anti-rape activists.

    However, it bothers me when some feminists use made-up statistics to support pseudo-scientific anti-men hate theories. It bothers me even more, when they successfully lobby congress to pass sexist anti-male legislation.

    And yes it has become a zero-sum game for the innocent men who got convicted despite lack of evidence, and in clear violation of the presumption of innocence!

    It has become a zero-sum game for all the husbands who got evicted of their own house without even a court hearing, and who have nowhere to go because there is no shelters for them.

    It has become a zero-sum game for all the fathers who lost access to their children because of fake DV claims.

  88. #88 catgirl
    June 3, 2009

    Well, after reading the second report about rape culture, it has become clear that we have different definitions of rape. Rape is when sex takes place when one or more of the people involved does not want to do it.

    “Have you given in to sex play (fondling, kissing, or petting, but not intercourse) when you didn’t want to because you were overwhelmed by a man’s continual arguments and pressure?” To this question, 53.7 percent responded affirmatively, and they were counted as having been sexually victimized.

    Apparently rape only counts if the rapist uses physical force, threats of violence, or drugs to do it. If someone is forced to do sexual things that they do not want to do, that is rape or at least sexual assault. I find it horrifying that so many women have faced this, and even more horrifying that so many people trivialize it.

    What does having sex “because” a man gives you drugs or alcohol signify? A positive response does not indicate whether duress, intoxication, force, or the threat of force were present; whether the woman’s judgment or control were substantially impaired; or whether the man purposefully got the woman drunk in order to prevent her resistance to sexual advances

    Again, this is essentially saying that a man has to intentionally get a woman drunk with the intent to rape her for it to “count” as real rape.

    I think that this website is a great example of “rape culture”, because it shows that “gray rape” just isn’t taken seriously at all. If someone has sex when they don’t want to, it is rape. I think we disagree on this basic definition.

  89. #89 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Catgirl: If I go by your definition of rape, then I was raped 2 days ago. My girlfriend wanted me to perform oral on her, I didn’t feel like it, but I did it anyway! She ended up returning the favor :) and I don’t feel harmed by this but according to the researchers I was raped anyway (just like the majority of “raped” women who said they weren’t raped, but the researchers ignored the women’s opinions).

    Do you think my girlfriend should be jailed for 20 years and register as a sex-offender? And if not, why?

  90. #90 catgirl
    June 3, 2009

    Well, Thomas, if you didn’t agree to do it, then why did you do it? If you consensually did it because you wanted her to return the favor, then you consented to it, even if you don’t enjoy doing it. If you really did not want to do it and she pressured you into it, then it is sexual assault.

    If old people are the victims of monetary scams, they often won’t admit it, or they’ll say that it was just a misunderstanding. If children are abused, they often don’t even realize that what was done to them was wrong. If a woman is raped and she has been told by people like you that it only counts if the man intentionally drugs her or physically attacks her, then she won’t think it’s rape. People are victims of things all the time and they often just think that it’s completely normal. That doesn’t make it right.

  91. #91 Jacques LaFontainelle
    June 3, 2009

    “The thing that set me off in the original post, and appears to be setting off others, is the feeling of personal attack.”

    Perhaps. I would be “set off,” as you say, by this statement:

    “The switch being on does not mean that rape will happen. It simply means that the man (with the switch on) is now a rapist, whether he actually rapes or not (but he probably will), and when the switch is off, he is not (so he probably won’t). It is a bit of a metaphor, and a strained one…”

    This is patent false, and no amounts of “it’s just a metaphor” can correct that. It is simply wrong.

    A man is not a rapist if a rape does not occur or if he does not commit the rape, for the simply reason that “rapist” describes someone who commits the act of rape. If he does not actually commit that act, he is not a rapist.

    He might be a potential rapist, or a man with an increased probability of raping, or a man facing a situation in which there are lessened inhibtions against rape or something along those lines. But if he does not do the act, no matter how many metaphoric switches are flipped, he is simply not a rapist.

  92. #92 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Freeeing trapped comments now.

  93. #93 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Catgirl: No, I didn’t know I’d be “rewarded” for my work! :)

    So I am now officially a victim of sexual assault, and my girlfriend a rapist. Correct?

    I find it interesting that you compare women to children and the elderly. Really? Is that your view of women? What happened to empowerment? To me, women are adults, who are responsible for their acts, and should be treated as such. It seems I have more respect for women that you do! ;-)

  94. #94 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    To be clear about moderation: Posts with certain features, such as multiple links in them, get held in a holding bin automatically. Then, I discover that and free them. There is no moderation, just some annoying anti-spam stuff that happens.

  95. #95 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    OMG. Thomas was asking for it.

    There are certain things I would just rather not know.

  96. #96 Jason Thibeault
    June 3, 2009

    Greg: Judging by my own Akismet statistics for a backwater blog about a tiny corner of Canada, having fully six times as many spam posts blocked as I have legitimate comments, I can only imagine what yours gets, with the popularity of ScienceBlogs as a whole. That annoyance probably saves you a ton of time and effort deleting hundreds of posts with randomly generated characters and now randomly generated domain names that redirect to the sites in question.

    Thomas: firstly, I don’t consider National Review to be a good source, being that it was founded and still to this day focuses on the premise that Bill Clinton’s penis is responsible for every societal ill afflicting America. That said, the article itself argues on semantics, much as you’re doing now. I agree that the statistic does not control for whether or not the person was uncomfortable with the act afterward — for instance, I was uncomfortable with my girlfriend’s suggestion of going to Dairy Queen to pick up some ice cream last night, but ultimately decided for it (what prompted me to agree, I’m not telling :) ), but this doesn’t mean I feel harassed by the incident. I think ultimately whether it counts as rape or sexual assault is not whether or not you capitulated after cajoling, but rather how you felt about it afterward (or during). The whole “meh, seems like a chore, I don’t feel like it at the moment” sentiment you’re putting out is different from the “I’ll do it because I’m frightened of what you might end up doing otherwise” sentiment that I’m sure is prevalent during actual sexual assaults.

  97. #97 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Jason: Yes, I see your point: I didn’t feel physically or emotionally harmed by the incident; but neither was the majority of “raped” women in this 1-in-4-women-is-raped study? Right? So what is the difference here?

  98. #98 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    Rystefn, there are a few reasons I don’t use the word, “monster.” One of them Greg articulates in 73. Another is that, Thomas’s paranoid fantasies notwithstanding, I don’t believe that many men are monsters. However, the evidence exists that they engage in that behavior under certain circumstances.

    The last reason is that monsters have certain characteristics. The most important of these is that they can only be slayed. They can’t be prevented. Behavior can be prevented, provided we understand why it occurs. This is why I focus on behavior.

    All that said, yes, there are some monsters out there.

  99. #99 Jason Thibeault
    June 3, 2009

    Nothing, really — just that I agree that this particular study probably shouldn’t be referenced because it doesn’t account for that level of nuance. I feel that catgirl may argue that the line should be drawn before this, though, where any event where both parties aren’t 100% in agreement before the act, regardless of the motivations for capitulation, should count as sexual assault.

    It’s a cold harsh reality though, that some people are cynical enough and have so little self respect that they can and will use sex as a bargaining chip or will do things they don’t necessarily want right now, just to get their way later. If you really did not want to do it, and said no, but she persisted until you gave in, there’s a problem in your relationship that should be looked at. And if you did it just to please her, but considered it to be a chore that you’d do only after being requested because you love her and want her to be happy, that’s a different story altogether.

    That said, what if that study was done again, and had the exact same results, even after accounting for this nuance of, let’s say, degree of comfort? I’d like to see a study that accounts for this, but honestly I think the statistics would be significantly similar. And either way, if the statistic was one in five, or one in ten, how does that make the act any less egregious?

  100. #100 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    Oh, right. One more reason not to refer to rapists as monsters: women who have been coerced or otherwise victimized by men they don’t generally understand to be monsters have a hell of a time finding an appropriate label for what has happened to them.

  101. #101 becca
    June 3, 2009

    From the original story Sheril quoted: “it has been easier to get men to relinquish their guns than their sense of sexual entitlement”
    I understand that war is going to break down people’s thresholds for taking violent action. You can call it a switch if you like, although aside from the aforementioned limitations of that metaphor, it also implies that things can be switched back off in peacetime.
    Now I certainly hope that most of these rapists do not have psyches so damaged that their thresholds are utterly destroyed and cannot be built back up.
    What I don’t know much about is how, when people are recovering from war, the block on taking violent actions gets reestablished.

  102. #102 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Jason: I doubt that a serious study would come to a number even remotely close to 25%. The reason is simple: most campus rape crisis centers have practically no cases to process.

    This is an article about it:

    http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_1_campus_rape.html

    Why do I care about this? Because there seems to be a constant stream of debunked lies coming from feminist researchers? And it is clear that there is an anti-male agenda. I am a man, so I care!

    Amongst the things that have been debunked are:
    – various DV statistics (see my link above)
    – Super Bowl wife beating claim as #1 cause of hospital vists on Super Bowl day (completely and absolutely FALSE, and yet it was reported on CNN)
    – DV as the number one cause of death for women over a certain age (again: blatantly FALSE)
    – women making 77c of what men make for the same work (it is true that they make 77c on the $, but absolutely not for the same jobs: a department of labor study found that after accounting for women’s own career choices, the wage gap all but disappeared)
    – 1 in 4 campus rape claim
    (and the list goes on and on, I don’t keep track of all this)

    The reason why it is important is because a lot of funding and legislation has been influenced by these lies, and there comes a point when men are being hurt by what is basically anti-men discrimination: in rape prosecution cases (remember: Duke Lacrosse case? They barely got off even though they were innocent beyond any reasonable doubt, white, rich and connected), child custody, child support and domestic violence!

  103. #103 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    Stephanie@98: As I said before, if you prefer to not describe such people as monsters, that’s fine. I prefer to do so, and clearly the word carries different implication with you than it does with me (like the idea that the only thing that can be done about a monster is to slay it). I could bring up an interesting juxtaposition here of the claim that people who do monstrous things are not always monsters against the claim people who never rape can be rapists, but unless some one else really cares to follow that, I’ll set it aside.

    However,setting aside the semantic issue of the word “monsters,” which I conceded already for the sake of this discussion, can we return to the issue at hand? You suggested a discussion of facts, so let’s do so.

    I generally hate to self-quote, but here are the facts once again: “Greg called me a rapist. He didn’t do it out of the mistaken belief that I raped someone. That would be an honest mistake, though an understandably infuriating one. No, he said to me, in essence, ‘I don’t care that you’ve never raped someone, that the idea sickens you, and you’ve gone out of your way to both help victims and to see perpetrators brought to justice. You’re a rapist anyway.’ Why did he do this? Because of some need he feels to cram people into neat little universal compartments, it seems, even though he readily admits that he’s redefining the word ‘universal’ to do so. I didn’t sign up to go to Kosovo and fight to stop [people who do monstrous things] like that to come home and be called one.”

    It appears he’s waffling a bit about the “rape switch” concept, in the sense of using the switch metaphor, at any rate, but not the slightest word of apology for calling people rapists who have never committed or attempted to commit such a crime.

  104. #104 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Rystefn: Note that the title of my post is “Is there a rape switch?” not “There is a rape switch!”

    You will not find me being dogmatic about Universals, switches, or other sociobiological mumbo jumbo. We are tossing around ideas here.

  105. #105 Jason Thibeault
    June 3, 2009

    Thomas: you’re starting to remind me of creationists trotting out Piltdown Man repeatedly even after scientists admit the statistics are false. There are plenty of “statistics” that go around in every field that are inaccurate or overstate points, and I still am not convinced that the statistics you point to, do not have a kernel of truth to them even despite your debunkings. Either way, I still fail to see how these particular statistics either a) amount to a matriarchal conspiracy or b) dampen the impact of the acts themselves. Regardless of how rampant these attacks are, the correct number to allow for is zero.

    The fact remains that only one out of four women report their sexual assaults, and the fact remains that every person (yes, man or woman) is capable of committing atrocities depending on their upbringing, their psychology (e.g. genetic propensity toward mental illness and aggression), or some sort of psychological conditioning applied to them like that found in a warzone. The fact that wars are generally waged by men implies that men are more likely to be the aggressors in these warzones, by virtue of being there, while the women are at home (to be raped by an invading force, I guess).

  106. #106 catgirl
    June 3, 2009

    Nearly half of the women who were pressured into non-consensual sex said it was a “miscommunication” in the survey. In many of these cases, it’s possible that the woman politely said “no” or “I don’t know” or “I shouldn’t” or “I’d rather not”. Since we’re told that men are just full of hormones (actual quote from a teacher) and that they’re horndogs who just can’t control themselves, amirite? It’s common for women to think it’s their responsibility to make it more clear that they don’t want to have sex. So “miscommunication” could mean “I didn’t realize that saying “no” isn’t enough, and now I realize that I have to make a bigger deal about it because men can’t be expected to actually take me seriously when I just say “no” the first time”.
    Of course, people like you would have us believe that all these silly women actually said “yes” and then just changed their minds later after they regretted it, or that a bunch of evil women are out to seduce men and then claim rape the next day for no better reason than to bring down the poor men of society. It’s possible that this is the case for some of those women.
    But when a woman doesn’t reallize that when she says “no” she has a right to not be gray raped and we also have some rapists who believe that “no” means “maybe” because girls are just reluctant and need more nagging/begging/convincing, we end up with rape victims who don’t even realize that their rights were violated. That is what “rape culture” is.
    And then there are women who said that they don’t consider what happened to them to be rape but still a crime, maybe it’s because they’ve learned that rape is just strangers jumping out of bushes and raping women at gunpoint, or slipping roofies into her drink.
    The two websites you gave me about rape were basically just making the case that most rape doesn’t counts and I highly doubt that you’ll ever consider date rape to be real rape, and this thread is already de-railed enough. But I hope that other people reading this can realize that “rape culture” is a culture where rape is so accepted that many people don’t even recognize it when it happens.

  107. #107 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    Greg, I did in fact notice that, and gave my answer as well as the reasons I came to the conclusion I did. I appreciate that you seem to be at least somewhat uncomfortable with the label/metaphor. I get all that, I really do. As I said in comment #1 and clarified later – I disagree with the definition you put forward of a “rape switch,” not with the idea that there are circumstances which dramatically increase the likelihood of rape as a general trend. I questioned the specific numbers posited (which varied dramatically anyway), but the core phenomenon that the numbers are high in wartime seems pretty clear to me.

    My issue primarily lies with this statement: “It simply means that the man (with the switch on) is now a rapist, whether he actually rapes or not (but he probably will)…”

    That’s a dramatic redefinition of the word, which would be bothersome enough already, even if it wasn’t expanded to include me. I’ve a pretty severe dislike of being labeled a rapist. Yes, I have a few personal reasons for my particular brand of dislike, but I’m fairly certain that if there’s anything even close to universal in the human psyche, it’s the dislike of being branded as that which we especially revile.

    I’ve never seen an estimate of how many soldiers in the history of war never raped, but I don’t imagine it’s some negligible handful of people you accused with that statement. Even if it was, it would still be wrong. Even if I were the only one, and though I have no reason to believe it so, it may well be, it would still be wrong. Surely you can understand why that’s an ugly and offensive statement, and why it might make a person somewhat angry, yes?

    Most of what I’ve seen of your writing would indicate to me that you’re a rational and reasonable intelligent person, and not entirely bereft of empathy. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here, do you?

  108. #108 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    Will, sorry, my Google Fu is lacking today too. I can’t find you the section excerpted online. I think you’re going to have to find the book in a library to be able to read about Brownmiller’s methodology. Luckily, it’s considered an important enough work that your local university will definitely have a copy or two.

    OP is original post, meaning the Brownmiller is listed in the citations.

  109. #109 DuWayne
    June 3, 2009

    Fucking WHAT!!!! I actually wrote a post on this that I decided to wait until tomorrow to post, because I posted something else today and won’t have time to write tomorrow – now I’m not so sure posting it when I won’t have time is a good idea…

    First of all, I don’t buy the “Greg isn’t dogmatic” theory for a minute…He is a scary islamosocialist terrorist after all…

    Seriously though, Thomas –

    You really don’t get it and that’s a problem here. The vast majority of rapes are between two people who know each other quite well. Of those rapes, a great many of them happen between people who have been dating and probably had sex previously. Of those rapes, few get reported to police, because if they do, they often remain uninvestigated and sometimes lead to repercussions for the women involved.

    And actually, I don’t think this is entirely unrelated to the topic at hand, mainly because there are times when rape happens in relationships and isn’t necessarily recognized as such. You mention the situation you were in the other night. In a sense that could be considered rape – unless you actually were willing to, in spite of not being interested at first. If she had shoved you around and pushed you down and squatted on your face and you knew the only way to get her off was to either go down on her, or actually shove her off your face – then yes, that’s rape. The fact that you might choose not to shove her off wouldn’t change that.

    Likewise, there are times when women just accept the cock as inevitable. Maybe partner decides to pounce as she’s getting in bed. She might actually be able to stop him, she really doesn’t want to fuck, but he is going to push and she’ll either have to possibly cause physical harm or just put up with it.

    In either case, there is also the risk that shoving the partner off might just cause them to get violent and brutal. So there is also that to consider.

    Just because someone chooses to put up with it and further, continue to put up with their abusive partner, doesn’t make it not rape.

  110. #110 Jason Thibeault
    June 3, 2009

    DuWayne hit what I was trying to say — damn your eloquence sir. There’s a huge difference between “uninterested but could be convinced to consent of their own free will” and “does not want sex but might be coerced into it” — key word in the latter being coerced.

  111. #111 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    catgirl@106: I really hate to have to point this out, believe me… but sometimes a simple “I’d rather not,” “I shouldn’t,” or even “no” isn’t clear enough. I won’t try to guess at numbers, I’m not qualified, but there are most certainly women who enjoy that particular game. Keep in mind that we’re talking about college kids here. Boys and girls in their late teens and early twenties for the most part, and clear communication about sex and relationships is going to be fairly uncommon. Again, I’m not even going to pretend to put numbers on it, but I’m absolutely certain that sometimes it is honest miscommunication.

    “No means no” is a simple slogan, but it just doesn’t reflect reality. Imagine stopping only to be yelled at because your partner was getting into it and you ruined the mood. Imagine it happening when you’re young and still inexperienced and emotionally fragile. How many times do you think that has to happen before a person is capable of mistaking a sincere “no” for a repeat of the previous situation, if only for a short time?

    I’m not trying to say it’s common… I’m just saying I’d be amazed if it never happened, and that I’d be amazed if there aren’t piles of similar ways a misunderstanding could happen in a moment of passion. If the “victim” says that it was a misunderstanding, I’m inclined to believe her unless there’s some other information to imply otherwise.

  112. #112 Thomas
    June 3, 2009

    Jason: you are denying my multiple links, references, studies and statistics with a brush of “There are plenty of “statistics” that go around”, and you call ME a creationist? Really? My links may not be the best because I don’t have time to research everything fully, but what facts did you bring to the conversation?

    Catgirl: what you have is a THEORY of rape culture, that seems to be anchored in your imagination. I am not necessarily against it (I love theories!), but what facts do you have to demonstrate it? I haven’t seen any so far!

    Now let me tell you what bothers me about a certain branch of feminism, with a clear example rooted in facts:
    1. man-hating feminists fabricated a view of Domestic Violence that does not accept women as being violent
    2. They massively fudged statistics to conform to their deluded reality (see my link above)
    3. They lobbied congress for hostile anti-male legislation
    4. Unconstitutional “restraining orders” and the “Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)” were passed
    5. Thousands of men got evicted from their house without even the benefit of a court hearing, and thousands of men got arrested even though they were VICTIMS of domestic assault because VAWA mandates automatic arrest of males!
    6. Men who are victims of domestic violence are now trapped with no help whatsoever: if they call the cops, they’ll get arrested; if they file for divorce, they’ll never see their kids again.

    You can repeat the same pattern of blind belief in some theory, manufactured “research”, man-hatred, lobbying for blatantly unconstitutional laws, discrimination, and finally suffering of men in other areas: rape prosecution, child custody, child support etc……..

  113. #113 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    Becca, coming back doesn’t seem to be that easy:

    http://www.nccafv.org/combat_vets.htm

  114. #114 will shetterly
    June 3, 2009

    Stephanie, thanks. We used to have that book–Emma bought and read it when it first came out–but it got weeded, and she doesn’t remember those claims.

    Rystefn, you’re going to have to accept that you’re Old School on “No means no.” In previous generations, “no” might be ambiguous, because only sluts said yes, but I very much doubt that anyone of my age (53) or younger would say “no” while meaning “yes.” Or, if they did, they would also tell you what the safe word was.

    Jason @105, I agree with everything you say but “only one out of four women report their sexual assaults.” All we know is the reality of rape is worse than what’s reported.

  115. #115 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    “It simply means that the man (with the switch on) is now a rapist, whether he actually rapes or not (but he probably will)…”

    I get that this is difficult to understand, and given only what has been said so fare it is questionable. But I’m going to stick to it because I have a hunch it is correct (to the extent that any of this is correct). I may write more about that later.

  116. #116 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Becca, I love and share your hope for humanity. We are most likely total fools, of course.

    Society is negotiated. Sex and violence, dominance and social orders are negotiated. Organized armed men who are afield have to negotiate primarily with other organized armed men, but when they are not organized and armed men, they have to negotiate with all those other annoying things in life like … children. Their grandfathers. Their spouses and sisters. Pacifistic men. The law. The kid in the 7/11 you are buying as from.

    At the moment I may be feeling a little extra cynical.

  117. #117 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Rystefn, you’re going to have to accept that you’re Old School on “No means no.” In previous generations, “no” might be ambiguous, because only sluts said yes, but I very much doubt that anyone of my age (53) or younger would say “no” while meaning “yes.” Or, if they did, they would also tell you what the safe word was.

    Right. Everything is negotiated and the basis for negotiation changes. I’m not, however, going to quite accept that “no” formerly meant “yes” as popular culture would have us believe. Certainly has no been my experience, anyway.

  118. #118 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    Will@114: No, I do not have to accept that at all. I can personally verify at least three people no less than twenty years younger than you who said “no” while meaning “yes,” one of whom only gave a safe word after a sudden stop, one of whom was inexperienced in the lager world of BDSM and was unfamiliar with the concept, and one of which had no safe word, saying only, “if I ever find someone I can’t physically stop, then I’ll get a safe word.”

    Again, I’m not going to try to say it’s common. I wouldn’t presume to try to attach numbers to it. I know my anecdotes don’t precisely carry a lot of weight, but is it really so unbelievable?

  119. #119 will shetterly
    June 3, 2009

    Rystefn, it’s not that your anecdotes don’t carry weight. I respect military people–my niece served in Iraq–and I know that individual experience is often at odds with what’s common. There are few things I would absolutely rule out when talking about humans, and to some degree, sex baffles everyone.

    But “no means no” is simple: If there’s any doubt at all, you just stop and say, “Really no?” And then you accept the answer. Consent is at the heart of everything I believe: you need a life-or-death reason to ignore someone’s reluctance to give consent in any situation, sexual or not.

  120. #120 Jason Thibeault
    June 3, 2009

    Thomas, you are correct in that I have been remiss in my argumentation regarding these statistics, but my position has been since the beginning that the issue is not the number of incidents of rape, but the amount of underreported rape, is significant; and that discussion of what exact fraction of people experience what exact definition of rape is irrelevant to this topic. Because I have been arguing against the whole “how many women really get raped” line of argumentation, and have suggested the links you provided are spurious and off-point, I didn’t feel it was necessary to provide counter-arguments. I’m not here to argue the statistics behind it, as I’m sure you know that 76% of all statistics are made up on the spot to support your argument (35% of all people know this!). And regardless of the number of women that have been raped, like I said, the correct number should be zero.

    Will @114: As for the statistic I did provide, which was on point, regarding the underreporting of sexual assault (and I would assume this holds true regardless of your specific definition of sexual assault), the US DOJ study ( http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/cv05.pdf ) from 2005 says only 39% of rapes are reported. Furthermore, RAINN ( http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates ) breaks this number down further, regarding how many get arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and spend any time in jail, and finds that a grand total of 6% of all rapes see the rapist in jail for any amount of time.

    Also, there’s this EU study in 2007 (more recent, and not your country, my apologies) showing a similar number, e.g. between 10% and 25% of rapes are reported. This is a much lower number than the 39% shown above, and is more in line with the FBI’s assessment of US rape reporting. http://inspectorates.homeoffice.gov.uk/hmic/inspections/thematic/wc-thematic/them07-wc.pdf?view=Binary

    As for your links about domestic violence, Thomas, I don’t doubt they’re correct, and as a result that means some extreme feminist zealots have used these false numbers to their advantage in twisting public policy. But that still does not imply any sort of matriarchal conspiracy. And even still, ceding some amount of ground does not make you any less of a man, except that it should tell you that “being a man” is no longer important in this world compared to “being a human”.

  121. #121 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    Again, step back and put yourself in the position of someone who’s been hurt and confused by an angry response to stopping, though. Keep in mind the youth and inexperience involved. Can you understand a young man’s hesitance to make the same mistake again? Now imagine, within a very short time frame, it becomes clear that “no” really did mean no this time, and our example guy stops and apologizes profusely, horrified by his actions. By the survey in question, this scenario is counted as rape, no matter how little time was involved, and despite protestations by the young woman in question that it was a legitimate misunderstanding, quickly corrected.

    If you want to call that rape, I guess that’s your call. Me, I tend to believe the woman’s assertion that it wasn’t.

  122. #122 Jason Thibeault
    June 3, 2009

    And now one of my own is held for moderation. So long as you don’t mind my requesting you unlock it, I will put up with the annoyance, knowing what torrents of spam the system holds back.

  123. #123 will shetterly
    June 3, 2009

    Greg, I started a long digression about the complexities of dating in the 1930s and ’40s based on things I’ve heard from older relatives, then decided to leave it at this: I’m very grateful for the sexual revolution of the ’60s.

  124. #124 john l
    June 3, 2009

    It seems to me that you guys pretty much have to choose between two positions: either

    (a) rape includes “overwhelmed by a [partner’s] continual arguments and pressure?”, in which case lots of men, myself included, have been raped. And yeah, there are morning afters where I wish I hadn’t capitulated, but I don’t consider it a crime, either. (And no, I’m not the handsomest guy in the world, but shit happens.)

    or

    (b) the statistics on how many women have been raped are somewhat pumped up.

    In any case, the survey question is ill-formed, since it leaves ambiguous the question whether ‘pressure’ means ‘physical pressure’. I assume there was another choice that accounted for physical coercion, but I would have to see the survey to know for sure.

    As to whether no means no: I don’t even know many women who really believe that it always does. On the other hand, I would always assume that it does, because I don’t particularly want to take a chance on being wrong, for her sake or mine.

    More broadly, I would think that lots of men, myself included, have a hard time imagining wanting to sleep with someone who didn’t want to sleep with them. I mean, for some of us, that just doesn’t make sense, on a very basic level. Lust, for a lot of people, is necessarily mutual.

    Oh, and Thomas, yeah, I wouldn’t consider the National Review a reliable source, either. And the woman who wrote the City Paper article is a contributing editor at the National Review. Which doesn’t make her wrong, but, you know…

  125. #125 Azkyroth
    June 3, 2009

    One thing that might be useful is an explicit characterization of the spectrum of acts that are included in the working definition of “rape” here. I’m willing to bet, for instance, that however common it was for soldiers to grab a female civilian and hold her down while they or one of their buddies forcibly had sex with her, things like making advances on female civilians who were too terrified to explicitly refuse, or resist, them, or visiting local prostitutes with no regard for whether the women involved had any choice in their position, were considerably more prevalent. Yet, while I think it’s obvious that these things are “rape” a lot of people don’t seem to, so if your projected statistics are based on this full spectrum and people think rape means only “grabbing her and holding her down,” it’s going to look incongruous.

    (Frankly, I think a lot of people would find it eye-opening to have the notion that these other acts are “rape” even voiced. It’s certainly obvious to me now, but it certainly wasn’t at, say, 14 – as in, I’d never even considered it – and I was a pretty precocious kid intellectually and philosophically).

  126. #126 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    That brings up the philosophical of question: If you count those things as rape, how guilty is the soldier if he’s genuinely unaware that she gave consent out of fear or that the prostitute in question wasn’t a volunteer?

  127. #127 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2009

    Jason: You are freeeee!!!

  128. #128 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    U.S. rape stats, modern and historical. All sourced and everything.

  129. #129 Stephanie Z
    June 3, 2009

    Will, separate blog post? I’d be interested to read it.

  130. #130 Rystefn
    June 3, 2009

    Greg@115: You have a hunch that someone who never rapes is a rapist? Really? I have a hunch that’s lunacy. Something tells me my hunch is closer to the mark than yours.

  131. #131 will shetterly
    June 3, 2009

    Stephanie, the more I think about, the more I think it would require a book or a documentary to explain this properly, because we’re talking about the standards of a very different culture, and it’s not my culture. But I’ll try for the heart of it: “Good girls” couldn’t say yes immediately, so negotiating then could include a “no” that actually meant “let’s keep negotiating.” But that was a “maybe,” not a “yes.” What’s crucial, and where Greg is right, is that a strong “no” definitely meant no. Force or any form of coercion was as wrong then as it is now. Juries convicted rapists who said, “But she really wanted it” because that claim was insufficient. Consent has always mattered.

  132. #132 Azkyroth
    June 4, 2009

    John:

    [citation needed]

  133. #133 Azkyroth
    June 4, 2009

    That brings up the philosophical of question: If you count those things as rape, how guilty is the soldier if he’s genuinely unaware that she gave consent out of fear or that the prostitute in question wasn’t a volunteer?

    That depends on whether or not the soldier is 14. Generally speaking, I think “Ignorantia juris non excusat” applies here.

  134. #134 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse because you’re able to check on applicable laws before taking action. Ignorance of the law is no excuse because you could reasonably be expected to know. Extending that to expecting people to be able to read minds is a bit extreme, no?

  135. #135 Greg Laden
    June 4, 2009

    You have a hunch that someone who never rapes is a rapist? Really? I have a hunch that’s lunacy. Something tells me my hunch is closer to the mark than yours.

    Rystefn: I think maybe your asshole switch is turned on. I have a hunch that if there is a “switch” it is not a switch that causes a man cock to violently ram into a woman. Rather, the switch changes the psychology of the man so that rape is not impossible, but is rather possible. At that point, better cultural norms may still be in force and the man may manage to stop himself from the violent act of rape. Or someone else may stop him. Maybe he’ll get kicked in the balls.

    On another issue, I do think this whole discussion of yes/no, while truly interesting, is not that closely related to the issue of wartime rape or post-apocalyptic rape.

    The young women in Vietnam were actually speaking a language mostly not understood by the soldiers and marines who were forcibly copulating with them and then eviscerating them with bayonets. So while it is possible that these girls were being coy about it all, I think it would have been fair for them to say “Which part of ‘don’t rape me and my daughter and kill me and my family and burn my father’s farmstead down don’t you get'”

    (Sorry …. I woke up in an excellent mood today. Seriously.)

  136. #136 Jacques LaFontainelle
    June 4, 2009

    “Rather, the switch changes the psychology of the man so that rape is not impossible, but is rather possible.”

    But that doesn’t make him “now a rapist, whether he actually rapes or not.” I can imagine a situation in which my psychology is changed so that breaking and entering into someone else’s abode to steal their food and valuables becomes not only “rather possible,” but “very probable.” But I don’t become a burgler until I, you know, burgle.

    I don’t read Rystefn’s criticism as being about whether such a switch exists, but, rather, about whether it is appropriate or whether is a vile slander to say that all persons who are placed in this situation are rapists — even those who do not rape and therefore cannot be, in any sense of the word, called rapists.

  137. #137 Greg Laden
    June 4, 2009

    Jacques … it is semantics, not slander, but I’m perfectly happy with an alternative term that you might offer.

  138. #138 will shetterly
    June 4, 2009

    Dittoing Greg on rape in war. The questions involving date rape and gray rape and regret sex simply don’t apply to wartime rape. In wartime, soldiers, usually men, rape people, usually women. No one looking for consent will find any element of it. Submission is not consent.

  139. #139 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    Greg, I’ll freely admit admit that my asshole switch is set to an. Being called a rapist will often have that effect, I think you’ll find. It’s an easily testable hypothesis, too. Just go down to the mall or something randomly pick out a guy, then tell him he’s a rapist, and see how he reacts. Keep doing this until you feel you’ve got a statistically significant sample size.

    Yeah, you can make a case that it’s an argument of semantics, but that doesn’t make it less vile or less slanderous (well, libelous, since this is a print medium) to call someone a rapist despite the fact they’re never raped. By the way, the word you’re looking for, a person for whom rape is possible, is “human.” Same as the word for someone who might possibly steal. Or might possibly kill. Or pretty much any other action you could name.

    If you want to talk about people who are in a situation where the probability of such actions is elevated… well, shit, how about just the handy phrase I just used there? Sure, it’s a bit longer, maybe a little awkward, but I’ll take that over calling innocent men rapists every time.

  140. #140 Stephanie Z
    June 4, 2009

    Rystefn, as long as you’re still checking in on this thread, a couple of things that were bugging me yesterday. First, if someone yells at you about sex in such a way that you’re traumatized, perhaps you should reevaluate whether you want to have sex with this person, particularly sex that involves the kind of trust that safe words imply, rather than using this relationship to model your view of the world and relationships.

    Second, questions like, “That brings up the philosophical of question: If you count those things as rape, how guilty is the soldier if he’s genuinely unaware that she gave consent out of fear or that the prostitute in question wasn’t a volunteer?” are pretty much irrelevant. The answer doesn’t change the amount of trauma the victim undergoes.

    You’re evincing a lot of concern over situations that can be resolved by being sure one knows what’s going on before one has sex. I realize that caution isn’t a sexy virtue, but when the alternative is rape, well, how much of an alternative is there?

  141. #141 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    Stephanie, I understand where you’re coming from, but…

    1) I would agree, but it only has to happen once to mess with your head a little, especially when you’re young. No having sex with that particular person again won’t necessarily prevent you from mistaking a similar situation for the same situation in the future, will it?

    2) It I agree with the statement that it does not impact the amount of trauma to the victim in any real way. It does, however impact whether the actions of the other person involved are monstrous and evil, or merely uninformed.

    Honestly, how much extra caution over consent do you think is warranted after you ask “Hey, would you like to have sex?” and the response is “Yes, let’s”? At that point, most people are going to assume anything that happens after that is consensual, at least until someone says something like “I changes my mind, please stop,” or something similar, don’t you think? Isn’t this a reasonable assumption? If I feel like I have no choice and go along with it out of fear, but show no signs outwardly of this, how much impetus on you is there really to read the inner workings of my mind?

    To be clear: I can’t speak for anyone else, and wouldn’t presume to try, but I have stopped when a partner really didn’t want me to, and she didn’t yell, but she was disappointed, and it was something of a mood-killer to explain what was going on. Some people just assume that you understand what they’re doing without explanation… Hell, most people do at least some of the time. How often do you actually have the conversation “would you like to have sex now?” “Yes, let’s”? Most people don’t very often. Not with words, anyway. I don’t think it’s a huge leap to extrapolate from my own experience what might happen if the people involved had been younger, less mature, and less experienced. Yes, the guy in question made a mistake that would have been very easily avoided, but can you really put it in the same category holding someone down and refusing to stop until he’s finished? Does this really warrant a sentence of long years of confinement and probable violent rape? Does this really warrant a lifetime of social ostracism from being listed as a sex offender? If the young woman involved says it wasn’t rape, but just a miscommunication, I’ll take her at her word. I can’t speak for anyone else, and wouldn’t presume to try. Apparently a lot of other people lack this quality. Do you?

  142. #142 Stephanie Z
    June 4, 2009

    Rystefn, if your goal is to maximize sex rather than minimize trauma, debating whether clear communication is a “mood killer” makes some sense. Otherwise, not so much. In that case, it is, in fact, counterproductive.

    For the rest of it, remember that I’m the person suggesting we focus on behavior instead of whether someone is a “monster.” This is part of why.

  143. #143 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    I’m not debating whether or not anything is a mood killer. Neither is anyone else that I’ve noticed, but if I’m wrong, feel free to point me to the relevant comment. I was merely relating an experience. An experience which gave me the jumping-off point for understanding how a person might reasonably characterize a few moments of unwanted sex as a miscommunication rather than rape. An understanding it seems few people here can reach. My purpose was illustrative and nothing more.

    As far bringing up calling people “monster” again… well, I was specifically talking about behavior there, wasn’t I? In fact, hasn’t this whole tangent been 100% about behaviors and whether nor not we should be classifying such behaviors as rape in contradiction of the assessment of the people who actually have all the facts of the event in question when we have only a simple yes/no response to go on?

    Oh, and while we’re on the subject, why is it that you’re so opposed to calling actual rapists monsters, but stand idly by and let innocent innocent men be called rapists without a word of complaint?

  144. #144 DuWayne
    June 4, 2009

    Ok, so I have a post up on this here. I wanted to cross post the end of it, which is a direct response to this post…

    The switch being on does not mean that rape will happen. It simply means that the man (with the switch on) is now a rapist, whether he actually rapes or not (but he probably will), and when the switch is off, he is not (so he probably won’t).

    Now a reasonable reading of this discussion will show that this is not something that Greg is saying as an absolute. Indeed, it is clear that he is willing to be convinced otherwise, though he strongly suspects that this is the case. I am going to answer the question in the title and respond to the idea in this quote with an emphatic and resounding; No, this is complete and absolute bullshit.

    A person does not move from having the potential, to being the thing, unless they actually commit the act. The fact that a lot of people who end up fitting a similar set of variables commit acts of rape, does not mean that everyone who fits those variables is a rapist. It simply means that those who don’t rape, require a different set of variables to become a rapist.

    Lets look at another egregious act and a set of variables that will often cause people to commit that egregious act. A man or women is in love with someone and they get married. They have, or believe they have a very strong relationship with their partner, built on mutual trust and respect. They also have a very close friend with whom they have a different sort of relationship, but one that is also built on mutual trust and respect. One day this person comes home unexpectedly and find their partner and their best friend in their bed, having sex. This particular set of variables quite often leads the betrayed party to have a psychotic break and murder one or both of the people who have betrayed them, in a fit of rage.

    Does that mean that everyone who fits those variables is a murderer, even if they don’t actually kill anyone?

    Not at all. It merely means that people who don’t commit murder under those circumstances, require a different set of variables to become a murderer.

    I’m sorry Greg, but unless and until a person actually commits the act, they only have the potential to commit the act. Until the specific variables that will cause them to act are met, they are in fact, incapable of committing the act.

  145. #145 the real meme
    June 4, 2009

    Of course there is a rape switch. It is called a “penis”
    ( according to the FBI definition of what and who can rape)
    And most importantly, there IS a trigger.

    That trigger is activated when mothers, female caregivers, and other trusted female authority figures fondle the genitalia of non-consenting little boys( or, rarely, when the male child is *primarily* sexually abused by another male),and otherwise covertly manipulate the sexual impulse and the dialogue regarding the impulse of the child, and then keep it secret–an off-limits blog topic, for instance.

    Then the social engineers step in and dominate the male child for the first 18 years of its life with coercion, and control, not only over the childs genital impulse, but also the childs freedom of ‘choice’ in regards to his own intellectual freedom to interpret his own feelings and impulses. This ensures that the rape switch will always be there, like a tinme bomb, waiting to be activated whenever the maternal/female agency and the social order that upholds it is challenged in its quest: matriarchal food gathering/securing motives at all costs.

  146. #146 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    trm@145: So you’re saying the not only can women never rape, but that all rapists were abused as children? Please tell me I’m misunderstanding you…

  147. #147 the real meme
    June 4, 2009

    Rystefn: I am sarcastically saying that I have a hypothesis that any such hypothetical thing as a rape switch is likely triggered by maternal incest/babysitter/caregiver molestation of male children, or other forms of female initiated sexual violence– and that includes the emotional and physical abuse directed by women towards young males.

    Nobody is asking the boys if the women are touching them wrong, and even if they did, the boys are only equipped with a matriarchal definition of ‘bad touch’.

    So, no, not all rapists were abused as children, but many of them were, and my hypothesis says that they are marginalized in their credibility to the point where we don’t even ask the right questions of them.

  148. #148 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    Fair enough. I wouldn’t pretend to know how likely your hypothesis is, but I can imagine such things might easily raise the likelihood of someone growing up to be seriously screwed up in one fashion or another.

  149. #149 Rohkna
    June 4, 2009

    I believe the confusion surrounding Greg’s usage of the word ‘rapist’ has more to do with grammar than his understanding of what the word means. For example, when you call someone a liar, you could be saying that he/she has just told a lie, but you can also mean that he/she tells lies. Greg is trying to say that when the rape switch is ‘on’, a man becomes a rapist in that he is now a man who rapes rather than that he is a man who has raped. His nature has changed whether or not his actions have.

  150. #150 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    Rohkna, there’s a problem with that assessment: You wouldn’t call someone a person who lies unless they actually really tell lies. You shouldn’t call someone a rapist unless that person, you know, actually really rapes people.

    Just as you wouldn’t call someone who has never lied a liar, you shouldn’t call someone who has never raped a rapist.

  151. #151 Rohkna
    June 4, 2009

    I’m certainly not trying to argue, and the word ‘rapist’ does have serious connotations, but there’s really no other word which can accurately communicate the concept Greg is trying to discuss.

  152. #152 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    If you insist on it being a single word, sure. But why should it be a single word? As I said before: “If you want to talk about people who are in a situation where the probability of such actions is elevated… well, shit, how about just the handy phrase I just used there?”

  153. #153 Greg Laden
    June 4, 2009

    Rohkna: You are correct

    Rystefn: That is where the irrelevant semantic aspect comes in and the argument gets uninteresting.

  154. #154 TheLady
    June 4, 2009

    Rystfen and others: Come off it.

    In Liberia, where we do have reliable statistics because the systematic mass rape happened recently and right under the nose of the UN, 70% of rape victims were under 14. 28% were under four.

    Four year olds do not have regret sex.

    This is not an issue for hair splitting and arguing the toss about what you happen to think constitutes consent, so get over yourselves.

    I’m personally uncomfortable with the “rapists even if they don’t rape” definition, though I see where it’s aiming at. The binary on/off switch hypothesis is also one I’m going to need more convincing about, but at least this has got me thinking, rather than running to the moral high ground looking for some spare outrage to pearl clutch with.

    Sheesh.

  155. #155 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    Greg, you can’t call me a rapist and then handwave it away as a semantic argument. You’re in the wrong here.

    TheLady, you can’t respond to my comment about college women in America with toddlers in Liberia. That’s a completely different subject.

  156. #156 Jason Thibeault
    June 4, 2009

    Everyone who’s arguing against Greg’s use of the term “rapist” in context of anyone with that “capable of rape” switch turned on, seems to be coming at it from the angle that the word itself already has a defined meaning – being, someone who has, or has attempted to rape. I’m still trying to fight off a linguistic prescriptivist image (how’s that coming along so far?), but it seems to me that words mean what they mean because we all agree that’s what they mean.

    Everyone arguing against it is pretty much saying they don’t agree that’s what “rapist” means. So, I’d have to say the best courses of action to mediate this (totally pointless) side-dispute are either to pick another word that means “potential rapist”, or use the phrase “potential rapist”, or coin a new word. Coining a new word comes with the disadvantage that it does not have all the stigma that the old word does, which is why horrible evil companies try to rename themselves to rebrand and build up their images. Also, abandoning the meme of “someone who has the rape switch turned on is de facto a rapist” has the disadvantage of hobbling Greg’s argument, while he does have a point — that there is some switch that is being turned on that factors heavily in whether or not a person is capable of rape. So, I’d personally love it if we could either just suggest a new word and move on with the real argument, or everyone just accepts that we’re not going to get anywhere with the semantic sidetrack. At this point it seems rather futile to keep going like we are.

  157. #157 becca
    June 4, 2009

    Stephanie- given a volunteer military where there’s probably some selection bias, it seems odd to compare combat vets to all men (as opposed to combat vets to all vets). (assuming I’m reading the study correctly)
    That said, I’m sure coming back isn’t easy. Particularly if the society you’re coming back to is still broken in pretty major ways. That’s what they’re up against in Liberia, I think.

    “It does, however impact whether the actions of the other person involved are monstrous and evil, or merely uninformed.” Virtually all people who commit violent acts are in denial about the trauma they’ve caused.
    Which is not to say committing a crime in ignorance doesn’t mitigate the crime as a moral transgression- but I don’t think “I didn’t know” is in and of itself sufficient to excuse every rape it might apply to, either (I’m sure there are individuals who slip drugs into a drink who can convince themselves the victim really wanted it).

  158. #158 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    You don’t have to invent a new word or redefine an existing one when a short phrase can adequately make your point. No, words do not have in intrinsic meaning, but you can’t expect to radically redefine one like that and have it work out well.

  159. #159 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    becca, I’m not talking about people trying to rationalize away their crimes, and I don’t think anyone else is, either. The quote in question is about people honestly thinking the other person desires it because there was no outward indication that it was compliance out of fear rather than desire. People can’t read minds.

  160. #160 Jason Thibeault
    June 4, 2009

    Can someone correct me on this? I think I have a handle on my own position now, but it depends on my understanding of everyone else’s arguments. Greg’s original point is that something gets flipped on in the brains of anyone going either through basic training or put into a combat zone or both. This something (what he calls the “rape switch”) factors extremely heavily in whether or not that person is capable of rape, e.g. because each person has a specific set of variables that would have to meet certain criteria in order to be capable of rape.

    Let’s say in the average person they include: a) lowered social qualms about imposing your will on others, b) dehumanization of the victims, c) nonchalant attitudes about rape in all the people around you, d) diminished personal moral outrage at rape (which outrage is pounded into you by society). Take a person out of their usual society. Train them to be killing machines. Teach them to impose their will on others with force, deadly force if necessary. Then let them congregate with one another with very little contact to their home society. If a culture emerges where rape doesn’t seem as repugnant, then each and every man there might become a rapist.

    Likewise, as we know rapists can spring up naturally in the populace without a war going on, whatever conditions that need to be met in the particular person might be met by other means (e.g. psychological or chemical problems in the person’s brain, sexist upbringing, being taught some group of humans or even just women are not human, etc).

    So after all these conditions are met, this person is a potential rapist. If and when they do rape someone, they are then a rapist. But once they’re a potential rapist, you might just as well classify them as being a rapist. The thing is, that on/off switch, while it’s tempting to say it exists as a binary state, maybe there’s some mitigating factor. Even if all the conditions necessary for that particular person are met, that person may never rape, and thus isn’t a rapist, so what stopped them?

    What if all of those factors are slider bars, say from 0 to 100, rather than a binary 0-1 toggle switch? And in aggregate, each one of those slider bars adds up to create a probability scale that the person might rape someone, and even then, that probability may not reach 100% even if all the other slider bars hit 100% themselves. So, at what percentage probability do we call them “rapists” other than the 100% probability that you can rightly claim *after* they’ve raped?

  161. #161 Rystefn
    June 4, 2009

    My position is that you never call them rapists if they haven’t ever at least tried to rape someone.

  162. #162 William
    June 4, 2009

    The entire idea of a metaphorical rape switch is ludicrous. What supporting evidence exist that would prove that a majority of combat active Vietnam veterans raped woman in Vietnam? Please send a reliable source.

    The hypothetical rape switch in a psychological sense brings me back to that part of the human psyche that Freud referred to as the Id,what Jung preferred to call the shadow. But no matter how you term that part of the psyche that demands instant gratification and pleasure,it would be impossible to pretend that there is not a part of the psyche in every human that runs counter to those more primitive tendencies, unless a person is a true sociopath.

    If the proposition is that there are some men who have such distorted and unhealthy psyches that they would in fact be more likely to rape given the opportunity, well that’s a given, and certainly not much of a revelation,that’s very old news and not very original either.

  163. #163 William
    June 4, 2009

    I just want to add some more hypothetical ideas to the discussion.Consider these:

    1.The touchy touchy switch.( usually happens when a sexy woman sits in your lap and wiggles around)

    2.The “I see some sexy boobs switch.” ( don’t stare though)

    3. The sexual dysfunction switch. (this switch only has an on position)

    4. The promiscuous sexual switch ( always between two consenting parties and usually comes on after a round of drinks at the local pub)

    Any more ideas anyone would like to add?

  164. #164 Peggy
    June 4, 2009

    I found that you can read large portions of Brownmiller’s book on rape in Vietnam using the “look inside this book” function at Amazon.com:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0449908208/brownmillsbooks#reader
    (I searched for the term “Vietnam” and read from there)

    From the parts I read, there is at least anecdotal evidence that many if not most of the men on the front lines either participated in rape or were complicit in the rapes because they chose to turn a blind eye to what was going on (see pp.101-113). What many of the men did was monstrous, and it’s hard for me to imagine how they could return to the US and lead normal lives.

    What was chilling to me too, was a quote from Dan Rather, who was a correspondent in Vietnam. He didn’t see rape first hand and never did a story about rape, but said:

    “My own limited experience led me to conclude that everybody who passed through a village did it – steal a chicken and grab a quick piece of ass, that sort of thing.”

    Steal a chicken, rape a woman, it’s all the same.

    From reading Bushmiller, it seems like part of what is involved is male bonding that involves casual brutality – so not just war, but gang and fraternity initiations, and just groups of boys/men where one individual can end up instigating on the others in the group to commit rape or other acts of violence.

  165. #165 Jacques LaFontainelle
    June 5, 2009

    “Rystefn: That is where the irrelevant semantic aspect comes in and the argument gets uninteresting. ”

    How can clarity and precision in thought and communications be irrelevant and uninteresting? I suspect that there might be something to your thesis, but I can get past the absolute illogic and base impossibility that a man who is not committing or has not commited rape, is now a man who is committing or has committed rape, which is what the word means.

    Unless you are proposing a radical and rather Orwellian redefinition of not only words, but the process of meaning in words, there is simply no justification for calling a man who has not raped or even attempted to rape “a rapist,” in any meaninful sense of that word.

    And it is frustrating for me that you have tried to rebuff this criticism by stating that it is irrelevant symantics. Well, yes, it is symantics, but that doesn’t mean that it is irrelevant.

    It seems that a proper response to the critique would be to say something like, “I was unclear, by ‘rapist’ I don’t mean ‘one who rapes,’ I mean…” or, conversely, “Yes, I mean exactly that a man who has not raped and is not raping is still a rapist; here’s how I propose to square that circle of meaning…”

    Absent something like that, there is, for me at least, a gigantic hole in the center of the thesis that I cannot get past because there is a chasm of a difference between “one with a greater propensity to rape” and “one who is in a real and meaninful way a rapist, notwithstanding the fact that he has not committed rape.”

  166. #166 Greg Laden
    June 5, 2009

    Jacques, as I have said numerous times, I really could not care less about this aspect of the argument. Feel free to come up with a word to describe the hypothetical man whose rape swtich has been thrown but who has not raped which would be distance from the one who did. It really is a semantic issue, it really is uninteresting, it really is a canard. What is mildly interesting is why is there so much focus on this irrelevancy?

    See my comments over on DuWayne’s blog for a lengthy discussion which includes why the comment on semantics should be dimissed as ho-hum boring and a mere distraction.

    http://debrayton.blogspot.com/2009/06/are-all-men-capable-of-rape.html

  167. #167 Jacques LaFontainelle
    June 5, 2009

    “Jacques, as I have said numerous times, I really could not care less about this aspect of the argument.”

    I understand that you don’t care. The problem is that I care, because this is an interesting and potentially important thesis, but one which I am having difficulty fully understanding, because one way of looking at what you have written it seems to require accepting a logical impossibility.

    “Feel free to come up with a word to describe the hypothetical man whose rape swtich has been thrown but who has not raped which would be distance from the one who did.”

    But that is the problem. Because I do not fully understand exactly what it is you are trying to say — as your word choice suggests an impossibility of fact — I cannot capture your meaning, as I am asking you to explain your meaning.

    Your text appears to permit two equally plausable readings: one in which you mean that every man in this situation has an increased potential to be a rapist, and one which you really mean that every man is, in some sense, a rapist, even without committing the act of rape. How this thesis is examined, considered, thought about, etc., would depend, in some way, on which of these you mean. Judging from some of your comments on the other site (which are less than clear, themselves), it appears that you mean the former, and that your initial text was simply imprecise drafting, but I don’t know for certain.

    “It really is a semantic issue, it really is uninteresting, it really is a canard. What is mildly interesting is why is there so much focus on this irrelevancy?”

    Well, I can’t speak to anyone else’s reasons, but my reason is solely to gain an true understanding of the contours of this idea. If you mean that there is some sense that a man can be a rapist without having raped, that is not irrelevant, but a fascinating assertion and one well worth exploring, especially in light of its apparent logical contradiction inherent in that statement.

    Contrarywise, if you simply expressed yourself imprecisely, inadvertantly creating a barrier to effective communication, there would be no reasons for you not to clarify the point, saying “I was unclear; I did not mean that all these men are, in fact, rapists. I meant that all of them, having been in that situation, had a greater potential to become a rapist.”

    I don’t mean to belabor the point, but I really simply don’t understand your meaning, and am trying to understand what it is that you are trying to say about this subject.

  168. #168 Xanthir, FCD
    June 5, 2009

    The word you’re looking for is ‘potential rapist’, or even ‘probably rapist’. Okay, sue me, those aren’t words. Sorry, English can’t always provide.

    Yes, this is semantics, but for real, pretty much everyone in the entire civilized world dislikes being called a rapist if they haven’t actually raped anyone. A goodly bit will still get offended by ‘potential rapist’, but there’s not much you can do about that, because at that point it’s true. You can keep trying to assert that using plain ‘rapist’ is okay for describing people who statistically have an elevated propensity to rape, but that doesn’t make it true in everyone else’s minds. It just makes you sound weird and reactionary, and a bit offensive.

    It’s just not that difficult to make your term accurate rather than offensive.

    That all being said, I think it’s rather clear that there’s *something* that goes on in men’s heads during warfare that makes them rape a lot more.

  169. #169 Greg Laden
    June 5, 2009

    . You can keep trying to assert that using plain ‘rapist’ is okay for describing people who statistically have an elevated propensity to rape, but that doesn’t make it true in everyone else’s minds.

    And not even once have I “kept trying to assert” this. I yielded to those who wanted to change the terminology the moment I saw through the clouded rhetoric that this is what they were looking for, yet there is still an incessant jumping up and down over the issue.

    Your text appears to permit two equally plausable readings: one in which you mean that every man in this situation has an increased potential to be a rapist, and one which you really mean that every man is, in some sense, a rapist, even without committing the act of rape. How this thesis is examined, considered, thought about, etc.

    Jacques, I’m not the freakin’ bible! Go over and look at my comments from last night on Almost Diamonds and my response to DuWayne on his blog.

  170. #170 Jacques LaFontainelle
    June 5, 2009

    “Jacques, I’m not the freakin’ bible! Go over and look at my comments from last night on Almost Diamonds and my response to DuWayne on his blog.”

    I was not asking you to be “the freakin’ bible” nor do I see where the bible, of all things, comes into play here. I understand that you are exasperated or even suspicious of other person’s motivations, but I was simply seeking clarification of your ideas, which were unclear to me even after reading DuWayne’s blog.

    Your comment on “Almost Diamonds” on 6/04/2009 9:07 PM does a very good job of explaining what you meant in a way which clarifies the confusion in my mind. And it appears to me now that what you meant was actually a bit different than either of the things which I had previously considered, and something well worth considering. (I do not the “Almost Diamonds” blog, so I can only say that it is too bad that that post was not presented here.)

  171. #171 Rystefn
    June 5, 2009

    Greg: “And not even once have I “kept trying to assert” this. I yielded to those who wanted to change the terminology the moment I saw through the clouded rhetoric that this is what they were looking for, yet there is still an incessant jumping up and down over the issue.”

    This is a lie. In the very same Almost Diamonds comment thread you’re referencing now, you very specifically asserted that I am a rapist despite the fact that I have never raped anyone. Your insistence that “it is actually OK to be a rapist” in no way makes that better.

  172. #172 the real meme
    June 5, 2009

    The Lady: Is Liberia one of those cultures where women practice “genital soothing” or infant masturbation, or otherwise touch boys genitals in non-medical ways? Are there puberty rituals within the various tribes there that enforce male “virility” and/or female to female touch that would likely be considered sexual here in the west?

    Rystefn: “I can imagine such things might easily raise the likelihood of someone growing up to be seriously screwed up in one fashion or another.”

    Unfortunately most of the evidence I have for maternal or female caregiver sexual violence directed at boys is personal or anecdotal-that anecdotal evidence being interviews with rapists and molesters who have been put in the unfortunate position of being deemed “untrustworthy” because of their felonious conduct.These men are wary, and hesitant to discuss female perpetrators that have harmed them, not only because they are stuck in the loop of western matriarchal dominance expressed through AMA/ APA psychological dogma, but also because prison bravado, or fear of being further labeled prevent open disclosure on their part.

    One of the recent cases that dealt with this was the case of Alfonso Rodriguez, who killed Dru Sjodin–he was sexually molested and abused by at least one female auntie and became a murdering rapist. Ironically–or more appropriately, typically–the importance of this fact was downplayed in the trial, and censored in the press, which is often the case when men become finally become perpetrators.

  173. #173 will shetterly
    June 5, 2009

    Rystefn, it’s not a lie; it’s a culture clash. I say that as someone who shares your preference for identifying people by what they do, not what you think they have the potential to do–by his terms, Greg’s not lying. I’ve been watching this discussion collapse due to incompatible assumptions and remembering similar discussions elsewhere on the web, and I think it would be great to have a discussion about discussions sometime, but it’d probably be good to have it after a cooldown period.

  174. #174 Rystefn
    June 5, 2009

    Actually, it is a lie. He said he did not keep trying to to assert it. Not even once, he said. He did, in fact, assert it several times.

  175. #175 Greg Laden
    June 5, 2009

    This is a lie. In the very same Almost Diamonds comment thread you’re referencing now, you very specifically asserted that I am a rapist despite the fact that I have never raped anyone.

    I assure you that this was meant in the most affectionate and positive way possible.

  176. #176 the real me
    June 5, 2009

    Greg, do you have any resources you can point me to in regards to maternal practices in Liberia? Or the Congo, or any other place that is referenced here as a plausible and likely setting where all this rape is taking place?

    I want to see if there is a connection between maternal genital fondling of males, pubertal rituals that involve invasion of the sexual being, and violent rape.

  177. #177 the real meme
    June 5, 2009

    Jason: is this statement actually true?
    “As a victim of a false accusation of rape, I feel eminently qualified for this”
    ??
    I underestimated you…you are a rape accusation survivor, which means you will spend the rest of your life with the stigma and the scar that womens collective right to cry wolf has put upon you with no legal recourse.

    I commend you for your strength.

  178. #178 Rystefn
    June 5, 2009

    The most affectionate and positive way possible is still completely asshole-ish behavior.

  179. #179 Hank Roberts
    June 6, 2009

    The switch could simply be “inhibition” — what enables us to act civilized. Look up “disinhibition” generally and paired with words like infarct, dementia, drug, rape.

    A lot of socially controlled behaviors all fall apart, not just this one in isolation

  180. #180 Stephanie Z
    June 6, 2009

    Rystefn, you made it pretty clear earlier that being an asshole on this topic was acceptable, or was that only meant to apply to you?

    Hank, thank you for addressing the theory. That’s an excellent place to look for an alternate theory.

  181. #181 Greg Laden
    June 6, 2009

    Yes, again, these are the two main alternative theories: Generalized mechanisms vs. behvior-specific mechanisms.

    Do keep in mind that in all mammals that have been well studied, the limbic circuitry related to two or three different kinds of “attack” or violent behavior are different from each other, and thus, inhibition needs to be different as well, and sexual mechanisms are yet different again. So, we do need to address the actual neurobiology. As a cultural construct “inhibition” sounds like a thing. In the context of neurology, a word like “inhibition” is somewhat different.

  182. #182 Stephanie Z
    June 6, 2009

    Oh, real, one thing you probably don’t know, because it’s really only expressed behind closed doors: There are very few things that approach the scorn of one woman for another who has made a false accusation of rape. About the only thing I can think of that does is the rage at people who would use one false accusation to bring all into general doubt in an atmosphere where there is already plenty of doubt.

  183. #183 Eamon
    June 6, 2009

    Hank@179

    The switch could simply be “inhibition” — what enables us to act civilized. Look up “disinhibition” generally and paired with words like infarct, dementia, drug, rape.

    I was thinking something along those lines, but not to do with switches: How many more people who would like to commit rape in their home society do not – solely because of social inhibition?

    Move these people into an area where they can do whatever the hell they like (at times) – they’ll probably rape.

    Add in the average number of rapists who will already be in the army – based on societal group. Add in that people who like to rape and are free to rape would probably attempt to rape as many times as they can and the 300% increase in rape could be hit with these guys.

  184. #184 Rystefn
    June 6, 2009

    Stephanie, if I’ve made it clear that I’m willing to be an asshole on the subject of unapologetic assholes, well, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that in the slightest. Frankly, it boggles my mind that you could possibly fail to see how maddeningly infuriating Greg’s responses have been to a simple and, I think, perfectly valid complaint.

  185. #185 Greg Laden
    June 6, 2009

    How many more people who would like to commit rape in their home society do not – solely because of social inhibition?

    Move these people into an area where they can do whatever the hell they like (at times) – they’ll probably rape.

    Add in the average number of rapists who will already be in the army – based on societal group.

    This would require that the number of men walking around consciously interested in raping someone but not doing because of this conscious “inhibition” is very large. Also, one of the reasons that the “switch” idea has some force is that demographics, etc. of the men seems to be less important than the context.

    Also, I’m not sure if those who have suggested this “inhibition” thing are talking about the same thing you are talking about.

    Once again, a “kindamakessense” concept has come along to muddy the discussion rather than clarify.

    So …. what exactly is being spoken of here … with this “inhibition” word?

  186. #186 Stephanie Z
    June 6, 2009

    Rystefn, I do understand the infuriating part. I just don’t think that your fury changes what is fair or productive.

    Greg, when I’m looking at the inhibition proposal, I’m definitely looking at it in terms of neurology. As proposed, it’s pretty easy to dig into, as much as any literature search really is. Hank is dead on for where to look.

    …unfortunately, it’s not something I can do at the moment.

  187. #187 Rohkna
    June 6, 2009

    I also agree that the inhibition theory refers to a possible neurological cause. I vaguely remember reading an article about female fish becoming dis-inhibited in the presence of an attractive male fish and how such a neurological mechanism would explain sexual promiscuity common among college students, especially in conjunction with alcohol and/or other consciousness altering substances. However, I do not believe such an inhibition would account for the lack of an increase in the occurrence of rape among certain armies (I believe Greg has mentioned the North Vietnamese Army), and instead points toward a social/cultural phenomenon.

  188. #188 Eamon
    June 7, 2009

    Greg@185

    Once again, a “kindamakessense” concept has come along to muddy the discussion rather than clarify.

    If clarification was desired, then perhaps the use of the phrase “Rape Switch” was unwise – as it has resulted in a lot of bitter back-and-forthing on your posts on the issue.

    As for “kindamakessense” concepts – there are quite a few of those in the paper by Gottschall you referenced:

    “the feminist theory, the cultural pathology theory, the strategic rape theory, and the biosocial theory”

    So …. what exactly is being spoken of here … with this “inhibition” word?

    In my case – not doing something because it is frowned upon by society.

  189. #189 the real me
    June 7, 2009

    Steph:”There are very few things that approach the scorn of one woman for another who has made a false accusation of rape.”
    Really? REALLY? Then where are the thousands and thousands of blog pages dedicated to this particular scourge? Kobe Bryant; the Lacrosse team and the lying hooker, etc. I don’t recall one iota of actual outrage, or scorn from women in these matters.

    Maybe the problem lies in your assertion that womens discussions go on behind closed doors, and if that is the case, it strikes me that this collective womens scorn might in fact be just another form of female voyeurism, rather than actual, potentially world changing scorn. But I respect and appreciate your acknowledgment that women do talk about this. It happens far more than men will usually admit to, because it wrecks lives, and leaves scars.

    Greg: I am still wondering if you have any ethnographies you can point me to in regards to womens socio-genital practices with infants in West Africa, and Liberia in paerticular; those practices could very well contribute to the discussion.

  190. #190 PeterM
    June 7, 2009

    Probable rapist Greg,

    Pulling numbers out of your arse does not rate as fact, let alone evidence supporting your unsupported hypothesis. I would also point out that you are not dealing with theory but hypothesis. An hypothesis is rejected if it can be proven wrong. You pointed out the North Vietnamese as a case where rape rates did not go up. Mao’s Long March would be another candidate but without numbers in front of me I will only propose it. Regardless, this sole exception is sufficient to destroy the hypothesis. Unless you want to try to invoke the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

    The error rate in your numbers exceeds the actual base values (20,000 – 100,000), therefore they disappear in the background noise and are irrelevant. You have no valid data and even the anecedotal stuff is suspect.

    One commenter mentions Dan Rather’s warm touchy feeling that all soldiers were chicken rapists. That doesn’t even rate as nearly anecdotal.

    Thomas has repeatedly debunked any correlations that people have tried to make between civilian, non-wartime statistics and the truth (in non-warzones). To even try to claim these as indicative of wartime rates of rape is a classification error at best and just blind bigotry at worst. That I have been victim first hand of violence from multiple women over decades is evidence enough for me that women are as capable of these acts as a man. I also have a friend arrested at hospital for spousal abuse despite having defensive knife wounds and her not having a scratch).

    The Shrill Shill Sisters (potential rapist Stephanie Z, and rapist-in-waiting catgirl) have revealed themselves as totally immune to any evidence they don’t like. When Thomas showed that false claims of rape are not only common but frequent, you dismissed these. As for the claims that women that did not claim to be raped were actually raped, lets just laugh that stoopid off and forget you even said it eh? Most-likely-man-hating-ball-breaker Stephanie even claims at one point that the reason men get raped in jail (or it is at least tolerated) is because it is perceived (by society) that they deserve it – and excuses the rape on that basis (but agreeing that it is horrible and should stop).

    Claims of a matriarchial conspiracy are yours, not men’s. The conspiracy is not a conspiracy because it is out there in the open – it is on legislative agenda and public strategy papers and insults me in the media constantly – “To violence against women – Australians say no!” and all those ones where men teach their boy children to beat up their wives. Disgusting, insulting and demeaning crap with little or no basis in reality. Stereotypical defamatory sexist attacks on innocent people. If you believe me a rapist, press charges or shut the fuck up. The feminist cry of “we don’t want a bigger slice of the pie, we want the whole pie shop” sums it up nicely.

    Sounds like some boring, uninteresting semantics really. White is actually black Greg, it just hasn’t had it’s white switch turned on yet (and may never meet the “white” trigger environment, or if it has, it just doesn’t “feel” white – but reserves the right to turn white at any time). There’s a noble prize in this Greg. Once you get your confused thoughts sorted out, write it down so we can all see what you potentially/probably think (or “think” whilst not actually committing – or have in the past or will in the future commit and act of – thought).

    What I find the funniest was after claiming that whether we like it or not, we will just have to accept that all men are rapists, it then became a “hunch”, then it was really “IS there a switch”, not THERE IS (despite multiple assertions that this is fact we must accept) or “just semantics”. Without semantics, all that is left is jibberish (which pretty much sums up the OP).

    (The OP contains) Ludicrous claim of universality immediately self-countered by some stammering claiming something less than 100% = 100%. Multipliers going from “n” times to 300% (changing scales to make it look worse), classification errors (invalid correlation between statistics for urban vs warzones), accuracy of known error riddled data without any grasp of the plus AND minus error rates (not the same – with some claiming that the number of false reports are neglible). Claims that topics are being derailed when the arguments are first introduced by the claimant and then complaining when they are resoundingly shown to be erroneous – and then having the gall to say that these commenters “don’t understand”. The final joke was when Greg used the bible as a source of authority (reproductive advantage). That’s just FAIL from start to finish. A better case might be “The Rape of the Sabine Women”, though whilst legendary also, I would give more credence than ANYTHING written in the bible.

    Rystefn asked “Why does he (Greg) do this”. Greg answers a little later (though he doesn’t realise it himself) when he says that the hit rate over on SB is putting him up in the PZ numbers. The difference here Greg is that when PZ makes a post, he backs it up with evidence (or sometimes with reference to legitimate authorities), will back down if confronted with conflicting evidence (not make lame “semantic” claims, fall back on hunches etc) and most of all, does not repeatedly make bullshit claims.

    The last makes me think that you are just a troll fishing for hits. Not a concern troll – at one point you claim we men have demons inside us, so I think you are honest in revealing your flawed reasoning, bias, bigotry and shame at being male. This comes from the constant abuse at the hands of scarred people that want to blame half the population for their own deluded, twisted and misanthropic state of mind. Its quite emasculating isn’t it? They took our guns in Australia and violent gun crime has screamed up. Was it definitely-a-mass-murderer-but-hasnt-(yet)-gone postal-and-shot-up-a-day-care-facility Stephanie Zed that drew the comparison between giving up guns and giving up rape. Seriously guys, these toxic memes you are spewing can lead to violence and discrimination (nay, already has and reinforces this daily)

    But then again (despite all evidence to the contrary) maybe we men are all rapists (not some of us, ALL of us). Clearly we should all be chemically castrated at puberty and just let out when we are needed for breeding.

    Having read a few of your posts, I’m now taking you out of my Science bookmarks and putting you over with Age of Autism and Answers In Genesis.

    In Bullshit Bingo (Fallacy Edition), you hit most boxes. Just to round out the list:

    [Godwin’s Law “switch” on]
    You are a fuckin’ Nazi ;)
    [/Godwins Law “switch” off]

    I’m happy to throw the debate with the Godwin’s above. Reason won’t win it, evidence won’t, it’s your blog Greg – Suuure, there MUST be a rape switch. roflmao.

    Signed
    Probably-raping-your-cat-this-very-moment Peter
    (but-at-home-and-no-doubt-just-wishing-he-wouldn’t-get-arrested-for-raping-your-cat-because-he-is-a-slavering-testosterone-puppet-MAN-MAN-MAN-fuck-you-rapist-PIG-MAAAAN)

  191. #191 PeterM
    June 7, 2009

    sorry, I hit “post” instead of “preview”, apologies in advance.

    I had wanted to ask tho – Greg, is this futile clutching to your “rape switch” something like “treegosity”? Just wondering.

  192. #192 PeterM
    June 7, 2009

    edit: Nobel Prize.

    a few other minor corrections needed but would end up more confusing than corrective.

  193. #193 History Guy
    June 7, 2009

    Governments brainwash boys into killing machines. Governments target young boys because they have no perspective, no children of their own and they want to be heros.

    A big part of that brainwashing is the idea that the enemy isn’t human. You see it on TV every day. It makes them easy to kill – like bugs. You’re a Hero for exterminating them.

    Of course, there’s a very long list of military veterans murdering and raping after the wars are over – even when they come back home. From Caesar crucifying his own soldiers to Wilson ordering raw recruits to direct machine gun fire on old US vetrans of WWI when they marched to DC for their back pay. Many of the classic mobsters were military vetrans. Even McVey was trained by the military to blow stuff up.

    So the question we need to ask is not why brainwashed 18 year olds rape but why full grown men and women support governments that train them to.

  194. #194 PeterM
    June 7, 2009

    False reporting of crime by people in general, and women in relationship disputes especially, will make the most evil claims without evidence and will typically be believed.

    The nature of the crimes claimed are typically those where the accussations alone do all the damage. These will be spousal abuse or child molesting. My cousin has left the whole divorce business (he’s a lawyer) because the standard claim was ALWAYS violence and started shifting to the father molesting the children. Before violence it was adultery until “no fault divorce” was introduced.

    My own step-daughter was told by a school counsellor to accuse her (real) father of molesting her so that she could move into a govt provided house at age 16 and hold wild parties because he wouldn’t let her.

    Any correlation between the figures provided here, both for wartime rape and non-wartime must be considered purely coincidental.

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/bugged-calls-seal-killer-wifes-fate-20090606-bz3j.html

    Here is a link I read a few minutes ago for a woman that tried to have her husband killed by her lover. She said that he beat her and the judge believed it, but still found her guilty. He claims he never hit her.

    Let’s see then (from article): Unfaithful wife with a background of childhood abuse and mental illness conspires with lover to murder husband (even supplies the weapon and then explains how to dispose of it) – accuses her faithful husband of violent abuse (which he denies) in order to beat an attempted murder rap. The judge believed her. She lied about every other part of the story but this one singular statement is seen as true. hmmmmm. As Thomas pointed out – Silence.

    As for the figures on conviction rates for (MF) rape, I suspect they would be considerably worse for MM rape and lower still for FM rape. I’m not sure what was being argued by these stats tho. Were you inferring that maybe we should change to “guilty until proven innocent by reason of being a male and by definition a rapist” or do you like the idea of cases being decided on strength of evidence and “beyond reasonable doubt”. Or are you suggesting that the jury are all card-carrying members of the Rape Culture Club? All that can be said is that the vast majority of rape cases brought against men are not provable (and not that they didn’t happen). I am sure that some rapists escape punishment – however, the inference that all those that are acquitted are actually guilty is a monumental stretch, one could even say “bogus”

    Where we are seeing change is in the number of stat rape cases brought against female teachers (that’s not rape, the boy enjoyed it!!!! or it was “just ‘regret sex'”). This and the female soldier convicted from abu G. should be sufficient to make this “MALE rape switch” hypothesis no longer tenable. The argument for a gender independent “rape switch” however is equally dumb and pretty well debunked thoroughly by others here (however much you want to BELIEVE it exists).

    Further posting is really just feeding the troll.

  195. #195 Greg Laden
    June 7, 2009

    Real: No, I have no ethnographies like that at hand.

    Peter: The rape switch is not my hypothesis. Nor am I particularly wedded to it. But in any event, I’m not sure you get what a hypothesis is or how to test them. Nor are you using “error rates” correctly.

    I do like the idea, though, of men always addressing each other as “Probable Rapist Joe” or “Probable Rapist Harry”

    It has come to my attention that I have offended BSDM people by confusing or conflating Dominance with rape. I do not know much about BSDM, and I could not even begin to describe Dominance as a practice so any such confusion is either the appearance of ignorance or actual ignorance on my part.

    What did happen is that Rystefn baited me by describing what for all intense and purposes sounded like a rape he himself had carried out a day or two earlier. It was obvious that he was talking about BSDM but I don’t think he was explicit. Rystefn had already gone over the top with his subjectivist self serving unscientific crap, so I let him have it.

    I do think that it is very interesting that there is a game playing/role playing activity that simulates rape. I do wonder if that is a place to look for insight. That has probably been done.

    Getting back to PeterM for a moment: Your side-long threat regarding catgirl will not be tolerated. Apologize to her or go away. I would be careful of Stephanie as well, for your own good because maybe the only reason I did not delete your posts is so she would have a chance to take you down, but at least you did not violate my New Rule that says that commenters can’t make veiled threat to rape each other on my blog.

    The rest of your comments are absurd. I started out my discussion of the Rape Switch idea as something that I did not like the sound of for many reasons at the start, but was convinced to take it seriously and at least consider it by a strong argument, and that I still have problems with. Peter, you are insisting that I take a stand and believe in a particular perspective no mater what and defend it, then you tell me that you are putting a link to my site in with AIG. And so on. You, sir, are an offensive did and a moron. You are on notice. No more false moves or you will be the second person ever banned from this site.

    It might be that your greatest crime is a several thousand word tirade that I happen to read before my third sip of coffee …. Which is a lot better than having your greatest crime being a woman who happens to be in a war zone and happens to get raped and killed because people like you insisted that there is not really such a thing as wartime rape so nobody did anything about the problem. You, sir, are a META RAPIST!!!

    (How many aboriginal women did your great grandfather rape back in the old days, do you think?)

  196. #196 PeterM
    June 7, 2009

    Greg,

    I am not seeking banning, but obviously accept whatever you decide.

    My sincere apologies for the length of the post (“tirade”), I will try to keep future ones (if permitted) as short as possible.

    I was not aware of any threats I made, that certainly was not my intention, but I will review my posts to check. Expect a specific apology if so, but I will pre-emptively apologise to catgirl now on your word alone. I try to make it a policy NEVER to threaten anyone.

    I don’t understand what you intended by the attack on my great grandfather(s), but I can categorically state that there is almost zero chance that any of my 4 great grandfathers raped any aboriginal women. My son-in-law and two grandchildren are aboriginal (and half-aboriginal).

  197. #197 PeterM
    June 7, 2009

    and rapist-in-waiting catgirl

    was the only reference I could find in my posts to catgirl specifically. I don’t read that as a threat and your own post (Greg) indicated that you interpreted my other hyphenated-potential/probable-vile-criminal-title in the vein I intended.

    My very point was that I do NOT think catgirl is just itching to become a rapist anymore than (I hope) you or me.

    Catgirl – if in any way this reference to you was interpreted (by you) in any way other than humourous or satirical but in fact as a threat in any way, shape or form I unreservedly apologise (and without coercion). Whilst it is difficult to apologise for something I can’t actually lay my finger on, I read through everything I posted and couldn’t even find a general or oblique threat, but if there is one in there, I apologise for that also.

  198. #198 Greg Laden
    June 7, 2009

    OK, we’re done with that then.

    Do go see my extensive commentary here:

    http://almostdiamonds.blogspot.com/2009/06/words-pride-and-obligation.html

  199. #199 PeterM
    June 7, 2009

    I’m winging it here, not going from wiki or some other source, so what you get is my understanding of an hypothesis as I used it above. If you find this flawed or wanting, I read SB to learn and welcome any corrections you wish to provide.

    It starts with Law. We get that mostly from anecdotal observation, empirical data may include some maths that works, even if only roughly or not understood.

    We create ‘what if’ scenarios, worded as propositions we call an hypothesis. From this we can make predictions to test. An hypothesis can be disproved if (accurate) contradictory data is found. Data and testing can only support an hypothesis, never prove it. In some cases logic alone can disprove it (the whole potens suite) as can any fallacy included in the chain of dependencies/assumptions that underpin it.

    When we understand the phenomenon well enough through reiterative refinement of a model built from data supporting the hypothesis, when we have mathematics to describe it, we call it a theory. I heard it described as something like – “when a hypothesis grows up it is called a theory”.

    Repeatability and testability can be issues in some cases (eg relativity, big bang, abiogenesis) but are not essential to testing the hypothesis. Shortish and not perfect admittedly…

  200. #200 PeterM
    June 7, 2009

    Peter: The rape switch is not my hypothesis. Nor am I particularly wedded to it.

    I read the OP where you reported that the hypothesis was being commented on and never figured it was yours. If I said or inferred at any point that it was, I only intended that that it was a hypothesis you supported at the time of writing. And kept defending. And then when many others pointed out the problems with the hypothesis, you still thought it was right on a “hunch”. I will grant you are not wedded to it. It sounds like one of those toxic co-dependency things to me.

    But in any event, I’m not sure you get what a hypothesis is or how to test them. Nor are you using “error rates” correctly.

    See my previous quote re hypothesis.

    Agreed, I probably used the term “error rate” incorrectly here. The context was more in terms of measurement error pouring chemicals (eg plus or minus 0.5ml), which I agree is not “error rate”

    I do like the idea, though, of men always addressing each other as “Probable Rapist Joe” or “Probable Rapist Harry”

    Glad you like it and you are free to use it – on the condition you also address all women as “”Probable Rapist Joanne” or “Probable Rapist Harriet”

    Peter, you are insisting that I take a stand and believe in a particular perspective no mater what and defend it

    No, I’m not. If I gave that impression then the communication problem is mine, sorry. Maybe you were just trying to explain what the researchers were claiming, not claiming to believe this yourself? It sure looked like you were calling all men rapists but I agreed above that your last statement said you only have a hunch that all men are rapists.

    It might be that your greatest crime is a several thousand word tirade

    Guilty as charged.

    because people like you insisted that there is not really such a thing as wartime rape

    FAIL. People like me speak out against this sort of thing. Irrespective of wartime or not, at home or overseas and irrespective of the gender of the perpetrator or the victim, I speak out about rape. In this thread I have tried to confine it to the hypothesis under discussion and I also commented on the reliability of the data. I can’t see where I say that rape in war doesn’t happen.

    Do go see my extensive commentary here:

    [link to almostdiamonds.blogspot.com
    /2009/06/words-pride-and-obligation.html]

    I checked there but found other comments more pertinent. Immediately on top of my apology, I assumed (possibly erroneously) that the link was provided for the “dance monkey, dance” posts that tended to indicate that any apology was just ritual. If this was the intent, I would just like to say for catgirl’s benefit: I can’t see where I made “side-long threats”, but on the mere accusation that something I posted contained any threat at all to you, my apology on principle alone is sincere and if a specific is pointed out I will withdraw that and apologise.

    Greg, related discussion on that thread also indicated that an apology that is not freely given is ritual and I agree. I have not, nor am I here, asking for an apology. I don’t expect one.

    You have a “hunch” all men are rapists even if they never rape or even contemplate it (this group includes me). You also called me a moron and a “did”. Then there were these two:

    You, sir, are a META RAPIST!!!

    (How many aboriginal women did your great grandfather rape back in the old days, do you think?)

    Enjoy your fishing Greg. Are you going from the riverbank or trolling from a boat?

    [note: apologies for length of post – I was responding to specific statements]

    It is also after 2am here and I must leave it at this point (but will check back in tomorrow)

  201. #201 Greg Laden
    June 7, 2009

    Peter : I just want to point out that the commentary regarding apologies etc. at Almost Diamonds is not mine, but the blog author’s. You should leave some comments over there regarding this (maybe you have, I’ve not been there in a while, since this AM)

    No boats today, too damn cold out!!!! No rivers, either, we have a lake. (The kind with piles of water in it).

  202. #202 Lou FCD
    June 7, 2009

    No, Peter. Greg did not say all men are rapists.

    What he said was that all men who have been in a war zone are rapists, regardless of whether they have actually raped anyone.

    Also, all men who engage in non-vanilla sex. Again, regardless of whether they have actually raped anyone.

    Oddly enough, some of us are rather upset about the minor semantics here.

  203. #203 Rystefn
    June 7, 2009

    In fairness Lou, our issues with the semantics are easily dismissed as subjectivist, self-serving, unscientific crap.

  204. #204 Jason Thibeault
    June 7, 2009

    Greg: you can pile water? Okay, now I’m impressed.

  205. #205 Random Logic
    June 7, 2009

    There’s too much for me to read in these comments and I’m coming to the discussion late. But I thought I’d just point out two obvious flaws in the statistics that were actually in the blog. (1) They’re relative rate increases as opposed to absolute rate increases— if the absolute rate is small– this doesn’t say much (2) It’s not convincingly shown that the sample populations are representative of the population at large.

    I’ll also quote the first commenter because I thought it was pretty dead on:

    “The quote you give begins with: “there are no reliable statistics” then proceeds to give a bunch of statistics. They’re not reliable. The numbers are assumed. That’s not precisely a terribly sound argument.

    …also, any statement that men are rapists whether or not they actually rape anyone is, for lack of a better word, complete bullshit. If you rape someone, you’re a rapist. If you don’t, you’re not. I know you’re trying to make a point here, but you’re doing it wrong.”

    His following semantic argument about the usage of the word ‘switch’ was solid too but not detracting from the argument if you accept the blog’s stipulative definition.

  206. #206 AngryWhiteMale
    June 7, 2009

    The use of statistics here is a FAIL. Figure don’t lie, but liars can figure. They are simply used to support the OP’s own bias and bigotry rather than based on critical thinking. To support the hypothesis of a “switch” one would need evidence that the majority of men in these places raped. None is given. 300 to 400% increase over baseline civilian rates in Vietnam? Of course the statistic is given this way, since baseline civilian rates are low. Red Army rapes in Berlin? Who knows what the actual number is, 20,000, 100,000, or 1,000,000? But what was the size of the Red Army in Berlin (needless to say, this particular figure is omitted) – and, most of the perpetrators likely raped several times, so even here there is no evidence the majority of soldiers raped there. And the burden of proof lies on the one making the assertion. “…and some of my best friends are men who were in Vietnam.” Kind of sounds like “and some of my best friends are black.” The usual excuse for bigotry.

    Yet, the OP has a point. The soldiers have in fact behaved better than I would be likely to. War is hell, and I see no reason why only men should face this when women share in the benefits. War dehumanizes men, and it frankly isn’t reasonable to not expect dehumanization of women to follow. If I were a soldier in Vietnam, or Berlin, or wherever, faced with the condemnations of people like Greg, I’d tell him this:

    Take your self-righteous sanctimonious moralizing and stuff it up your arse. Damn straight I am sexually entitled to the women who were aiding and abetting those who wanted to blow my brains out or my legs off, although it isn’t really about sex, but rather revenge and humiliation. Don’t like it? Then you come here and stop us rather than preaching from your ivory tower. Don’t you dare blame me for dehumanizing these women when you have dehumanized not only me, but also those men whom you have made it my job to kill before they killed me. Don’t blame me for dehumanizing the women when you wanted me to dehumanize the men and have already dehumanized me, as I have had to face day after day the real danger of being killed, maimed, or sent to some shithole prisoner-of-war camp, while you have sat nice and comfortably at home. Of course we’re on the victorious side now and that’s just what we’ve done to the other men, with your full support.

    A society that treats men as cannon fodder breeds rapists. Calling this a “rape switch” is just a desperate attempt to change the focus from the real problem.

  207. #207 Joyce Arthur
    June 7, 2009

    Good grief. There’s no need to posit a “switch.” Rape in war and similar circumstances can be explained by a few simple obvious things:

    1) Women’s continued low social status and men’s assumed privilege, making it “ok” to rape women because they don’t really count for much anyway, and men can do what they want because they’re “superior” and have the power.

    2) People in groups, especially hierarchies like the military, will follow the crowd and those in authority, behaving differently than they would alone.

    3) Rape in war is about vanquishing and dishonouring the enemy by “spoiling” their women, because raped women are a serious affront to the male “right” to paternity. In patriarchal societies, women’s sexuality must be strictly controlled and “protected” in order to guarantee the paternity of offspring.

  208. #208 Rystefn
    June 8, 2009

    Thank you. Thank you, AngryWhiteMale for singlehandedly justifying every fucking comment about all men being rapists.

    You make me sick. If you ever find yourself on a battlefield, you’d be well served to keep your eyes open for the guy with “Rystefn” on his shirt, and if you see him, keep your fucking head down and don’t tell who you are, because I would throw your sorry ass in a hole for the duration of the war before I let you so much as lay eyes on a woman on either side after a tirade like that. Frankly, I’m not entirely comfortable with you wandering around in public outside of war. I wonder what else in this world might make you feel “sexually entitled to the women.”

    Get some help before you hurt someone, if it’s not already too late for that.

  209. #209 Lou FCD
    June 8, 2009

    What Rystefn said.

  210. #210 AngryWhiteMale
    June 8, 2009

    Fuck off Rystefn. I didn’t singlehandedly justify every comment about men being rapists, in fact I disputed it. Which you would realize did you actually have an iota of reading comprehension. But evidently you don’t, since your post had zero in the way of a substantive reply.

    You’re a soldier. That means you’re a trained killer for hire. Thus, you can take your preachy, sanctimonious moralizing and stuff it up your arse. What the hell entitles YOU to violence against ME (which was threatened in your post), or against others. Who the hell do you think you are?

    Evidently, you feel that it’s OK for me to have my brains blown out or for me to blow the brains out of another man before he does it to me, but women have got to be protected at all costs, even when they were the ones helping those attempting to blow my brains out. Care to reasonably defend that position?

  211. #211 Eamon
    June 8, 2009

    AngryWhiteMale@210

    You’re a soldier. That means you’re a trained killer for hire.

    And funnily enough, you’re a man or woman who will go into danger – take bullets, shrapnel, and more – so’s people back home can sleep a little safer at night.

    Fuck off XXXXX

    Encapsulates the general academic level level of the whole “Rape Switch” series of threads.

  212. #212 Rystefn
    June 8, 2009

    You think you disputed it, but you failed, and in your failed attempt, you ended up justifying it and giving them more fuel.

    Yes, I’m a trained killer for hire, but no, I didn’t threaten violence against you. I threatened to stick you into a hole. Now, if you responded with violence, well, that’s you applying it against me, isn’t it?

    Yes, I think there a great many situations where it’s ok to kill. You’d better believe that protecting yourself from someone trying to kill you is pretty close to the top of the list. Where you characterize is saying that I feel women must be protected at all costs. I don’t. I don’t know anyone that does. If it’s a woman holding the rifle, by all means, ice the fucker. Here’s what you’re not understanding – I don’t advocate violence against civilians. Not rape, not shooting, not so much as a slap. Especially not because you think they might be aiding the war effort of the other side in some way.

    You seem to have issues identifying the enemy and understanding appropriate response. I say again: seek help… and stay the Hell away from me if you ever see me coming.

  213. #213 AngryWhiteMale
    June 8, 2009

    no, I didn’t threaten violence against you. I threatened to stick you into a hole.

    That isn’t violence? Sticking someone in a hole via the use of physical force isn’t violence? You appear to have a strange definition of “violence”.

    Now, if you responded with violence, well, that’s you applying it against me, isn’t it?

    Where did I say I would respond with violence against you?

    Here’s what you’re not understanding – I don’t advocate violence against civilians. Not rape, not shooting, not so much as a slap. Especially not because you think they might be aiding the war effort of the other side in some way.

    Sounds so high-and-mighty and oh-so-principled, but it doesn’t work in real life, and you as a soldier should realize this more than anyone. Your own military has more than taken its fair share of “violence against civilians”. I take it then you will decry the bombing of Dresden, Sherman’s scorched earth march, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, etc.? I take it you will denounce any military campaign which could result in “collateral damage”? Would you be willing to face court-martial rather than participate in any such campaign? If not, it’s all just a bunch of posturing.

  214. #214 Rystefn
    June 8, 2009

    That isn’t violence? Sticking someone in a hole via the use of physical force isn’t violence?

    Where did I day I’d use physical force? Kindly point it out, please…

    Where did I say I would respond with violence against you?

    That’s why I used the word “if,” you see. IF you respond with violence… If you don’t, then there’s no violence all-round, and everyone’s happy. So kindly jump in the hole, if you please…

    Sounds so high-and-mighty and oh-so-principled, but it doesn’t work in real life, and you as a soldier should realize this more than anyone.

    …interestingly enough, it does work. You’d be amazed at how easy it is to fight a war without raping anyone. Yeah, I know you’re pretending you said that about “collateral damage,” but we all know what we’re really talking about here: your barely repressed (if it’s repressed, I don’t know) urge to rape brown women, right?

    Your own military has more than taken its fair share of “violence against civilians”.

    I know it better than you. I’ve reported superiors for doing things that so much as risked possibly accidentally hitting civilian targets. It hasn’t won me a lot of friends, but at least I can live with myself.

    I take it then you will decry the bombing of Dresden, Sherman’s scorched earth march, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, etc.?

    Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I allow some concessions for the imprecision of weapons in earlier times, and I count airports and trainyards as military targets if they move military supplies, but other than that, yes, I decry a whole lot of things.

    I take it you will denounce any military campaign which could result in “collateral damage”?

    Depends on what you mean by “collateral damage,” and how strong the possibility of it occurring. If there’s a .0001% chance of a weapon malfunctioning and hitting an unoccupied civilian car in a parking lot ten feet away from the military transport, I think that’s perfectly fine. If there’s a 100% chance the explosion will destroy an elementary school as well as the primary target, killing hundreds of children, you’d better believe I’d denounce it.

    For the spectrum of possibilities in between, well, there’s a spectrum of responses.

    Would you be willing to face court-martial rather than participate in any such campaign?

    Depends on where in the spectrum it lies. I’ll tell you this: if the policy were what you advocate, the raping of anyone we feel like, I wouldn’t just denounce it and face court-martial. I’d take up arms against the perpetrators and policy-makers… same as I did against the perpetrators and makers of a similar policy in Kosovo.

  215. #215 DuWayne
    June 8, 2009

    Encapsulates the general academic level level of the whole “Rape Switch” series of threads.

    Umm, Eamon, have you actually read much in these threads? Because while the discussion has gotten quite heated, that is a completely unfair and absolutely untrue characterization of the discussion that has ensued on any of Greg’s threads here, Stephanie’s threads at Almost Diamonds, Jason’s on Lousy Canuck or the one on my own blog.

    Yes, there has been a great deal of disagreement. Yup, there has even been some rather vitriolic responses – some justified, others not so much. But to even begin to claim that it has generally been on a par with what that one sick fuck has to say, either betrays your lack of reading comprehension, that you haven’t actually read much of the commentary (and I grant that there is an exhaustive amount to read), that you have a very strange idea about what “general” means or that you’re simply being disingenuous.

    Or maybe you just wanted to engage in hyperbolic bullshit yourself…

  216. #216 Stephanie Z
    June 8, 2009

    Rystefn and Lou, with all the crap said to women in this thread, as well as the crap said about women or, hey, the crap said about me, you just need to argue with this one guy about the military? Way to continue to focus on the trained guys with guns.

    I think I’ll just go cry some more. I’m getting damned good at it.

  217. #217 Rystefn
    June 8, 2009

    Actually, I wasn’t focusing on trained guys with guns. I was focusing on the one person anywhere near this conversation who came out said that is was ok to rape, and that he would personally do it. I’m rather of the opinion that statement like that needs to be addressed.

    If that hurts your feelings, I’ve sorry, but I’ve got no sympathy. I would have thought that in this, at the very least, we could have found some common ground.

  218. #218 AngryWhiteMale
    June 8, 2009

    You’d be amazed at how easy it is to fight a war without raping anyone.

    Maybe it’s easy for you. But if it were really that easy for everyone else, why is there such an increase in rapes during wartime? In your fantasy land, it’s really that easy. In the real world, men are dehumanized by the experience of war.

    I’ve reported superiors for doing things that so much as risked possibly accidentally hitting civilian targets. It hasn’t won me a lot of friends, but at least I can live with myself.

    If this is true then I completely take back my attitude. You are showing admirable courage. But face it, most everyone else goes along with it. You are the exception.

    Rystefn and Lou, with all the crap said to women in this thread, as well as the crap said about women or, hey, the crap said about me, you just need to argue with this one guy about the military?

    Yeah. Crap said about men doesn’t count. Like crap said about Rystefn, who, based on what he has said above, deserves much better than to be called a “rapist”.

    …the one person anywhere near this conversation who came out said that is was ok to rape, and that he would personally do it. I’m rather of the opinion that statement like that needs to be addressed.

    Is that really what I said? A little honesty and reading comprehension would go a long way. Read my post again please. What I admitted was that the experience of war could well dehumanize me to the point where I wanted revenge so badly I would do it, and would respond like I wrote against those who would (hypocritically in my view) say how awful it was I felt “sexually entitled” to the women. Perhaps someone like Rystefn can handle it. I maybe couldn’t.

    Don’t conscript me to fight wars, and I won’t rape, nor consider it ok to. Force me into a situation where I must kill or be killed, and see my closest friends killed and maimed every day, and all bets are off regarding those, all those, including the women, who aided them.

    No one has really addressed this comment, so I’ll make it again:

    A society which treats men as cannon fodder breeds rapists. Trying to say this is a “rape switch” is taking attention away from the real problem.

  219. #219 Jason Thibeault
    June 8, 2009

    Unbelievable. The unmitigated gall. Angry White Male, wartime is a dehumanizing event by its very nature, and it has nothing to do with whether you’re a man or a woman… it attempts to strip you of your inhibitions against harming and killing others, and as a result it destroys not only the local populace of the warzone, but the soldiers it employs. But that doesn’t mean that you should give in to these impulses because it’s unfair that you’re in the situation.

    Since there’s no draft in either of our countries at the moment, you were ostensibly not conscripted, but joined voluntarily. In joining the army you signed up to get trained to be a mercenary for hire, and though you may have fallen for the suggestion that military service makes you a better, stronger, more patriotic person in every instance, you’ve unfortunately stumbled across the truth of it all — that war is hell.

    Now does that justify your running around raping the local women? Seriously, how many lives does that save back home? Or how many of your buddies’? What do your female company members think about it? And when the locals realize the invading army is raping and pillaging, you don’t figure they’ll form an insurgency? One person’s “terrorist” is another person’s “freedom fighter” when it comes to waging war in another country.

    Beyond all this, what the hell right do you have to share your hell with people that have nothing to do with your war? Where the hell do you get off, insisting that rape is justified or “revenge” for being thrown into a meat grinder by your own government?

    Gads. Seriously. Whether you’ve raped or not, you’re exactly the kind of person the original post has in mind.

  220. #220 Rystefn
    June 8, 2009

    Maybe it’s easy for you. But if it were really that easy for everyone else, why is there such an increase in rapes during wartime? In your fantasy land, it’s really that easy. In the real world, men are dehumanized by the experience of war.

    Because a lot of people are worthless bastards, and when they see that there are likely to be no consequences for their actions, they do terrible and horrific things. Yes, was can be dehumanizing, but the simple fact is this: no one can dehumanize you in your own eyes unless you let them. Overly simplistic? Maybe. Untrue? Not remotely. In your fantasy land, these men are not responsible for their own actions. In the real world, each and every person who rapes made the conscious decision to do so.

    Is that really what I said?

    Yes:

    If I were a soldier in Vietnam, or Berlin, or wherever, faced with the condemnations of people like Greg, I’d tell him this:

    Take your self-righteous sanctimonious moralizing and stuff it up your arse. Damn straight I am sexually entitled to the women who were aiding and abetting those who wanted to blow my brains out or my legs off, although it isn’t really about sex, but rather revenge and humiliation.

    Looks a Hell of a lot like you’re saying it’s ok and that you would do it to me. If there’s another way to read that, I have no idea what it is.

    A society which treats men as cannon fodder breeds rapists.

    Yeah… you basically just said that all societies breed rapists. Which, while true, doesn’t do anything to suggest a solution to the rape problem. All you’re doing is pointing out two basically universal problems in one breath.

  221. #221 AngryWhiteMale
    June 8, 2009

    In the first place, I realize I owe people an apology and I apologize to all for my intemperate comments above. I do not think rape is ok, even if it may have come across that way. That was not the point I was trying to make. The point I’m trying to make is that I can understand exactly why rapes increase during wartime, it’s about the desire for revenge, and it pisses me off no end that this could be considered justification for saying there’s a “rape switch” and that then men can be considered “rapists” whether they do it or not.

    Jason: I’m not in the army. Nor am I arguing that rape is “justified”. I am saying I can understand the motivation. War might well make me snap, as it has done for many others.

    Rystefn:

    Yes, war can be dehumanizing, but the simple fact is this: no one can dehumanize you in your own eyes unless you let them. Overly simplistic? Maybe. Untrue? Not remotely. In your fantasy land, these men are not responsible for their own actions. In the real world, each and every person who rapes made the conscious decision to do so.

    Yes it is overly simplistic. In the real world, we recognize that severe circumstances mitigate, though they do not eliminate entirely, the subjective guilt and responsibility of those who do wrong, and war certainly qualifies as a severe circumstance. And we condemn, as do I, as hypocrites those (like politicians) who are the very ones responsible for putting people in those circumstances and then turn around and self-righteously condemn them.

    Damn straight I am sexually entitled to the women who were aiding and abetting those who wanted to blow my brains out or my legs off, although it isn’t really about sex, but rather revenge and humiliation.

    Looks a Hell of a lot like you’re saying it’s ok and that you would do it to me. If there’s another way to read that, I have no idea what it is.

    Are you aiding those who want to blow my brains out? This is a very peculiar circumstance here. I said it was about revenge, which is not the normal motive for rape, it is peculiar to wartime.

    Yeah… you basically just said that all societies breed rapists. Which, while true, doesn’t do anything to suggest a solution to the rape problem. All you’re doing is pointing out two basically universal problems in one breath.

    OK so you admit it’s a societal problem, not necessarily intrinsically connected to the Y chromosome.

  222. #222 Rystefn
    June 8, 2009

    Are you aiding those who want to blow my brains out?

    I said that poorly. Let me rephrase: Looks to me that you are are saying it’s ok and that you would do it.

    OK so you admit it’s a societal problem, not necessarily intrinsically connected to the Y chromosome.

    If it’s embedded somewhere in our genes, it’s most certainly not restricted to the Y chromosome, since women also rape.

    In the first place, I realize I owe people an apology and I apologize to all for my intemperate comments above. I do not think rape is ok, even if it may have come across that way.

    Thank you. If more people were willing to say things like this, the conversation here would be much less antagonistic, I think.

  223. #223 Stephanie Z
    June 8, 2009

    Rystefn, I am in no way suggesting that taking a few swings at this guy wasn’t necessary or admirable. I am saying there’s very little difference between someone saying, “rape is okay,” and someone saying, “rape isn’t as big a problem as you suggest.”

  224. #224 Rystefn
    June 8, 2009

    That depends on how big a problem rape actually is and how big a problem it is being presented as, I would posit. I understand that you are in the camp that it is a massive and overarching problem at least as big and possibly bigger than is being presented here. In which case, well, I still think the gap rather larger than you think it is, but I can see where you’re coming from.

    I come from the amp that any amount of rape is an unacceptable horror and that some sort of solution must be found to the problem, but I have no idea what the actual numbers are because the only numbers I’ve ever encountered are at best guesswork. From here, well the gap between “It’s ok” and “It’s not as a big a problem as you suggest” is pretty much same, only I don’t think the people in the first camp are saying “It’s not as big a problem as you suggest.”

    If my statement that the numbers are unreliable (which they are, and the quote in the OP says as much in the first sentence) was conflated in your mind with someone else else said about them being completely false or at least dramatically inflated, well, I’m sorry for the confusion.

    In short, to clarify any remaining confusion there might be to my stance: Rape is bad, the numbers are unreliable, there are no reliable numbers, I wish there were reliable numbers, I think people should be more careful how they generalize. If I left something out, I’m sorry, and I’ll try to clarify if it comes up.

  225. #225 Eamon
    June 9, 2009

    DuWayne@215

    “Encapsulates the general academic level level of the whole “Rape Switch” series of threads.”

    Umm, Eamon, have you actually read much in these threads? Because while the discussion has gotten quite heated, that is a completely unfair and absolutely untrue characterization of the discussion that has ensued on any of Greg’s threads here, Stephanie’s threads at Almost Diamonds, Jason’s on Lousy Canuck or the one on my own blog.

    I’ve only looked at Greg’s threads.

    As for the characterisation – I guess that would depend on what your cultural background says about expletives and denigratory remarks. Mine (Northern Irish) doesn’t consider such to be neccessary in reasoned discourse.

    Yes, there has been a great deal of disagreement. Yup, there has even been some rather vitriolic responses – some justified, others not so much. But to even begin to claim that it has generally been on a par with what that one sick fuck has to say, either betrays your lack of reading comprehension, that you haven’t actually read much of the commentary (and I grant that there is an exhaustive amount to read), that you have a very strange idea about what “general” means or that you’re simply being disingenuous.

    Well, I haven’t read each and every comment – due to the two factors of there being so much, and also because, as I live in Japan, I get a mad splurge of replys piling up while I am sleeping. This may also be a factor in my impressions of the threads – as I check the last ones first these usually have most expletives and denigratory remarks.

    Or maybe you just wanted to engage in hyperbolic bullshit yourself…

    Nope. That is something I almost never do. Of course, your viewpoint may differ. ;)

  226. #226 Bekkah
    June 9, 2011

    From a sociological perspective, it should also be noted that while “staying at home”, men who rape are in less intimate contact with each other — time spent together is more limited, there are alternative activities. In wartime, these men who rape are in more constant contact, sharing more of their hours together, and it becomes harder to disguise/not mention committing rape. The number of men who rape, in general, is largely under-estimated. Surveys and interviews of college-age men have documented that the number of men who commit rape but do not identify it as such is incredibly high.

  227. #227 Eucliwood
    January 1, 2013

    As for people going to war… I think rape increases there partly because of the immorality of it all. I am not surprised that people out to kill or torture others are trying to rape and sexually assault people as well. Yes, I know there are ‘good’ people in the military that join for either peace missions or a “war” that’s absolutely NEEDED.. but when is the last time that happened? I get tons of shit sometimes for even saying I don’t approve of war nor will I automatically praise those who joined ranks for it. “My cousin is in it, hurdur!” Is that my fault? “He’s fighting for you, hurdur.” No, he’s killing people, not for me, but for the governments orders… sometimes under a guise of “honor and glory.” Stick it.

    There’s plenty of assault in the military, “roughness” that’s excused by the fact you’re going to a war and its “tough out there”, etc… if people are going out to kill, torture, or wound others, they might rape people too, unfortunately. An Adult of mine did a paper on this sometime recently.

    There’s also the thoughts that some people that are attracted to war are immoral and what to do awful things to people. I said SOME people. Not all, not most.

    And I have come across psychopaths who said they went there for some action and killing training.

    So yeah, my conclusion is that rape is increased in these situations due to general immorality of the people going out to “combat” (combat is a euphemism. Call it what it is. A killing game. Rape is awful, and so is killing and torturing people. Anyone who dares criticize me for not approving of either ugly moves is guilty of them in attitude.)

    Rape and war disgust me.

  228. #228 Eucliwood
    January 1, 2013

    I meant.. WANT to do awful things to people already* in my previous comment.. some people indeed enter the military atmosphere just so they get to horrible things and for some “action.”

Current ye@r *