Trigger warning for discussion about rapists and rape culture.
I don’t know what’s in the air this year, but confessional pieces from self proclaimed rapists – yes, people who are by definition and admission rapists – have been published an awful lot recently. There was the infamous “ask a rapist” thread on Reddit earlier this year and then the dozens of articles that followed in its wake. Over the past couple of weeks, The Good Men Project, has run not one, but two different articles from a sympathetic rapist point of view under the guise of broadening the discussion of rape culture to include rapists. And then they had to run an editorial piece explaining their decision to do so for all us morally simplistic folk who were appalled that they would. How dare we not get their enlightened mission here? Don’t we know that rape is complicated? Don’t we want to hear the other side? It might help us understand things better.
There is validity in exploring why rapists rape, from their own perspective. Is it something that belongs in general public discourse? In unmediated, public spaces with no critical context? Should this be something best kept in the hands of researchers and psychologists? I don’t know a single adult woman in this day and age who isn’t aware that rapists aren’t just anonymous men who lurk in bushes and attack strangers, that they’re entirely more likely to be assaulted by someone they know, that the CDC says 1 in 5 women (and 1 in 71 men) reported being raped. Do we really need to hear that some “nice guy” “accidentally” discovers he’s a rapist because he thought it was ok to fuck a sleeping woman because she had been flirting with him earlier in the evening? Who is that helping? What discourse is it broadening?
The Good Men Project – which, despite its name, runs an awful lot of MRA apologia and has a comment section that can boil the blood – provided only the most lukewarm of introductions with their “I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Give Up Partying Article.” Is a couple of lines of, “hey, we don’t endorse this,” really the strongest defense for running an article that includes, “I’ve accepted a certain amount of rape as the cost of doing business, and so have most of the people I know”? Yes, that is a quote.
Would your opinion be affected if you knew the founder of the site sent out an email calling “cyber feminists” “vicious and cruel” for “attacking” the GMP for running these articles?