Why are we supposed to believe Shia LaBeouf?

I don’t have any particular opinion on Shia LaBeouf. I don’t particularly like him or dislike him. I really haven’t given him much thought. Based on a quick internet search, he seems, like many actor-types, to be overly self-involved and, like many other men, to maybe have issues with substance abuse and aggression/dickbaggery. But that impression has nothing to do with whether or not we should or should not believe he was raped.

After the actor claimed, in an interview, that he was raped by a woman during his February performance art piece #IAMSORRY, Lindy West wrote, for the Guardian, about her disappointment at “expressions of doubt, scorn and outright rage from people across the ideological spectrum – some fellow feminists included.” She seems to believe that many of these reactions were due to his unlikeability and his history of strange behaviour. West goes on to say:

A victim doesn’t have to be relatable or reliable or likable or ‘normal’ – or even a good person – for you to believe them. You can be utterly baffled by someone’s every move and still take their victimization seriously. LaBeouf’s bizarre behaviour and his sexual violation are in no way mutually exclusive, nor are the latter and his gender. ‘He was asking for it.’ ‘Why didn’t he fight back?’ ‘Why didn’t he say ‘no’?’ ‘He must have wanted it.’ ‘He seems crazy.’ These are flat-out unacceptable things to say to a person of any gender. In a culture where male victimhood is stigmatized as feminine and weak (toxic masculinity is, above all, an extension of misogyny), believing male victims isn’t oppositional to feminism, it is a feminist imperative.

But to say that “believing male victims” is a “feminist imperative” isn’t actually true. As some feminist writers have pointed out, this kind of analysis fails to understand or acknowledge what feminism actually does. Feminism explicitly and necessarily is about understanding the fact that, and the way in which, men, as a class, oppress women, as a class. There is no equivalency in rape because men and women do not share similar experiences of gender oppression… because men do not, in fact, experience oppression because of their gender — women do.

West argues that LaBeouf’s gender is irrelevant to his victimization and the narrative surrounding victimization which is also decidedly false. Of course the way we perceive and discuss victimization and sexual assault is gendered — victimization and sexual assault are gendered.

This is not to say that men and boys cannot be raped — certainly they can and do experience sexual assault (generally at the hands of other males). At the same time, it isn’t clear what exactly happened to LaBeouf and whether or not it constitutes “rape.” As Sarah Ditum wrote, for New Statesman, “Rape, generally understood as forcible penetration with a penis or other object (not least under English law), could not have taken place in this instance, and LaBeouf does not specify what did happen.”

LaBeouf doesn’t say he was penetrated, against his will, by this woman. He says, “One woman who came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for ten minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me…”

What does that mean? What happened? We don’t really know… Why are we obligated — specifically as feminists — to believe him point-blank? As Ditum notes, the point of believing female victims is to right a long history of wrongs — because women have long been ignored or blamed or painted as crazy when they speak out about their experiences of abuse and assault.

…there is no extended cultural history of disbelieving men in any case: ‘believing him’ simply means granting the default authority to male words, in a situation where it is impossible to know what they signify. If ‘I believe her’ has become totally detached from the analysis of male violence and female oppression, then it has also become meaningless.

A blogger at Root Veg writes:

This difference underpins a feminist analysis of rape. It is how rape – aka penile penetration – is used by men to control the free movement and behaviour of women in every single society on earth. The converse scenario where women oppress men as a group with the act of ‘forced envelopment’ has literally never happened, and it never could. Can we envisage a world where men are hasty to get home before dark, lest a woman force him to fuck her? Do we think a society has ever existed where men’s typical concern when left alone with a woman has ever been that he is vulnerable to being ‘enveloped’ by her? If not, why not? Do we think a woman who has been raped while drunk by a drunk man technically ‘raped him too?’ If not, why not? We lack explanatory answers to any of these questions if we genuinely entertain the position that ‘penetrator’ and ‘penetratee’ are equivalent. This sex-based power differential bleeds into all relations between the sexes, and it is the very foundation of women’s oppression. This is why, when the article asks ‘would we ask the same questions of a woman?’ the answer is a very obvious ‘no.’ Because women are not, in fact, the same as men. To pretend otherwise elides reality and functions to the detriment of women.

West and others who say that we must believe LaBeouf, because “feminism,” are pretending as though men and women are equal in this world — that we can simply reverse things like abuse, rape, objectification, and sexualization. But we can’t. Abuse, rape, objectification, and sexualization are not gender-neutral. Men simply can’t be objectified in the same way women are because men are in a position of power in our society. The consequences of objectifying a man are not the same as they are for women — not even close. This is also why there is no such thing as reverse sexism. It is simply not possible to be sexist “against a man” because there is no history of or context for such a thing. Sexism doesn’t just happen on an individual basis — it is systemic, as is male violence against women.

We believe women because, well, sadly most women do experience abuse, rape, and sexual harassment. Their abusers are, for the most part, men. This is because we live in a patriarchy. Not because of some fluke. Not because people, in general, are awful and violent and because women just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, over and over again. We also believe women because there is nothing to be gained from lying about such things. As women, we are disbelieved, ostracized, and painted as crazy, lying sluts when we talk about our victimization. Throughout history, male voices have been represented and viewed as voices of authority — men are reliable witnesses and experts, women have not been viewed as such.

So my arguments here have nothing to do with liking, not liking, trusting, or not trusting LaBeouf. They have to do with my understanding of gendered violence and oppression, which I have developed through my understanding of feminism. Which means that, as feminists, we are not obligated to believe men, point-blank — we are obligated to understand the context and dynamics of abuse and sexual assault as attached to gendered power imbalances and to understand that, in a patriarchy, men have, in fact, typically been the ones who are believed — not women.

Maybe LaBeouf was actually raped, I don’t know. What I do know is that he wasn’t socialized his whole life to mistrust himself and his own experiences; to be polite when strange women approach him, sexually harass him, or hit on him, lest he offend them; to believe that women have insatiable sexual urges that can’t be controlled; that his primary role is to provide women with pleasure; and that he must fear violence from women at all times, whether he is in public or in private spaces. He didn’t learn that his life doesn’t matter, nor was he objectified, cat-called, or sexually harassed from the time he was a child and then told “girls will be girls” in response. Certainly he hasn’t watched communities and families and friends and employers turn on men who talk about being abused by their wives. He hasn’t watched men be humiliated, harassed, verbally abused, or threatened because they came out publicly against a powerful woman who sexually abused them.

Because this doesn’t happen.

There is no global epidemic of battered husbands or of mothers raping their children. Sorority girls don’t slip male students date rape drugs and gang-rape them at parties. Cheerleaders don’t wait until football players are too intoxicated to walk or speak, have sex with them, film the rape and share it with all their friends via social media. Boys are not pressured to send topless photos of themselves then blackmailed with the photos, then stalked and bullied and mocked until they kill themselves. There are not entire websites devoted to posting pornified imagery of ex-boyfriends in order to shame and humiliate them. There is no industry wherein women are coercing boys and men into prostitution, en masse, forcing them to have sex with strange women day in and day out.

These are the facts. I know these things to be true because this reality is impossible to ignore if you pay any attention to media at all, because I am a woman and this is my life, and because I am a feminist and I understand the devastating impact patriarchy has on women and girls everywhere. And that is why, as a feminist, I believe women.

 

 

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • As a younger woman, I was harassed every day by men on the street. My father raped my mother. My little sister was molested by a man, right in front of my brother, while they waited to be picked up by mom. She was four. My best (girl)friend was molested by her brother and a male cousin. My current partner (a woman) was molested by an acquaintance of the family. It goes on and on. No one ever went to the police about this or denounced it. And yet every time rape is discussed I have to read about all those men whose lives are ruined by these spiteful women who falsely accuse them of rape. Who are these men, I wonder? Where are they? Does anybody know men who have been in this situation?

    • Sarah

      Well it looks like the man Lena Dunham accused of raping her in college might be innocent. The details she described about him being named Barry as well as being the top republican on campus would be enough to put the dots together. Her publisher is paying his legal fees and I’m pretty sure he’s going to sue her but the damage might already be done.

      • PB&J

        My gut feeling says Lena wrongly accused someone. I was a fan but honestly hated this book when it first came out, before all this controversy about her and her sister. But I believed her until she had her publisher pay the man. Oh well, Amy Poehler is way funnier! Buy her book, I love it!

      • Hannah Wylie

        She’s already said in the buzzfeed article that “Barry” was a fake name. The dailymail contacted someone at her school who happened to be named Barry and told them that she had accused him, needless to say he denied it because he was not the man who raped her. You’re dislike of Lena Dunhum is NOT AN EXCUSE to not believe her. No one said the only women that are raped are “likable.” All women deserve to tell their story and if you believe that only virginal likable saints do then you are literally a piece of shit.

    • Julie

      I do agree with your point, but this article is about whether or not we should believe men who accuse women of raping them. It’s not about women allegedly falsely accusing men of raping them- that’s a whole different issue.

    • Sam

      Not wanting to drift too far from the topic, but just to reply to your question- I’m a man who has been falsely accused of rape. The woman who made the accusation didn’t take it to the police or anything like that (thankfully, for both of us), but she wrote about it a lot on the internet and told close friends about it. The situation made my life hell for a couple of years.

      She had been my best friend and briefly a monogamous romantic partner; this ended amicably and we continued to be very close friends and also sleep together regularly. Her mental health really deteriorated at this time, although this didn’t become clear to either of us until much later. Our relationship became sour- she both wanted my support and completely rejected me, she sabotaged a new relationship I had started, and via the internet she anonymously bullied the girl with whom I had begun the relationship with. She would ring me up in the middle of the night to list all the reasons she hated me, only to ring me the next day to say that she couldn’t live without me. Mutual distrust and resentment grew, and our sex life started to develop an undercurrent of control- on her part, the more explicit control of her possessing/controlling me and my sex life, but on my part the sense that via sex I could eliminate the more difficult elements of our relationship- ie. we could use sex in order to forget/avoid the arguments and distress that we were both faced with at this time.

      Obviously our sex life was very unhealthy (due to the underlying reasons mentioned above- nothing to do with the actual physical act), although this is much more obvious in retrospect. After the last time we slept together, we had a huge argument about nothing in particular. There was nothing being argued over- it was essentially just the break down of a relationship between two people with mental health issues, filled with anger and resentment.

      The next day, she texted me saying that the previous night I had practically raped her. It was probably the worst moment of my life. I was shocked, sickened, speechless. I tried to talk to her about it but she wouldn’t communicate coherently- however, over the next few weeks she wrote many (subsequently quickly deleted) posts on her blog about how I had forced her to have sex with me. There were constantly changing details and rumours flying around the blogging community that both of us were part of. Obviously I had to leave that community. I lost some friends. Luckily the accusations were mainly confined to that blogging community, but I received anonymous threats for months.

      I didn’t speak to her after that, and tried to get on with my life. I became very, very depressed, and felt that I could never achieve anything, as she would use the false rape accusation to destroy any progress I made in my life. But the worst thing was the nagging doubt that perhaps I had done something wrong; perhaps, during sex that night, I had crossed a line. The more I read about consent and rape culture, the more I worried about my actions. Although I knew I hadn’t raped her, perhaps the unhealthy state of our relationship, and the uneasy role of sex in that relationship, had affected my perception of consent and what was acceptable. Maybe I had crossed a line, assaulted her, denied her both consent and sexual agency, and caused her irreparable harm. I couldn’t live with myself. Sometimes I’d spend weeks being able to think about nothing else. I’d scour her internet presence for any reference of me, for any reference of what happened between us. I’d be unable to get out of bed for weeks. Occasionally I’d still receive threats. I wanted to kill myself.

      This went on for two years. Then one day we walked past each other in the street. We noticed each other, but didn’t speak. This left me incredibly anxious, so I found her old number and sent her a text. She was still using the same number, and texted back, in a friendly way. We kept in contact and met up a little while later. Soon after that we discussed the way our friendship broke down. She talked about the awful mental health issues she had been dealing with at the time. I told her my fears about having sexually assaulted her- she told me that there were absolutely no consent issues in our sexual relationship and I had done nothing wrong. She said that she barely even remembered making the rape accusations and that they were just a blur, and a small part of a very distressing time in her life, and that she wasn’t even thinking, just lashing out. I don’t think she understands the full affect that those accusations had on my life, but it doesn’t matter- what matters is that she’s in a much better place now, and that we’re both able to heal.

      Over the months, we’ve started seeing each other more and more. All the reasons we were originally such close friends still exist. Her new boyfriend is an old acquaintance of mine and the three of us hang out together all the time. A year ago I couldn’t hear her name without feeling physically sick; now I’m trying to decide what to buy her for christmas. Almost unbelievably, she’s one of my closest friends again.

      If she had gone to the police with the original rape accusation, would this healing have been possible? I’m not sure. I’d hate to think of what the pressures of police interviews or potentially a court case would have done to her mental health, and her conscience. And the long lasting effect of formal accusations would have probably made reconciliation impossible for both of us. But thankfully it never came to that, and incredibly, we’ve managed to salvage our relationship and become close again.

      I understand how incredibly rare false rape accusations are, and how different my experience is from the usual “evil girlfriend falsely accused me of rape out of spite” narrative. But I just wanted to share my experience (the first time I have ever written about it), partly to counter the usual anti-women false accusation myths spread by men’s rights activists, and also to remind us all that sex cannot be counted on as being something inherently sacred- everyone, regardless of gender, has the potential to use sex as a weapon or a means of control. We all need to understand the power dynamics of sex, and be constantly reassessing them in our own lives to ensure our sex lives are as healthy, equal and safe as possible.

      • Morag

        Your false rape accusation story — which ends with a moral for all of us (who the hell is this gender-neutral “we” who needs to “understand the power dynamics of sex”?) — made me physically sick.

        You fucked a traumatized woman who was in or went into a dissociative state, and then you fucked her some more to shut her up. Then she went crazy, and YOUR life was nearly ruined? Jesus.

        Then you try to teach us, feminists, that “everyone, regardless of gender, has the potential to use sex as a weapon or a means of control.” No.

        I don’t believe you.

        • vagabondi

          Right, and everyone believed her and he lost all his friends? Cmon, really? If anyone’s been trying to understand Daly’s concept of reversal, here’s an excellent job example.

        • Sam

          I’m so sorry about that last paragraph, I phrased it all wrong, it was so stupid of me. As I say in a post below:

          “I’m so sorry. i didn’t mean to offend with the last part of my post. By ‘we’ I really, really wasn’t talking about the amazing feminists and survivors on this website, who have experienced things I cannot even imagine. It was TOTALLY wrong of me to use the word ‘we’. I just mean that generally, when you view yourself as a ‘good’ person (as me and her definitely did back then) and when you’re not necessarily very educated in the politics surrounding sex (as neither of us were), it’s easy to think that the use of sex as a means of control is only what ‘bad’ people do. All I meant in the last paragraph was that I’ve learnt to constantly assess sexual situations to see if the balance of power in unequal in any way- I will never again take it for granted that it is. I’m so, so sorry that I used the wrong words to articulate this. I didn’t mean to sound like a MRA at all!”

          I obviously didn’t have sex with her in order to shut her up. At that point in the relationship, I understood that things were going wrong and that she was angry at me all the time, but I didn’t understand why. I thought it was entirely my fault for not being a good friend- neither of us realised that she was suffering from mental health problems. I felt that, as she seemed to increasingly dislike me as a person, sex was all I could offer her, and was a situation in which we could connect like we used to. In retrospect, I can see how this just ignored the more pressing mental health issues. However, neither of us realised that at the time.

          Also, she didn’t go ‘crazy’. Please don’t use words like that to describe people with mental health issues.

      • Her rape accusation was not false. I think most male claims regarding “false rape accusations” are a result of men being too narrow with their definition of rape. A person who has severe mental issues and is in a highly vulnerable state cannot properly consent to sex. But even if we do not decide to label the act as a rape, it is still wrong to do something to somebody that causes severe emotional distress, for no reason other than a desire for pleasure. You should feel ashamed of your behaviour, whether it fit the legal definition for “rape” or not.

        • Sam

          She wasn’t bi-polar or something: this was just moderate depression which neither of us knew how to deal with. I understand your point, but a vast amount of people have to live with mental health problems, so to ask them to abstain from sex is unrealistic. If it’s impossible for someone suffering from depression to consent to sex, then I have literally never been able to consent to sex. Similarly, this woman knew about my mental health issues, while I was unaware of hers, so by this logic she was the one abusing me.

        • katherineochoa

          I have to say I agree. I had a male friend reach out to me and went on a rant on how his ex- girlfriend was telling everyone that he raped her and how it wasn’t true and now no one would talk to him. He talked about how feminist he was and equal rights and blah blah blah. And how he wanted me to be comfortable and not feel pressured. Funny thing is the whole time he was pressuring me. In ways that made no sense. We live a block away from each other and when we hung out he insisted that he pick me up even though I had a car and he didn’t (he borrowed his mom’s car). I realized he was doing this to get me alone and so I would have less chance to leave. When we got to his place he immediately led me to his room and just stared at me. I tried to talk to ease the tension. But it was ridiculous, you would have to have been a dumb ass not to realize what he wanted. He didn’t put any video games on, no music nothing. Then he started touching me and I froze and he said “ohh I don’t wanna pressure you or anything so just let me know if you’re uncomfortable”. I took him I had to go and he wouldn’t stop touching me. so I told him that if I didn’t go I would get into trouble and I wouldn’t be able to hang out with him anymore. That was the only way I could think of to get him to stop and let me go home. Which I did and I we never “hung out” again. It just makes me so mad that guys do this pressuring and pretend that’s it’s innocent when it clearly isn’t.

      • This is the biggest pile of male whining I’ve ever heard.

        You really have some issues dude. You call her mentally ill, you call her a saboteur. Sounds like you’re just angry she didn’t want you any more.

        The power dynamics of sex? What in the fuck? Yeah, we feminists can tell you about the power dynamics of sex, when men get off sexually on violating women.

        I appreciate the fact that this was cleared as a comment because it does show us how privileged this whiny male is to come here and tell us all about his poor feelz while we, as women, are trying just to survive male violence, the violence that happens before a man rapes us and afterward when we’re castigated and told it was our fault.

        Fuck you asshole.

        • PB&J

          Mancheeze calm down please. It sounded like he said they were both dealing with mental illness. I’m guessing substance abuse? But it’s as someone else said ” a whole other issue.”

          • C.K. Egbert

            Women are more likely to minimize and deny their own violation and suffering. And the FIRST thing abusive men do when they have raped a woman is to claim she is “insane” in order to further gaslight her and convince her that what happened did not.

            I’m not surprised when victims later claim that it isn’t “really” rape. They are going to get told–by friends,family, and our culture at large–that it wasn’t “really” rape or assault. I’ve often doubted my own sanity because of the constant ridiculing/shaming of my own personal boundaries, and it is easy (even for someone who “knows better”) to become convinced one is being unreasonable/exaggerating.

            As IR said, someone in emotional distress (particularly if we presume this person is currently coping with an episode of mental illness) could not consent to sex and men have an extremely narrow view of what constitutes sexual abuse and assault.

          • Morag

            Mancheeze doesn’t need to calm down, and, especially, to be told to calm down by someone who isn’t actually listening to her or any other women on this thread.

            The myth of widespread false accusations exists to silence women and to maintain the rape institution. An institution which benefits men as a class, because girls and women as a class are terrorized–if not by being raped, then by the omnipresent threat of rape.

            Sam’s story, about a crazy women who is once again best friends with the man she once accused of rape (my god, she’s so incredible that she doesn’t even remember being raped!), exists to give credence to the mythology of false rape accusations. It exists to show that maybe, after all, women can’t be trusted to know the difference between sex and rape. And that this female brokenness makes men very, very sad.

            But, maybe, just maybe, these men who are cowering in a corner because they’re afraid the women they fuck could ruin their privileged lives–maybe they just shouldn’t fuck these supposed wild, irrational, dangerous women? And, maybe, in addition, they can ask themselves why they find emotional trauma and psychological distress so irresistibly hot that just just can’t help sticking their dicks in it and stirring it up.

            Mancheeze doesn’t need to calm down. None of us need to calm down when we’re fighting the kind of gas-lighting that’s wrapped up in a tale of one man’s woe.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Agree. “Calm-down” is gaslighting, PB&J. You don’t get to decide when people get to feel emotions or express opinions in an impassioned way. We have every right to feel and express anger over women’s oppression.

          • PB&J

            I don’t think that’s gaslighting, what did I twist? I think anybody can make a point without using expletives like that.

          • corvid

            Ha ha! I always get a chuckle at dudes suddenly morphing into prim goody-goodies when confronted with female anger.

          • PB&J

            Why would you assume I’m a dude? You’re talking to a 54 year old woman.

          • Well then. A 54-year old female rape apologist who is also a counsellor.

            Score 1 for the P.

        • Sam

          “You call her mentally ill, you call her a saboteur. Sounds like you’re just angry she didn’t want you any more.”

          I’m not sure you’ve read my post properly. At no point do I suggest that I’m angry because she didn’t want me anymore.

      • Anh

        I believe you to a certain extent, Sam. The woman you were and eventually became friends with again sounds like an abuser despite of her mental illness. You should’ve sought couple therapy or a domestic abuse hotline.

        You sound unsure of whether or not you have raped her. I’m glad that you are reading more into rape culture and consent and you are still learning but it should be clear that your actions should not be repeated in the future. (I feel horrible for the suicidal thoughts you had received and I advise you to seek help for those in the future regardless of its context.)

        However, your last two paragraphs were callous and unnecessary. Everyone does not have the power to use sex as a means of control and when you post something like that on a website like this filled with survivors of various sex crimes you not going to get positive reception. And the phrase “if she had gone to the police with the original rape accusation, would this healing have been possible” is incredibly offensive to victims who have never reported their rapists or harassers to the police out of fear. (You are replying to a woman who has experienced this in real life. Have you no understanding or logical thinking skills? Do you not understand how ignorant your action is?)

        Quite honestly, the last two paragraphs make me question whether your story is true at all. Your last sentence sounds like something out of an MRA handbook. It sounds awkward and contorted. You do not understand feminist theory at all and should not even be on this site. You clearly have some emotional and mental issues that no feminist or antifeminist theories can help you with.

        Some more helpful websites for you to peruse would be suicide prevention websites or emotional abuse recovery websites. There are plenty of them on google that can be found easily through the click of a few buttons.

        • Sam

          I’m so sorry. i didn’t mean to offend with the last part of my post. By ‘we’ I really, really wasn’t talking about the amazing feminists and survivors on this website, who have experienced things I cannot even imagine. It was TOTALLY wrong of me to use the word ‘we’. I just mean that generally, when you view yourself as a ‘good’ person (as me and her definitely did back then) and when you’re not necessarily very educated in the politics surrounding sex (as neither of us were), it’s easy to think that the use of sex as a means of control is only what ‘bad’ people do. All I meant in the last paragraph was that I’ve learnt to constantly assess sexual situations to see if the balance of power in unequal in any way- I will never again take it for granted that it is. I’m so, so sorry that I used the wrong words to articulate this. I didn’t mean to sound like a MRA at all!

          The part about the “if she’d gone to the police, this healing wouldn’t have been possible”, was about the healing of the friendship between me and her- not healing in general. If she’d taken the false accusation so far as to go to the police, I’m pretty sure it would be impossible for either of us to still be friends.

          I’m not unsure of whether I raped her. The stress of the false accusation and my mental health in general at the time made me almost convince myself that I had actually raped her. As I said in my above post, as soon as I made contact with her again, we talked about the accusation and she told me that there had never been any consent issues and I had not raped her, and she apologised for making the false accusation.

          Yes, I do think at that time she was an abuser. However, I also realise that we both contributed to an unhealthy sexual environment. Before this happened, I thought that healthy sexual relationships were solely about consent, but now I realise the more nuanced ways in which things can go wrong. Obviously she chose to make the accusation and that element is out of my control, but if I had been more educated (and in a better place with my mental health) at the time then I would have been able to see how sex between us had become something which we doing for the wrong reasons, and I could have put a stop to the relationship before the false accusation ever happened.

      • derrington

        Maybe the reason she thought of you as abusive was the fact that you were sleeping with her whilst sleeping with another woman. Most socialisation materials that talk about relationships normally illustrate a monogamous relationship and maybe that was what she was expecting. Possibly she wanted to hurt you as much as you hurt her by investing in a new relationship whilst using her as a fuck toy. I dont know the pair of you but I’d say you are as responsible for how you might have initially abused her as she is for how she lashed out. I think you got hoisted on your own petard.

        My half sister and half brother made false rape allegations about me to discredit me when I started speaking out about my father’s violence to my mother and my ex partners violence to me. They were very sexist and liked to keep men’s collective reputation spotless. They said I’d accused our father of abusing me which was completely untrue but it spread like wild fire throughout friends and family . I only found out when I went to our father’s funeral and couldn’t understand why no one was speaking to me. I gave up trying to clear my reputation eight years ago and haven’t seen anyone from my family or community since. It is a living exile. False rape accusations aren’t just the preserve of women, men make plenty of them too and even more false rape denials which leave the woman completely isolated as so many more people prefer to believe the man. That is the history of rape denials and false rape accusations made about women too. In the UK and most of Europe, it has traditionally been the victim of rape that has been locked away in a mental asylum rather than the rapist, so I think men have a lot of history around rape and lying about it which tends to cloud how to read each individual case. Certainly with this guy, I’d be interested to hear his definition of rape and why he didnt just get up and call the ‘performance’ off if he didnt want it to go any further.

        • Sam

          You’re right- you don’t know either of us or anything about the relationship. I certainly didn’t use her as a ‘fuck toy’. It was her idea to end our original monogamous relationship, and her idea to continue sleeping together as friends. We both went on dates with other people. However, even if I had hurt her by casting her aside for a new relationship (which I didn’t), it wouldn’t excuse making a false accusation of rape, obviously.

      • corvid

        As a woman who has suffered from a plethora of made-up psychiatric diagnoses (“generalized anxiety disorder?” How about “life under patriarchy is a mind-fuck disorder?), I find your comments related to your ex-girlfriend’s “mental illness” disturbing. Why did this “deteriorating” mental state suddenly become apparent during your fuck-buddy relationship? Why did it mysteriously clear up after the fact? She clearly was uncomfortable with this state of affairs and it was causing her distress, but she was probably afraid to say so, given the popular “sex-positive” shaming of women who seek emotional attachments concurrently with sex. She was probably forcing herself into this role because she had been told by this culture that it would be the open-minded way, and that it would be good for her. Through continuing with “casual” sex with you, she was ultimately seeking what you had previously had together. You were seeking something else entirely.

        Clearly you only cared about your own orgasms, as indicated by: “….but on my part the sense that via sex I could eliminate the more difficult elements of our relationship- ie. we could use sex in order to forget/avoid the arguments and distress that we were both faced with at this time.” Translation: you were using her for sex, and you try to pass this off as a mutual thing, when clearly it wasn’t. We live in a culture where men routinely use women’s bodies for their own pleasure while being completely oblivious to women’s comfort levels, this is normalized. Notice also how you’ve omitted a description of the actual alleged rape? That can’t be an oversight.

        Women minimize our reactions to things all the time, and it’s no wonder that she never went to the police or pursued it further. Seems she’s blocked it out of her mind as a way of coping and getting on with things. My advice to you: stop feeling sorry for yourself, and for fuck’s sake don’t treat women like vaginas on legs to whom the psychological and emotional dimensions of intimacy should be null and void at your convenience.

    • JamesNunya

      To answer your question, I have been falsely accused of rape. The girl was in a different grade than me and I had no idea who she was, or even that she existed, before the incident. As far as I can guess, she picked my name out of the yearbook. Maybe she meant to go for the quarterback that I was photographed with. I’ve no idea. But regardless of her reasons for doing so, this girl did name me as her rapist and I had to go through a small in-school investigation because of it. But, school being school, rumors spread and I lost every friend I had, my girlfriend, my locker was vandalized, my home was vandalized, and every time I had a job where a classmate worked I either wouldn’t get the job or I’d be let go within a couple weeks of them starting. I had to move away from my home town in order to maintain a job once I graduated.

      Just to give you a bit of insight as to who I was, socially, before this happened, the school actually created a “most considerate person” position in the yearbook for me because of my efforts to help the school raise charity funds to donate to breast cancer awareness and because of my food drive efforts to feed the homeless. Efforts which even got me a small article in the local paper. Yes, that one rumor because of that one false allegation completely undid all of that and made me such a social pariah that I couldn’t even get a job at the local McDonald’s. False allegations ARE that serious.

      And if, by now, you’re detect a certain amount of anger in my post, rest assured, it’s not directed at well intentioned people trying to raise awareness about the evils of rape or the difficulties of rape victims. It’s directed at people like you who try to act like false accusations don’t even exist miss “Who are these men, I wonder? Where are they? Does anybody know men who have been in this situation?” I’m one of these men, I’m right here, and I most certainly do exist. And I’m not alone.

      • corvid

        So just to clarify, there was actually a rape that happened although you weren’t actually the culprit? The girl was given the task of naming her attacker and mistakenly chose you, perhaps because she could not remember properly? If so, that’s more a case of mistaken identity than a false rape allegation.

        • JamesNunya

          I’ve no idea if she was actually raped or not. I distanced myself from that situation as far as I could to try and minimize the effects of what was going on for my own well being. But when my face and name were in the yearbook for her to examine at her leisure I can’t imagine a simple case of mistaken identity was all it was. And considering my somewhat abnormal height for my age at the time, I stood out from the crowd pretty well. I can’t think of one person she could have confused me for at that time.

          I admit this does not rule out the possibility of her having been raped. But I see no way that she could have mistaken me for anyone else at the school. Sure, there were others who had similar complexions and even hair styles. But none of those students were near my height as I stood a full head taller than everyone else. Trust me, I spent years trying to figure out who she could have possibly mistaken me for. I came up with 0 reasonable results and, yet, I didn’t do it.

          But, and this is the main point, regardless of her reasons for her claim that I’m the one who did it and regardless of whether she’d actually been raped or not (for her sake I hope not), intentionally accusing me when I didn’t do it is a false accusation.

          • corvid

            The reason I mentioned the mistaken identity thing is because you said: “Maybe she meant to go for the quarterback that I was photographed with.” Maybe she meant to go for someone else entirely who may not have been a student at your school but, say, present at a party? It’s worth pointing out that making an accusation of rape is an extremely traumatic ordeal for girls and women in so many ways, which is why many avoid the whole process, and I don’t see how this could confer any possible benefit upon this girl. Someone very close to me was raped as a teenager, and I watched her go through hell after getting the law involved, in the end nothing came of it. That said, if you were wrongly accused, it’s unfortunate that this happened and I do wish you the best in getting on with your life.

    • Anonymousguyforobviousreasons

      Me, for one. It was a horribly traumatic experience which completely ruined my life and sense of self, and led me into a deep depression that took years to come back from. We are out there. We are here. If the others are anything like me they don’t want to talk about it, least of all publicly.

      From my perspective I never believed that anyone would believe me because of my gender. I thought that no matter the evidence to the contrary because I was male, it would be assumed that I did commit a crime- hell, before it happened to me I would have never believed an accusation would be false. After all, who would do such a thing? Thankfully my accuser was a very poor liar, and the evidence of my innocence was overwhelming.

      I leaned that some people can, and do make false accusations that destroy lives. Google the story of Brian Banks for a good example.

  • emmajo

    This is a side note… saying that women could never force envelopment on men means a person has not seen True Blood. In one of the seasons, Jason Stackhouse was tied naked to a bed, lying on his back. He was then force fed viagra. Then when he was erect, a woman he did not want to have sex with straddled him and began to have sex with him in order for him to impregnate her. He protested the entire time. Now, I don’t know how scientifically true that scenario could be, but it really changed the game.

    • Morag

      “but it really changed the game.”

      Changed what game and in what way?

    • Zhanghe

      I saw that episode. He was also living in the mountains in the deep south, with a bunch of uneducated, inbred, were-panthers, his sister is a fairy, and vampires are everywhere.
      I’m not really sure how feasible this actually is in reality though. Know what I mean? Not sure how that’s a “game-changer”.

    • Lola

      He was forced to have an erection, which is maybe really depressing and demeaning (I wonder, as I don’t have a penis) but in any case he didn’t suffer anal penetration against his will.

      Besides, we are talking about fiction here.

      I may be too narrow minded, but I fail to understand how penetrating somebody against her will and being forced (via viagra) to penetrate somebody is equal in pain and in emotional distress. I admit my failing to grab the idea. Sorry indeed.

      • Alan

        Just to clarify things you dont habe.to “force” some to have an erection for.it.to be.coerced.. Erections can be a common response to anger fear anxiety excitement.
        In response to.sudden temperature changes and even to light touch without ever.been a psychological response.. Second,force penetrative can and actúally has resulted in cavernous tissue damage..sometimes irreversible..and believe it ornot because of the changes in pencil density can be quite painful

    • PB&J

      Penetration is not the only way to rape.

      • Mar Iguana

        Penetration is how to impregnate, therefore forced penetration is rape. Otherwise, it is sexual assault. Only females can be raped because males can’t be impregnated, no matter how womb envious they may be. And, boy are they ever!

        • JamesNunya

          Grossly inaccurate.

          “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or
          anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without
          the consent of the victim.”

          You don’t get pregnant through oral penetration. You don’t get pregnant through vaginal penetration with “any body part or object.” Your entire reliance upon impregnation would also exclude women who can’t get pregnant as well as children.

          So, no. Rape has nothing to do with possible impregnation. Rape is having some form of sexual intercourse with someone without their consent. And by that reasoning, it is ENTIRELY possible for a woman to rape a man.

    • amongster

      Because said woman, a werewolf, socialized as a predator, in “True Blood”, a show about vampires and werewolves, is the same as a female human being in good old reality. Sure.

    • Brian

      The episode referenced, True Blood Season 4 Episode: “If you love me, why am I dyin’?” was written by Alan Ball. It is the creative fantasy of a male author. Not a game-changer, just another example of the misogynistic “femme-fatale” trope in popular media.

    • Naida

      yes, a scripted scene from a vampire show overthrew thousands of years of patriarchal oppression. Biggest gamechanger ever. slowclap slowclap slowclap.

    • And anyone who does not think green light beams can kill people should watch Harry Potter. *sarcasm*

      And people say the media does not influenc people.

      Seriously though, even if a man’s penis was forcibly surrounded with a vagina, it would still be sexual ssault, not rape. I totally condemn all sexual assault of course, but it is rare for males to be sexual assaulted and even rarer for males to be sexually assaulted by women. This means LaBeouf would have to come up with stronger evidence than his own word if he wants me to believe he was sexually assaulted. The less probable the claim the more evidence is required for it to be believable. Women get raped pretty often, so if a woman claims she was raped, the claim is not improbable and so less is evidence is required.

    • Sabine

      Please tell me you are not seriously using a scene from True Blood to talk about women raping men?!!! Also, Viagra does not work if the man is not sexually aroused. Read the label! 😉

      • corvid

        “Viagra does not work if the man is not sexually aroused”

        Sabine for the win!

        Honestly this whole thing sounds like a perfect misogynist fantasy, right up there with turning a condom inside-out to impregnate one’s self with the poor, hapless male victim’s child (I saw that one on CSI some time ago!) Because men control the entertainment industry, they turn out this kind of thing with impunity, without giving two shits about the kind of effect it has on men’s views of women. For shame!

    • Ellesar

      You are seriously using an example from True Blood to make this point?!

  • Lydia

    “[…] but it really changed the game.” How so? Did you even read the article?

  • Lola

    Wow Meghan. This is so powerful. I usually like your posts, but this one is so brilliant in its clarity and lucidity. Thanks so much for your work!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thank you! It was largely inspired by Sarah Ditum’s article and the one I quoted/linked to at Root Veg…

      • Just posting this in case you didn’t know – there’s only one blogger at Root Veg, and it’s me; my handle is at the top of each post!

        Really great article, it’s nice to finally see some sanity out there about this.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I didn’t know that! Thank you for clarifying (and great post) 🙂

        • Sabine

          That was a fantastic post, Root Veg.

  • PB&J

    Meghan I’ve worked with plenty of boys as a therapist who have been raped by their mothers, sisters, and other women. Penetration is not the only way to rape. Rape is defined by Webster-Merriam as ” to force (someone) to have sex with you by using violence or the threat of violence.”
    I’m a little disappointed you don’t seem to know the definition because as you should know women can be raped without penetration.

    • Meghan Murphy

      My understanding is that, from a legal standpoint, rape constitutes sexual intercourse or sexual penetration without consent. I’m sure there have been cases of women raping men, but it is rare. The vast majority of rapes are perpetrated by men. Also, while boys might be susceptible to adult female predators, I am pretty skeptical that adult men are being sexually assaulted by adult women or fear sexual assault at the hands of women on any notable scale…

      • Be Rad

        As someone who worked in law enforcement and with district attorneys I can say that rape does not have to include sexual intercourse or penetration. Having worked at a female penitentiary I saw my fair share of rape cases where there was forced cunnilingus and whatnot.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Ok. Again, what is your point? Are you trying to say that rape isn’t gendered and that the vast majority of rapes aren’t perpetrated by men?

          • Mostly.Generic

            I think his point is indeed that rape is not a gendered concept from the standpoint of the law.

            He does not, however, imply in any way that the vast majority of sexual violence is not perpetrated by men. He’s simply providing his anecdotal evidence of women inflicted sexual violence.

            In fact, bybeing skeptical that adult women could be sexual predators to adult men, you’re essentially being skeptical that ANY adult woman could:
            -Find herself in a position of power over an adult man
            -Not be desired
            -Wish for sexual contact despite the lack of desire
            -Be willing to use coercion/violence to obtain what she wants

            Again I agree that the overwhelming majority of instances of sexual violence are Male on Female. But I don’t see any legitimacy in being skeptical that the opposite happens.

            Nevertheless, ne could argue that by being skeptical about this, you are suggesting that women simply do not find themselves in positions of power over men in today’s society.

            Psychological studies on race stereotypes have shown that suggesting lack of ability/skills/power about a class of people makes them feel powerless and acts to further isolate them in a disabled/unskilled/powerless situation.

            This would lead me to say that your skepticism of female on male sexual violence has a patriarchal essence to it. One could say that it plays into the hands of patriarchy to suggest that women never find themselves in a powerful position to coerce sexual contacts…

          • Meghan Murphy

            Sure, it’s possible that an individual woman might be in a position of power over an individual man in particular situations. But women as a class do not have power over men as a class. Women as a class don’t view and treat men as things that exist to provide them with pleasure regardless of their actual desires/humanity.

            I mean, you can say “theoretically _______” but we aren’t talking theoretically. We’re talking about what actually happens in real life and throughout actual history.

          • CM

            “Sure, it’s possible that an individual woman might be in a position of power over an individual man in particular situations. But women as a class do not have power over men as a class.”

            so, why exactly are you making this point on the back of an individual who had an individual experience that he never once characterized as societal? this article is extremely disturbing and something i never expected from you.

          • Meghan Murphy

            “so, why exactly are you making this point on the back of an individual who had an individual experience that he never once characterized as societal?”
            I think it’s pretty clear from the post that I was responding to the argument that it’s a ‘feminist imperative’ to believe Shia LaBeouf (for ex: Lindy West’s article/argument)? I addressed the fact that ‘believing women’ exists within a cultural and historical context that ‘believing men’ does not. I wasn’t addressing Shia’s claim directly.

            “this article is extremely disturbing and something i never expected from you.”
            Why?

          • Mirielle

            It is a feminist imperative because “equality” means equally bad as well as equally good. Either women are capable of the full range of human behavior (destructive as well as positive) and emotion that men are, or they are not. It follows that women and men should be subject to the same presumptions of innocence or guilt.

            I agree that believing women is different than believing men, but it’s dangerous to start picking and choosing which victims we believe based on their gender.

          • Morag

            ‘It is a feminist imperative because “equality” means equally bad as well as equally good.’

            This is the funniest thing I’ve read today.

          • Morag

            Feminists are fighting for the right to be destructive! Yeah! Once statistics show that women are becoming CEOs and rapists in equal numbers to men, then we’ll know we have finally made it!

            Cue up the theme song to Mary Tyler Moore: ” … you might just make it after all … “

          • bella_cose

            No, it’s dangerous to believe that gender should be ignored. That way of thinking will never free women from male violence or oppression.

          • bella_cose

            “Either women are capable of the full range of human behavior (destructive as well as positive) and emotion that men are, or they are not. It follows that women and men should be subject to the same presumptions of innocence or guilt.”

            Acting as if women and men are equal will not bring about equality. Perhaps in a world without a gender hierarchy treating women and men as though they are the same would work, but that’s not the reality of the world we live in, so liberal notions of equality will not work.

            And please don’t misread my comment. When I say women and men aren’t the same, I’m not talking about biological/gender essentialism bullshit.

          • Morag

            “This would lead me to say that your skepticism of female on male sexual violence has a patriarchal essence to it. One could say that it plays into the hands of patriarchy to suggest that women never find themselves in a powerful position to coerce sexual contacts…”

            Oh, for crying out fucking loud. Do you think we haven’t heard this kind of upside-down, inside-out nonsense before? In essence:

            “If you don’t think women can be/are successful rapists and murderers and all around bad people, victimizing men left, right and centre, then you are just as patriarchal as the patriarchy itself! So there.”

            Because everyone knows that the goal of feminism is for women to become men, right? I mean, there isn’t any other way to BE human than to do what men have always done, right?

          • Be Rad

            Thanks for seeing my point on the law. I took an oath to uphold the law when I was a police officer. Any good officer will tell you justice should be blind. There were several times I had to testify for some really horrible people but the truth is horrible people can be victims of crimes too.
            “Psychological studies on race stereotypes have shown that suggesting lack of ability/skills/power about a class of people makes them feel powerless and acts to further isolate them in a disabled/unskilled/powerless situation.” I think that’s an interesting theory. My wife who is African American believes this and stresses this to her students who are also mostly African American. A few weeks ago she took a field trip to our city hall in partly because the council members are more than half black. She said a lot of the kids had one of those moments where the “light bulb” turns on (my wife’s fav part of teaching) and some felt empowered which is great in the wake of the protests for equal treatment by law enforcement. Since then some students have even organized protests of their own.

          • marv

            “I took an oath to uphold the law when I was a police officer. Any good officer will tell you justice should be blind. There were several times I had to testify for some really horrible people but the truth is horrible people can be victims of crimes too.”

            The system of law as it exists was founded by white men. While feminist reforms may have emancipatory possibilities for women’s inequality, they operate within the rules already laid down by patriarchs. Law makers and enforcement agents fail to see how biased and uncompromising male jurisprudence is to that political environment – the one you want to be “blind” to.

            To digress a little, patriarchal legislation protects white capitalists values of private ownership and profit accumulation which causes most property crimes. Theft is the wealth redistribution program of the poor. When the rich do it to the poor/workers it is exploitation.

          • Be Rad

            No I’m saying rape isn’t about penetration, It’s about forcing someone to commit a sexual act. Please do not disregard acts where no penetration occurred.

          • corvid

            Rape is defined thusly on a popular internet dictionary:
            “Unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.” See the emphasis on penetration.

            Perhaps what you are referring to more closely matches the broader term “sexual assault”: (from our buddy Wikipedia): “Sexual assault, a form of sexual violence, is any involuntary sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage against their will, or any non-consensual sexual touching of a person. This includes rape (such as forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration or drug facilitated sexual assault), groping, forced kissing, child sexual abuse, or the torture of the victim in a sexual manner.”

            Why are you going on about feminists “disregarding” sexual assault that happens to men? Just because discussing that particular subject isn’t specifically a feminist prerogative, doesn’t mean we aren’t attuned to basic human decency and wouldn’t sympathize with men who have been victimized.

      • PB&J

        Women rape other women. It’s not uncommon.

        • corvid

          Do you have any numbers to support that claim?

          • PB&J

            http://newsok.com/female-prison-in-oklahoma-has-highest-rape-rate-in-u.s./article/3922988
            I had spent a lot of time counseling a woman who went to this particular prison. She was able to transfer to another prison due to how many times she experienced rape by other inmates. She had many years of ptsd but is doing really well now.

          • Laur

            Someone I care deeply about, a woman, was also raped by another woman. She has also been raped by men, and it is men she both loathes and is frightened of. This is because we live under male supremacy.

          • corvid

            I don’t deny that women can rape other women. Prison culture is generally horrific. I meant, do you have any evidence that female-on-female rape is “not uncommon” among the general population?

        • Ellesar

          Women DO rape women, but ‘it’s not uncommon’ is both inflammatory and not backed up with any evidence. If you can provide any evidence, either in crime stats or anecdotal, along with some kind of definition of ‘common’ you may get out of the hole of sweeping statements!

          • gxm17

            “Not uncommon” is a way to sidestep the FACT that the overwhelming majority of rapes (of all genders) are committed by MEN. The stats I’m finding on the conviction rate for rapists is 99% male and 1% female.

      • Just because the law does not protect non-penetrative rape does not make it any less rape. Just because he hasn’t had to live in fear of sexual assault for the entirety of his life because of his gender does not make him any less raped. I’ve been following this site for a while, and generally I appreciate what you have to say, but I’m very disappointed in this article.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I didn’t say he wasn’t raped. Maybe he was raped — we don’t really know… My point is that there is a larger context with regards to why, as feminists, we believe women, and why, as feminists, it isn’t our duty to believe men, point-blank. My point is that rape isn’t gender neutral.

          • Mirielle

            But how can we insist that men believe women victims if we as feminists absolve ourselves of the responsibility to believe ALL victims?

          • bella_cose

            Because, as Meghan Murphy has already stated, RAPE IS NOT GENDER NEUTRAL.

            Try thinking about that for a bit. Reread the article. Read some more comments. Then see if you can’t understand.

      • Jess

        you know that cases of rape for men is underreported right?, and its our fault due to misogynistic beliefs that it’s a woman’s problem and to them its a issue of “losing masculinity. There’s that and facing ridicule and victim blaming. I’m really disappointed in this article

        • Meghan Murphy

          So all rapes are underreported. Ok. Does this change the fact that men are primarily the perpetrators and women are primarily the victims? Does this mean we must talk about rape as gender-neutral? Or that ‘believing women’ exists in the same context as ‘believing men’?

    • vagabondi

      Males can be sexually abused or assaulted, but I wouldn’t call a woman “forcing” a man to fuck her rape, exactly. The female body is not the same as the male body, and PIV is not the same for women as it is for men.

      In PIV the female body is invaded, perforated, its boundaries violated. That is not true for the male body. Anal penetration is a closer approximation, which is why being anally penetrated reduces men’s status, makes them into “women.”

      You see this in men’s prisons, where someone is either a man or a punk, and once penetrated can never be a man again.

      However even this is not a truly parallel situation, and doesn’t get at the full horror of what rape is about. Violence, yes. Invasion, boundary violation, yes. But really what rape is for, what it is all about, is forced impregnation. In a culture in which access to abortion is restricted, this in fact means forced childbearing. The rapist hijacks a female body to produce a copy of himself, as a virus uses a host cell.

      Rape is the fundamental act of patriarchy. It is enforcement (think corrective rape of lesbians), grooming (traumatized women fit all the stereotypes of what women are “supposed” to be, and fearful women may seek a protection racket that they might otherwise see through), and the means of the cultural and biological transmission of patriarchy from one generation to the next.

      This is something that women cannot do to men. This is why all PIV is structurally different for men and women, and why it makes sense to reserve the word rape for a specific act, and use broader terms like molestation or sexual assault for other violations.

    • Lola

      If, in the case of boys/men we are not talking about forced anal penetration, what are we referring to when saying they were raped? Forcing them to have an erection? Women don’t need to be aroused to be raped, but it seems to me that, in order to penetrate somebody with a penis, you need the acquiescence of said penis.

      This reminded me of something a friend told me. She knows a woman who went to Cuba and paid for sex there. She had to perform oral sex on her prostituted man, because, otherwise, he could not get an erection. Is that rape, giving a blowjob to somebody and paying for it? Is it really so difficult to see the differences between being penetrated against your will and being forced to penetrate somebody? I mean, both of instances are inmoral, but, REALLY??

  • be rad

    I have a couple issues with this article. #1 Rape does not have to be penetrative. #2 You character assassinated him in the beginning by calling him a violent, drug-addicted, douche bag. What if Rolling Stone had led off their recent piece that way? Men and women are not on equal grounds in many ways but when it comes to reporting sexual and physical assaults it’s not even close. I’ve worked as a police officer in a major city-one that there are over 100 murders every year. During my time there would be at least one woman arrested every day for assaulting her partner. Sadly men are not very likely to press charges because they are embarrassed, shamed, and they think it just doesn’t happen to men. These women would often repeat their behavior. I would respond to these calls and often find a man bloodied more severely than the average case where the man was an aggressor because blunt objects/weapons were often used instead of just their hands. I worked with a woman’s shelter to help provide resources for these male victims(counseling and other support). There was a definite connection made between these men and women because of a shared experience. It is important for feminists to recognize that this happens so we can prevent things of this nature happening in the future. Isn’t feminism about making a better world for us to live in? Before I became a police officer I was a corrections officer at a major penitentiary that had housing for men and housing for women. Both sides experienced high amounts of rape by the same sex. It was too sad.

    • Meghan Murphy

      “You character assassinated him in the beginning by calling him a violent, drug-addicted, douche bag.”

      Hardly. I mean, he went to rehab. Saying that someone has substance abuse issues isn’t character assasination. Lots of people struggle with addiction — it doesn’t make them bad people… And, like, he HAS behaved in violent, dickish ways. I’m not just making this up out of thin air… Either way none of that has anything to do with whether or not we should believe he was raped.

      “I’ve worked as a police officer in a major city-one that there are over 100 murders every year. During my time there would be at least one woman arrested every day for assaulting her partner.”

      I first assumed you were talking about sexual assault but now realize you are probably just talking straight assault. So what is your point — that abuse and sexual assault isn’t gendered? I can’t help but wonder whether all these women “assaulting” their partners were in abusive relationships? Were they defending themselves? What is the context for these arrests and assaults?

      “Isn’t feminism about making a better world for us to live in?”

      No. It’s about ending patriarchy and male violence against women.

      • Be Rad

        It shouldn’t matter what a victim did or how they lived their life in relation to sexual assault. If I said Lena Dunham was a drug user and a narcissistic douche bag before quoting her experience would you not consider that me trying to assassinate her character? You saying hardly means you see my point. It’s just not right. Could ending patriarchy be considered making a better world for us to live in?

        • Meghan Murphy

          I think you missed the point. It doesn’t matter whether or not we like or don’t like LaBeouf, the issue is that sexual assault is gendered and so is our response to victims, which is why, as feminists, we DO believe female victims. Whether or not you think Lena Dunham is a “narcissistic douchebag” also has nothing to do with whether or not I believe her when she says she was sexually assaulted. I believe her because she is a woman who says she was sexually assaulted.

          Ending patriarchy would certainly make the world a “better place” for women to live in.

          • Be Rad

            You believe sexual assault is “gendered” so you believe Lena and not Shia, I don’t look at it that way. I see it as we obviously have to take a person’s claim on sexual assualt seriously no matter what gender they are.

          • Be Rad

            a “better place” for my daughters. to bad you missed that point.

          • wendy

            Your daughters are at risk of male violence, 1 in 3 women and girls are victims of male violence. 1 in 3 women and girls are not at risk of female violence. Its simple as that.

          • Lola

            A better place for YOUR daughters? Oh man, I’m just going to assume that you were high on something.

          • Be Rad

            Why?

          • “a “better place” for my daughters. to bad you missed that point.”

            Oh. Are we pouting because the ladies won’t listen up to your superior point and keep insisting that they know what they said the first time and even try to explain it to you?

            You said – twice – “making a better world for us to live in” – and now you’ve got your bottom lip out because Meghan supposedly missed a “point” you never even attempted to make?

            We got your “not all” argument and in fact have heard it before. Instead of expending energy being petulant, why don’t you try a bit harder to grasp what is being said here.

          • Meghan Murphy

            You said “us,” implying “everyone” (men and women). But feminism isn’t about making the world a “better place” for everyone. It is specifically a movement for the liberation of women. This is not to say that feminism isn’t “good” for “everyone,” but to say that the goal is to free women from male oppression (which would be good for women). The goal of feminism is not to help men.

            And I’m sorry but does that fact that you claim to have daughters make you an authority on feminism — what it is and what it should be? Now we must listen to you, the expert on feminism, because you impregnated a woman who birthed your daughters?

          • Be Rad

            My point was that I’m amazed how you don’t see how feminism and the work being done to end patriarchy does benefit all of society. Almost every woman knows men that deeply care about them. It’s also because women have a greater voice than ever before that victims of any gender are heard better than ever before. That’s also why I’m surprised you feel issues like rape are something that gender dictates whether or not a victim deserves a voice. I did not say I was an “expert on feminism” and I did not simply “impregnate a woman who birthed my daughters”. My wife and I raise children that we will go to no end to support and protect from this crazy world we live in. Meghan I’m guessing you don’t have children because maybe you’d look at the important of feminism for all of society a little differently.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I HEARBY CROWN YOU KING TROLL.

            You are purposely pretending I think and have said things I don’t think and haven’t said. Clearly I believe ending patriarchy is good for society. But, nonethelesss, feminism is aimed at liberating WOMEN from patriarchy. Clearly there are many men who care deeply about me. I did not say that I “feel issues like rape are something that gender dictates whether or not a victim deserves a voice” and I’m not going to keep repeating my point over and over again when I already made my point very clearly in the very post you are commenting on right now.

            And no, I don’t have children. I don’t want children. I have better things to do with my life than change diapers. And you clearly have no understanding of feminism if you think that women must reproduce in order to fully understand how feminism would benefit WOMEN in society.

            You are part of the problem if you truly believe that. Stop wasting my time.

          • Morag

            “And you clearly have no understanding of feminism if you think that women must reproduce in order to fully understand how feminism would benefit WOMEN in society.”

            Yes. Very stupid. But WTF kind of stupid point was he — a husband and father — trying to make about reproducing and feminism? That a child-free woman lacks credibility? Never mind.

            It doesn’t matter, because it’s all so toxic and time/energy-wasting to deal with these smug men. When women speak — carefully, purposefully, deliberately, clearly — they apparently hear sounds, a little variation here and there, but no meaning. Like birds chirping, probably. Just a bunch of chicks.

            But, if we cut to the chase, and tell them to fuck off and stop bothering us since they’re not listening anyway, they hear just fine. Then they call us female-supremacist cunts.

          • Be Rad

            She seems to miss the point that feminism isn’t all about a gender but about humanity. I think it’s incredibly hypocritical to say that one gender deserves to be believed but another doesn’t when it comes to a crime.

          • corvid

            No, feminism is about the liberation of the female SEX from oppression by the male SEX. If it were about “humanity” it would be called “humanism.” As for your other sentence, you missed the point Meghan is trying to make and I don’t know that repeating it verbatim here would fix that.

          • Be Rad

            Where did I say “they must reproduce”? I guessed you don’t have children because you seem to not understand how important feminism to all of society. Civil rights is the same way. “Better things to do than change diapers”, you really think that’s what being a parent is about? That’s just such a sad statement. I think it’s great that you don’t have kids if you don’t want them. My wife and I did, so what?

          • vagabondi

            ” I’m amazed how you don’t see how feminism and the work being done to end patriarchy” … Takes away men’s unearned privileges. “Almost every woman knows men that” … Treat them as a natural resource and extract unpaid labor from them.

            There, fixed that for you.

          • Be Rad

            OK and do you think I want my daughters to go through what you stated because I have a penis?

          • Meghan Murphy

            Okaaaay, that’s about enough from you. You are wasting everyone’s time and are intent on misundertanding. So bye.

          • PB&J

            I hate how some people on here call other people trolls when they don’t agree with someone even when they are completely on topic. Meghan you sound like an immature girl when you can’t prove your point.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I already made my point. What is the point of people repeating the same thing over and over again? We call people trolls who refuse to engage with intellectual integrity and who intentionally derail conversations because they want to have a conversation no one is having or because they have no interest in actually understanding the point being made. I’m sure you can imagine that would be frustrating and a waste of time. You’re doing it right now, in fact — the derailing, that is…

          • Nope. Not because of your penis. Because of the words you have written and the way you have engaged in the discussion.

          • “PB&J – December 16th, 2014 at 5:55 pm

            I hate how some people on here call other people trolls when they don’t agree with someone even when they are completely on topic. Meghan you sound like an immature girl when you can’t prove your point.”

            Not only derailing, but projecting too!

  • anne cameron

    I’m an old woman, seventy-six years old, and I have daughters, sons, granddaughters and grandsons. I even have a great-granddaughter. I worry my grandsons might get involved in a fight and wind up punched-out or injured, but I’ve never worried about them being raped by a woman. By another man, yes. That happens. It’s like the ultimate put-down when that fight happens, not only leave someone with black eyes and broken teeth, but bugger them, as well. I worry my granddaughters aren’t safe from the men in their lives. I even worry about my great-granddaughter, because there are rape victims as young as a year old.

    This Leboeuf story…I don’t believe. Whipped his legs for ten minutes? And he did, what? Stood there and let her do it?

    He has other reasons for putting out this story. Those reasons are anti-feminist and pretty obvious. The kid is a kook. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a film in which he’s starred and in future I’ll check before buying my ticket and if he’s in the film I won’t bother going to see it.

    Some people will do just about anything at all to hog the spotlight for a few minutes!

  • A Survivor

    First, I want to say: You make great points. I agree with your final summation paragraphs entirely.

    Secondly, I’m also a man that in college, went to a party, got too drunk and passed out on a sofa in the basement. I swam up out of that drunken fog to find a woman at that party sitting across me, having sex with me. I vaguely remember trying to push her off (for the record I am gay and was known to be gay at the time, ie, “out”) and then blacked out again. The woman in question was a lesbian.

    I spent the next few years having people “high five” me for my rape experience. Telling me how lucky I was to have “bagged” a lesbian. To have to work beside her in our department and have her laugh off my confronting her with “I just wanted another kid, figured I’d go for it. Not like you hated it. You can’t rape a man.”

    I spent years having my experience of violation defined by how someone else saw it. To some, it was a great time. To others, it was impossible that I hadn’t wanted it. No one, not one person, stopped to consider that maybe I had felt violated by the experience. So I quit talking to people. I bit my tongue when forced to work beside her. Better to have the devil beside me than to constantly have friends stabbing me with little knives and devaluing my experience. My truth.

    I’d never pretend to claim male rape victims at the hands of women have it worse or harder or any of a million other things. Again, I repeat, I support your last few arguments whole heatedly. I was raised in a family of strong women and I’m very aware of how our culture views and treats women.

    I just kind of wish that it didn’t have to be an either or. That my own rape didn’t turn me into an invisible person that could no longer be seen or heard outside of someone else’s perception of what they thought happened to me. Because to the men, it was their idea of a good time and to the women “it couldn’t have been rape.” No one cared what happened to me. They just cared what they thought happened to me.

    I dunno. I just wanted to add this here.

    • icemountainfire

      Whyever would a Lesbian want to have sex with you? I don’t believe a word of what you are saying. This sounds like straight out of a porn flick. “Predatory Lesbian jumping on defenseless man”, how original.

      (First time commenter here. I really like your post, Meghan!)

      • corvid

        Yeeeah, this got my bullshit meter ticking a bit too. Why would a lesbian ever do this, even drunk? What the heck were they smoking at this party? Apparently something that turns you temporarily straight….

        • A Survivor

          It’s what she did. And I don’t know that she was drunk. I know *I* was wasted (usually was in those days). And in case you missed the memo this wasn’t some porno scene for me. Again, pretty much known I was gay since puberty. I have zero interest in women. And, lastly, I told you the only “why” she ever offered me when I tried to confront her. Given the extremely blunt way she phrased it and the fact she already had kids at the time, I had to assume it was true.

          Although to be honest, I don’t know why I came back to argue this point with you. It would seem that nothing has really changed and like everyone else, you care more about what you THINK happened to me than what ACTUALLY happened to me. Pretty much the single most common experience that all rape victims share, regardless of gender. We’re seen through the filters of the other person’s chosen world view and are rarely actually seen as who we are and for what we experienced. Everyone thinks they know the “real” story.

          Is it any wonder why most rape victims remain silent? Sure, the words I heard weren’t “You were asking for it (it’s your fault)” or “You shouldn’t have had that much to drink/worn that outfit (it’s your fault)”, but rather “Good for you! (it didn’t happen)” or “You can’t possibly be raped by a woman (it didn’t happen)”.

          I suppose that, by coming back to reply to your bait, I’m showing that I still kind of care that people like you wish I were invisible. I thought I was past it, that the skin had hardened. Apparently not. With responses like these, it’s just an echo of a reminder about why I shut up originally and quit talking about it. The system won, another rape victim had been quieted. /golfclap

          So thanks for that little life lesson reminder. I probably should have known better given the forum. We all have our particular filters and you two will *never* see anything in me and my experience but what you *want* to see.

          • epic woman

            “I probably should have known better given the forum.”

            I had given you the benefit of the doubt, but now I am convinced you made the story up.

          • A Survivor

            It was a poorly worded response fired off in anger. Sorry, I was more than a little surprised to find out I still cared as much as I did about if complete strangers believed me or not.

            In a post about how rape of women is an active industry where men rape and women are raped in such staggering numbers (statistics aren’t ignorable), the issue I was trying to make was probably not going to be the best received. I should have realized that. I should have *expected* push back because *as* a minority that has experienced more than a fair share of horrific shit over the years, I get anger and disbelief and lash back at perceived sources of repression. Believe me. Done my share of it.

            As I said in the start of all of this, I agree with Meghan pretty strongly on most of her points. I just… didn’t want to get swept under the carpet with the power of statistics without trying to answer posts like the one immediately preceding mine that YES, it is possible for a woman to rape a man. I also kind of see her point about the word rape vs sexual assault, but I’m sorry… I’m not letting her take that word from me. That’s the one place I’ll draw the line on my own experience vs. the overall greater good.

            Anyway. Now this has become incredibly meta and I should just let it go because we’re straying from the original post a great deal. This isn’t about me. It was meant more to simply say that people like me exist. So… To sum it all up? I just wish that someone like me didn’t have to get swept under the carpet in the name of the greater good, but that I get it and I get why someone like Meghan will believe a woman over a man when it comes to rape.

            And with that, I’ll stop. It was a solid article that made excellent points and I’ll continue to read. Just maaaaaaybe not wade in to the comments again. :p

          • corvid

            I’m not sure what your point is, because I don’t think any of the feminists who read this blog are going to deny the exceptional possibility of a man being assaulted by a woman, we know it happens on occasion, and we don’t endorse it, we are pacifists who are against violence. I wish men would stop it with the knee-jerk reaction “you don’t care about men who are assaulted!”

            The “lesbian sexually assaults gay man” story is strikingly unusual. Surely you realize that a lot of anonymous trolls come on this blog saying all manner of weird things to evince a reaction.

          • Morag

            “This isn’t about me. It was meant more to simply say that people like me exist. So… To sum it all up? I just wish that someone like me didn’t have to get swept under the carpet in the name of the greater good, but that I get it and I get why someone like Meghan will believe a woman over a man when it comes to rape.”

            I’m glad you get it now. And I do hope you understand that it’s not feminists who sweep male victims of sexual assault under the rug. Really, it should be obvious that we’re not in charge of rape culture (!), but that we respond to it and organize against it, and that we prioritize ourselves and female victims, as well as victims of child sexual abuse and rape.

            As far as what happened to you, I endorse what corvid said above, that we do not “deny the exceptional possibility of a man being assaulted by a woman, we know it happens on occasion, and we don’t endorse it, we are pacifists who are against violence.”

  • Zhanghe

    I read some of the huge debates in the comments section regarding this situation with Shia LeBoeuf, and I admit, I raised an eyebrow. Mostly because Mr. LeBoeuf has been going out of his way for quite awhile now to get attention as some kind of “visionary performance artist”. I read that he is attempting to master the art form of “meta-modernism”. His central thesis being, that ‘credibility grows in direct proportion to celebrity’. So stories are more believable coming from a celebrity than one of us regular folk.

    The entire point of the project was that he would remain physically passive and silent no matter what happened, going so far as to litter the room with instruments such as whips and crops, at the mercy of every slack-jawed human who attended. He created an entire scenario that he was completely in control of then chose not to exercise that control when this woman allegedly had sex with him.
    All for the sake of his art. He could not make a single word, or move, because he didn’t want to compromise his Art.
    Then he decided to call it rape in a very vague statement.

    I believe it’s important to note, that LeBeouf had a very clear knowledge of the possibilities that could befall such a performance piece. He was almost directly copying Marina Abramovic’s “Rhythm 0”, 1974. In her piece, she as the artist stood still for 6 hours at the mercy of the public. She laid out 70+ items on a table ( whips, feather duster..does this sound familiar Shia?), and had written on a sign what she was doing, letting it be known that whatever happened to her, she would take full responsibility. There would be no repercussions no matter what anyone did.
    She describes it as 6 hours of “real horror”. She was nearly raped (apparently another man stopped the perpetrator trying), she was cut, poked, pricked, caressed, stripped naked, dragged around the room, and also, nearly shot. Amongst the objects were a gun and a bullet on the table, and a man loaded the gun and tried to pull the trigger, once again intercepted by another person.
    She set a very clear, very famous precedent, and I cannot imagine this was somehow unknown by Shia and his team. Because he indeed has a *team* of people working with him.

    I have been sexually assaulted. Many women I know have been sexually assaulted in some way. So it bothers me to hear this debate online with people defending a notoriously egotistical male celebrity who is famous for his crazy antics. It feels like his situation is mocking what real rape victims go through.
    This is not a child being abused by a parent. He was not incapacitated in any way. He was not in fear of his life, job, didn’t have his social status threatened, nothing.

    I do believe men can be raped. Usually it’s by other men, but I bet there are instances that involve women. I believe male children can be sexually assaulted by adult women as well.
    But I do not believe Shia Lebeouf was raped. I think he is perhaps suffering from a mental illness, I think what the woman allegedly did was repulsive, but I really think he simply wanted to copy Abramovic to create a publicity stunt and it worked.

    • PB&J

      You say that the woman who had done this in 1974 was nearly raped but was stopped. What if nobody was there for Shia? I agree it’s setting up for the worst but maybe the point really is some people are terrible.

      • Zhanghe

        Abramovic as an artist proved that you cannot trust humanity. She showed the world that humans are dark creatures, and when allowing them free will to do anything they want to another human being with no consequences, they act in horrific ways.
        She set a famous precedent that Shia was directly appropriating. The only difference, is that Abramovic perhaps could not anticipate what would happen to her as she had nothing to reference. She went into it “prepared to die” for her art, and said she would take full responsibility for what happened, and that is exactly what she did. Shia LeBeouf and his collaborators, directly copying Abramovic’s work, had a very sobering heads up of the possibilities, complete with documentaries, photographs, footage, etc etc.
        Aside from all this, Shia has made a conscious effort to blur the boundaries of reality and fiction for the last few years. He has been doing everything he can to get away from his multiple charges of plagiarism that have been dominating headlines everywhere: Time magazine: http://time.com/6094/shia-labeouf-plagiarism-scandal/
        So the problem comes down to; how do we believe a man who has spent years trolling and lying to us in the name of his “Art”?
        If my six year old nephew hit me with a plastic baseball bat for 10 minutes while I’m at a family gathering, I would have the choice of standing up and making it stop. It would be no problem for me. I am larger and stronger than him, and if for some reason I felt awkward, I could call someone nearby to aid me if I asked them to.
        When it comes to Shia’s situation, amongst the hundreds of people at the gallery, one of his collaborators, tweeted: “@NastjaRonkko

        As soon as we were aware of the incident starting to occur, we put a stop to it and ensured that the woman left.”

        So apparently, someone did help him. This clearly states they stopped it and ushered the woman out. They didn’t see the need to inform the police. Then they continued his performance.

        As a woman who has been sexually assaulted more than once, I find this very hard to digest. These assaults have had a lasting, direct effect on my life. Every single time something like this happened, I was overpowered. I was in fear. I was helpless. I was unable to defend myself. I was a child. I was a bystander who trusted a long time coworker, I was abused, incapacitated, ALONE etc etc. I live my life differently now. Even as recent as last night, I had to walk after 10pm to a friends building to pick something up, but I hurt my foot and have to limp. All I could think of was that I *must* stay in the light, I scan for other people, I’m like a wounded deer out there. A sitting duck. If someone tries to touch me, how can I run? I shouldn’t have gone out at all. Then the pleasant feeling of relief when I see a family walking in the same direction as I am.
        This is the reality for many women out there.
        Shia was none of the above. And I doubt he will suffer for years because of this incident.
        I doubt he will alter how he lives his life. I doubt his freedom will be compromised. I doubt he will live in fear of women. He simply doesn’t have to.

        Once again, I do believe he is mentally ill in some way. He could be depressed. He could be bipolar, or going through his existential crisis as he claims. He has publicly admitted to issues with substance abuse and addiction.
        I believe it is possible Shia has a lot of people profiting from his brand of crazy, and that isn’t right. But “rape” is not the definition that should be applied here. He was not incapacitated and penetrated. He put himself in a situation with hundreds of people where he was in complete control.
        He chose not to exercise his control.

        • You are absolutely right that he was, again, plagiarizing someone else’s work.

          And because of the absence of information, the conflicting stories about the woman, the lack of follow-up and so on, I do believe that this is some James Franco-esque shitty conceptual performance “art”. I think he’s playing (what fun!!) with the public discourse on the prevalence of rape in womens’ experience and the summary dismissal of our claims of victimization: “Like, DUDE… what if I, like, say “She raped me” and nothing else and check out everyone fighting about ME ME ME. How AWESOME!”

          You may be correct about his mental health, but I believe that healthy or not, the man is an asshole.

  • Former Lurker

    I think we men live not so much in fear of being raped (except if you’re in prison maybe) but in fear of being ACCUSED of rape. You’d be amazed how many of us have either been falsely accused, or at least threatened with such a false accusation. It’s a huge problem, not least because there are usually no consequences to the accuser, even if she destroys people’s lives by her actions.

    • bella_cose

      Stop being dramatic. Women falsely accusing men of rape is a rare occurrence. That is, unless you’re so completely blind to your privilege that you have the luxury of amplifying a miniscule possibility to “huge problem”.

      • JamesNunya

        Define “rare.” Once a century? Decade? Year? Month? Day? In 2010 there were approximately 270,000 cases of rape & sexual assault (I hate how they combine those as they’re 2 different crimes.) Since assault is more common than rape I’m going to say rape was less than half this number. Half being 135k I’m going to call it 115k. I know we could nitpick about the specific number but I’m going for a general idea here so I’m going to forgo that.

        I think we can all agree that 115 would be way too much and that 115k is abhorrent. Hopefully we can also agree that the 115k is a reasonable, though not perfect, breakdown of the combined stats. That’s info #1. 115k rapes reported.

        There are various studies about false accusations over the years. Ranging from 1% to 90%. However, cut out the extremes (1 – 3 vs 30 – 90) and you’re left with a range of 8% – 12%. Let’s cut it down the middle and say 10% (it’s great for the math too). No one’s going to be happy with that number, I know. You’ll say it’s too high. MRAs will say it’s WAY too low. Good. Compromise means either no one’s happy or both sides are. So 10% is the rate of false accusations. (Also, the DoJ said 8% back in ’97 but this fails to take into account the ones that slipped through and got convicted anyway. So I believe it to be accurate.) Again, this isn’t perfect but I’m going for generality not precision.

        Math time. 115k reports. 10% are false. This means 11,500 false accusations in 2010. Or about 1,000 a month. 250 a week. 30 a day. Or a false accusation every hour, on the hour, all year long. Rare?

        I’m not saying we should be all “OMAGERD” and shove aside helping rape victims to tackle this. Or that rape isn’t a serious issue in every conceivable way. What I’m saying is that false accusations deserve more attention from people than “Yeah, ok, it happens. Rarely. There, I talked about it. Can we move on now.”

        • False accusations receive a lot of attention. Real substantial accusations are generally rendered “false” (she or her story were not immaculate, she was a prositute and was therefore unrapeable, she got drunk in the wrong outfit or she’s just another young woman [slut] looking to discredit fine upstanding young athletes and so on). Rape victims don’t receive “support”. They get attention: traumatizing, punishing attention. It’s not the same thing and you know it.

          I that not enough for you? What do you want in terms of “more attention” to the male “victims” of “false” accusations? What you are saying is EXACTLY “shove aside helping rape victims to tackle this.”.

          Your trollish and triggering comments are extremely upsetting. So congratulations: mission accomplished! I have to say, as much as it sickens me to do so, reading your above comment fills me with a heartfelt wish that you experience the horrific thing are pontificating about. Maybe then you’ll grow some capacity for empathy, because your faux “rationality” is not selling.

      • James Feisley

        According to the FBI “[t]he rate of forcible rapes in 2012 was estimated at 52.9 per 100,000 female inhabitants.”

         Assuming that all American women are uniformly at risk, this means the average American woman has a 0.0529 percent chance of being raped each year, or a 99.9471 percent chance of not being raped each year.  That means the probability the average American woman is never raped over a 50-year period is 97.4 percent (0.999471 raised to the power 50).  Over 4 years of college, it is 99.8 percent. 

        Ann Coulter: Illustration of hoaxes, epidemic of …: http://youtu.be/lu-Js4NzuA4

        • Ann Coulter? Really? The woman who, on CBC News, insisted emphatically to the interviewer that Canada had joined the U.S. in sending troops to Vietnam? That person?

          • bella_cose

            It infuriates me that rape apologists constantly try to cite official figures, when most people who have done any research into rape and sexual assault know that many, many, women don’t report it. I didn’t, and none of my female friends who were raped/assaulted/molested did either. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and we don’t count.

            Seriously, I love statistics, but not when they’re misused to support nonsense.

          • JamesNunya

            Actually, it wasn’t misused at all. The rate for rapes REPORTED was 26.9 per 100,000 people (male and female victims combined). 52.9 per 100,000 (female only) includes the ESTIMATION of those that went unreported.

            SO, in other words, you WERE included. Citing official figures does not apologize for rapists. Nothing was misused. Although, he did forget to take one thing into account. The average American female lives to be approximately 70 years old and these stats are for females ages 12 and up. So he should have figured in 58 years, not 50. And since that’s 52.9 women per 100k people, you need to multiply the end result by 2 (since there’s 2 types of people, male & female) Also, his math was off (an inaccuracy not a misuse).

            52.9 / 100,000 = 0.000529 not 0.0529. I’ll re-run the math.

            0.000529 * 58 = 0.030682%
            0.030682 * 2 = 0.061364%

            So there’s a 0.0614% statistical (estimated) likelihood of a woman being raped in her lifetime after she turns 12. Assuming an equal likelihood per demographic and geographic, of course. Or 0.001% per woman per year of her life after age 12.

            This does not apologize for rapists as it does nothing to change the fact that rapists are the lowest form of scum in existence. What it SHOULD do is tell you that there are a lot less rapists, and rapes, out there than you believe and, hopefully, should alleviate some of your fear. Which, I would think, is a good thing.

            Now, I agree, that 0.001 doesn’t seem to mesh with the some odd thousand occurrences. But that’s because we haven’t looked at the total female population. According to the US survey there are 316,128,839 people in the US and 50.8% of them are female. So..

            316,128,839 * 0.508 * 0.001 = 160,593 women raped with 79,770 reported. That’s how the rate is incredibly low yet the actual numbers is incredibly high. There’s no discrepancy between the truth (0.001% likelihood) and the fact that 160k women being raped a year is way to damn many.

            Personally I say THANK GOD it’s not the 1 in 3, 4, or 5 nonsense that many feminists like to espouse. I mean, 1 in 5 would mean 32,118,689 women would be raped a year. You’d be tripping over a rape in progress every time you rounded a city block. So, yeah, thankfully feminists are wrong about that particular claim. But that doesn’t mean the truth is any less horrifying or that we shouldn’t make stopping rapes a priority.

          • bella_cose

            Except there are problems with the data the FBI use to get their statistics.

            http://m.thenation.com/article/180441-how-did-fbi-miss-over-1-million-rapes

          • JamesNunya

            I don’t deny that there are problems with reporting and recording of the stats. However, I will point out that the article which you linked me to is about a study that was done on rape statistics from 95 until 2012. If you recall, the FBI underwent a fairly drastic change to their reporting and recording policies in 2012 with the aim to fix many of these issues that the article reference.

            The stats I used were gathered in 2012 (and released in 2013) AFTER this fix. Is there more to be done? Without a doubt, but the 2012 (and later) stats are much more accurate than stats from previous years. Granted, there’s certainly still room for improvement. I’d say step 1 would be to get victims (male and female alike) to report their victimization which, in my opinion, is the greatest hindrance to handling the issue.

            I say it’s the greatest hindrance because without truly accurate numbers, it becomes much more difficult to justify the use of tax dollars to the tax payers and no politician wants to approve of that level of taxing and spending without some marginal approval from the voters (aka tax payers). Otherwise people are just going to see their pay checks get smaller so that “corrupt” or untrustworthy police officers can get more money.

            Of course, victims don’t want to go to the police for various reasons, un-trustworthiness of police officials among them. It’s a doozy, no doubt about it. (I’m aware I left out a lot of issues and complexities.)

            But none of this means that the stats were misused. They’re not perfect stats but they’re the best and most accurate that we’ve got. And they do try to compensate for their inaccuracy by trying to study unreported crimes as well which is why you got 26.9 and 52.9 per 100,000.

          • bella_cose

            I’m not saying the FBI misused the statistics. I’m saying you, and anyone like you, who tries to use them to draw the conclusion that rape isn’t nearly as prevalent as many experts believe it is. The truth is that even with the improved guidelines, there are many obstacles to getting rape stats, and most likely, many assaults are being missed. Statistics are only as good as the data they are based on, and The FBI data are problematic on too many levels to consider their stats to be representative.

    • wendy

      It seems to me many men feel entitled to free sex, where they bear no responsibility for their sexual behavior nor consequences to women. Do in fact rape women, and dont look at themselves that their behavior is indeed rape. That they dont see it as that, when it is. So, when youre being ‘falsely’ accused, look at yourself, first.

    • Ellesar

      It is very hard to compare, as I am female and therefore was signifcantly fearful and controlled by the possibility of rape throughout my teens and 20s, but never once worried that anyone would accuse me of rape, but I really think I would prefer the fear of accusation. Particularly as the chances of a rapist being convicted of rape are small, and the chances of being convicted of a rape falsely are TINY.

      • Laur

        Yes. Also, being accused of rape is something one can almost always control. Don’t have sex with someone you just met when one or both of you are drunk. Don’t watch porn and misogynist media. Don’t make rape jokes or other misogynist comments. And don’t hang out with men who talk about women only as fuck-objects.

        And if you’re THAT concerned about being falsely accused, don’t fuck women.

        • Morag

          “And if you’re THAT concerned about being falsely accused, don’t fuck women.”

          Yes! I made the same comment on this same thread.

          It’s so obvious, isn’t it? IF they are that terrified that there’s an epidemic of shameless, rape-accusing Jezebels on the loose, then why don’t they keep their distance?

          • JamesNunya

            You don’t have to have any interaction with someone for them to accuse you of something. And it’s the consequences of the actual accusation that give cause for fear and concern. The accusation alone has the potential to disrupt or even destroy your private, social, and working life. That’s BEFORE you even face the possibility of going to prison to be raped by inmates or guards.

    • Laur

      The reason it’s hard to believe men who claim they are “falsely accused” is b/c men virtually never see their actions as rape, even when they break into a stranger’s house and rape all the women there. (I am thinking of a specific case here, done by a man who was found to be totally mentally sound; it’s not a mental illness but male socialization). Men see the sex they have, however they have it, as normal and “she wanted it.”

      Men think it’s okay to keep bugging and bugging and bugging a woman for sex, and then when she finally breaks down and agrees, just to get him out of the house or to stop calling her, he sees that as totally consensual, when it’s not.

      There are men who say women, all women, WANT to be raped, so therefore, there can be no such thing as unwanted sex for women.

      I have no doubt there are a few, very sad cases, where the accusation isn’t fair for one reason or another. I’m not going to go into specifics here, but I am not talking about the male stereotype of the vindictive bitch who lies about rape.

      However, when men put out the myth that most rape accusations are false, and when we, as women, know how constantly men attempt to trick us into gaining sexual access, it’s hard to believe men who say they were falsely accused. Especially without personally knowing the woman(en) involved.

  • PB&J

    I think feminists should support what’s right and not what’s between your legs. It’s just really ignorant to say ” I believe women”….no matter what.

    • wendy

      Its not. One billion women and girls on the planet suffer a form of sexual violence by men. Thats one in 3. Feminists are here for women, not for men.

    • Lola

      Please,PB&J, tell us what we have to do to be good feminists. Without your guidance on what matters and what is not that important we can, like, DIE or someping.

    • amongster

      What an annoying troll you are. You’ve got nothing better to do than throwing straw men at us and spilling your misogyny.

    • Zhanghe

      How is trying to make the world better to live in for women and children not right?
      It’s like chastising the cancer society because they aren’t investing equal time and money to cure male-patterned baldness equally.
      Cancer might be a huge problem that threatens lives, but what about the bald doods?

      • Morag

        “It’s like chastising the cancer society because they aren’t investing equal time and money to cure male-patterned baldness equally.”

        Very good. Yes, that’s about the size of it.

      • Lee

        The people who spent their lives trying to get people to care about the ravages of AIDS in the gay community didn’t spend equal amounts of time trying to end molestation in the Catholic church — clearly horrible monsters who love pedophilia.

  • I wonder what it would take for a woman who was raped to come forward and receive the same publicity and sympathy, like Shia does. How many people, outside of feminist circles, would scream “But women are raped, too!” or “Men can rape, too!”? Oh right, they don’t. In fact, most of them actively deny it.

    People, especially other men, just love to say things like “Both ‘genders’ should be taken seriously!!” but only when rape happens to men because then it’s a Serious and Real Issue (TM), as though female rape victims are overrepresented as it is.

    • PB&J

      It doesn’t seem like he’s really getting any sympathy from anyone. I personally really have a hard time believing him due to the circumstances not that he is male. I think everyone (even men) would agree that rape is a real issue and women are affected far more by it. It just seems very hypocritical to me that some people would take one gender seriously and not the other. Maybe that’s because I work with a lot of boys and girls who have experienced rape. It’s not like they experience different trauma because of their gender.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Well he got sympathy from Lindy West in the Guardian, no? And the woman who wrote this article http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/shia-labeoufs-rape-claim-would-we-say-to-a-woman-oh-sure-why-didnt-you-fight-her-off-9896678.html… And everyone who is calling me an evil cunt on twitter…?

        • Morag

          “And everyone who is calling me an evil cunt on twitter…”

          Sorry to hear this. But not surprised, of course. Your sin is having an analysis, writing it, and defending it. That’s a lot of rule breaking.

      • Laur

        I know that plenty of boys are molested, as are girls (more girls than boys though). However, we are talking about *adult* men here.

      • PB&J,

        I strongly disagree. Not everyone, and certainly not most men, would agree that rape is something that affects women far more. The classic strategy is to deny that women are raped (in almost all cases by men) or, if you want to go into MRA territory, to claim the opposite: that men have it far worse. But, nevertheless, a woman can count herself most lucky if she isn’t told that provoked the man or that she’s just a liar. I am a victim of child sexual abuse, as well, and yet no one told me that I was a liar or that I provoked that piece of garbage that calls himself a human being.

        So what appears to be “preferential treatment to women” is, in fact, the only sensible way of acting.

        • PB&J

          I don’t think you know very many men to say something like that. That’s like saying most men don’t think murder is wrong.

          • amongster

            There are so many people dying at the hands of men and because of decisions men have made in this fucking hierarchical system also made by men that I can’t help but wonder if most men really don’t believe in their right to dominate at all costs even if it means to murder others.

          • Many men watch pornography. Many men buy women and women’s bodies. And while most people (even a lot of men), outside of (radical) feminist circles that is, seem to reprove such behaviour, it is only superficial. Deep down, we are convinced that watching pornography or buying women’s bodies is not wrong. So why should it be any different with rape? If we actually regarded rape as being wrong and misogynist on a profound level, it would cease to exist.

          • Zhanghe

            PB&J I’m beginning to get a troll vibe off of you. You’ve had something to say and have challenged multiple comments at every single turn here. Yet when you get a reply that you can’t dispute, you don’t acknowledge it or discuss it, you just move on to another comment chain to try to challenge someone else for things they have not even stated.
            You asked me: “What if nobody was there for Shia?”

            I replied and proved someone did in fact help Shia. That in fact, hundreds of people were there for Shia. So I guess you tapped that vein dry and moved on to another person?
            Then you challenged the idea that Shia was getting no sympathy. Meghan proved he is in fact getting more sympathy than a woman could ever hope for in a similar situation.
            Then you fade away from that and try to challenge Thomas by accusing him of conveying an idea that most men don’t think murder is wrong, when his comment said nothing of the sort.
            You are serving no purpose. and seem to be making things up as you go along.
            So why are you here? What is it you want us to know?

          • PB&J

            That’s funny because have had many posts not published because Meghan Murphy won’t allow a real discussion. And to all you who say “most men don’t believe rape is wrong” are completely wrong and sexist in their view point. I feel sorry for all of you who have such hatred and fear of men, including Meghan “I pretend to not be a misandrist” Murphy.

          • Meghan Murphy

            omgggg shuttt upppppp

          • Morag

            Misandrist! Missaaannndriiiist!!

            You know that famous shot of Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers? This is how I’m visualizing PB&J:

            http://www.brattleblog.brattlefilm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/invasBodySnatchersDVDcap4.jpg

          • Meghan Murphy

            HAHAHHAHAAHHA YESSSS.

          • Jessica

            HA! ^^My thoughts exactly

          • Jess

            sexism on men and misandry doesn’t exist

          • Morag

            In Canada, 97% of reported rapists/sex offenders are male. 92% of their victims are female.

            For the last time: rape is a gendered crime. I don’t even like that word, “gendered.” It’s more direct and honest to say that overwhelmingly males rape, and that, overwhelmingly, females are raped. It’s a culture, it’s an institution.

            But, most men deny this reality. Because (as has been said about a zillion times here, in many different ways) men as a class benefit from a terrorized female population. They may not realize this, or consciously desire it, but they do benefit. So, again and again, constantly, almost always, men deny these realities and try everything in their power to discredit women. Or, if not discredit individual women, discredit the evidence that rape is a cornerstone of male supremacy.

            And you, PB&J, are denying that men, as a class, do this. You tell us that, by not giving female and male victims equal amounts of our trust and of our finite energies and resources, we are:

            disappointing
            ignorant
            immature
            unfair
            hypocritical

            And now you say that — should I laugh or cry? — we must not “know very many men.” Apparently, you know all the good ones. What a privilege.

            Listen, we’re tired of your denials and your refusal to engage with the evidence that men, as a class (excepting the men in your life, of course), don’t want male sexual violence against women to end. We deduce this because they keep raping and sexually assaulting and then they call us liars or bad witnesses to our own experience.

            So, we will continue to prioritize believing women — believing ourselves. And, yes, we will do this BECAUSE we and they are women.

            You, as an anti-rape activist, can go join the gender-neutralizers and spread the absurd claim that male victims and female rapists are “common” and that it’s all the same, same, same … just people hurting other people, what’s “between the legs” is irrelevant … no discernible patterns or purpose to the violence, random … and so on.

          • Sabine

            RIGHT ON MORAG!!!!

          • Another one out of the ballpark, Morag! (apologies for the sports metaphor. :))

          • vagabondi

            Most men don’t believe that rape is wrong.

            If men believed that rape was wrong, they would stop doing it.

            However, somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of women and girls are raped in their lifetime, some repeatedly.

            In surveys, 76% of boys claim forced sex is acceptable under some circumstances. (White, Jacqueline W. and John A. Humphrey. “Young People’s Attitudes Toward Acquaintance Rape.” 1991. )

            43% of college-aged men admit to using coercive behavior to have sex, including ignoring a woman’s protest, using physical aggression, and forcing intercourse. (Rapaport, Karen R. and C. Dale Posey. Sexually Coercive College Males. Acquaintance Rape: The Hidden Crime, edited by Andrea Parrot. John Wiley and Sons, 1991. )

            I could go on like this all day. These kinds of studies are not hard to find.

            If men thought rape was wrong, they wouldn’t do it. They do it. A lot. Therefore they don’t think it’s wrong. QED.

            Of course they’ll SAY they think it’s wrong, otherwise women wouldn’t go near them, and then they’d have noone to rape but each other.

          • epic woman

            Over 60% of the world’s population live in countries where the death penalty is legal and still used, including the four most populous nations of China, India, USA and Indonesia.

            How would you back up your assertion that most men think murder is wrong?

          • Tina

            The definition of murder is the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought. The death penalty does not fit the definition in any way.

          • Thanks for clearing up that what happened to Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner wasn’t murder because they were lawful killings. Phew!

          • You realize that you’ve just accused a man of “not know[ing] very many men” – not with superior understanding that you claim to have in your authority as a counsellor?

            Do you realize that you sound like a self-absorbed fantasist and that you, in fact, exemplify every flaw you have accused Meghan and other commenters here of having?

            You have offered nothing to prove that non-existence of s sexual hierarchy or to obfuscate the fact that rape is common behaviour amongst men.

            What you have proven is that a) not all programs of training to psychologically counsel other human beings entails a necessary grasp of actual social conditions ( http://lauramcnally.com/2014/10/17/psychology-vs-social-justice )

            and b) women really can be misogynists.

            I have to wonder what you would do as a counsellor if one of the “people here” by whom you feel so persecuted, were to meet you in a counselling situation and were to table the argument in this article. Would you waste her/his time with your sexist arguments, undercutting their knowledge with your faux authority and then conclude that she/he had not had enough exposure to men? Is there anything at all in your training that has taught you to shut up and hear someone else? To actually give some consideration to the weight of their knowledge or do you talk down to everyone like some child regent with no substance, just the desperate claim “but I’m an expert!!!!”?

          • Morag

            Thanks for that link, lizor.

            From the article: “Much psych therapy, very generally speaking, encourages people to adapt to societal status quo, rather than fight to change it.”

            The author, Laura McNally also talks about students of counselling “going on racist diatribes” and about how a male psych practitioner “published sexist tirades about how domestic violence is exaggerated.”

            Sounds like PB&J went to the same school! If indeed she is a therapist. If, indeed, she is a woman. It’s possible these are bald-faced lies, and that he/she just wanted to lend an air of authority his/her woman-hating.

            But, if PJ&B actually IS a female therapist … well, that’s really sad and frightening. Like lizor, I wonder if PB&J would conclude that sexually abused clients “had had not had enough exposure to men.”

            And, if her clients have, or need, a political analysis to better understand their trauma, would she shame them as “sexist” and call them “misandrists” and prescribe them MORE exposure to men instead of less?

            It’s unsettlingly to think about how much harm a purposefully de-politicized kind of therapy can do. And that, as McNally wrote, would be most therapy. But a proudly misogynistic therapist counselling victims of sexual abuse and assault? Unbearable.

          • “And, if her clients have, or need, a political analysis to better understand their trauma, would she shame them as “sexist” and call them “misandrists” and prescribe them MORE exposure to men instead of less?”

            Well, if “she” did not actually say it we know for a fact “she” would be thinking it.

            Unbearable indeed.

  • Mar Iguana

    You are insulting people like myself who suffer from a severe case of androphobia, deemed mentally disturbed because I have an irrational fear of the single most violent, destructive, erratic, murderous, dangerous and delusional beings on the planet.

    Shame on you.

    • Mar Iguana

      Oops…my comment was directed to PJ&B (will I ever get this reply-order thingy right?).

      Also, PB&J, I have advanced coulrophobia, so it would help me out a great deal if you ceased commenting here. Thanks.

  • PB&J

    If you think that “most men think rape is ok” then you are a misandrist. You just have no idea about the real world we live in. I’m guessing most of you go out of your way to avoid contact with the opposite sex so you really have no basis for that claim except for some made up stats like “74% of boys think forced rape is ok”. What bullshit. As a therapist who has worked with many people with fears I do honestly feel bad for you all but at some point you have to recognize your fear is not logical.

  • Tara

    Please tell me, there aren’t people who believe that women can’t rape men. Men are not constantly harassed and they are also not objectified as often as women, BUT that does not mean that it does not happen. None of us know the entire story, only that Shia stated that he was raped and one of the people in charge of the exhibition stopped whatever was happening. Regardless of the lack of frequency concerning men being raped by women, the fact is that IT DOES HAPPEN. And you cannot sit here and say that as a feminist I believe women, because this statement is to general and not specific enough. What needs to be said is that I believe, in most incidents, women. Because men being raped is not common, people basically disregard a man’s claim. So it’s easy for women to take the side of the woman not the man. Which is why I believe comments about this issue (Shia labeouf’s allege rape) should be carefully thought out. If there really are feminists that believe a man cannot be raped by a woman, then you should seriously do your research to find out what rape is and what consensual sex is, because according to Shia and someone else in charge of the exhibit, consensual was not what it was.

    • Morag

      “And you cannot sit here and say that as a feminist I believe women, because this statement is to general and not specific enough.”

      Not sure what you mean. But, you’re wrong that we can’t “sit here and say that as a feminist I believe women” because we can say that and we do.

      Also, please closely read the essay before commenting. No one said that men can’t be sexually assaulted.

  • GreyMinerva

    I know of one false rape allegation. My ex-husband was nearly beaten up by bouncers when his disgruntled ex tried to sell them a rape story (yes, it was a bad breakup).
    Why I believe it? Because I’ve met the woman, talked to her, and she’s a great, strong, independent woman who was clearly embarrassed and ashamed of what she had done in a moment of youthful, drunken spite.

    But on to my biggest problem with this article – the claim that men can’t be raped unless they’re forcibly penetrated.
    That, in my opinion, is bullshit.
    Pure and simple.
    You wonder how it’s possible?
    I recommend you read a few stories from males raped by women.
    Not necessarily Shia, but normal, decent men who were put in that situation that so many women have found themselves – vulnerable, alone, afraid, intimidated, and been left feeling dirty, sullied, worthless, ashamed, and experiencing selfhatred SPECIFICALLY because the patriarchy tells us that men CAN’T be victims, men are STRONG and DOMINANT and IN CONTROL.
    Yes, these stories have made me cry. And yes, I believe them. Because you know what? There is AT LEAST as much stigma attached to being a MALE victim as there is to being a female one.
    Half the men (and a lot of women) will say that it can’t have been rape, because men want sex all the time anyway.
    The other half will say that he’s pathetic, because he SHOULD have been able to fight her off, show her who’s boss, and is he even a MAN?

    Just my two cents, as a feminist who sees all the harm done to boys and men in the name of the patriarchy.

  • Tina

    I don’t think rape should be “gendered” by feminists b/c it trivializes rape for half the population.

    • Meghan Murphy

      It isn’t ‘gendered by feminists.’ It’s ‘gendered’ by men who rape women. And by, like, you know, the patriarchy.

    • Tina – that is called “shooting the messenger”. The person who says “it’s raining” did not make the rain.

  • Well none of the arguments that you are upset about are the ones presented in this article. And you can call “bullshit” all you like, but there are many precedents in law that differentiate between rape and sexual assault.

    If you have read the comment thread, you will see that Meghan and others who support her position have stated very clearly that they are NOT saying that sexual assault is not traumatizing. They are not saying that it is not traumatizing for men. They are saying that it is a different kind of violation – and that is because of the myriad reasons laid out in the piece, in the subsequent discussion and in the rootveg blog that is linked in the article.

    https://rootveg.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/believing-men-is-not-a-feminist-imperative/

    There are also two adjunct pieces that sheds even more light on the topic of the very important difference between penetration of a woman by a man and the sexual assault of a man by a woman. I recommend them.

    https://rootveg.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/whose-weapon-is-it-anyway/

    https://rootveg.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/whose-weapon-is-it-anyway-part-2/

    I’m taking your response at face value, that you are upset by something that happened to you ex and that’s why you are equating this article with ideas that have nothing to do with what was actually said, i.e. straw-man (which really is bullshit). I hope you’ll reread the piece and the discussion as well as the contributions of rootveg.

    I’m sorry your husband got beaten up, but honestly, I, and I’ll bet many of the other posters here who have also survived actual, penetrative rape, would swap experiences with him in a heartbeat.

    • This comment was in reply to GreyMinerva. Seems that sometimes replies post as individual comments…

  • Henke

    Thank you so much for this piece.

    I’ve heard about this and have had my wonders and doubts regarding how this has been portrayed in the media and this piece words everything beautifully.

  • SVI

    “There is no equivalency in rape because men and women do not share similar experiences of gender oppression… because men do not, in fact, experience oppression because of their gender — women do.”

    Tell that to Matthew Shepard. Lawrence King. Alan Turing.

    I’m a feminist, but Marxist class analysis does not work and sexism is not prejudice + power. It doesn’t work that way because prejudice has its own power independently of the person expressing it. If I as a black man repeat the stereotype that Asians are good with computers, that statement is racist and destructive even though black people do not oppress Asians. It has its own power because I’m transmitting something that also exists out there among people who DO have the power to oppress Asians. In the same vein, white male privilege also reinforces white women’s privilege over the 70% of men on Earth who are not white. And that is why you stick to the class analysis – it allows you to claim that you are being oppressed by nonwhite men while ascribing all men the same privilege as white men.

    A woman who pushes her son to like traditionally masculine things does not need power over all men in order to make that one man into an emotionally repressed oaf. The stereotypes that turn boys into misogynists are acting on their own and she’s just the conduit. Women can be perfectly effective homophobes and racists if they care to be (although now I’m hearing some white feminists claim that they are institutionally incapable of racism – which for some is the whole point of feminism).

    The worst atrocities against each sex are often at the hands of people of the same sex who mean to give them greater social standing or who believe they’d actually be harming them by NOT inflicting these brutalities – ‘oppression’ is a very shallow description for that degree of sickness.

    Men as a class do not oppress women as a class, and that asinine assertion is one of this culture’s defense mechanisms against the concept of human rights. Patriarchy (the system, made of ideas that have more volition and influence than the people who subscribe to them) oppresses people – along multiple axes that are never isolated from each other. Black men are shot by police for being black AND MALE. Black women may be harassed or raped, but they are not generally seen as a lethal threat that must be dispatched. You cannot separate the axes of oppression because they feed off of each other.

    So…should men listen to the misandrist (and it is a joke – misandry is just misogyny directed at men and harms women, not men) who says not to believe male rape victims, or the feminist who says that disbelieving male rape victims is yet another expression of patriarchy? And when the majority of feminists are asking men to help support women’s rights, how are men supposed to understand what empathy is without receiving any? Unless you seriously think the way men treat each other is empathetic.

    • Meghan Murphy

      “(although now I’m hearing some white feminists claim that they are institutionally incapable of racism – which for some is the whole point of feminism).”

      What? Where are you hearing this?? I find it hard to believe that any notable number (meaning, a couple of randos on the internet don’t count enough to represent the thoughts of feminists, in general) of white feminists actually believe that white feminists are incapable of racism…

    • Morag

      “And when the majority of feminists are asking men to help support women’s rights, how are men supposed to understand what empathy is without receiving any? Unless you seriously think the way men treat each other is empathetic.”

      I can’t believe this. Women have to fix men, love them up good, before men can be fixed?

      I see women empathizing with men all the time. I see black women marching in the streets, standing up to white men, risking abuse or arrest, demanding “don’t shoot!” on behalf of their black sons, brothers, lovers and husbands. I see white feminists in the blogosphere repeating, again and again, that the murder of black boys and men by white cops has to stop.

      What I don’t see is white men marching in the streets, of their own accord, demanding “don’t rape women!”–unless it’s a SlutWalk, and they can partake in ogling sexy, young chicks. What I don’t see is black men marching in the streets on behalf of black women saying “don’t rape!” and I certainly don’t see black men have given up on raping and using women in porn and prostitution any more than white men have–which is to, not at all. Which is to say, it appears men of all colours and classes are enjoying these male pastimes more than ever before. I don’t see any difference between how powerful men and oppressed men put girls and women to use.

      I see white women standing up to the white, male-supremacists, who are (mostly) in charge of this mess, demanding reforms, pleading with them not to rape, and pleading with them to convict and punish rapists … all the while empathizing with men for having been so cruelly socialized into masculinity. All the while empathizing with men for the ways they are also oppressed and victimized by EACH OTHER along racial, sexual, and class lines. This has been going on for a long time, in spite of the white women who are as racist, classist and homophobic as their male counterparts. It can’t have been missed. All the activism, all the books written, all the blogs with hundreds of thousands of words devoted to intersectionality, to grappling with the big picture (which always, always includes this empathy for men that’s ostensibly such a powerful force for change. Really? Is it?).

      I hear women, even as they are trying to save their own and their children’s lives, rooting for men–“Oh, we know, deep down inside, you’re not really woman-hating, racist, capitalist pigs, but fine human beings who just don’t know how stop hurting and exploiting women and less powerful men . We believe in you! We have to!”

      I see women and feminists fighting with one another about the roots of male violence and the male destruction of the planet, all for the sake of preserving the good reputation of men as a class, all for the sake of preserving hope for male humanity. All this energy–for men. The men who start wars. Their wars which kill women and children. I see women giving everything they’ve got for their sons, poor women and middle-class women working their asses off, often without male financial support, and then having nothing left of their own when they’re old and sick and vulnerable to more institutional abuse when they end up, alone, in a warehouse for dying women.

      Exactly how much of women’s empathy, time, energy and resources before men will feel sufficiently loved to give a shit about women and girls and, yes, other males, and Earth itself? Another hundred years of this? Two hundred?

      • Thanks Morag. I could not get past simply wanting to throw the computer across the room after reading SVI’s comment. I’m grateful to you for spending the time and energy to point out what should be patently obvious to anyone who is not blinded by their own entitlement.

        (FTR – the story that Turing was driven to suicide is highly contested. There is stronger evidence of either accidental death or murder. The new movie of his life is a highly problematic re-spin of who the man actually was and the context of his work).

        • SVI

          I wasn’t talking about the alleged suicide. I was talking about the chemical castration he suffered for being gay after helping defeat a regime that imprisoned 100,000 people (mostly men) for the same offense. But no, let’s dismiss homophobia with a strawman about one minor point that I didn’t write.

          As for entitlement, I’m talking about the basic recognition that there should be a standard of discourse surrounding sexual violence, that said standard exists (thanks, feminists!) and this article is all about NOT applying it to men while expecting men to apply it to women.

          You can expect that double standard all you want, but it can’t last (again, thanks to feminism) so you’re wasting your time. Men are certainly capable of doublethink, but that only holds up for so long when there are a million other feminists saying that LaBeouf should be believed.

          • My father was gay, born in the 1940s. He died at age 62 of complications from drug and alcohol abuse. You don’t need to lecture me on the negative effects of gender norm enforcement, believe me.

            He, like Turing assuaged his pain by having sex with much younger, economically vulnerable adolescent boys. It was one of Turing’s young lovers who burglarized his home and Turing’s police report fingering the young man is what led to the state-sponsored “corrective” course of female hormones which caused Turing to grow breasts. (ring any bells? One decade’s “chemical castration” is another decade’s “trans rights”. But I digress)

            The thing is, despite these and many other gay men’s experience of oppression, they were willing and able to sexually exploit younger and more vulnerable people without, apparently, questioning the ethics of their actions.

            You want a standard of discourse surrounding sexual violence, it’s this: the vast majority of sexually violent and coercive acts are carried out by men. It’s the Real World, Actual Reality Standard, no matter how desperately you want to shut down any talk of it.

      • SVI

        “I see women empathizing with men all the time. I see black women marching in the streets, standing up to white men, risking abuse or arrest, demanding “don’t shoot!” on behalf of their black sons, brothers, lovers and husbands. I see white feminists in the blogosphere repeating, again and again, that the murder of black boys and men by white cops has to stop.”

        And that’s why I support feminism.

        “What I don’t see is white men marching in the streets, of their own accord, demanding “don’t rape women!”–unless it’s a SlutWalk, and they can partake in ogling sexy, young chicks. What I don’t see is black men marching in the streets on behalf of black women saying “don’t rape!” and I certainly don’t see black men have given up on raping and using women in porn and prostitution any more than white men have–which is to, not at all. Which is to say, it appears men of all colours and classes are enjoying these male pastimes more than ever before. I don’t see any difference between how powerful men and oppressed men put girls and women to use.”

        Men have been banning porn and arresting johns (and using violence and rape against prostitutes under the guise of protecting them) and killing rapists and writing whole religions to constrain sexuality for thousands of years. Rape is at an all-time low. As for porn & prostitution (the latter of which is not a human invention), I’m still waiting on the qualitative difference between these behaviors and any other form of heterosexuality (not my cup of tea). I think the reason prostitution works people up is because it’s too honest an expression of what heterosexuality is. I’ll leave the right and wrong of it to women who’ve been involved in it. Between sex workers who endorse it and those who regret it, I’m qualified to address neither.

        I will say that the sexual behavior of (specifically American and Muslim) men is…well, unnatural. Physiologically so. I’ve been with a lot of men, and genital mutilation is obviously intended to increase aggression and turn male sexuality into a blunt weapon. Unless you haven’t noticed how men treat women like something that was stolen from them. But no, that’s too severe a violation to bring up. If I brought up something trivial like giving boys violent video games, everyone would agree it was a huge factor.

        Oh, and bearing in mind that’s a third of the male population globally. Not just sexually assaulted as children but altered so their bodies worked differently, usually in ritual conditions with the whole thing being a big deal socially and specifically presented as an exchange that would net women in return. Noooo, no effects on sexual behavior, that. And remember – this is how men treat each other.

        “I see white women standing up to the white, male-supremacists, who are (mostly) in charge of this mess, demanding reforms, pleading with them not to rape, and pleading with them to convict and punish rapists … all the while empathizing with men for having been so cruelly socialized into masculinity.”

        Then you’re dealing with better feminists than those who write clickbait for Jezebel. I know they’re out there. I still think they’re the majority. But to focus on a very serious issue such as rape and deliberately undermine the application of feminist principles to it because the victim is male does not fit that goal. And the issue with pleading with men to not rape is that everyone is taught that rape is wrong and some simply do not care.

        “All the while empathizing with men for the ways they are also oppressed and victimized by EACH OTHER along racial, sexual, and class lines. This has been going on for a long time, in spite of the white women who are as racist, classist and homophobic as their male counterparts. It can’t have been missed. All the activism, all the books written, all the blogs with hundreds of thousands of words devoted to intersectionality, to grappling with the big picture (which always, always includes this empathy for men that’s ostensibly such a powerful force for change. Really? Is it?).”

        Always includes this empathy? There is no degree of vitriol that can be leveled at men even down to the anatomical level that will garner any degree of censure from even a single feminist. This article was written specifically as rape apologia against male victims in a way that cannot benefit women. There is no degree of violence against women that does not draw nationwide condemnation, and no degree of violence against men (particularly sexual violence) that will not be made into a joke on national television with no outcry whatsoever.

        That feminism does not address this is a manifestation of patriarchal influence. Simple application of binary thinking – “When this happens to a woman we should think this but when it happens to a man we should think that” – and suddenly feminism is working against itself.

        Feminism is not separate or isolated from the conditions that gave rise to it, and like any ideology it works to preserve itself even at the expense of the people who subscribe to it. I think there are ways to deal with this, but first we have to admit that believing in equality and understanding what causes human behavior are not the same thing. Feminism is presenting a moral explanation for things that are not even the result of conscious planning.

        Okay…here’s the thing. You talk about how men are oppressed and victimized by each other. I’m not even talking about oppression in the class sense – it’s meaningless. People do horrible things with the best of intentions. The problem is that women think men are a lot more powerful than they are and that men have a lot more free will than women do – as if there is no possible situation where a man would not have an existential advantage. This idea is endemic in feminism but also comes from patriarchy. It’s just a rephrasing of the idea that women are intrinsically helpless.

        I don’t know if what I’m complaining about is vilification of men, or a sort of perverse deification. Women seem to think that men are omnipotent and that men’s lives are safer. That’s just silly. Except for rape (and barely that), no form of violence befalls women more than men. Men are expected to put themselves in danger that women are believed to be too fragile to face. When I say ’empathy’ I mean recognizing that men are just as programmed and constrained (not just by other men, but by society and physical reality overall) as the women who excuse misogyny. We treat men like pure moral agents with no forces acting on them.

        It’s mysticism. Humanity is a physical system, and is not separate or distinct from its surroundings even chemically. Its behavior is subject to influences that have nothing to do with intent or morality and everything to do with a mathematical progression of consumption and replication. When we talk about men vs. women we’re looking at one organism and trying to understand it by examining each cell.

        “I hear women, even as they are trying to save their own and their children’s lives, rooting for men–“Oh, we know, deep down inside, you’re not really woman-hating, racist, capitalist pigs, but fine human beings who just don’t know how stop hurting and exploiting women and less powerful men . We believe in you! We have to!”

        And women are less racist and capitalist how? Less misogynistic how? Bearing in mind that half of what mainstream feminism offers is just a chance to be one of the boys and get away with the same exploitative planet-kililng crap as white men. Lean In and all that. And that’s before we get to the question of whether reproducing is an act of violence itself. Perhaps the deadliest thing humans do to the planet is copy themselves. Honestly one could be forgiven for asking whether violent men provide humanity with the predator that nature could not.

        “I see women and feminists fighting with one another about the roots of male violence and the male destruction of the planet, all for the sake of preserving the good reputation of men as a class, all for the sake of preserving hope for male humanity. All this energy–for men. The men who start wars. Their wars which kill women and children. I see women giving everything they’ve got for their sons, poor women and middle-class women working their asses off, often without male financial support, and then having nothing left of their own when they’re old and sick and vulnerable to more institutional abuse when they end up, alone, in a warehouse for dying women.

        Exactly how much of women’s empathy, time, energy and resources before men will feel sufficiently loved to give a shit about women and girls and, yes, other males, and Earth itself? Another hundred years of this? Two hundred?”

        lol…As I read this I also see your “pig” comment below. Such empathy. Very equality. Wow. But instead of walking that back (an ability you lack) you’ll explain why I should be okay with it. Deaf ears, sorry. You see, it doesn’t matter whether you’re right. The problem isn’t what you think about men. The problem is that you thinks *not* being Hitler makes one Mother Theresa. Just one problem – Mother Theresa was an oppressive psycho too. Go ahead and think that men are bad people. It’s not so wrong. What’s wrong is thinking that certain people are good.

        Men, women, and children are not separate entities. You want resources? Energy? Men have ripped continents apart, split the atom and designed thinking machines for the sake of providing for women and children. Male concern for women and children is malice towards the planet. And you still want men to continue providing these things, and lament women dying in warehouses while the men don’t live that long. Oh, but living longer is another hardship when it happens to women, because women are composed purely of suffering and the universe revolves around causing more of that suffering, right? Are you sure you don’t just have a ton of internalized misogyny? The degree of all-consuming weakness you ascribe to women just rings false.

        Millions of women have died because other women were starving and needed food or land or fuel and didn’t mind letting their sons rape other women in the process before dying themselves in battle, while their mothers had to do little more than bury them. Men kill each other at three times the rate women are killed – one of the primary purposes of war is to burn off excess males.

        And implicit in the idea of women fighting each other over the roots of male violence are a) a belief that women understand men’s experiences and b) the idea that men haven’t simply been telling them the reasons all along.

        • Mar Iguana

          “…I support feminism.”

          No you don’t. You haven’t the foggiest notion of what it even is.

          Now, run along, get your head-pats from the boys, enjoy those crumbs off their tables and quit embarrassing yourself here with your willful ignorance.

        • Morag

          “And implicit in the idea of women fighting each other over the roots of male violence are a) a belief that women understand men’s experiences and b) the idea that men haven’t simply been telling them the reasons all along.”

          Tell us then, man, what you think the roots are.

          I understand that you believe that male circumcision is a practice that helps ensure/reinforce male violence. But, what are the roots, in your opinion? I’m not stringing you along, but I certainly don’t promise to be convinced, since your thesis (whatever it is, I can’t tell, because I really find your thoughts all over the place, not cohesive) seems to hold women, or at least white women, responsible for everything that is dangerous about men. Since we’re the mothers of men, or something like that. What’re your main points? Can you boil them down somewhat?

          • SVI

            I had a great response typed out, but feminists have already covered all of this and my response was too good to be wasted on a comment thread. The roots? Genital cutting on boys and girls is an evolutionary adaptation, just like all cultural practices that sublimate the individual to the group. That’s what patriarchy is.

            A self-replicating machine gained the ability to modify its own software (and hardware) for more efficient replication (factoring in stable social structures, which are seen as more important than individual safety). It’s not men or women or white women or white men. It’s evolved, social Darwinist ideas that are practically immortal and predate anyone who’s alive today for you to wag a finger at. Where the privilege comes in is white women with $100,000 degrees in oppression (and the white men who paid for them) imposing their ideology on the causes of other cultures’ behavior in ways that mask the causes of their own culture’s behavior.

            Germaine Greer (excerpt from p. 102 of “The Whole Woman” New York: A.A. Knopf, 1999)

            “Looked at in its full context the criminalization of FGM can be seen to be what African nationalists since Jomo Kenyatta have been calling it, an attack on cultural identity. Any suggestion that male genital mutilation should be outlawed would be understood to be a frontal attack on the cultural identity of Jews and Muslims. Notwithstanding, the opinion that male circumcision might be bad for babies, bad for sex and bad for men is steadily gaining ground. In Denmark only 2 percent of non-Jewish and non-Muslim men are circumcised on strictly non-medical grounds; in Britain the proportion rises to between 6 percent and 7 percent, but in the U.S. between 60 percent and 70 percent of male babies will have their foreskins surgically removed. No UN agency has uttered a protocol condemning the widespread practice of male genital mutilation, which will not be challenged until doctors start to be sued in large numbers by men they mutilated as infants. Silence on the question of male circumcision is evidence of the political power both of the communities where a circumcised penis is considered an essential identifying mark and of the practitioners who continue to do it for no good reason. Silence about male mutilation in our own countries combines nicely with noisiness on female mutilation in other countries to reinforce our notions of cultural superiority.”

            Soraya Mire (Somali filmmaker, Fire Eyes) in her endorsement of the video Whose Body, Whose Rights?

            “The painful cries of little boys being circumcised remind me of my own painful experience of female genital mutilation. It is the norm in my culture to mutilate girls, as it is in the U.S. for boys. It really terrifies me to know this. Hopefully this film will educate Americans about the harmful effects of male genital mutilation.”

            Alice Walker (Author, Possessing the Secret of Joy, and filmmaker, Warrior Marks) on “Talk of the Nation” National Public Radio, 11/9/93:

            “I think it (male circumcision) is a mutilation. In working with FGM we often find that the battle is such an uphill one that we hope that the men who are working on this issue of male circumcision will carry that.” And later in the interview: “In all of it we have to try to think about what is being done from the point of view of the person to whom it is happening, namely the children.”

            From http://barreloforanges.com/2013/03/06/circumcision-is-a-feminist-cause/ :

            “I’ve been an intactivist long enough to know that many women battle with their husbands over this issue. I’ve considered even writing a post about why it’s so hard for some men to accept that circumcision is wrong, but there’s already been so much written on this very issue, and it’s pretty much vanity, culture, denial, and cognitive dissonance. And I’m always amazed at the courage of mothers willing to die on that hill, the ones who choose to protect their children, even if it means sacrificing their relationship with the child’s father.

            Because a woman’s ability to protect her children from harm has been a fundamental right denied women through misogyny, childism, and patriarchy…

            …And I see feminists lament that we can’t discuss FGM without the people coming out to remind us that we also cut boys, and here’s why. Six times as many boys are cut each year throughout the world, as their female counterparts, and some are done in unsterile, barbaric conditions, very similar to the way those same cultures cut their girls, and FGM doesn’t exist outside MGM. There is no place in the world that cuts their girls that doesn’t also cut their boys.

            So if we are talking about some heinous, horrible, disgusting rite of FGM for little girls, we can’t ignore that their brothers undergo a similar rite (even if the damage is incomparable). All the genitals are cut. And we look like hypocritical morons to suggest it’s fine they continue to cut their sons under the same disgusting and traumatic conditions, but they shouldn’t do it to their daughters. To suggest that boys are somehow impervious to pain or “stronger” and therefore can handle genital cutting, is also profoundly anti-feminist.

            Ending all the child genital cutting is a feminist cause. Smash the patriarchy.”

          • marv

            “Genital cutting on boys and girls is an evolutionary adaptation, just like all cultural practices that sublimate the individual to the group. That’s what patriarchy is.”

            In practically all cultures men still dominate in configuring oppressive customs and practices. Societal institutions are manmade even when they harm men and boys. Women often fortify the traditions but they are second in command as a group followed by children. And globally, when it comes to porn, prostitution, sexual harassment/assault, rape, battering, honour killings, the sexual segregation of unpaid child care/’housework and holding government and economic power, it is women who fair the worst systematically. Exceptions don’t disprove the rule.

            Professing that women and men are equally disadvantaged by patriarchy is like positing whites are injured by racism as much as people of colour. The first is sexist mansplaining to assert and the second is racist whitesplaining. Primarily by eradicating masculinity, white hegemony and the private ownership of production processes, will race, economic and sex classes dissolve.

            How splendid are the voices of feminist messengers who announce the news of liberation equality throughout the Earth. SVI, be thankful rather than ruminate in doleful naysaying. Celebrate them!.

      • Mar Iguana

        Your response to this SVI (So Very Ignorant) “feminist” is pitch perfect, Morag. Thank you.

    • Mar Iguana

      Shut up and go make me a sandwich.

      • SVI

        lol…so while we impose the label ‘feminist’ on people who fit the bare minimum definition and just want cookies (or are just wary of white women who claim to be oppressed by the guys who pay for their degrees, then give birth to more white men), you think you can kick people out of it. Hahahahaha…and you think that someone who just described men as surgically altered abominations is a shill for them.

        Now…not that I want you to sprain your wrists typing out actual responses or anything (with, you know, content), but do enlighten me.

        Are all those pop feminists on TV full of shit when they boil feminism down to “legal, social and economic equality for women” because equality under white supremacist capitalism is a crock, or do the problems facing women merit some more comprehensive definition of feminism? Something that includes a proposal as to the causes of those problems, and to solutions? Hrm?

        See, there’s the punchline (aside from the abject terror I felt for women when I saw ‘Feminist’ hawked as a fashion statement on the VMAs).

        Mainstream feminism has taken the most academic aspects of radical feminism and boiled them down to MTV-speak for people who only understand them well enough to use them as bludgeons. Patriarchy is obviously real (in most 1st-world cultures), but isn’t the whole truth as to what motivates human behavior and is often projected by white theorists onto the cultures of indigenous people whose social structures are more complicated (and whose men aren’t killing the planet).

        We haven’t even figured out what we are physically. Feminist praxis is still under the influence of religious thinking, the mystical idea that ‘hate’ is some tangible thing that exists, the need of white women to distance themselves from racism, and good old-fashioned self-hatred. It is colonized, it is colonial, and it holds the lifestyles of upper-middle-class white male capitalists as the standard of modern womanhood.

        The problems that feminists point out are real – the violence and stereotyping that are plainly visible on the surface – but only vis-a-vis women. But there is zero science (or even theory, in the sense that theory is falsifiable) in its explanations as to the causes. Not reasons. Causes. The reasons that come out of people’s mouths are excuses after the fact for decisions they may not have made. People are a physical system.

        But the entire concept of a rational approach (or, in this article, a consistent standard) is considered misogynistic, because feminists consider science intrinsically masculine at the same time that we want more women in it. It uses pure morality and intuition to divine the origins of human behavior starting and claims to have information that the entire scientific community will not have for generations yet.

        That moralistic, binary-rooted, mystical approach IS the backlash against liberation from gender roles, and its rallying cry is that men are all-powerful and women need rescuing. That’s why it’s so popular. That’s why it’s up in lights at the VMAs. It’s just a way for patriarchy to identify the women who are chafing against it and give them something to occupy their minds without rocking the boat.

        • Mar Iguana

          “…do enlighten me.”

          Not my job. How’s that sandwich coming along?

  • A human

    If a man says he was raped by a woman I will believe him. Why? Because I think it is less likely that he is lying than that he is telling the truth, and telling a rape victim that I don’t believe they were raped, or asking them to proven, or asking them why they didn’t fight back is a pretty bad thing to do.