What’s Current: New study confirms that men are, indeed, creepy

creepy men

New study confirms that men are creepy. Findings also suggest that “creep radar” is an evolutionary adaptation designed to help women perceive and avoid threats.

Sydney male college students’ pro-rape chants caught on camera. University spokeswoman commented: “It’s important to show zero tolerance to this kind of behaviour.”

“Is prostitution empowering if you choose to do it?” Feminist Current’s Meghan Murphy writes:

“The assumption that the system of prostitution is inevitable, universal, and also totally fine is an ever-popular one. We see it on TV and in movies, and, now, in journalism, as writers and reporters adopt the politically biased term ‘sex work,’ which exists to erase both the reality and an intersectional analysis of the sex industry.”

Exited woman Tanja Rahm writes open letter to johns:

“You think you have a right. I mean, the prostitutes are out there anyway, right? But they are only prostitutes because men like you stand in the way of healthy and respectful relationship between men and women.

Prostitutes only exist because men like you feel you have the right to satisfy your sexual urges using the orifices of other people’s bodies.

Prostitutes exist because you and your peers feel that your sexuality requires access to sex whenever it suits you.

Prostitutes exist because you are a misogynist, and because you are more concerned with your own sexual needs than the relationships in which your sexuality could actually flourish.”

“Caring for home and family is real work and deserves proper recognition.”

Susan Cox
Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.

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  • Re Tanja Rahm’s letter. It seems to me more and more that thinking prostitution and porn and rape and the whole boiling of crimes that involve sex organs, thinking that those have to do with sex is just a confusion. They’re about dominance. They’re about flaunting man-cards. They’re about be able to force another human being to do something. That’s why the other human, dehumanized to make it easier, is essential. If it was really about the poor diddumses needing sexual release, they have hands.

    And if that’s a true insight, then consenting adult women full of agency wouldn’t actually fit the real requirements at all. Maybe that’s one more reason why there’s so few of them.

    • Tangelo

      The comments on that article are just brutal. Some women who have managed to avoid being prostituted may think that these comments do not reflect what men think of them.
      Yes, yes, they do.

      Any woman who supports the rights of men to purchase a pass to rape other woman should read these comments, and understand that their support for johns helps promote this particular flavor of male hatred of women. Women who are “pro sex-work” should read these comments and really understand that these men view all women, including them, their daughters and their sisters, through this lens.

      I understand that this hatred is being expressed by men, and I condemn those men who spew such misogyny. Why any woman would condone this type of hatred being expressed, verbally and physically, against other women, I will never, ever, understand.

      The bright hope is that there are women out there like Meghan Murphy, Rachel Moran, commenters on this blog, Rebecca Mott, Julie Bindel, Gail Dines, Bridget Perrier, and many, many others speaking out against the johns, the pimps and the men who want to normalized the pornography and prostitution of women.

      • Cassandra

        I agree with you completely. Every pro “sex work” woman should read those comments. Patriarchy and misogyny writ large. Speaking ill of prostituted women = speaking ill of ALL women.

  • oneclickboedicea

    The comments from men re Tanja Rahm’s letter are chilling in their dehumanity. The are the equivalent of letters from Nazis, just different hate group. We are in a dreadful spot in history at the moment, with johns, pimps, narcissists and drug addicts as role models for our young.

  • ElleMarie

    Nearly every single comment on Tanja’s beautiful letter uses the libfem discourse of “choice” to degrade and slander her. This is what is set up when choice is made all important: we give men all the fuel they need to blame women for their own oppression and to rape and abuse us with impunity.

  • Cassandra

    Holy cow the comments on that Tanja Rahm letter. Every MRA in Australia crawled out of the woodwork. Misogyny is so bone deep. What’s astounding is how people call her letter “man-hating.” How do men make that leap?

    Woman: Men paying to rape me is not something I enjoy.
    Man: Man-hater!

    Some of them even go as far as to say that the problem starts with the supply. “Men wouldn’t go to prostitutes if they weren’t there!” No dumbasses, it’s always the other way around. Demand creates the supply, and that demand happens in a world of severe inequality between men and women. That’s the entire fucking point.

    • lk

      I usually avoid the comment section on most articles because they are so awful; especially if the article is about/by a woman or about/by a racial minority. But I made the mistake of started reading some of the comments on the article and they are the worst.

      Here’s one from “Punter”: “I am paying for a service. I don’t car if she enjoys it or not. Full stop. No more than i care if the guy at the 7/11 enjoys selling me a slurpee. Such judgment”
      Yes, because buying something from someone at the 7/11 is totally comparable to having access to the insides of someone’s body.

  • fencepost

    I’m guessing the post is tongue in cheek, but is linking to a discussion on the “nature of creepiness” in men not somewhat counter productive? May as well post an article discussing the “nature of passivity” in women.

  • calabasa

    The hatred and resentment of women in the world is just…sick. And how many men use sex as a way to exercise that hatred and exorcise their demons on women’s bodies. How many women who are NOT paid for sex end up feeling they are orifices, or objects, to soothe a man’s lust and ego, regardless of their feelings (or even their consent)? I am so suspicious of men that I think I drive away the good ones with my own (well-earned, righteous) anger and my suspicion of their motivations (I am now suspicious of any man who likes me…why does he like me? What is he hoping to get?). Ironically, and sadly, this attitude attracts the very kind of man I hope to avoid, who takes delight in pretending to be everything I’m looking for in order to get sex, and then wield power, over someone who has already been hurt…where do you go to lose these bad ideas about men so you can attract the good ones? (I guess I just have to get good in myself…as much as I would like a partner someday, and as much as I do like sex, part of me just wants to turn away from the world of men). Reading the comments on a letter like Tanja Rahm’s doesn’t help. Who ARE these sick people, blaming her for her own exploitation (and accusing her of exploiting her customers, who were paying to abuse her body, and many as old as her grandfather?!)

    • Rachel

      I can almost feel your pain in your comment, and I feel like I have similar “issues” also. I personally think there just aren’t that many good men out there. Even the nice guys often have ulterior motives, or even if they don’t, they have some deeply engrained misogyny. A nice guy that I knew, didn’t hate women like so many men seem to, but he did have very odd and wrong views of women. He thought he was being nice but was really exercising his own male privilege by holding onto these beliefs he had. I believe they were hard for him to let go off partly because the world does pander to the delicate male ego. Many would think I was too harsh and thinking too much about the things I would pull him up on, but I think the truly good ones, won’t be driven away by being called out on their sexism. If they are, well then they aren’t ready to be with a smart, intelligent and strong woman, and you can only hope they’ll wisen up. Just like a previous article this week, it’s not your responsibility to teach men about their sexism, and it’s also not your responsibility to try to dampen your anger to keep them around. I mean, sure, if you’re abusing them then look at your behaviour, and change. But if you’re experiencing the consequences of your lifetime experiences, and you’re just happen to be triggered or feel untrusting, need to talk about things, need to call out his sexism, then I really don’t think you need to change.

      • calabasa

        Thanks Rachel…this is a really long response, if you want to read it. I appreciate your responding to the pain in my comment (yes, it was pain…so I explain a little here what’s going on and what I think about it).

        Before I say anything else, here is a really interesting HuffPost article about the art of spotting narcissists; it talks about the difference between “nice” and “good” (I am always suspicious of “nice,” unless it seems genuine and unaffected; it is often, I think, a manipulative social adaptation, and also something that is expected of women). This puts a new spin on the “nice guy” and how being a “nice guy” (in order to get something) might not actually be a good thing and in fact it’s a good deal preferable to be/be with a “good guy” than a “nice guy” (by a long shot); and this is how people who may not actually be good people can still be “nice” people, and think they are good people (while engaging in some distinctly not-nice behaviors when they DON’T get what they want–when their “niceness” or “charm” fails to work). Again, sometimes niceness and charm (which in this article they call a skill or an ability rather than a quality, and a “directed instrument”) are genuine, and harmless; but sometimes they aren’t (and I do tend to be very wary of “nice guys” and especially charming guys–I didn’t like about the guy I dated recently what he called his “charm,” but we had already established a rapport online, and I thought I could get around it/see behind it…my mistake, as that is exactly what he both did and did not want: someone to see–and know–the “real” him, which he thinks is so inadequate, and thus risk rejection on a deeper level).

        I think to some extent all men are narcissistic (why they tend to overestimate their own looks or talent or intelligence, both individually and as compared to women, while women are more realistic or underestimate–it’s strange, I see beautiful women everywhere I go, but rarely handsome guys, though many seem to think–or act like they think–they are God’s gift); men are taught they are superior and they are taught entitlement, both hallmarks of the narcissist; so this article really puts the “nice guy” phenomenon into perspective.


        Keep in mind though–and the guy I just dated is living proof of this–another trait of the narcissist is believing that at their core they are inadequate, or pathetic, or worthless; I think this is also true of men as a group in this society (and any patriarchal society), because of the poisonous mix of expectation and privilege inherent to toxic masculinity.

        As for me (here I talk about myself, since you mention whether I need to change or not–I do–and I talk about a recent relationship which I think is a case study for everything that is wrong with men and between men and women):

        Actually, if anything, I am too empathetic to men (“the poor, damaged men”) who behave in these ways (towards me–not towards other women; I have always stood up for other women in my own life–I once risked my life to save a woman’s life in Japan, when a man was attacking her on a dark street at night, and I was the only witness–but I never stand up for myself, and try to rationalize/justify men’s bad behavior towards me, or blame myself because it has happened to me before so somehow there is something “wrong” with me).

        The truth is that I am vulnerable to abuse, because of my experiences as an adolescent. I’ve done lots of research about it–being raped just one time makes a woman’s chances of being raped skyrocket again; is it because she was already vulnerable (for some other reason, some other trauma, or because she comes from a vulnerable population), or because after the rape she lost self-esteem or she felt she deserved it, and then she became vulnerable (so again, a chicken or egg question); but one person having repeated experiences of abuse–even when they are minding their own business, or even thriving, etc.–is not at all uncommon. I think, through body language or who knows, even through “aura” we transmit to others how we feel about ourselves (and it’s always there–that’s why I say “even when thriving,” because that core vulnerability about me is always there).

        I recently got into a relationship I went into with the best of intentions (if wanting to have a partner is the best of intentions). We had everything in common, it seemed. He fell in love with me (so he claimed–if he can feel real love, I am not sure anymore) and I fell in love with him, after a while, though I didn’t trust him at first and kept him at arm’s length, emotionally (and I was totally right to). He ended up being extremely manipulative, sexually abusive, and, after we had broken up, he lied to me continuously (during the 2 weeks we were broken up he told me he wasn’t dating, but meanwhile had actually gone on Tinder and slept with 6 women; he is not the best-looking guy in the world, and when I later found this out I asked him how this was even possible–most women don’t even RESPOND on Tinder!–and he said “I’m charming, I listen,” i.e., he makes a psychological profile of his victims and cleverly manipulates them to get what he wants; he also uses pressure and coercion, for sex, and I doubt the consensual nature of all these “conquests,” which were so clearly about shoring up his narcissistic ego after I had inflicted an injury on it, by not thinking he was a good person and telling him I felt he had been abusive in our relationship).

        Anyway, he lied to me about this in order to come to my apartment wanting to “see me,” when I was still in love with him, and thought this might be a reconciliation. What started out as consensual quickly turned to two incidents of sexual assault (one in which he forced me into something I had always denied him, and told him to stop asking about, during our relationship; he stopped when I started screaming, but shouldn’t have pinned me to the bed and done it without asking in the first place); the other in which he simply decided to start having sex with me while I was sleeping (I would also call this forcing yourself on someone; he smacked me really hard to wake me up and just went at it. There was no consent of any kind, and I was still disoriented, and had been drinking the night before–which I admit is my fault–and passed out again).

        He tried all sorts of gaslighting on me post-relationship (“I think you never saw me as a real person but only as some stand-in for abusive men in your life”) etc. He tried to twist it all around on me and act like he was never abusive (he had constantly pressured me for/coerced me into sexual acts and favors, for him, engaged in violent behaviors like hair-pulling and even a few times choking, without asking first, and would do it again, too, when I told him to stop; and a few times just not asking before doing something). We had told each other extensively of our lives (I usually never tell boyfriends anything about my history of sexual abuse because I am scared of opening up, or know they just won’t know how to react); he had his own history of trauma, we are both writers and shared our writing, we talked a lot about it, etc. He used this all against me in his manipulations–he was the classic abuser, mean and insulting, then nice, sweet and complimentary, and full of apologies. He got crazier and crazier and was absolutely nuts that weekend (he came crawling back to me saying “I MISS you, I MISS you,” “I miss everything about you, your eyes, your smile, the little scar on your chin,” “I can’t help I’m such a fuck-up,” “all I ever do is hurt people,” “I have no real friends here,” “I can’t give you what you want,”–what, respect?) etc. etc. (This AFTER he rubbed it in all day about the other women he had slept with, while meanwhile saying he wanted to come visit me in the new city I was thinking of moving to, I mean just fucking bizarre).

        I started to cry when he was in his contrite poor-me mode and say “you have to let me go” and he said “but not permanently, right? Not permanently.” And then, “you’re the boss. You’re in charge. You’re the boss.” Which was very strange, as I did not feel in charge at all, or I would never have let him come back after what he’d done the night before (when he asked to come over I even said, “you know I can’t say no you, but is it the best idea?” And he said when he came over, “I’m a bad person for coming over here when I knew you wouldn’t say no.” (He also hugged me and kissed me on the temple sweetly, that evening). AND before lying down next to me he asked, in a rare moment of self-awareness–or awareness of others’ feelings–“Is this all right?” (Lying down with me…after he had assaulted me the night before and in the morning; at no point during those assaults did he bother asking either me or himself “is this all right”).

        If you can believe it, after all this, he wanted to get back together (but thought he had “hurt me too much”). He also kept giving me vague apologies (“I wish I could delete that weekend,” “I think I just wanted to see you but I went about it entirely the wrong way.”). He continued to push for my friendship, as he had after our relationship ended (and had gone out and slept with all these women when I hurt him by telling him I didn’t think I could be his friend, and felt he had been abusive); and HE had broken up with ME (which I think was a preemptive strike–I was thinking of breaking up with him already–and a power play; if I break up with her and hurt her and then string her along, I can keep her around). I don’t know how conscious any of this was on his part, but it seemed like he wanted to “break” me (like he thought it was a power struggle he had to “win,” and then he would “have” me, as his “friend” and “admirer” and sex buddy whenever he wanted–and who knows, around for a relationship once he decided he wanted one–forever and ever).

        I stood up to him, telling him I could not be his friend because of “that weekend.” He immediately said “you can’t cry after the fact! The r-word? The r-word? You can’t cry after the fact! You never said no,” and got extremely pissed off (I also never said yes; the first night he pinned me down and did something I had told him repeatedly I did not want to do–and also that it was something triggering for me–and he actually hurt me, doing this; in the morning I was sleeping, and in no position to give consent of any sort). I told him that since HE brought it up–and knew IMMEDIATELY what I meant when I said “that weekend” (and he did a LOT of fucked up things that weekend), that yes, I did feel raped that weekend. He then tried every tactic to get me to retract–sweetness (“I’ll hug and cry with you and make amends and apologize for hurting you emotionally, but if I hear the word “rape” I’m out of there”) and malice (“I’ll excise you like a cancer from my life unless you take back these false allegations, and then we can talk”). As if I wanted to talk!

        The truth was, I wanted him to own up to what he did, and apologize, and then go our separate ways. I could not be friends with a person who would do that to me and have any self-respect or dignity.

        But he was not going to do this. And whereas before he had pushed me for friendship, now that I was calling him on his sexual assault that weekend suddenly I was “harassing” him (I didn’t call him, text him, or try to see him–in fact I avoided going anywhere I thought he might be; I simply responded to his emails trying to get me to retract, saying “you know perfectly well what you did” and asking him for an apology for specific acts. I can see why he thinks I was trying to trick him into an admission in writing, but if he knew me at all–which he apparently doesn’t–he would know that I don’t even believe all that much in the legal system, and certainly not the prison industrial complex, and wanted HIM to own up, and to agree to get help to change his behaviors; but even that is something he could not do as it would shatter the whole false self he had constructed in his head of himself as “nice guy,” “good boyfriend,” “friend of women,” “feminist” instead of what he is: a sexual predator and an abuser of women).

        He then began friend requesting all my oldest friends on Facebook (people that he knew always invited me to events around town, so now he is getting the same event invites); he contacted an ex-girlfriend of his who I also knew eight years ago, and was friends with in the town where I went to college (I talked to her about this, since he said such cruel things about her and their relationship, and I wanted to hear her side, if she wanted to tell it, and get some perspective about whether this was a pattern of behavior); as it turns out as soon as we broke up he had begun contacting her again (after 3 years of no contact) so she was glad I got in touch with her and in effect warned her that he was unbalanced (and was likely trying for her friendship now–even though he did terrible things to her when he broke up with her too, immediately hooking up with her best friend, starting a relationship with her–they had been together 3 years–and alienating her from her entire friend group–but he was trying now to get back into HER good graces, since I had ejected him so thoroughly from mine). He began texting her and saying I had made rape allegations against someone else we both knew (a lie, one easily proven false), and that I had cheated with her ex-boyfriend (another lie, and again, something easily proven false), and etc. He also told her I was friend requesting HIS old friends on Facebook (another lie, and again, something easy to prove false, whereas he has now friend requested seven of my old friends, including one guy I hung out with right before we met up, who lives in Chicago and is currently in Peru!). I have no idea WHY they are accepting his friend requests, except that people do.

        To make it all the creepier, I have blocked him; so he stalked my Facebook page so thoroughly (and the events I said I was interested in around town, cross-referenced with my FB friends list) that he knew just whom to befriend after I blocked him and he could no longer even see my friends list. THAT is creepy. (What, did he write them down, or something? How did he know?) I know this because I unblocked him briefly to check on this activity (which was a mistake, I know, because I then found out that the DAY after this conversation about rape he jumped back onto Tinder and pressured some other woman into a relationship…and he is now using his Facebook page to “show her off” with comments clearly directed at me…it’s so disturbing). I blocked him again, but I am sure he used that 48 hour waiting period (before you can re-block somebody) to further stalk my friends list for more people to add.

        He has colonized the writers’ groups we used to go to together, and all the readings and open mikes in town (he is manic at the moment, and extremely energetic in his bizarre indirect campaign against me/in favor of himself and his writing “career”). I think he felt I never admired him enough as a writer–be began this whirlwind narcissistic activity (creating a “writer’s page” on FB with his work, going all over town and talking to people about getting readings, even though it’s not as if he’s published much of anything) after we broke up. But I told him I thought he was a good writer, I just don’t think you should “admire” the person you are in a relationship with (we both helped each other with our writing, as I am a poet and he is a fiction writer, so we helped each other in the other’s respective genre). But clearly admiration is what he needs.

        Anyway, when I didn’t admire him enough, and exposed his deep sense of inadequacy, he exploited my weak spot (standing up for myself sexually) and abused me in our relationship, and ultimately he came over to my apartment and assaulted me.

        As a result of all this–because I am way too old for all this childish drama (and he is 38–THIRTY-EIGHT–I mean Jesus, grow up already)–I filed a rape report against him, finally. I was traumatized for an entire month–couldn’t eat and could hardly sleep, was having nightmares about rape and about him–for two weeks after this; I first told my friend about a week afterward I felt I had been assaulted by him that weekend; I drank too much, I stepped on a glass and broke it and cut myself accidentally and cut myself some more (accidentally, because I was so out of it)…I was really, really messed up. I realized too when I saw him again I was scared of him. He always found excuses to touch me–or just touched me all the time, squeezing my arm, touching my shoulder or my waist–and I flinched when he touched me the last time. I saw an evil look in his eye when he looked at me–like he thought he had “won,” that I was still in love with him, and was not going to cotton on to the fact that he had raped me that weekend…the whole thing is so gross.

        I felt I needed some sense of justice in this, and validation. I kept blaming myself (I made him do it), questioning whether it was rape, etc. But I did talk to several people about it afterward, simply describing what happened, and they all called it rape.

        I decided in the end to report him. I was surprised that the police officer was interested in our entire relationship, not just that weekend, and asked me to name specific instances of violation within it that I felt were abusive (which I did). At the end of my account of this relationship, and the weekend in question, the officer was thoroughly disgusted with him, agreed that he is nuts, told me to get an order of protection, and said “no matter how much this guy tries to explain, at any point in the future, do not let him back into your life. Ever.”

        I called victims’ services, got appointments for counseling, and had all my paperwork and providers etc. transferred from the health clinic where he goes and took me in the beginning of our relationship (I couldn’t go back there). It is SO GREAT that these services are available, as I have been missing doctors’ appointments I need to go to and am in no condition at the moment to go take care of a bunch of paperwork again myself (they are doing everything for me…they’re so great). I think that it’s amazing there are such tireless advocates working on women’s behalf out there, and maybe one day I could even do that myself, after I get help myself and am doing better.

        I am now about to start counseling for these issues, for the first time in my life. It was very validating to have the officer be on my side; I even said, “I am not telling anyone in the community about this, I did not inform his parents” (we had met each other’s parents, and his parents seem like nice people who have NO idea what their son is capable of), “I am not trying to make trouble for him in any way,” and he said (the officer said) “you do what you need to do.” I couldn’t believe it. He doesn’t give a shit about this guy (or my alleged “harassment” of him because I sent him emails telling him to stop abusing women). That was very validating (enough so that I no longer feel the need to shame him for his behavior or contact him to tell him what an asshole he is for assaulting me, which I know is unhealthy behavior…reporting him was a healing step after I spent a month trying to cope with this on my own, and doing a bad job of it…it has totally disrupted my life, and I have things to do. I REALLY WISH I had not let him come up that weekend–I said no twice, before letting him sweet-talk me into it–to make it all the more insulting, the next day he said “you should have said no to me.” What an asshole).

        Talking to someone at victims’ services I mentioned that on our first date, after we had been chatting for a week and built up a rapport on OK Cupid, and had agreed to take it slow (and I had even discussed my ideas about sexual ethics–about the well-being approach to sex as going even farther than “enthusiastic consent”–because people can enthusiastically consent to all sorts of things that might be awful for them–considering your partner’s and your own well-being before having sex, and he had found my ideas “highly interesting” and agreed–later, of course, that was “your thing, not mine”)–on our first date he pressured me into sex. I said no three or four times, and he kept pushing, until I caved. I said to the person at victims’ services “I am just bad at this” and she said, “don’t think of it that you are bad at this. What he did was abuse.”

        So, our relationship, such as it was, even started on an abusive note (which I knew–I even mentioned it in a poem I wrote for him, in the beginning, when I was “in love”…how disappointed I was that he pushed me for sex the first night, after I said no, and we had talked about taking things slow).

        He even said later that he had mentioned to HIS therapist wanting to take things slow the next time but said to me, “Can you blame me?” What, for being horny? No. For not being able to control yourself, and take someone’s “no” for an answer? Yes. Yes, I can. (To make it all the worse, after we broke up he was pushing me to know if I was dating, who I was dating, and giving me tips how to avoid predators–i.e. men like him: “get coffee, not drinks; if they want sex and you don’t want to, say fuck you, let them go home and jerk off to porn.” Gross. But good tips.) He gets women drunk and then pressures them into sex, but was being “protective” of me and giving me tips on how to avoid predatory men. Jesus.

        There was also an instance of violation early on that he termed himself a violation. After doing it he said, “I don’t know why I did that. I have to think about why I did that.” And then he ignored me the rest of the night and wouldn’t talk to me, turned his back on me (putting me in the position of having to try to be the one to comfort him). He never said “sorry,” for what he had done, or asked me if I was okay (I was still in love with him then, felt sorry for him that he “lost control” and felt bad about it…if love, whatever it is–hormones, oxytocin, bonding–in this case, trauma bonding–didn’t make us so crazy I would have left him then, after he did that). The next day he publicized our relationship on Facebook (something he did a LOT of during our brief relationship, which I never do, and which makes me uncomfortable; I think it was because of how insecure he was feeling in the relationship; he told me all the time how vulnerable he felt to me…I should not have been involved with someone like that), to cover up what happened; and we never talked about it (not then, anyway).

        Later, after we broke up, he had the nerve to say he “thought we could have gone back to having romantic sex” after that incident, but that I had been too mad at him for it! Like it was MY FAULT and I MADE HIM choke me, pull my hair, coerce and pressure me, and occasionally just not ask before putting his penis somewhere. Like I MADE him do those things because I was “mad at him” about that incident. I mean, the level of self-delusion there is astonishing. We had a conversation early on in our relationship about rape, and I said I thought (as someone who knows) there were different levels of rape–intentional, opportunistic, and sometimes people did just lose control; and he said “that’s bullshit. That’s bullshit. That’s letting them off the hook. Guys always know when they do something like that.” So it begs the question: did HE know? Does HE know, deep down, what he does/did?

        (The saddest part of all this is that in the midst of all this selfishness and serving his own needs and inability to see his partner as a person–he would often talk about my body parts as though they were not a part of ME, and would sometimes compare my physical responses during sex to others partners’–not in a mean way, but it’s like, a weird thing to do, to get all excited about body parts as though they are divorced from the person, and how much it was about HIS EGO, women’s sexual responses to him–I later stopped being able to have any, after I lost trust in the relationship, which hurt his ego SO MUCH–he got SO butthurt about it–and he stopped even trying, and became even more demanding…but in the midst of this selfishness there WAS a good person, who was very observant–when not using his powers of observation to manipulate people–and sensitive, with good insights; I told him I felt I could have made more of myself if I hadn’t had some of the experiences I’ve had, and he said, “but you’ve lived all over the world, teaching, traveled everywhere, done things…maybe if you’d never had these experiences you would have just drifted aimlessly and not done much of anything. Maybe you would not have been so driven to take risks and try new things.” Which was really sweet of him, because sometimes that IS what we need–to reframe our own vision of our life stories and the “what ifs” and “could have beens” of them).

        The problem with all this is now I will see him around everywhere…I am hoping he will get past what happened between us in a few months, that he will calm down in a few months, and I can start meeting other writers in the community again and going to concerts and stuff I’m invited to (and just ignore him, if I see him).

        Filing this rape report, though, means that he will not try to get back in my life; it also means his behavior is documented, so maybe he will be more respectful of women’s consent (or lack thereof) in the future out of self-interest (which seems to be the only thing he is capable of), if not of out of concern for his partners’ well-being. Because if another woman comes forward, he will be prosecuted. So I am glad he knows I filed this report against him. (I only hope he will leave me alone in the future…he knows where I am going to be working–a job I got, which he wanted–and will be living directly behind campus. I am just praying he will forget about all this pretty soon and will not make trouble for me, down the line, as I am going out of my way to avoid making trouble for him by not telling anyone he knows in the community what he is really like).

        On the plus side, I finally figured out my issue (that I see myself as a “bad child,” still, and men as authority figures, in relationships and in general; this sense of myself as “bad” and as deserving of punishment is I think what attracts predators, even when I am just minding my own business; I think I “deserve” their “punishment”–their sexual assaults or harassment–for being this “bad child;” but a part of me–the rebellious part–knows that’s not true and so rebels, as I did in the relationship with this guy, after he swooped in and took over my life with his “good boyfriend” routine–part of which was about control–and told me he loved me and wanted to have children with me and stay with me forever and ever after three weeks’ time; the “rebellious” child in me began to rebel against him in small passive-aggressive ways; but then I felt I was “bad” again, for disappointing him–because his needs and his model of love were correct, not mine, which maybe just wanted something short term, or to take things slow–and so I accepted his “punishment” of sexually abusive behaviors and meanness, and I tried to please him–with sex–do what he wanted, to be the “good child” and get back in his good graces; but then I resented him, for taking advantage of and exploiting this weakness and eagerness to please; etc.)

        I figured this out…it goes back to a childhood trauma, and issues of my relationship with my father (which are healing).

        And, I am going to get dialectical behavioral therapy, which teaches you how to have a different conception of your life, and yourself, as a person; how to decide what you want, in relationships, your own needs, and how to set boundaries (something I REALLY need).

        I am getting therapy, for these issues, for the first time in my life.

        I see my friends in relationships with good men, all around me. I have male friends. There ARE good men. I think I do need to change (basically, I need to have self-respect and feel I deserve a good and loving relationship, and I need to be able to trust my own judgment). Respect needs to be my number one criterium in the future, and I need to be very firm and assertive; regardless of rapport, no matter what we had in common or if there was an attraction, I should have pushed this guy hard and said “I said NO,” that first night, kicked him out of my apartment, and then never called him or answered his phone calls again. Because ignoring someone’s “no” three or four times should be an automatic red flag, and a deal-breaker. Basically, I DO need to change. I need to learn to love myself and stand up for myself. And then maybe I won’t attract this sort of abusive and predatory man anymore.

        Which is not to victim blame, but yes. I need to figure out what it is about me that makes me so vulnerable to such pricks, and change it, stat. I am excited about these first steps.

        And, I DO need to reevaluate my own selfishness, and how I treat men. I was very nice to him mostly, but extremely wary of him and therefore passive-aggressive and occasionally insulting to him as well (and did some weird things–I kind of freaked out after his declaration of undying love, it scared me). And women do have a lot of power in relationships…I need to be clear about what I want and what I’m looking for so I can be a good partner to someone too. I don’t want hurt anyone, and I’m not saying I made him to do the things he did–I obviously didn’t (I hurt his feelings post breakup telling him I felt he’d been abusive, but he WAS; and when he reached out to me, telling me his feelings were hurt and he thought he was “pretty fucking special,” I was nothing but nice to him, told him he was special, told him I was glad he had opened up about it, etc., and was sweet to him, joking with him; there was NO REASON for him to come over and assault me, and lie to me, and expose me to STDs, and overall just be an absolute monster–which he even called himself and said “you don’t know ‘the monster,'” and I said, “oh, I think I do”–even had I been a raging bitch to him, that would not be an excuse for him to sexually assault me; but I wasn’t even close to that and had in fact been sweet to him before he did those things).

        However, I know all this HAS hurt him. And I don’t like to hurt people (which he told me he didn’t either, like to hurt people, so…I gather he doesn’t realize he is manipulative, on a conscious level; most abusers don’t know they are abusers, and don’t take conscious pleasure in it, unless they are sadists? He was all concerned about me dating other guys and sleeping with them–“but you slept with ME on the first date”–but that was because he pressured me, after I said no repeatedly; he doesn’t seem to be aware of this behavior or that most men don’t engage in it). I think that may be an issue for a lot of men, as you said about your friend, Rachel…a lack of awareness of heterosexual male privilege and a feeling of entitlement to sex with women.

        But I know this did hurt him, as I said, and I don’t want to hurt my partners either, if I can avoid it. So I need to get good in myself, feel good about myself, lose this vulnerability that makes me a target for predatory people (whether they know they are predatory or not–he sometimes did and sometimes didn’t, it seemed, like the information lies deeply buried but in more self-aware moments he can see it; but then quickly has to bury it again, because of the pain of such acknowledgment); I need to learn self-respect and how to stand up for myself; but also learn to be better and treat my partners better too, in relationships (and getting help for my own issues, as well as knowing what I want and that my needs are just as valid as a man’s, will help me to do that). So there are things I need to change about me, and I am finally getting help for these issues, and am glad.

        • Rachel

          Calabasa, thank you for the link to the explanation of nice and good. I’ve added it to my reading list for tonight, but even the brief explanation you gave makes a lot of sense. I can see that in the men I’ve met in my life and also in the work environment in both men and women.

          Regarding your situation and the need for change. Sorry, I misunderstood your first comment and assumed you meant that you scared nice men off because of your wariness about men, due to your experiences of abuse. And I meant today in my comment that as long as you’re actively working towards getting through your abuse and working towards trust, then a truly good man will help you through that, unless of course he can’t deal with it, which is his right not to, but it may be more of a sign that he’s not the right fit for you at that stage in your life, rather than you or him needing to change. You can’t speed up “recovery” from abuse. And I use recovery lightly, because as you know yourself, it’s not so easy to just get over, and when you have experience abuse before it does set you up for repeated abuse throughout your life. So I think in our case, that distrust is there for a reason. Maybe you couldn’t handle another let down at that stage in your life and emotionally could not stomach another abuse.

          I agree though that there is “change” that needs to be made in terms of attracting those certain types of men. I also do that, due to my abuses in the past, and the way I was set up, so I do understand what you’re saying there. How to change it, I have no real idea. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it’s something about an aura – in that, I do think we give off some sort of broke and vulnerable vibe that people pick up on and we don’t even know we give off. I’ve had numerous people tell me that about me.

          I do get what you mean about needing to change, I just didn’t want you to blame yourself for driving “good” men away. Because I just feel that it takes such a long long long time to heal from abuse, and I just don’t want you to be even harder on yourself when you don’t deserve it.

  • lk

    There is something unique (special? intimate? I can’t find the right word) about letting someone into your mouth, anus, vagina; about being completely naked and exposed with someone.

    Why can’t we admit that sex is not just like any other activity?

    As a woman who used to be pro-legalizing prostitution, I spent a lot of time on pro legalization websites and blogs; one of the common themes is that sex is just like everything else. I’ve seen sexwork compared to
    everything from gynecology to babysitting.

    • Wren

      I appreciate your comment.
      So what changed your mind? Can you describe the process a little? It is very important to me and other survivors.

      • lk

        No matter how much time I spent reading pro-prostitution literature, blogs, and tweets..There were just questions that the pro-prostitution proponents failed to answer convincingly.

        Why do we need prostitution? How exactly would legalizing prostitution prevent abuse in the industry or decrease trafficking and pimps? Why would we want to put a legal stamp of approval on an abusive dehumanizing industry? If sex-work is so freely chosen, why don’t more women in positions of power choose it? If most johns are nice, decent guys who just want to get some why do so many sex workers report being raped, abused, stolen from and etc?

        I think online, the happy hooker story is tremendously popular, but I could not continue to ignore all the stories of women who described prostitution as hell.

        Reading articles on sites like this also opened my eyes quite a bit.

        Reading john’s reviews of women also swayed me; even when the reviews were complimentary..there was something incredibly jarring about a man reviewing a woman’s insides as though he were reviewing a plate of food.

        The idea that every single thing has a price just gnaws at me; even sex has a price..nothing can exist outside of the transactional, commodified world we live in. Deep down, I hated the idea of legalizing an industry that commodifies (and really cheapens) something as intimate and personal as sexual activity. Not everything should be for sale.

        I think I always had this gut feeling that legalizing prostitution was wrong, but I attributed that gut feeling to being “weird” about sex or (as many of the proprostitution blogs will tell you) being whorephobic and jealous of prostitutes because they are my “competition” for male partners.

        If there was one straw that broke the camel’s back, it was an article I read on an Australian news site about prostitutes many years ago (long before I ever discovered this site) and their difficulty in punishing Johns who violated their boundaries. This prostitute described how a john was being excessively rough with her and she said something to him along the lines of: you can’t treat me like this, I’m a person. His response: If you wanted to be treated like a person, you wouldn’t be doing this.

        That line was in the back of my mind for years; it just really began to deeply bother me that I was supporting an industry that encourages men to see women as things and not people.

        • Wren

          Thank you so much for responding and for being brave enough to change your mind!!! Much appreciated!!

        • justanotherpseudonym

          Excellent comment. Thank you.

    • Rachel

      Completely agree. I don’t understand why people act like sex is just like any other activity. Regardless of your values and attitudes towards sex, I’m pretty sure most, if not everyone, could admit that it’s a much more intimate act than say, typing a comment on the Internet, or talking to a friend.

      • lk

        I really don’t understand it either. Why are we afraid to even admit that sex is intimate in a way that other activities aren’t?
        Is it because if we were to admit that, we might have to re-evaluate some of our current attitudes about sex and (by extension sex-work)? If you even admit that sex is distinct from other activities, you are painted as being backward, overly religious, a prude and etc.