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There’s a very interesting post over at the All About Romance blog, entitled Drawing The Line.

The columnist, Jane, writes:

I’ve been thinking about Voltaire lately. Specifically, one of his most famous quotations: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

Last Monday, my campus newspaper printed a column by a male writer. In this piece, he called feminists and gay activists “a sniveling bunch of emotional cripples,” declared that date rape is an “incoherent concept,” and essentially that drunken flirtation is consent.

Jane then goes on to describe the resulting outrage that those comments caused in InternetLand over the next few days.

For me, the fact that a male writer dared to write those things in a public forum wasn’t the thing that captured my attention the most (after all, he’s a columnist trying to get people to read his musings) no, what perked up my interest was firstly, Jane’s take on the issue:

I think the views the article espouses are uninformed, ignorant, misogynistic, and arrogant. But here’s the thing. I’m glad this article was published. I’m sorry it caused people pain and I agree there were editorial mistakes, but the potential of offending people is not grounds for censorship…But let’s consider the result of the article. People are discussing what “consent” means and whether or not drunk sex (or forced seduction) is rape.

People are coming out of the woodwork in support of rape victims and women’s rights and creating organizations that support victims of sexual violence. People are exercising their own freedom of speech by writing letters to the editor of the paper. There are plans to host a “constructive dialogue,” and students are debating censorship and the freedom of speech. Are these things bad?

She makes some interesting points, however I’m not sure that I agree with her entirely. I do think there are some things that shouldn’t be allowed to be said in public. The rape comment isn’t just merely offensive, the fact is, there are actually people out there who will read this dickhead’s opinion and take them as the gospel truth. And that’s where the danger lies. It’s all very well people coming out of the woodwork in support of rape victims, as a result of his shock-jock tactics, but what if those very dangerous comments actually leads to a girl or woman being raped? Would this man exercising his freedom of speech be seen as such a positive thing? Really?

And now onto the most interesting part of the column – this comment, (backed up by a couple of the other posters, including AAR Rachel) left me speechless:

Rachel and Nancy, I totally agree! Sex belongs in marriage. For years now young people are being taught that sex outside of marriage is okay as long as they have protection. There is an old saying, ‘A lie will make its way around the world before the truth has had a chance to put on its shoes!” How true that is. People keep drinking the Kool Aid and buying the lies. Lies that are killing people with countless STD’s!

There is no such thing as safe sex. The only safe sex is in a monogamous marriage or no sex at all. What is a life giving gift has been abused and distorted and turned into a sport. Our society criticizes young men who use steroids yet think its wonderful that young women pump their bodies with unnecessary contraceptive hormones. Fertility is not a disease to be treated, it is a gift. It is ridiculous to teach young people that they can say no to anything except their sexual urges!!!

I know, my jaw dropped too, but don’t worry, Maria had loads more to say on the matter:

Sex outside of marriage is certainly worse. Look around you at all the consecuences. Abortion (murdering innocent children-4,000 a day, shameful), rampant divorce, unnatural sexual acts and relationships becoming mainstream and accepted as natural, STD’s, sexualizing our children, pornography becoming bigger than the oil industry, etc….. Yep, seems no worse to me!! I have no compassion for women who place themselves in dangerous situations. Actions have consecuences!!

Hey, that’s not all, there was more!

And I definately do not have to support women, especially when they are wrong. If both sexes would behave virtuously what a world we would have. Oh wait, virtue is so old school and boring!! I’m proud to have an old school view and a hope filled life. For women like to experiment, just remember how many experiments backfire and actually never work out. As much as that line has been blurred with lies, women always have much more to lose than men. If they want to behave like men they should be treated like men.

Phew. So in summary, sex outside of marriage is a really bad thing, and is the reason for so many abortions, and so many divorces. Not only that, but any woman who has sex outside marriage deserves to be raped. Did I get that right?

Anyway, Maria wasn’t alone in her thinking, a reader called Nancy had this to say:

My take is this: as long as individuals believe in free sexual relations outside the contract of marriage, what is being discussed above will exist. Rules of behavior exist for a reason – unwanted consequences.

What I don’t get is how people who read romance books can have those sorts of viewpoints? Unless of course they only read inspirational romance. That would totally make sense then.

AAR Rachel’s viewpoints were just as controversial. She seemed to be shifting the blame onto the girls for putting themselves in a position to be raped in the first place:

I don’t think guys are savages. I think they respond to stimulus and girls that age are very stimulating. College age men are at the age when their sexuality is pretty overwhelming. Play with fire if you will, but acknowledge that it’s fire.

The Sarah Palin Award Nomination still goes to Maria though, her comments were just…astounding.

Edited To Add:

This was the original comment from AAR Rachel:

I agree with Alex Knepper. I am SO tired of women thinking that since the Sexual Revolution, sex is now roped off and controlled, bureaucratized, no longer subject to natural law or the lusts of man (and woman).

Men do not go to frat parties or bars during meat market rush to talk Plato and sample the culinary repast. They go to 1) get drunk and 2) get laid. Do women not know that? Come on, they have to know that. If you go to these venues scantily dressed, intend to flirt a lot, get all kinds of validating male attention, and go home on an ego high, you are a tease. You get something, they get nothing. Again, they don’t care what your thoughts on Plato are. Men accept the possibility of failure, but still it’s a set-up. They provide the booze and atmosphere, and hopefully you provide the ____.

So, yes, she totally agreed with the Dickhead’s comments, and not only that, but she thinks that wearing skimpy clothes is tantamount to asking to be raped. I look back at my younger days and remember the skimpiness of some of my clothes, and I understand this, had I been raped, it would have totally been my fault. Nice one Rachel.

89 Comments »

  • People are coming out of the woodwork condemning rape…

    But it shouldn’t be necessary

    It’s like being merrily happy that people are coming out of the woodwork saying how bad axe murder is. It doesn’t – or SHOULDN’T need to be said. And above and beyond that no-one should be saying that it ISN’T BAD! And no media with a pretence of any kind of professionalism, ethics or basic integrity or decency should be publishing an article that claims that.

    Sex belongs in marriage? Well ain’t that just super for the gay people also slammed there who live in places where they can’t marry. And that’s aside

    Is the only safe sex entirely monogamous sex? (And equating monogamopus sex with sex in marriage is so charmingly naive) Sure. But then the only “safe” way to walk down to road is to swathe yourself in bubble wrap. There’s NO safe way to drive a car and you better have rappel lines and safety leads on your stair case.

    Virtually nothing is 100% safe. And nor do we expect it to be. That monogamous married life can be scuppered if your dearly beloved is cheating on you, so even that isn’t safe.

    However, there is “safe” in the context of “suitably minimised risk” and with the contraception out there, it’s possible to have “safe” sex without dancing in purity balls and breaking out the chastity belts

    Gah, we’re not syaing they can’t say no! We’re saying they don’t have to say no if they don’t want to! There’s a difference!

    And you got to love the things she decries. What is “unnatural” sex and relationships I wonder? Abortion is murder? (oi vey. And of course, no MARRIED woman has ever had abortion, oh no). And of course, PORN! EVIL EVIL PORN!

    Oh please – guys respond to stimulus? That’s insulting to women AND men. Women can wear and do what they want WITHOUT expecting to be raped. And as a guy, I object to the idea that seeing someone dressed all sexy is going to make me rage out of control. No, really, you could poll dance naked in front of me in the street and I can guarantee that I can control any “urges.”

    Such words excuse the rapist and insult all men

    Well, at least it answers a previous question – here’s the market for those inspirational erotic romances!

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  • [...] college student, which lead to an equally unfortunate flamewar on the All About Romance blog about whether or not monogamous marriage was the only truly safe sex [...]



  • SamG
    April 10
    12:37 am

    OH YES, you know because men never cheat! They never bring home precious little critters for their wives.

    I had sex before marriage. I had more than one partner before I was married.

    I am a rather happy, certainly healthy and have been disease free all 44 years of my life.

    I was honest w/the hubby when we met. He has no problem with my history…these women have no business with it.

    So, think they want us to go back to chastity belts?

    Sam

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  • Anonopissed
    April 10
    1:14 am

    Somebodies got stuck in the 50’s and didn’t want to leave.

    Personally, I like a variety of experience. I like consequences of my mistakes, they help me learn and grow as a human being. I like having my world view challenged and not try to stay in a nice little cozy bubble of unrealistic and archaic ideas.

    I guess Marie could manage to keep her puny world view if she met the man of her dreams and went and lived on an island somewhere where she’d never be confronted with reality. One could only hope.

    And her statement: If they want to behave like men they should be treated like men.— is just retarded.

    If only I could be treated like a man by acting like one.

    The chance to screw around and be a horny toad and be excused of that behavior by Marie and Rachel themselves for being helpless against my own raging hormones. And to be able to screw around and not be called tramp, but get pats on the back and hi fives. To get a job and get paid more than the women next to me doing the same work. To be taken seriously and not as a stupid little women when I deal with a sales guy, get my car fixed and so on.

    If only I could be treated like a man if I acted like one. I’d do it in a heartbeat. Especially since Marie and Rachel would defend me over some poor woman who happens to be unlucky and get raped cause it’s all her fault.

    What a twat.

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  • Not surprised at all at that type of thinking … the scary part is that people with the mentality of those posters are VERY loud in the USA … loud enough that I am worried about the next election and the 2012 election. On the upside, Obama gets to nominate the next judge to the Supreme Court.

    signed,
    *very scared in New York*

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  • So if a woman is drunk and really doesn’t know which way is up and the man she is with knows this, and proceeds to have sex with her, knowing she is out of it, and she says no, or mumbles the word in her drunken state, but he still goes ahead and has sex with her, that’s not date rape?

    The moment a woman say the word “no” even if she is serious or being playful, a man should respect that. And that means in all cases, including dating, being in a relationship or in marriage. No means no.

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  • Apparently if a woman is totally sober and says no repeatedly but just happens to meet someone’s definition of stimulating, then she deserves to get raped. Probably also deserves to get bashed around if she’s mouthy, robbed if she looks like she’s wealthy, and murdered if she looks like she might be different from you or happens to be in a place where people could possibly get murdered (a dangerous place) — you know, somewhere on EARTH. Yeah.

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  • Words fail me with these women – what nongs…and I got confused about ‘Kool Aid’ – do we drink it or not or wait until we’re married?

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  • I’m with Amarinda. I’m speechless and for an English major that’s just unheard of. Both Maria AND the newspaper writer are complete nutters. I’m afraid I may not be able to step out of the house tomorrow as I may stimulate my male neighbor as I bend over to pick up the newspaper and obviously I will be “asking for it.”

    It seems the gene pool needs a little cleaning again….

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  • SamG
    April 10
    4:04 am

    Amarinda, what is a nong?

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  • My mouth just dropped open! So, a woman, merely by virtue of being a woman, is fair game – unless she’s locked up by a man in marriage and possibly a chastity belt? So what about a married woman who is raped – maybe because she forgot to lock the door behind her or decided to walk a block to the neighborhood market at night. Rape is rape. No is no. And sex only in marriage is not a solution to society’s problems. Throughout history, despite re-writes, men and woman have had sexual relations outside of marriage or before marriage. Sex isn’t the problem. One of the problems is people who think women somehow “ask” for it.

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  • There is one thing I agree with. There is no such thing as safe sex–not in marriage our outside of it, so people should give it up.

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  • “Amarinda, what is a nong?”

    @Sam – Nong – well, it’s Aussie for nitwit, dipstick, dill, silly person – generally someone not to be taken seriously.

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  • There is no such thing as safe sex. The only safe sex is in a monogamous marriage or no sex at all.

    As someone who is HIV positive and my partner is not. UM no, actually.

    Well yes, to some extent all sex involving penetration is literally taking a risk. Hey it is for us so that is my experience here. It is how you manage that risk that counts towards you staying away from STDs. Condoms etc etc etc blah blah blah.

    So to some extent I can agree with just that part of the statement because yes… ALL PENETRATIVE SEX HAS SOME RISK but… you can throw in married sex too if the guy turns out to be messing around behind your back right?

    Anyway, the whole rape clothing deal and “asking for it” seems to me to be over generalized blaming the victim.

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  • Bonnie
    April 10
    12:01 pm

    Wow. It’s hard to believe people like this still exist.

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  • theo
    April 10
    12:18 pm

    As the victim of date rape, I can understand some of her points of view. HOWEVER…I was not skimpily dressed, I had on jeans and a t-shirt. I was not ‘teasing’ anyone. I attended a frat party with a friend and her college-student sister. That was my first mistake. I was, and this doesn’t apply to everyone!, too stupid to understand there could be unwanted consequences to my actions. Though I was underage, I saw no harm in going and when a very handsome college guy started paying attention to me, well, Wow! Unfortunately, because I wanted to be part of the party, I was more than willing to accept beer after beer.

    Oh, I said no. He didn’t care. Three months later, I had an abortion which I’ll live with the rest of my life.

    So, really, the only true safe sex is NO sex in any way, shape or form.

    Do I advocate that? No. I think it’s impossible. But that’s me. Do I think sex outside marriage is wrong? I think one night stands are very shallow, unfulfilling and give an empty sense of being wanted though you know in the morning it wasn’t for anything other than the sex. And believe me, that date-rape led to some rather outrageous behavior from me for several years. Personally, I hated the feeling. There are people who don’t think that way however, and that’s fine.

    We all pay the consequences for our actions, one way or the other, but sometimes, we don’t know with one decision where the consequence really lies. It’s a domino effect at times, I think, and how do we predict that? Living in a box isn’t living at all.

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  • Throwmearope
    April 10
    1:53 pm

    I think these women exhibit a bad attitude about men as well. Poor, poor men. If a woman has a vagina, then they have to unzip and plunge in. Men have no ethics, no morals, no self control, no discrimination, no taste, no ability to think rationally. They’re just walking penises looking for a vagina. And it doesn’t even have to be the magic vagina, just any old vagina will do.

    If I were a guy (which thanks be to God I’m not), I would be highly offended by their extremely low opinion of men.

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  • Diana
    April 10
    3:53 pm

    Many of us disagreed vehemently with the “blame the victim” advocates. I find it hard to believe that we’re even having this discussion in 2010. Personally, I blame Sarah Palin. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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  • FD
    April 10
    5:44 pm

    I read the comments and had to go walk away from the computer. Gave me the cold shudders.

    And man, I was gobsmacked to see several posters waxing ridiculously nostalgic over times when women’s only legitimate form of sexual expression was within marriage.
    Cuz yeah, going back to the age of legal marital rape, women as chattel, and wives dying of syphilis because male adultery didn’t count is SUCH a good idea. *eyeroll*

    Thinking it over, I now know why I’ve had such strongly differing reactions to some of the books recommended by reviewers over at ARR.

    An astonishing demonstration of internalized misogyny. I’m thankful that I never read their message boards if that’s what posters there are like.

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  • What is good advice for women–more specifically young girls, when it comes to sex in today’s world? What do you tell a girl heading out to her first *parties” with boys and beer (or stronger stuff.)? Is there a happy medium?

    All words of wisdom appreciated.

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  • There is something wrong with this world.

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  • Throwmearope
    April 10
    7:26 pm

    Mother of 3. My youngest is my seventeen year old daughter. Advice: Go with friends, friends you can trust. Don’t go where you don’t know most of the people. Don’t drink anything you didn’t open yourself. Don’t leave your drink unattended.

    No means no. But if you’re near a crowd and he doesn’t believe you, shout “FIRE!!!” People are too embarrassed if you shout rape. (If the venue is too crowded to shout fire safely, shouting “PERVERT!!!” usually draws attention. Everybody wants to see the pervert.)

    If all else fails, pretend you’re bat sh*t insane.

    Walk softly and carry a large book in a book bag. Wonderful weapon.

    If he’s armed and intent on rape, do whatever you have to do to stay alive. Running towards large groups of people is better than trying to fight a big guy.

    This is from a burned out old ER doc who did way too many rape kits.

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  • Karen, did you see this earlier post by AAR Rachel? According to Rachel

    What no one – or correction, what few women – is saying or has said for decades is that men are attracted to women mostly on how they look and women are attracted to men mostly on what status they have or what confidence they exude. [...] Physicality isn’t the only thing that men look for in a long-term partner, but it’s probably the most important one. Especially for high status guys who do not have to compromise because of what they bring to the table. Those same guys don’t want women with a long sexual history either. Not to marry. Not to have children with.

    She elaborated on her views in further comments,including this one: “IMHO the Sexual Revolution and later wave feminism was a total disaster in terms of family stability and, ultimately, the stability of our whole society” and this one

    My main problem with feminism is that it is destroying the primary building block of civilization – the family. Look back at 1965. How many moms and dads lived together with their biological children? How many do today? And I’m not talking about how many intact families you know. This site has an educated, literate, middle class audience, and for the large part marriage is still intact for the middle class. But it isn’t for the working class. Marriage is going the way of the dodo bird for them, and children will pay for the fact that their parents don’t live together and care for each other anymore. They will pay economically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And then we will all pay when they grow old enough to start voting, legislating, and making policy.

    There is a male backlash coming for the unfairness feminism has wrought. Whether it’s men refusing to marry, men demanding that accusations of domestic violence and rape be proven before an automatic jail sentence is given, or men just dropping out of employment and off the tax roles and letting women pay for all the expensive entitlement programs they demand themselves. It’s coming. Because the way it is now is not equal – for men. And they are bigger than women, physically stronger than women, and, unlike the unborn, can do something about the injustice.

    If women want things to be better for their daughters, they should get married and stay married. A girl is both safer and more likely to thrive if her father is in the house with her and a presence in her life. It’s that simple.

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  • EC Sheedy
    April 10
    10:06 pm

    Throwmearope, I appreciate your comments. You sound smart, and your daughter sounds smart, too. She’s lucky to have you. I like the bat sh*t crazy idea. I’m going to pass that one on. :-)

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  • Throw Me a Rope – I would like to use your comments about protecting yourself on a post if I may. More women need reminders of this

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  • Is this the same All About Romance that is wondering why they are no longer a major force in the online romance world? Maybe this is a clue.

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  • willaful
    April 10
    11:04 pm

    Not to detract from the more infuriating whatthefuckery quoted above, but I’m irked by the idea that marriage “saves” people from having to control their fertility. For most sane people, marriage does not mean you suddenly want to have unlimited babies. An unwanted pregnancy still sucks even if you’re married. And married women use contraceptive pills and have abortions, too.

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  • @Laura How old is AAR Rachel anyway? I know octogenerians who are more in tune with the times that she appears to be.

    @Emily They were never relevant for me anyway, but I think Rachel’s opinions shows a right-wing crazy side to AAR that many people will find unpalatable.

    I often wonder if women who read mostly historical romances are more likely to think like Rachel? Either way, she hasn’t done herself or AAR any favours, and as she’s an AAR rep, I can only presume that they and their readership are equally right-wing nutty.

    Honestly if I had to review with somebody who felt like she does, I don’t think I could do it.

    It does beg the question though, how can she reconcile her strong beliefs with some of the books that she reads that have the h&h shagging around before marriage?

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  • How old is AAR Rachel anyway?

    She mentions in one comment that she “was in high school in the 1980’s” so she must be in her 30s or 40s.

    as she’s an AAR rep, I can only presume that they and their readership are equally right-wing nutty.

    Lots of people have disagreed with her, though, often quite vehemently, both on the thread you posted about, and the one I’ve linked to. The people disagreeing with her have included other AAR reviewers, so it’s certainly not the case that she speaks for everyone reading AAR or reviewing at AAR. That said, she is one of the four publishers of AAR.

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  • Bonnie
    April 11
    12:16 am

    I often wonder if women who read mostly historical romances are more likely to think like Rachel?

    I’ve wondered about this myself. Interesting.

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  • Las
    April 11
    12:23 am

    Glad you brought this up, Karen. I read that first comment by Rachel and I just stopped. I have a thick thin, but after that shit? Done with AAR.

    I am so sick and tired of the mentality that women are responsible for men’s behavior, because the poor dears just can’t help themselves. They abuse, cheat, and rape because we women somehow force them to do so. Fuck that shit. I should be able to walk down a dark alley completely naked (not that I want to) and not get raped, and if I do? Not my fault. It may be a stupid thing to do considering the world we live in–you know, the world that tells us that we’re responsible for our own rapes–but the responsibility lies with the person committing the crime. Period. Men can absolutely control their actions, no matter what the jokes say about their brains residing in their dicks. A woman can deliberately tease a man, and guess what? The guy still has to back the hell up as soon as she says no, no matter how horny he is.

    You know what? It is women’s fault. Because most women, to some extent, think like Rachel and those other twits who commented on the AAR blog. How many women do we know who’ve ranted about the “other woman” while barely mentioning the man who’s doing the actual cheating? How many women forgive, over and over again, men who cheat or otherwise treat them like shit? That’s the SAME EXACT THINKING that leads to blaming rape victims. So many women are desperate to believe that all men are knights in shining armor underneath it all, if only women would just behave themselves.

    Disgusting.

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  • Las
    April 11
    12:30 am

    Oh, and I read mostly historicals, because I’m not much of a romantic IRL and it’s pretty much impossible for me to suspend disbelief with regular contemporaries(paranormals are much better for me). With historicals I can ignore a lot of the forgiving of bullshit because, what the hell else were women going to do back then? With many contemporaries, I’m constantly thinking, “You’re not seriously keeping that son of a bitch, are you?” Or, “*SNORT!* You don’t actually buy that line, do you? Are you stupid?!

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  • anon
    April 11
    2:22 am

    So if a woman is drunk and really doesn’t know which way is up and the man she is with knows this, and proceeds to have sex with her, knowing she is out of it, and she says no, or mumbles the word in her drunken state, but he still goes ahead and has sex with her, that’s not date rape?

    The problem as I see it is that if a woman is that drunk, she’s considered legally incompetent and incapable of giving consent. But if the man who has sex with her is that drunk as well–or drunker–he’s considered to be legally competent insomuch as he’s now culpable for rape.

    And it isn’t a matter of no means no anymore. It’s a matter of if there is no definite “yes” at every escalation of a sexual encounter, the man runs the risk of a charge.

    Listen, some of the best sex of my life happened under circumstances of questionable consent on my part, and when both I and the man were legally intoxicated (he was more hammered than I was by far). Had I been a different kind of woman–perhaps the type to expect a phone call the next day–it may well be I’d have felt violated when I didn’t get one. And according to the wording of the law in many places, that feeling of violation–even the morning after–in a circumstance where I was not only legally impaired, but initially resisted and then did not give clear, verbal consent–I could so have had his ass arrested. And the charges would have stuck, no matter how drunk he was, and no matter how much I enjoyed it while it was happening.

    I’m not saying that date-rape is bullshit. But there’s so much wiggle room in the law these days, and the wiggle room is all at the man’s expense. I have a fifteen year old son, and I cringe when I think of the risks he’s going to incur becoming sexually active. STDs are the least of them.

    As far as women dressing in skimpy clothing and flirting with horny guys at frat parties “asking to be raped” or “deserving what they get”, well, hell no. But people who hitchhike don’t deserve to be murdered by psychopaths, and women walking down back alleys in the inner city at 2 AM don’t deserve to be mugged or beaten or worse. But you mix horny guys, booze and drugs, then add miniskirts and tight tops and lots of petting and flirting, well, you may not be asking for it, you may not deserve it, but you’re engaging in behavior as risky as walking down that alley at 2 AM.

    Putting the onus on a date-rapist to not rape is like putting the onus on a mugger not to clobber you and steal your purse. No, he should not do it. No, in a perfect world he would resist his urges. But muggers are muggers and rapists are rapists, and reality is that regular, law-abiding people have to alter their behavior to avoid crossing paths or becoming prey for those who are not regular law-abiding people. The world ain’t perfect. Deal with it.

    My mom used to tell us girls that “Yes, you should be able to walk down Main Street at midnight NUDE if you wanted to and be safe. But this world isn’t about ‘should be’. It’s about ‘is’.”

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  • Las
    April 11
    2:53 am

    Serious question: If a man is so drunk that he’s not aware of what he’s doing, could he even have sex if he wanted to? Every man I know who’s been so drunk that they’re really, truly out of it and can’t be held accountable can’t get an erection to save his life. I have been drunk enough to do some stupid shit, some that I’ve regretted, but even that drunk I knew what was what. I have also been drunk enough that I had no idea what I was doing and blacked out. Huge difference. That’s why I have a hard time believing that alcohol can be used as a defense by a rapist…he might have been drunk enough to not give a damn, but to not know what he was doing, and still be physically capable of raping someone? Eh, I’m having a hard time believing that one. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Putting the onus on a date-rapist to not rape is like putting the onus on a mugger not to clobber you and steal your purse. No, he should not do it. No, in a perfect world he would resist his urges. But muggers are muggers and rapists are rapists, and reality is that regular, law-abiding people have to alter their behavior to avoid crossing paths or becoming prey for those who are not regular law-abiding people. The world ain’t perfect. Deal with it.

    Well, yeah. No one’s saying otherwise. Of course we have to take care of ourselves. But it’s always struck me is really, really wrong to bring that up when discussing actual rapes. Because, ultimately, it’s completely irrelevant and cruel. Yes, let’s talk about common sense things to do to keep ourselves safe in regular conversations*, but let’s not go there when where discussing specific rape incidences, because there’s no way to bring that up in that context without it being about blaming the victim and completely misdirecting the blame.

    *And frankly, I think that all talk about “preventing” our own rapes is bullshit anyway, because if a man is enough of an animal to rape someone, it really doesn’t matter what a woman is wearing or how she’s behaving. All that that talk accomplishes is to keep us living in fear. The way to prevent (date) rape is for us as a society to teach men that no woman is obligated to satisfy their horniness, no matter how much of “tease” she might be. Blue balls ain’t killed anyone yet.

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  • Laura
    April 11
    3:26 am

    And I finally delete AAR from my favorites……

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  • anon
    April 11
    4:04 am

    Because, ultimately, it’s completely irrelevant and cruel. Yes, let’s talk about common sense things to do to keep ourselves safe in regular conversations*, but let’s not go there when where discussing specific rape incidences, because there’s no way to bring that up in that context without it being about blaming the victim and completely misdirecting the blame.

    That’s true.

    As to your contention that a man can’t perform when he’s THAT drunk, well, a woman only has to be legally impaired before she can claim her consent was given (or her rejection went unuttered) while under the influence and therefore doesn’t constitute consent.

    No one sane is going to argue that a woman who is staggering drunk is capable of giving consent–or that her lack of a firm “no” should mean hey, go ahead. But I’ve been around a bit, and I’ve been with men who were more than capable of having sex while not just legally impaired (over a .08), but pretty fucking hammered. Certainly more intoxicated than I ever am. And yet if, the next day, I’d decided to press date rape charges, they’d have been charged and likely convicted, because I was too impaired to drive and therefore too impaired to give consent. And though they were too drunk to walk straight or touch their nose with their finger, they were sober enough to be held legally accountable for sexual assault for having sex with a woman who was saying “yes” at the time.

    I have been drunk enough to do some stupid shit, some that I’ve regretted, but even that drunk I knew what was what.

    Date rape laws in a lot of places put an onus on a man to not only seek consent every step of the way, from kissing to petting to penetration, but they make it very easy for a woman who gave consent and then had regrets it the next day to press charges because she was drunk, or felt pressured, or whatever.

    Hell, I have a young friend whose mother told her to press rape charges against a guy she slept with because she felt violated and regretful and devastated the next morning. The young woman was decent enough to admit that no, she was not raped. She was really really drunk (as was the guy) and did something stupid she would never have done sober and wished she hadn’t done. She felt awful about it for a long time, but what happened was half on her. She drank, she got drunk, she made a bad decision, and when push came to shove it was her shitty choice.

    But if she’d wanted to press charges, the law would have been on her side.

    Honestly, the moment a woman says no, that should mean no–unless you’ve agreed ahead of time that “no” really means “make me” and you have a different word to call a halt to proceedings. There’s no excuse for forcing a woman to have sex against her will. But the line between “I didn’t want to,” and “I wouldn’t have ever done it if I wasn’t [drunk, stoned, depressed, etc]” is getting awfully murky.

    We’ve gotten to the point where universities put out guidelines for sexual conduct for their students that include a man asking permission for each escalation of an encounter: “May I touch your breast?” “May I put my mouth on your vulva?” Pardon my cynicism, but don’t come complaining to me about how sex never feels spontaneous and passionate anymore and where are all the men who can sweep a woman off her feet. They’re all asking permission to put their hand on your thigh so they can stay out of prison.

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  • MaryK
    April 11
    4:44 am

    @anon (comment 33) – Thank you. You said it much better than I could.

    @Las (comment 31) “I should be able to walk down a dark alley completely naked (not that I want to) and not get raped, and if I do? Not my fault. It may be a stupid thing to do considering the world we live in–you know, the world that tells us that we’re responsible for our own rapes–but the responsibility lies with the person committing the crime. Period.”

    Exactly. You’d be an idiot. A raped idiot. Secure in the knowledge that it was not your fault. Would that knowledge assuage the trauma of rape?

    It’s not about being responsible for being raped. It’s about being safe. Since when is talking about safety a bad thing? “Safe sex” is practically a mantra. But apparently, physical safety in potentially sexual situations is not an acceptable topic.

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  • Anon76
    April 11
    5:25 am

    I haven’t read the comments here yet, only the post. Haven’t even read the link to the original discussion and article.

    I can’t. At this moment, my head is already ‘sploding!

    Keep chanting, “Breathe deep. Stay calm. Post nothing but this until you have some time to distance.”

    Hm, will see if that works.

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  • anon
    April 11
    5:31 am

    Violent stranger rape is entirely different from date rape, and I don’t know that many people realize it. Violent stranger rape (or spousal rape, or stalker rape) is about power. Date rape–now that the laws are so broad–is almost always about sex. A man wants sex, a woman has been giving him signals all night, they’ve both been drinking and maybe doing drugs, whatever. He misinterprets the signals and by the time she makes her “no” clear, he’s either too drunk to care, or too sexually frustrated to care. (And no, neither of those is any excuse if a woman ACTUALLY SAYS no.)

    So much “harmless flirtation” looks exactly the same as “prelude to sex”, and you have women who believe they can behave in any way and “should not” be raped–and yes, they’re right, they should not be raped no matter how they behave, but “should not” and reality are too different things.

    And the waters get muddied even further because a woman doesn’t even have to say “no” now to bring a charge. All she has to do is say she felt violated. She can even do this after giving consent, if the man doesn’t call the next day, or in some other way makes her feel used.

    For pete’s sake, the last man I was with, I spent hours and hours flirting for all I was worth, and he flirted back, kept looking like he was going to make a move then backing off. I finally pinned him to the wall and said, “I guess I have to be blunt and just say ‘Wanna fuck?'” He said he hadn’t wanted to make a move because he’d misread signals before and the reaction he’d gotten was enough to make him leery of any woman who flirted with him.

    We live in a world now where a woman can lay it on as thick as winter molasses, and a man is still terrified to so much as touch her because if he isn’t a mind-reader and a fortune teller, well, lord only knows the shitstorm that might hit tomorrow morning…

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  • It’s not about being responsible for being raped. It’s about being safe. Since when is talking about safety a bad thing? “Safe sex” is practically a mantra. But apparently, physical safety in potentially sexual situations is not an acceptable topic.

    It’s not that it’s an unacceptable topic. I’m all for being safe. The problem is the implied “because you weren’t being/thinking safe this happened to you” i.e. this is your fault. It’s too much like absolution for the perpetrator, who would have done it anyway. That’s unacceptable. That in anyway you pick up or you expect someone else to pick the responsibility for someone else’s abhorrent actions.

    As for potentially sexual situations…WOW. Fucking. WOW. What is a potentially sexual situation to you? Now think about all the other people in the world and how they would define a potentially sexual situation. Do you see the problem, the hole in your argument? The only way to ensure one never puts themselves in a potentially sexual situation is to hole up in a house never to be seen again. So with your logic, people should start carrying weapons in the shower. To work. To their children’s school just in case someone believes the occasion is fraught with sexual potential.

    Really, MaryK, I’m not being overzealous or exaggerating. I think you really need to research the type of people who are rapist. How far they are willing to go to get the satisfaction they receive by raping someone. That’s why it doesn’t matter what the safety precautions are–ones you take or should have taken. We can talk about them until blue in the face, but in the scheme of things they don’t fucking matter. It just makes us feel safe. But it’s an ideal pushed into a victim’s face, into discussions like these and that’s unacceptable.

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  • Anon76
    April 11
    6:22 am

    Man, at the moment I am thinking of this scenario:

    Night out at the bar. Guy is having a great time, looking his best, bullshitting with all and sundry, shooting some pool, playing some darts, telling bawdy jokes, etc.

    As the night wears on, he’s imbibing, perhaps a bit too much…no, he knows he is getting too tanked, so he tries to back off some, but a newly made acquaintance is in a partying mood. No attraction or nothing there physically, not his type. Just good talk and good fun.

    Later, he distinctly remembers getting a ride home from this person, well, as far as the driveway. He remembers dodging a goodnight kiss, and then a stroke on his crotch. While he definitely remembers stating No over and over again, the sensation of the hand on his crotch, the neck nibbles, and the fact he couldn’t focus his eyes if he tried all have a lulling effect.

    He remembers receiving what seemed to be the best head he’d ever had in his life. He didn’t get off, but the whispered words told him what a great guy he was. How big, how strong, how good looking. Hands trailing over his body in worship. His Noes though, never stopped. Some part of his brain new the wrong of it, even soaked in alcohol.

    And the next day, oh the remorse!

    You see, his attacker was…

    …another man.

    But he must be gay and asking for it looking all fine and getting so drunk and the lot. He didn’t really mean no, the tease.

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  • Anon76
    April 11
    6:27 am

    And might I please state that I was not slamming gay men. In fact, I was slamming the heterosexual male stereotype proliferated by this nonsense article and AAR

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  • We live in a world now where a woman can lay it on as thick as winter molasses, and a man is still terrified to so much as touch her because if he isn’t a mind-reader and a fortune teller,

    Men are “terrified” to touch women? In what world is that happening, because that’s certainly not the case in my world. Go and read the stats on how many rape convictions are actually brought about in comparison to the number reported, then we can talk about “terrified” men who are too scared to touch a woman for fear of repercussions.

    There have been a lot of silly things written re this discussion, and I’m afraid that your comment is right up there with some of the silliest.

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  • MaryK
    April 11
    8:00 am

    @Melissa Blue (comment #40)
    But we were talking about walking naked down a dark alley. And the original post on AAR started out being about frat parties.

    Now your saying I’m in as much danger at the law office where I work as I would be in the dark alley or frat party. Every situation is sexual to somebody, so all situations are equally unsafe.

    And safety precautions are an ideal. All those defense classes, security alarms, security lights, pepper spray – those are just useless, money making gimmicks.

    By that logic, you’re right, we might as well all just lie down and take it because it’s going to happen.

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  • Is it just me or is this all getting sillier by the second?

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  • Violent stranger rape is entirely different from date rape, and I don’t know that many people realize it. Violent stranger rape (or spousal rape, or stalker rape) is about power. Date rape–now that the laws are so broad–is almost always about sex.

    Research seems to be showing that this really isn’t the case. As I posted on the thread at AAR, studies by Lisak and Miller and by McWhorter suggest something rather different. The findings have been summarised here:

    Predator Theory is the theory that acquaintance rape as we know it is overwhelmingly caused by a relatively narrow portion of recidivist undetected rapists in the population, each of whom will have several victims, and that these rapists select targets based on the likelihood that they can rape without meaningful consequence, and favor alcohol and avoid overt force as tools to defeat resistance for just this reason.

    Or, to quote Lisak directly,

    The implications of the research on undetected rapists – research that has largely focused on men in college environments – point to the similarity of these offenders to incarcerated rapists. They share the same motivational matrix of hostility, anger, dominance, hyper-masculinity, impulsiveness and antisocial attitudes. They have many of the same developmental antecedents. They tend to be serial offenders, and most of them commit a variety of different interpersonal offenses. They are accurately and appropriately labeled as predators.

    This picture conflicts sharply with the widely-held view that rapes committed on university campuses are typically the result of a basically “decent” young man who, were it not for too much alcohol and too little communication, would never do such a thing. While some campus rapes do fit this more benign view, the evidence points to a far less benign reality, in which the vast majority of rapes are committed by serial, violent predators.

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  • Karen,

    Thanks for wading in there over at AAR — my stomach was too knotted to attempt it, personally — and for bringing the discussion here.

    I understand very well the Catholic world view Potter espouses — I disagree with Karen that is it “outdated”, since, to take one example, the majority of Americans today actually agree with the Catholic opposition to same sex marriage (although Americans under age 30 are more likely to favor it) — and I know that it can, in the right hands, be presented and discussed in ways that are not intolerant and hateful.

    I find this kind of thing at AAR more than I would like. For another recent example, see this thread: “Enshrining Bad Behavior“, which, while excoriating the heroine in Julie James’s Practice Makes Perfect, equates the decline of society with modern feminism.

    Is it just me or is this all getting sillier by the second?

    It’s just you.

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  • Michelle
    April 11
    12:10 pm

    I don’t know besides just ignorance, if there is an element of self-delusion. If someone tells themselves only sluts get raped and they deserved it so that means I am safe and it could never happen to me. I don’t know. I am also tired of seeing the “it’s my opinion so I am right and I should be respected” bullshit. Wrong is wrong, and hateful, bigoted, racist opinions should not be “respected” but called out. I don’t care how often you bleat out 2+2=3, that does not make it so.

    I am so sorry for any rape victims who were hurt by reading that garbage. Talk about rubbing salt into a wound.

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  • Feminism is the root of all evil … nevermind that thanks to it, I don’t have to deal with the shit my grandma had to…

    as to the “backlash” from males, it has been going on for a while, that only comes to show how behind the times some of the commenters are…

    there is such a thing as moderate feminists…

    regarding women staying in a marriage for the benefit of their daughters, try telling that to my sister, who has been cheated on not by one but two husbands and has a daughter … but of course, if she was cheated on … that must have been her fault, right?

    Sometimes I wish we could make a stupid bomb that would only kill stupid people, like my husband jokingly says… he has zero tolerance for stupidity, we are a match made in heaven.

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  • Most of this makes my head, and my heart, hurt. A Lot.

    This bit:

    I have no compassion for women who place themselves in dangerous situations. Actions have consecuences!!

    Absolutely actions have consequences. Now without reading the entire article, I can’t be sure what the context is, and I’m not sure my blood pressure or my head can handle reading the entire thing.

    I’m going to made an assumption here, though. I’m assuming there’s some religious beliefs playing into these viewpoints-if I’m wrong, my apologies.

    But going on those assumptions, I have these few things to say.

    Matthew 18:33

    Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?

    Luke 6:36

    You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

    1 John 3:17

    If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister [ Greek sees his brother.] in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?

    Matthew 5:7

    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

    No compassion…?

    Actions DO have consequences, I agree with that. If a woman (or man) has unprotected sex, she needs to be prepared to handle the consequences-often, she isn’t and this is a sad thing. Sometimes it’s something like an unplanned pregnancy.

    Sometimes it’s AIDS. I’ve watched people die from AIDs, have cared for them and sadly seen some of them die far, far younger than they ever should have. Are these consequences? Yes. Sad, heartbreaking consequences…and it’s just as sad and heartbreaking to think there are people who would have no compassion for them.

    Sometimes a girl goes out for a fun night with a guy she thinks is a nice, fun guy and he ends slipping drugs into her drink. Date rape shouldn’t be an acceptable consequence and my heart hurts to think that somebody wouldn’t have compassion for those women.

    If both sexes would behave virtuously what a world we would have. Oh wait, virtue is so old school and boring!

    I actually have no problems with virtue, but that’s going to be a personal choice, one people can’t really force on others.

    But I also think that if more people would practice compassion…and if I’m right in assuming faith is playing in her viewpoints, I’ve just got one more point here to make.

    Matthew 7:1

    Judge not, that ye be not judged.

    We were called to witness… not judge.

    This whole thing kinda confounds me.

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  • Las
    April 11
    1:27 pm

    Exactly. You’d be an idiot. A raped idiot. Secure in the knowledge that it was not your fault. Would that knowledge assuage the trauma of rape?

    Way to miss the point, MaryK. Brilliant.

    Anon, I get what you’re saying about date rape, and if I believed that that kind of stuff was happening all that often I’d be right behind you. But, whatever the laws might state, let’s be real…those kinds of convictions are not happening with enough frequency to justify this “poor, poor misunderstood, cock-teased man” mentality. I have little interest in hypotheticals. hey make interesting thought experiments, but it’s much more important to me to discuss the actual realities, and the numbers tell us that many, many rapes go unreported, many of those to do get reported go unpunished, and while, yes, some men may get falsely accused, it’s certainly not enough to justify the endless assumptions about what women must be doing wrong whenever the topic of date rape occurs.

    Oh, and that man you described has issues. Seriously. All he had to do was make his move and see what your response was. That fact he did nothing despite what he thought were clear signals says more about him than about the other women he’s been in contact with.

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  • Widget
    April 11
    1:34 pm

    I am surprised at the attitudes cited here from AAR although I haven’t read the boards much since Laurie bowed out– or for a couple years before then to be honest. I doubt if it’s the poster’s age. I had a fantastic time when I was younger and wilder and certainly regret none of it now.

    I agree with Michelle. Part of this is bargaining with fate– if I do everything just the way I was told then I will not be raped.

    Good advice from Throwmearope. Second part to it– do whatever it takes to avoid being taken to a second crime site– the second site is always more violent.

    Finally some things you simply cannot plan for. A private agency, middle aged social worker makes a scheduled visit to a young couple and their child in their home as part of ongoing assistance– For no reason that anyone can come up with, they knock her out, sexually assault her then kill her and keep the body around for a few days before trying to dispose of it by setting the body and her car on fire.

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  • Lee
    April 11
    2:25 pm

    Before any more people comment on how bad AAR is, please do yourselves a favor and actually go to AAR and read through the posts there. Exactly one AAR owner/reviewer is spouting the ridiculous theory that date rape victims ask for it. Just one. And the other two who have weighed in on it have stated vehemently that they disagree completely with Rachel. Me too. And there were exactly 2 other posters who agreed with Rachel – 2 out of over 100 posters. So those of you complaining about AAR appear to have other axes to grind. Why comment on something when you haven’t actually read it?

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  • FD
    April 11
    4:43 pm

    @Lee
    Unfortunately for ARR, the three people whose views I most vehemently disagree with are either regular commenters, or actually affiliated with the site.
    As such, I’m finding myself feeling that that the more moderate people at ARR are tainted by association. I have read the discussion, and I take your point, and I’m sorry for Jane that her thoughtful post on freedom of speech being useful as a trigger for awareness and debate has been derailed in such a manner, but the sad fact is that for me, even one person officially affiliated with ARR espousing such views is one too many.

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  • Sunita
    April 11
    4:53 pm

    Lee, I *have* read the post and all the comments. I’ve been reading AAR for about a decade, so I’m pretty familiar with the site. And I don’t blog or have a competing venue, so I don’t have any of the obvious possible axes to grind (unless you’re referring to something else?). Whatever my differences with aspects of AAR over the years, I have appreciated many things about it.

    I have two problems with what is going on over there. (1)When an editor/publisher comments, it’s different from a non-invested commenter. Do you really think that if Bill Keller posted some misogynistic crap on an NYT blog, it *wouldn’t* reflect back on the NYT? I don’t assume every poster or every publisher/editor agrees, but all the editors/publishers represent the site (which is different from being *representative of* the site).
    (2)Everyone has a right to express their opinion. What I find disheartening and disappointing is the fact that when a couple of posters brought up their own experiences with rape and/or assault, none of the posters who are taking the “it’s your responsibility” view have the time or inclination to say anything kind. They’re quick enough to then emphasize that they don’t think the person deserved it, but that’s about them, not about the other person. I find that kind of attitude unpleasant from anyone, but from someone with an official responsibility for the venue? Apparently responsibility is defined differently than I have understood it, and it’s okay for someone coming to a blog that’s purportedly about romance novels to find out that there are people running the blog and site who think one of the worst things that happened to them was avoidable and a logical outcome of their behavior.

    I appreciate that you have tried to fight back in the comments. But at 120+ posts, it probably would have been better to just let the hatefulness sit there on its own after the first few replies.

    Although then we wouldn’t have had Shiloh’s post, which was incredibly wonderful and to the point.

    Poor Jane. When she posted the blog she certainly didn’t expect this. Let alone to be sabotaged by her own colleague.

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  • Lee
    April 11
    5:23 pm

    @FD – you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. If you don’t agree with the other regular commenters, you are wise not to go there anymore. I do that myself on some sites I used to enjoy. I was directing my comment at those blaming the entire AAR site for being anti-women or right wing (which I have never, ever been accused of before, let me tell you) because of one off the wall post by one owner/reviewer.

    @Sunita – as I explained above, my post was directed at those who hadn’t even read the posts, but were commenting as if they had. If you’ve read them and formed your own opinion, I have no quarrel with you. Personally, I think an owner/reviewer should be held to a higher standard than a reviewer. I know that I will not read anything by Rachel without it being tainted by her bias evident in her post. But the site is so much more than this one blog and this one reviewer. That said, I also understand while others such as yourself might feel differently, which is also why I think Rachel has bitten the hand that feeds her.

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  • I was never an active member of that community, I did visit the site for info and was subscribed to the blog, though exclusively as a lurker. I did read the whole thing. I unsubbed from the blog permanently. Rachel has the right to her opinion, of course, but as co-owner of ARR and blogger associated to ARR, she should have known better than to spew what she spewed on a public blog… unless she did that on purpose to increase the traffic to that blog. Everything is possible I guess.

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  • I’d like to add that this is kind of like saying the only way to avoid death is to not be born in the first place. It’s a non-sequitur.

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  • Laura
    April 11
    9:33 pm

    There seems to be a common thread about how “easy” it is for a woman to charge a man with date rape. Ummm, no. She can make an accusation, but it’s up to the legal authorities to actually charge him. How often do you think that really happens? Is your local community awash with date rape trials? Because other than a few high profile cases, I don’t recall a whole lot of rape trials of any variety being at the forefront of our criminal system.

    Generally, the police might interview both parties, but it is most often a he said/she said situation, and no DA is gonna file on that.

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  • S Smith
    April 11
    10:29 pm

    No woman has the right to believe she can go out, get drunk and not be raped. Doesn’t matter if she might have done it 30 times before and been safe. It’s not a reasonable expectation for women to have. Because every man out there is an animal just waiting for his chance. Is that what I’m being told? Both schools of thought are repugnant.

    I went out many times when I was young, got drunk as hell. But I damn well expected that nobody would ever rape me. If I went out tonight and got drunk at the local bar or party, I would damn well expect nobody would rape me. Me going out and getting drunk doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the possibility of me being raped. It never has and it never will.

    Nor is sex within marriage the end all be all safe haven some seem to think. Unless you discount husbands raping their wives or daughters.

    It seems to have escaped some people’s memories that men have had sexual freedom all these centuries. No problem there. Other than occasionally being forced to being married when a kid is on the way. Oh, and an occasional STD, but then boys will be boys, ya know.

    However, now women have sexual freedom, our entire society will fall. And it’s their fault when the bad shit happens. Give me a fricking break.

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  • Why comment on something when you haven’t actually read it?

    Because I don’t need to read every one of 100+ comments to know nothing else said will change how much it bothers me to read this one comment:

    I have no compassion for women who place themselves in dangerous situations. Actions have consecuences!!

    For the record, I personally don’t hold AAR accountable for one of their owner/reviewers’ opinions (eta: or the opinions of their commenters).

    However, I can see how the commentary of some people is doing to affect how some view AAR.

    Is that entirely fair? Maybe not.

    But there were a lot of comments made that tore open some very ugly, very deep wounds. Estimates are that about 1 in 6 women will be/have been sexually assaulted, so a sizable amount of those who read that thread have been a victim at some point in their lives, and those thoughtless, cruel comments made by a few commenters tore open wounds. That wasn’t fair, either.

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  • Lee
    April 11
    11:48 pm

    Shiloh, you’re a writer, right? Would you write something without doing all of the research? What I was saying was that 99% of the posters on that blog AGREE with you. But you don’t know that because you don’t “need” to read it because one of the posts bothered you. It bothered a lot of us. Tremendously. Me included. So I posted how those ridiculous posts about date rape being the woman’s fault were wrong. So it’s more than unfair not to read all of those posts and then brand the whole site as tainted. It’s irresponsible. Especially for a writer.

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  • Las
    April 12
    12:28 am

    I’d like to add that this is kind of like saying the only way to avoid death is to not be born in the first place. It’s a non-sequitur

    Heh. Exactly.

    The people who point at women’s behaviors as the reason they get raped are really showing their asses. Women who dress in skimpy clothes or otherwise sexually tease men are not the only ones getting raped, and I’m going to guess they’re not even the majority of rape victims. There’s no logical reason to harp on all those “slutty” women, since there’s not a single thing out there that indicates that dressing “modestly” and the like is going to prevent anything. It’s all misogynistic bullshit meant to keep us in our place, because there are actual people ignorant enough to believe in those mythical good ole days, where sex only happened inside of wonderfully happy marriages and STDs didn’t exist.

    So it’s more than unfair not to read all of those posts and then brand the whole site as tainted. It’s irresponsible.

    Not when the comment that started it all was made by one of the people WHO RUN THE DAMN SITE! Random commenters can say whatever the hell they want, but when someone who represents the site fucks up, there needs to be consequences, and since I doubt Rachel will get fired, the whole place is tainted.

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  • Lee
    April 12
    12:43 am

    But does she represent the site? She was posting to another reviewer’s blog. Other owners of the site have totally disassociated themselves from Rachel’s POV. They didn’t know she was going to say what she did. She seems to be a rogue agent, much like La Palin. But I wouldn’t want to see her fired. It’s much better to pick up a rock and expose what’s underneath to the light than to pretend there’s nothing there.

    Edited to add: I’ve got to get 3 of my 4 kids to bed. If I don’t respond further, that’s the reason.

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  • So it’s more than unfair not to read all of those posts and then brand the whole site as tainted. It’s irresponsible. Especially for a writer.

    Exactly when did I brand AAR as tainted? I did not.

    I very clearly said I do not hold AAR accountable for the opinions of one owner/review, nor the opinions of their commenters.

    So I’m unclear how I branded them as tainted, unless it was when I pointed out:

    However, I can see how the commentary of some people is doing to affect how some view AAR.

    *ETA… DOING should actually GOING

    Pointing out the obvious isn’t tainting. It’s pointing out the obvious. All anybody needs to do is skim the comments here, see some of them on twitter, and that’s pretty clear.

    If AAR wants it made clear that they do not share the opinion of one review/commenter, then their best bet is going to be to address this, and not via comments.

    People shouldn’t be made to feel as though they have to read through 100+ comments before they are allowed to voice their own opinion.

    I’m kind of confused as to what I did that bothers you so bad, unless it’s just pointing out the obvious. I don’t believe in sugar-coating things.

    But not once did I attack anybody.

    Not once did I say anything negative about AAR, any of the staff, any of the reviewers.

    I stated, simply, what I took exception to, and why, and I left it at that.

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  • Throwmearope
    April 12
    2:06 am

    Whoa, spend a day trying to find out if I still have a house left under all the clutter (and a few unidentifiable items–best not to think about them too intently) and miss this.

    @Amarinda Jones, you are welcome to use anything you find useful.

    @Lee (in case you come back later), to my mind it makes a lot of difference if the owner of a site posts something inflammatory rather than a commentator like myself. Are you saying you wouldn’t hold SB Sarah (make that SB Candy–when she used to be around enough to start stuff up)responsible for stuff she posted in the comments even though she sorta owns SBTB?

    @EC Sheedy–hope your daughter never needs to defend herself. But better she be prepared. Once in my misspent youth, the bat sh*t thing actually worked and scared off an attacker.

    @Shiloh, thank you for reminding Christians that Christ is the basis for Christianity.

    Finally @Mary K–honey, if you think you’re safe in your law office, you’re kidding yourself. (Lots of peeps in the world dislike lawyers and blame them, usually unfairly, for a lot of stuff.)

    We had lots of fights in the ER, it was County and we had the Blood and the Crips, the H*ll’s Angels, the Mexican Mafia, the idiots who did PCP for entertainment, etc.

    But I was once threatened by a long time patient in my private office. I was so dumbfounded I just started laughing. I was just incredulous. I could not believe he was threatening me in my own office.

    Luckily, by laughing at him, I got his attention and he calmed down immediately. Two of my octogenarian patients were getting ready to attack him with their canes. One guy, a retired cop detective still in good shape at 60, was getting ready to do a lot more than that.

    (People have accused me of making this stuff up, but if I could make this stuff up, I’d be a writer.)

    I take precautions, I watch everyone around me, I know where all the escape routes are. But I know that I could get attacked and even the tricks I learned in the ER might not save me.

    I refuse to develop agoraphobia, however. I live my life as freely as I can.

    My old granny used to say, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst and shoot for the middle.”

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  • Thank you , Throwmearope. This was my point,

    I take precautions, I watch everyone around me, I know where all the escape routes are. But I know that I could get attacked and even the tricks I learned in the ER might not save me.

    @ MaryK, I wasn’t saying screw all safety precautions. When someone is intent on doing you harm they will do you harm. You can follow all of them to the letter and still something can happen to you. My point is that by not following those “rules” to the letter doesn’t mean you should hold any blame.

    Now your saying I’m in as much danger at the law office where I work as I would be in the dark alley or frat party. Every situation is sexual to somebody, so all situations are equally unsafe.

    Yes and the simple fact that you don’t believe so or that you can’t phantom how that could be possible makes my point. Most rapes occur by someone the victim knows. It happens in a place where you feel safe.

    And safety precautions are an ideal. All those defense classes, security alarms, security lights, pepper spray – those are just useless, money making gimmicks.

    Yes, all those things make money. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen or heard that OnStar commercial. Do I think those things are useless? No. Do they stop every criminal? Um, we’re having this discussion so apparently no. Should the people who haven’t taken defense classes, have security alarms, security lights, pepper spray take any responsibility for any crimes committed? For being victims? NO!

    The bottom line is bringing up safety precautions when it pertains to rape on any level is bound to put up people’s back. Again, it walks the fine line of since you weren’t being safe… To me it speaks to an naivety of the very dark side of human beings. When you can be safe do it. But you can’t be ON all the time. If for one second you aren’t, you shouldn’t have to carry that weight around.

    By that logic, you’re right, we might as well all just lie down and take it because it’s going to happen.

    And I repeat, WOW. Fucking. WOW.

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  • And safety precautions are an ideal. All those defense classes, security alarms, security lights, pepper spray – those are just useless, money making gimmicks.

    I disagree. Would you like to know why?

    Taking safety precautions promote self awareness. Now, self awareness will NOT prevent any and all violent assaults.

    But. Sexual predators are predators.

    Predators… prey.

    Predators look for what strikes them as prey.

    Now for some sexual predators, they will attempt to strike no matter what.

    But for others?

    Here’s the deal-if a woman is walking with her head down, scurrying like a mouse and giving off the vibe of fear, she LOOKS like prey to a predator.

    If a woman walks with her head up, confidence in her step and she makes it clear that she will is NOT prey, a number of predators will not look at her as prey.

    If having pepper spray gives her that confidence? Security alarm? Then, no. It’s not a gimmick-it serves its purpose.

    Those ‘gimmicks’ also serve as a weapon. A woman who’s clear-headed enough to shoot a man’s face full of pepper spray is going to have much better chance at getting away than a woman who have nothing and is too scared to fight back.

    Self-awareness, self confidence are powerful tools and be shouldn’t be disregarded-if those small items help a woman find that awareness and confidence, more power to them.

    Personally, I think the best thing a woman can do is take courses in self defense. And not just one-you may not need to go for your black belt in martial arts, but if you take a course in women’s self defense, often taught by martial artists or cops, every few years, learn exactly what you can do to stop a man cold-THAT is a powerful tool.

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  • Lee
    April 12
    12:11 pm

    @Shiloh,
    What I was saying is that you and many others here, and on Twitter, and on other blogs, have read merely one odious comment by Maria, a commenter, and another ridiculous comment by Rachel, one of the 4 owners, and have extrapolated that as being the opinion of everyone who posts at AAR.

    Why would that be?

    No it’s not fair, as you suggested. However, it’s possible that you, and every other reasonable person, would not hold that opinion if you read all of the contrary opinions expressed. That’s judgment of the worst kind, without a full hearing. It bothered me because I am a part of AAR, as a poster and reader, and I don’t appreciate being portrayed that way. I don’t believe in sugar-coating things either. But I do believe in civility. And as a writer, like Rachel, what you say on public forums might affect how some are going to view you too.

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  • Las
    April 12
    12:31 pm

    What I was saying is that you and many others here, and on Twitter, and on other blogs, have read merely one odious comment by Maria, a commenter, and another ridiculous comment by Rachel, one of the 4 owners, and have extrapolated that as being the opinion of everyone who posts at AAR.

    But no. One. Has. Said. That. Rachel is one of the owners of AAR. She posted her comment using the name AARRachel. That means she was posting as a representative of that site, not just as a regular person giving her (incredibly ignorant) opinion. It doesn’t matter that the other owners disagree, she’s representing the site. If the other owners don’t make an official statement about it, they are condoning what she said.

    How many times in business does stuff like this happen? Someone says or does something fucked up, and very often they lose their job, or at the very least there’s a statement about how the company in no where endorses what the asshat said, blah blah blah. Why? Because they are representing their company, and what they say and do publicly reflects on that company. Rachel could have gone all diarrhea-of-the-mouth as just plain Rachel, but no, she had to be AARRachel. There’s a huge difference.

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  • Lee,

    I do NOT need to read everybody’s opinion before I’m capable of forming and speaking mine.

    I’m not trying to be unfair, and I’m not trying to be rude-but I’m not the sort of person who has ever changed her opinion based on the opinions of others. Even if I had read through every last comment, I would have still stated what I stated.

    You seem to think I should regret highlighting a few biblical passages that mentioned mercy and compassion. Even though I did it without attacking anybody, even though I did it without laying blame anywhere.

    Well, I don’t regret it and nor do I feel as though I need to go back and read everybody’s opinion before I feel more equipped to form my own.

    And…again… I never once, anywhere, said placed the blame for this on AAR. I very clearly said:


    For the record, I personally don’t hold AAR accountable for one of their owner/reviewers’ opinions (eta: or the opinions of their commenters).

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  • Lee
    April 12
    12:48 pm

    Las,
    See. Post. 54.

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  • Lee
    April 12
    12:54 pm

    Shiloh,

    That’s fine – we just disagree. I, on the other hand, like to listen to a lot of different viewpoints before making a decision. Of course, I have a gut instinct of how I’ll decide, but I don’t make a decision with blinders on. And I made no reference to your biblical remarks, so I don’t know why you think that I feel you should regret it. I was talking about how your not sugarcoating things might come across as rude – to some.

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  • Throwmearope
    April 12
    1:31 pm

    Lee–

    I noticed you skipped my comment. Let me try again.

    At Making Light (one of my favorite websites), one of the owners got a little hot under the collar and said (well, typed) something unfortunate.

    So another owner of the site took the responsibility to shut down the comment thread.

    Do you see the difference?

    Civility vs incivility. If you represent AAR, then step up when a co-owner behaves like a tool.

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  • Lee
    April 12
    1:58 pm

    Sorry, I didn’t see your post to me. But I did go back through this thread to read it once you pointed it out. I don’t know who Sarah is or Making Light. But I think shutting down a thread is censorship. I’d much rather have everything out in the open so everyone knows where everyone else stands. And 2 of the other owners did comment on the blog that Rachel speaks only for Rachel.

    My question is, is Rachel just an owner, or is she also meant to give her opinion, like it or not, like Andy Rooney or Glenn Beck or Rachel Maddow? I think the format of that blog is to have the bloggers give different opinions on a myriad of topics and then to have a discussion ensue. I have now seen Rachel in a different light, and choose to give her opinion no credence. But I do value the others’ opinions and find my opinion to align with them often. Should I stop visiting the entire site on the principle that Rachel is a dope? Throw out the barrel cuz of one bad apple? Throw out the baby with the bathwater? To me, that would be a waste of a great resource.

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  • Of course, I have a gut instinct of how I’ll decide, but I don’t make a decision with blinders on.

    I don’t view as making a decision with blinders on.

    I view it as knowing my mind. It’s just that simple-the opinions of others do not affect mine. This doesn’t mean I won’t or can’t respect the opinions of others, but their opinions will not change how I view things, their opinions will not change shape mine.

    I think it’s probably best if we just agree to disagree on that front, because we could debate it all day long and I dunno about you, but this whole mess has been frustrating and sad for me.

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  • Lee
    April 12
    2:18 pm

    Sure, this has gotten way off topic.

    I just saw that I am one of the top commentators on this thread, and that’s never happened to me before, so I’ll bow out now, glad that I was at least allowed to present the other side (wrt AAR), even if no one agrees with me.

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  • Hee
    April 12
    2:24 pm

    I say just fire Rachel already.

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  • [...] So during a twitter discussion last night, inspired by discussions taking place in blogland-I’m mostly watching the talk at karen’s, it was suggested to me that I have a responsibility as a [...]



  • Karen Scott
    April 12
    9:54 pm

    Lee, I don’t know why you keep having a go at Shiloh, I think you’ll find that one of the first comments linking AAR and right-wing nutters was made by myself. I’ve always suspected that there was a right-wing element to AAR and Rachel’s comments just brought the question to the fore again for me.

    Also, as Shiloh already said, one doesn’t have to read through every single comment to decide how one feels about the matter.

    And finally, as far as I’m concerned, as one of the people who run AAR, Rachel’s actions does affect the overall image of the site. Fairly or unfairly, by virtue of her position within AAR, she’s held to a higher standard than the likes of Maria or Nancy who are merely commenters.

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  • I can remember when I went to an all girls catholic high school, the principal told us if we did something while we were in uniform that was wrong or shocking, regardless of being off school property, we were held accountable for our actions and would be reprimanded and possible suspended based on the act.

    As long as we wore that school uniform outside of school, we were a representative of that institution and the same rules.

    Some may think the same applies when a person of authority, who is in charge of website such as AAR and is vocal about a subject or topic, must follow these “rules”.

    But again I am not sure if I would say that Rachel resign. But I guess that is for her and the AAR staff to decide among themselves.

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  • I think there is something between saying it has nothing to do with AAR and saying she should resign–which is pretty much where we are now.

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  • Late to the conversation. Trying to keep head from exploding.

    I had every intention of reading through the entire string of comments over at ARR, but I couldn’t get past the first one, from AARRachel, because of its ending:

    So I’d just as soon not have women teasing men into a frenzied rage and looking to vent that rage on a bystander to this sexual chaos (me). I managed to make it all the way through college, life abroad in a collapsing system, and a number of other situations without getting raped. I’d like to keep it that way.

    If my reading comprehension is up to snuff, this means that when a woman is attacked at say, her home, by a serial rapist, the fault lies with all those scantily clad women five miles away at the beach? Or perhaps with the Miss America pageant? Or, wait! It was all those horrid, lewd pictures on magazine covers at the supermarket, right?

    Yeah, that’s it.

    We should henceforth all go around covered head to foot just so that AARRachel can feel safe.

    No, I don’t feel very diplomatic, what gave it away?

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  • Michelle
    April 13
    11:54 am

    Why it just gets better and better over there (yes I have read all the comments) poor lil ole Rachel is being #1 misconstrued and #2 persecuted. My mind boggles.

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  • What about all the men teasing women into a frenzied rage, I want to know? Not to mention the other men (we know they’re more susceptible, poor dears, what with their parts hangin’ on the outside and everything). I mean, everytime you go outside, there’s some guy flaunting his body in form-fitting T-shirts or even displaying his manly legs in shorts. And then there are those awful sluts who allow their butt cracks to make an appearance! I mean, what are all the lustful women and men supposed to DO when confronted by all this delicious, hairy, often plentiful flesh??? OMGs!! What is this society coming to! I blame TV. And maybe sports. Those athletes are always ripping off their clothes. Whores. I mean, not that they DESERVE it, but they get what they deserve if they get attacked and mauled by the women (and men) they deliberately enticed into paroxysms of desire.

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  • Las
    April 13
    7:08 pm

    According to Mrs. Giggles Rachel has resigned via a ranty post in her blog that she has now deleted. I wonder if anyone at AAR will comment.

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  • [...] piece on the AAR blog. In the comments, AAR Rachel gave her perspective. It was a perspective that offended a great deal of people. Her viewpoints are one’s that I find personally offensive but I [...]


  • While I don’t agree with Rachel’s views AT ALL, I did like her reviews over the years and I’ll miss them.

    I’m torn over the whole issue of free speech/hate speech, etc., and whether or not one person’s views taint the whole site.

    Personally, I never assumed that Rachel was speaking for AAR and/or stating official AAR policy. She always uses the AAR Rachel moniker for commenting. On the other hand, she had to know how negatively her comments would be received by the majority of visitors to the site, and that her position as one of the publishers of AAR made it hard for people to judge her as they might another commenter.

    Permitting people to express their opinions is something I feel strongly about, even if they’re ones to which I’m vehemently opposed. Hell, I’ve even voted for stuff that I personally disagreed with because voting against would have impeded someone else’s right to decide for themselves.

    So…yeah.

    ReplyReply

  • [...] the post — and ensuing drama — was picked up by a few other romance blogs. The post at Karen Knows Best sums up some of the best (worst?) [...]


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