We feel that some of the arguments she made in her blog were extremely problematic and offensive. We also found some plot holes in the story that she used to defend those arguments. However when we called the veracity of her claims into question we were shut down and some of our comments were deleted. We didn't intend to take this particular conversation off the original site, but when the author started deleting our comments and making accusations and putting words in our mouths, we felt like it was time to take it to our blog. We respect her right to keep or delete whatever she wants on her own website, but we still feel that this merits criticism and that criticism deserves to be seen. She had to expect this kind of reaction when she chose to defend Todd Akin and perpetuate dangerous misconceptions about rape...
You can read the original post "What I Have to Say About 'Legitimate Rape'" in its entirety at BetweenMySheets.com (NSFW) but this is the specific part that we found problematic:
What I think we have here, however, is misunderstanding of the English language, not a politician who thinks rape is okay. Although the word legitimate has many definitions, one of those definitions is “not spurious or unjustified; genuine.”
So, if you replace the word legitimate with the word genuine, what Rep. Akin said was:Oh, it’s still assinine as fuck, but the phrase “genuine rape” makes total sense to me in this context.“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a [genuine] rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”
Okay, not off to a promising start. First of all, we've been fascinated by watching some people twist themselves in knots trying to dissect Akin's statement and come up with some kind of reasonable explanation for what he said as if they're the one special snowflake with the key to unlock some kind of wisdom or logic in what most of us perceive to be just a particularly egregious bit of misogyny from yet another anti-choice Republican douchebag. (Like that Politico reporter who had to be pulled off of Akin coverage because he decided to go on twitter and do a "thought experiment" and "talk it through" to figure out what Akin "meant to convey", while women tried to enlighten him to the fact that we're pissed off because we already know what he meant to convey.) But we digress.
Because as much as we don’t want to blame victims, we also have to acknowledge that some girls (and guys I’m sure) lie about rape. A lot. And to me, that’s almost as disgusting as rape itself.
We find that when someone brings up the issue of women lying about rape and what a huge problem it supposedly is, 99% of the time it's accompanied not by any facts or statistics about crime reporting, but by an anecdote about that one guy they knew that one time who was totally innocent but had his life ruined by some evil lying slut. This time is no different, so stay tuned.
Rape is when someone forces him/herself on you sexually without your consent. You’ve either said no and they didn’t listen or you were unable to give consent because you were unconscious, too young to make that decision, too drunk to understand, mentally unable to comprehend what was going on, etc. Rape is horrible and my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced it.
Rape is not when you resist at first, but then go along with it anyway and regret it later. If a guy (or girl) pressures you into having sex, that person is a real douchebag. But you’re an adult. If you are an adult with the ability to consent and you had the option to leave but didn’t, that’s not rape. Calling that kind of guy a rapist is insulting to all the people out there who actually were raped.
We think what's actually insulting to people who have been raped is when someone attempts to make up their own definitions for rape and judge whether other people resisted enough or tried hard enough to get away to be able to consider themselves "genuine" rape victims.
One time in college, a friend of mine insisted she was raped. She actually got the guy expelled. When she told me what happened that night I was appalled.
They went out together and had a few drinks (but were not drunk). They got back to his place and began making out with a little manual action. When he made a move to take it farther, she said no and he went back to just kissing. After 30 minutes or so, he tried again, and this time when he moved to undress, she didn’t stop him. He gave her the “come on, baby, just the tip” plea and she didn’t stop him. She kept kissing as he pulled off his pants, pulled up her skirt, and fucked her. She slept there that night, wrapped in his arms.
And then she rethought things during her walk of shame home, called him a rapist, and ruined his life.
It was complete and utter Bull. Shit.
Again, was that guy a douche for pressuring her into moving too fast? Absolutely. But that wasn’t rape.
That wasn’t legitimate rape.
In other words, in a case like that, it’s not not really, truly rape. It’s some girl with a night of regrets choosing to call something rape because she felt bad about it and didn’t want to seem like a slut to her friends. It’s a deplorable lie. After she told me her story, I honestly couldn’t stand to be near her, regardless of the fact that I was also ostracized for taking the side of a “rapist.”
And I believe that’s what Rep. Akin meant – legitimate rape, as in real rape, not a girl who simply claims she was raped.
Take a minute to absorb all of that before you continue reading. Most of you will be able to understand why we objected and felt the need to comment on Rori's blog.
Also, just as an aside, we have to say that even if we accept this argument and agree that this is what Rep. Akin meant (and it probably is, at least partly)...so what? He was still totally wrong to suggest that rape rarely results in pregnancy because women's bodies can somehow magically prevent it, and he's wrong to use that incorrect theory as a justification to oppose abortion rights for rape victims, and he's wrong to imply that women would lie about being raped in order to have abortions if there was a rape exception in the GOP's proposed abortion ban, and rape exceptions shouldn't be up for debate in the first place because abortion should be legal and safe and accessible for all women anyway. If he had used the word "genuine" or "real" instead of "legitimate" he would still be totally wrong about everything.
Okay, now strap yourself in for the rest of this shit... This is what we have to say about what Rori has to say about 'Legitimate Rape'... (There were a few separate comment threads going on between the three of us - so we'll just share them in order of conversation, not necessarily in chronological order. You can see the full comment list here, but a few of our comments have been deleted.) So here it is - all of it - uncensored.
I’m really troubled by this:Rape is not when you resist at first, but then go along with it anyway and regret it later. If a guy (or girl) pressures you into having sex, that person is a real douchebag. But you’re an adult. If you are an adult with the ability to consent and you had the option to leave but didn’t, that’s not rape.Sometimes someone will eventually “go along with it anyway” out of fear or in an attempt to minimize the trauma (that is, they’re afraid to fight back). That doesn’t equal consent. If a woman says "no" and the other person doesn’t stop (or stops for a brief moment and then starts again) they’re still wrong. She already said "no". If she feels too scared or pressured to continue repeating “no, no, no, no” that doesn’t mean that she is giving consent.
I also object to the idea that just because there isn’t a gun to your head, that you have the “option to leave”.
Rape by coercion is still rape. Legitimate rape.
I disagree. At least somewhat. If you don’t resist because you’re afraid for your life, yes that’s absolutely rape. “Coercion” means that you’re being threatened or intimidated or blackmailed. For example, if a guy says, “if you don’t have sex with me, I’m sending these naked pictures I have of you to your boss,” that’s rape. And you’re completely right that there doesn’t need to be a gun to your head.
But I 100% stand behind my statement that peer pressure is not rape. As an adult, you have to be responsible for your decisions. If you choose to have sex with someone rather than disappointing him by leaving, that’s on you. It makes the guy a huge douchebag to try to pressure you, but there’s a huge difference between a douchebag and a rapist.
Several times in my life, I’ve been in a situation where the guy really wanted sex even though I said I didn’t want to yet. In the instances where I ultimately gave in and had sex, that was completely my choice.
There’s a lot of gray area here. But I absolutely hate when girls (and guys – anyone) places the blame on someone else instead of taking responsibility for a decision.
This is such victim blaming. "As an adult, you have to be responsible for your decisions." Your decision... to be raped?
I find it really disturbing that you read what I wrote and interpreted that as “peer pressure” or not wanting to “disappoint” him.
People who have never been victimized talk a lot about what they would or wouldn’t do if it happened to them, but they CANNOT know how you will react until you are in that situation (may they never be).
Sometimes people freeze up in fear when put in that situation. Sometimes people purposely not put up too much of a fight because they’re afraid that fighting back will make the situation worse. Sometimes they just go numb and wait for it to be over.
It’s still rape.
It’s incredibly offensive that you’re throwing around words like “choose” and “decision” because no one chooses to be raped, no one makes the decision to be raped. It is grossly unfair to imply that because someone has not resisted the exact degree that you deem to be enough, then they are making a choice or a decision.
If they have not consented, it is rape. Period.
I continue to stand behind my statement that adults need to be responsible for their decisions. Calling someone a rapist when they are not is a real problem.
And I continue to stand behind my statement that just because you can’t personally understand or relate to what a rape victim went through, doesn’t mean they aren’t a rape victim.
Your continued insistence that someone who never consented to sex but didn’t put up enough of a fight for your taste has made a “decision” to have sex is dangerous. As is your suggestion that false rape accusations are common.
It is completely fine to disagree with my position on this or any topic. Between My Sheets will always be a place where people can voice their own opinions about a topic, even when they believe I am wrong. However, I will respectfully ask that my comments are taken at face value, as it is always a respect I extend to my readers here, whether they agree with me or not. It’s not fair to put words in my mouth. I never said or even insinuated that false rape accusations are common. What I said is that they happen and it is a problem.
For the record, by your definition of rape, I have been raped by several different men.
I’m sorry that I replaced “a lot” with “common”. My bad.
But I didn’t put any words in your mouth. You chose your words and you chose to take this position, so you have the choice to defend it.
If you believe that women who feel that they were victimized but didn’t put up enough of a fight to suit your definition of rape are making a false rape accusation, then you are saying that false rape accusations are common – BECAUSE THAT SCENARIO HAPPENS A LOT AND IT IS OFTEN RAPE.
But for the record, don’t put words in MY mouth either. We’re not talking about MY definition of rape, we’re talking about THE definition of rape. Rape is sexual assault without consent.If you feel as though someone had sex with you without your consent, then yes, you were raped. But since you haven’t made such claims, then I assume that you did NOT deny consent. I’m not going to tell you whether or not you were raped, just like you have no right to tell the young woman in your semi-fictional story that she wasn’t raped.
In whatever situations you were in, you don’t believe you were raped because you made the DECISION to stay, you made the CHOICE to have sex. It’s not based on your behavior before/during the sex, it’s based on what you wanted and what you did. You don’t get to tell someone else that their experience wasn’t rape just because from the outside it appears similar to your own.
Just like you are entitled to your opinion, I am entitled to mine.
Any future comments that refer to my story as fiction or call me a liar will be deleted without comment.
Note: In fairness, this comment came after another comment in which we questioned the plot holes in her story. You can read that comment below - and explanation of why we felt her story was "semi-fictional", in the other thread "Conversation #3". Sorry to make you jump train of thought here...
Could you provide some statistics or any factual basis for your claim that “a lot” of women lie about rape? Something more than one story about one guy you know (who may have been lying himself) would be great. The FBI puts the number of “unfounded” rape accusations at around 8%, but that accounts for a variety of definitions of the term unfounded so there are some “legitimate” rapes included in there, which means the actual number of false reports is likely lower than 8%. So to act as though women lying about rape is almost as widespread a problem as rape itself, as you seem to be doing in this post, is just totally inaccurate and also offensive.Rori says:
I think you are referring to this passage:“Because as much as we don’t want to blame victims, we also have to acknowledge that some girls (and guys I’m sure) lie about rape. A lot. And to me, that’s almost as disgusting as rape itself.”So in other words, *some* people lie when it comes to the topic of rape. They lie a lot. And when they make these false claims, I believe it is as bad as rape itself. Either way, you are completely ruining someone’s life. Nowhere in there did I say that this is as widespread of a problem as rape itself. That most certainly is not the case.
Also, as I said in my story, the account of the night came from the girl herself. I didn’t even hear the guy’s side of the story because he was expelled and we weren’t really friends so we didn’t stay in touch with one another. He was just someone I knew.
For the record, I definitely agree that 8% is probably way too high, since it’s also a problem that some rape victims aren’t taken seriously. That’s also a disgusting problem in my opinion, when someone is raped but they don’t get the help they deserve.
Above when the issue of false rape accusations being "common" came up she accused us of putting words in her mouth. But her actual words were "some girls (and guys I'm sure) lie about rape. A lot." [emphasis ours] It seems that if she's so uptight about people taking her words at "face value", she should try to be clearer and make a little more sense. If what she really meant was that some people lie a lot, that's a pretty weird way of phrasing it, so it just feels like she's trying to backpedal.
Also, while falsely accusing someone of rape is a terrible thing to do (the very rare times that it does happen) we object to the idea that it is "as bad as rape itself". That is pretty offensive in and of itself. And if she really feels that rape victims not being taken seriously is a problem, her perpetuating the idea that "some" people lie about rape is going to make that worse.
So you agree that false reporting of rape is a very very very very small scale problem compared with rape itself, and yet you’ve written an entire post about it, defended Akin’s use of the ridiculous term “legitimate rape”, and attempted to redefine rape on your own terms with little regard for the law, common sense, or other people’s lived experiences. Got it.
There’s really no need to be snarky just because we disagree. The great thing about having a blog is that I have the freedom to write about any topic I feel is important, even if you don’t.
I’m not being snarky, I’m really trying to figure out why you’ve chosen to defend Todd Akin and make the kind of argument that he and other sexist men make that some rapes aren’t ‘good enough’ to meet the standard and be considered ‘real rape’, and that you get to decide where that line of legitimacy should fall.
I don’t get to decide the line of legitimacy. I only get to voice my opinion because I own this blog and I live in the United States where freedom of speech is a part of the Constitution. And as I’ve said in the post, I think Todd Akin’s comments were assinine as fuck. I just disagreed with some of the opinion posts about it, so I chose to write about it.
At this point we decided to stop replying to this thread. When the 'free speech!' argument happens it's pretty much over. We did find it interesting how her responses evolved from 'you misconstrued what I said' to a tone argument about how snarky we were to finally arguing that she has the right to say whatever she wants on her blog (because of the Constitution), which nobody ever disputed in the first place. Unfortunately we still don't understand why she felt it was so important to write this whole long post in defense of the concept of "legitimate rape".
The final conversation (#3, below) actually took place earlier, but since it was posted below the other comments, instead of as part of one of the original conversation threads, we've posted it separately. This was the comment that she deleted, followed by another comment that she never approved.
You know what, I think I’m gonna call bullshit on this whole story.
Do you know how incredibly hard it is to get a guy expelled from college based on a rape accusation? It’s pretty damn difficult, even for people whose rape you would accept as “legitimate rape”. (I think there are probably a TON of college rape victims who would attest to that and if I had the time, I could probably find some for you.)
Sidenote: If you'd like to share your own experience in the comments, feel free. We think it's important for people like Rori who believe that false rape accusations are "a real problem" hear the truth about what the real problem is regarding rape on college campuses.
There are extensive steps you have to go through and a lot of red tape. You don’t just say “hey, this guy raped me” and then he’s expelled. They question the victim extensively and it’s humiliating and most of the time the rapist gets little-to-no punishment (hence the reason why so many rape victims don’t come forward, especially college students). They would’ve dissected her story and gotten every little detail, repeatedly. So unless she told the school a different version of events than she allegedly told you (which you haven’t claimed), the school made the decision that it was legitimate based on the fact that it WAS legitimate.
Although I doubt that. Because if there’s any institution that would victim blame this woman in the same way that you are, it’s a college. So I find it pretty hard to believe that they expelled this guy based on this story. (I’m not doubting that she was raped, I’m just doubting that the school actually punished him based on what I know about how most colleges deal with the issue of rape on campus). So I find it REALLY unlikely that they expelled this guy based solely on the story you gave us.
There’s more to it that you’re either not telling us or you weren’t privy to. And if that’s the case, then you have NO RIGHT to claim that he was innocent and this young woman “ruined his life”. You’re either lying or you’re fooling yourself into believing something that fits your preconceived notions of what happened. Either way, you should probably stop using this example as your anecdotal evidence to defend your victim blaming point of view.
That was the comment that she deleted. She replaced it with this:
*Rori’s Note: This comment has been deleted. Readers are always welcome to disagree with me. I enjoy debate and I like learning new ways of looking at a situations. But I will not be called a liar on my own blog. Comments on this blog need to be respectful. My entire comment policy can be found on my policies and disclosers page here: http://www.betweenmysheets.com/policies-and-disclosure
So you can call your friend in the story a liar even though you weren't there, but the plot holes in your story can't be questioned? To be clear, I didn't call you a liar. I didn't say you WERE a liar. My actual quote: "You’re either lying or you’re fooling yourself into believing something that fits your preconceived notions of what happened."
It's probably more likely the latter. Either way, your story makes no sense, so you're either missing a part of the story or withholding a part of the story or just plain wrong about the story.
But I'm sure you'll probably delete this comment too.
And she did! This comment was never approved, so we didn't bother trying to comment after that. We still feel that her story doesn't ring true. We're not necessarily saying that she's a liar so much as there's just something missing or inaccurate about that story. She may just be mistaken or maybe she's repeating the story as told to her without full understanding of what really happened. But this just sounds like one of those made-up "false rape" urban legends. We do think it's pretty hypocritical that in a blog post that was pretty much devoted to calling rape victims liars, she has the nerve to be offended when someone questions her honesty. But we don't think she's necessarily a liar (although it's a little suspicious how her argument in Conversation #2 went back and forth).
More likely, she's just repeating a story that she either doesn't understand or doesn't know the real details of and using it to convince herself of a preconceived notion she has about rape. She seems to have a set criteria in her mind of how rapists and rape victims are expected to behave and if someone's experience doesn't look the way it's supposed to from the outside, then it isn't rape. And that's just unfair and untrue. We just find it hard to take stories about slutty women with regrets making false rape accusations that ruin the lives of innocent men at face value because we've seen the opposite far too often. There are far too many legitimate rape accusations that don't ruin the lives of guilty men; in fact, they don't result in punishment at all.
And there are far too many legitimate rape accusations that are never even made... out of fear or perhaps based on the knowledge that there are too many people like Rori (or Todd Akin) who might suggest that she's lying or that her rape wasn't "legitimate" enough to be called rape.