Trigger warning for rape.
I would like to make one thing clear: Noah Brand, the Editor-in-Chief of the Good Men Project, is one of my closest friends. I hold him in the highest respect. I find his decision in publishing these pieces… well, let’s just call it “questionable.” Nevertheless, despite my anger at him about these articles (we had a pretty epic fight, to be quite honest, in the movie version there’d be Eye of the Tiger as we typed furiously at each other), my opinion of him as a writer and a feminist is undiminished.
Alyssa Royse’s comment is one of, if not the, most strikingly immature things I’ve seen on the Internet. And I have a Tumblr, that’s saying a lot. Yes, Royse, sometimes people disagree with you. Virulently, even. That doesn’t mean you get to be snotty about one of the most groundbreaking rape researchers of the past decade and the single best sex-positive feminist book of all time. (If you haven’t read Yes Means Yes, go out, buy it, and read it. My blog post will wait.) Surprisingly, researchers have discovered that you can disagree with someone and still respect their work and contributions! And that, in fact, doing so is the mark of being a grown-ass adult!
But that’s not really why I left the GMP. Incredibly immature people happen all the time, and by themselves they’re not enough to make me quit.
I honestly do not comprehend how the Royse piece and the anonymous article came to be published, because no self-respecting feminist should publish those pieces of rape apologist garbage.
Well, I suppose I can kind of understand. Both pieces make good points, points that I myself have discussed with Noah late nights. The ways that party culture is also a rape culture, the way that bullshit rape culture narratives about “playing hard to get” and “no doesn’t always mean no” can lead to the actual commission of rapes… those are important discussions, discussions we need to have. However, the way they went about it is exactly the wrong way.
To consider the Royse piece: there is no “nuance” about sticking your dick in an unconscious woman, even if she flirted, even if you had no idea that this qualified as rape. You are a rapist. It is your job, if you are a good person, to make amends: to accept whatever consequences the survivor wishes you to experience (from leaving the friend group you’re in to prison time), to commit to learning about rape culture and consent and to unlearning your sense of entitlement to others’ bodies, to be fucking slavish about good consent in all parts of your life from this time forward. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Finding out your friend is a rapist is not a time to be wanking about misunderstandings and “he didn’t know” and “but he’s such a nice person really.” It is a time for accountability and the hard work of real change.
I cannot believe, if Royse is an anti-rape advocate, that she is unaware of the way that “nice person” narratives are used to shield predators who rape again and again. She’s nice! Everyone likes her! It was probably just a misunderstanding, things got out of hand, sometimes when things get heated one person thinks it’s okay and the other doesn’t, it’d be a shame to stop being friends with her over something silly like that… when actually she knows exactly what she’s doing, and the survivors are left without a support network while she has more than enough support in finding her next victim.
It is basic due diligence to make sure that your anti-rape article cannot be used to prop up those narratives. It is literally the bare minimum requirement.
But even that wouldn’t be enough to make me quit. What finally threw me over was (massive trigger warning) this anonymous article from the point of view of an unrepentant rapist.
Unrepentant rapists do not get to talk. Ever. Their voices are going to be completely fucking erased from the discussion about rape. Repentant rapists can talk. Those who do studies of unrepentant rapists can discuss the psychology of unrepentant rapists. Unrepentant rapists themselves? No. Do some accountability work on yourself before you expect anyone to listen to you. The fact that the Good Men Project ran an article from an unrepentant rapist about how he is totally okay with the risk of raping people… it literally does not compute. I cannot imagine this article being approved of by those whose judgment I know and trust. And yet it was, which is starting to make me come up with explanations that involve body-snatching aliens or supervillains with the power of mind control.
Here’s the thing. If you get drunk and can’t tell whether people consent, you should not have sex while drunk. If you cannot stop yourself from having sex when you’re so drunk that you cannot tell if other people consent, you should either not get drunk or make sure to only get drunk by yourself or when there’s an Accountability Buddy around to make sure you don’t rape people. If you cannot stop yourself from drinking without taking those precautions, you need to go to recovery.
This is literally the bare minimum requirement of decent human.
And no blog that dares to consider itself better than an MRA hellhole should publish a post that even remotely begins to suggest that not taking precautions to avoid raping people is okay. Because it is NOT. There is NOTHING OKAY with taking the risk of raping people, and particularly not because you think that parties are omgsuperfun. I am sure that you can find other things that are omgsuperfun that do not involve the risk of you raping people.
I presume that the GMP disagrees with the conclusion that one should be okay with possibly raping people because parties are omgsuperfun, but if they do, why the fuck did they publish a post that supports that conclusion? This is not one of the subjects that reasonable people can disagree on, like macroeconomic policy or literary criticism or whether robots are going to take over the world. There are exactly two sides to this argument: rapists and everyone else on the planet.
I guess we know whose side the GMP is on.
Ally Fogg, Why Did The Good Men Project Publish A Blog By An Unrepentant and Unconvicted Rapist?, On Why Men Rape And Why They Don’t, and The Dreadful Dangers of Normalization And The Terrible Mistakes of the Good Men Project.
Yes Means Yes Blog, Good Men Project’s Rape Faceplant, Predators, and the Social License to Operate.
No Sleep Til Brooklands, The Good Men Who Only Occasionally Rape People Project.