August 26, 2014
Young Men, Empowering Women Everywhere
So rape drugs are a problem. For years -- indeed, for decades -- I've heard people advising women not to drink anything they haven't had positive control of every second since they watched it being poured.
Four college students, all men, thought this was a problem. So, they're fixing it.
Actually, the critics are correct in that this nail polish won't end rape. But that's a straw man argument - no one is claiming that giving women a tool to test their drinks was going to End Rape As We Know It. Most rapes don't even result from drugged drinks.
The objections to this novel invention are almost comically illogical - essentially, they revolve around a woman's asserted right to (on one hand) argue that the world is a dangerous place where women are regularly preyed upon by Rohypnal-wielding rapists, while (on the other hand) pretending she lives in a fantasy world where those rapists don't actually exist:
“One of the ways that rape is used as a tool to control people is by limiting their behavior,” Rebecca Nagle, one of the co-directors of an activist group called FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture that challenges the societal norms around sexual assault, explained. “As a woman, I’m told not to go out alone at night, to watch my drink, to do all of these things. That way, rape isn’t just controlling me while I’m actually being assaulted — it controls me 24/7 because it limits my behavior. Solutions like these actually just recreate that. I don’t want to f***ing test my drink when I’m at the bar. That’s not the world I want to live in.”
We'd all like to live in a perfect world, but the real world is full of hazards. Chief among these are our fellow human beings. This is a fact men have had to deal with for most of human history. And there's a word for people who intelligently analyze the world around them and take precautions against known dangers. We call these people "adults". If women want to be considered fully equal to men, they're going to be exposed to the risks (as well as the rewards) that accompany greater opportunity and engagement with the world around them.
Part of the "patriarchal" attitudes many feminists want to eradicate is the notion that women are fragile, delicate flowers who are naturally less capable than men of handling competition, aggression, or unpleasantness. For many centuries, women were thought to need protection from the harsh realities of the world.
The blog princess would not be inclined to wear nail polish that detects the presence of rape drugs, but then we don't consider the risk of being exposed to these drugs to be a significant one. Put simply, the preventative tactic is more trouble than it's worth. But if you're one of those folks who argues that being drugged and raped *is* a significant danger, in what bizarre universe does it make sense to stick your head in the sand and refuse to protect yourself?
Oh, and while we're at it, can we all agree that this is just plain idiotic?
Even if a woman were to wear special nail polish or anti-rape underwear, or if she listens to common – but misplaced – advice about not getting drunk and always walking home in a group, all she’s supposedly ensuring is that she won’t be attacked.
Preventing yourself from being attacked is the point, here. And yes - it's easier for a single person to apply drug-detecting nail polish than it is to prevent every person on the planet from ever using rape drugs. People who talk about "ending" rape are scary. After centuries of trying, the human race hasn't managed to end murder, theft, assault, battery, lying, fraud, poverty, disease, hunger, or the Heartbreak of Psoriasis either. Refusing to entertain any sensible precaution against a risk you want the world to accept is significant until something that has never happened in the history of the human race occurs is just plain delusional. Grow the hell up, and maybe then I'll take your quest for equality seriously.
Posted by Cassandra at August 26, 2014 08:03 AM
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I'm somewhat ashamed to say that my first thought on reading of this invention was that male college students (given the proof of innocence is insufficient court system) would be careless not to be wearing fingernail polish and testing their own drinks as well as their date's.
Posted by: htom at August 26, 2014 10:10 AM
I know I've said this before, but I have no more patience for men who whine about the risks of casual, drunken hookups.
There is no "right" to consequence- and risk-free casual sex.
If you decide to engage in drunken hookups anyway, you're assuming risk. And that applies whether you're male or female. It applied long before this whole DOE perversion of Title IX.
Young men are finally starting to grow up and fight back, but the truth is that both parties put themselves in this situation. Life's full of risks.
If one insists on acting like an ostrich, the outcome is not likely to be pleasant.
Posted by: Cassandra at August 26, 2014 10:14 AM
Some people are impossible to please.
Posted by: Grim at August 26, 2014 10:55 AM
The designated driver could have their Coca-Cola spiked.
Posted by: htom at August 26, 2014 11:16 AM
When I was in college, back in the Cenozoic or Cretaceous Era, guys at the frats used to spike girls' drinks with grain alcohol (or just pour twice as much liquor in them).
I got drinks like that at least three times that I can recall. I ended up pouring them out and not going back to that frat. Ever.
Seems a lot more straightforward than drugs if you're determined to be a jackwagon :p
Posted by: Cassandra at August 26, 2014 11:45 AM
Funny, I heard about this on the radio yesterday and thought it was a really cool invention.
Silly me. Thinking that something that might help a young girl (who hasn't really had the opportunity to make less-consequential mistakes in order to learn to not make more serious ones) avoid being drugged and possibly attacked and raped was a good thing.
Clearly I must be in need of re-education.....
Posted by: DL Sly at August 26, 2014 12:45 PM
Clearly I must be in need of re-education.....
Where are Comrade Oleg and his giant beet ration when you need them?
Posted by: Cassandra at August 26, 2014 12:48 PM
From the criminal's POV, the drugs are more reliable, since the victim won't taste them, and has a much lower chance of remembering what happened. Yes, they may be found in blood testing. Still, the victim may not remember the assaulter (who may be different than the drink doper.)
Posted by: htom at August 26, 2014 01:20 PM
I have a friend (or perhaps acquaintance might be more accurate) who is one of these hyper-"anti-patriarchy" types. And many is the time she railed about this kind of "I shouldn't have to change anything, men should just stop raping people" thing. The one that really annoyed me was complaining that tips about being safe were just awful and the only tip for stopping rape should be to men to "don't rape women." And it made me bite my tongue. I agree that no woman (or man, for that matter) deserves to be raped for any reason, but perhaps walking around the streets of downtown major cities dressed in lingerie MIGHT not be a good idea. And not because then "you'd be asking for it", but because it's JUST as inadvisable as walking down the streets of downtown major cities with wads of cash sticking out of your pockets.
Same went for "don't get drunk by yourself." You know who also shouldn't get drunk by themselves? Young men with lots of cash and flashy watches and gold chains, because drunk men get robbed a lot too. Sure, it's less invasive and awful, and I'd sure as hell rather be robbed than raped, but COME ON! What part of "it's a bad idea" is "blaming the victim?"
You hit the nail on the head with the "ostrich" metaphor (even though actual ostriches don't stick their heads in the sand, that's an old myth). Magical thinking does not stop violent crime. And yes, I absolutely blame the rapist and not the victim for raping. But "protect yourself" is NOT about victim blaming, or controlling you in any way. It's about not becoming a victim of an awful violent crime. If you'd rather engage in risky behavior and then rail against the "patriarchy" when something bad happens, then be my guest. I just think you're being willfully obtuse if you do that.
Posted by: MikeD at August 26, 2014 02:01 PM
With Sister Bag O'Metaphors hiding around any corner wielding her Ruler of Reform, he's wisely laying low.
And eating all the beets.
Posted by: DL Sly at August 26, 2014 02:05 PM
"For many centuries, women were thought to need protection from the harsh realities of the world."
Women do need protection from the harsh realities of the world. So do men. What feminists had as a legitimate gripe was the notion that they should confine their lives to a little pink ghetto so they'd never be in danger, and that men were entitled to enforce this measure for their own good. How this turned into the idea that a feminist has a gripe when someone invents a tool she can use to protect herself from a harsh world is a tough one. "You can keep your stinky invention! I demand that you remake the world so there are no hazards in it instead!"
Hard to argue simultaneously that you're an equal citizen with men when you're acting like a spoiled, naive child.
Now, if the idea is that it's an appalling world in which anyone needs to take a professional taster with him or her into public for fear of being poisoned, then I agree. This is one of those situations when someone wouldn't want me on the jury: the trial of some jerk who spikes drinks in bars. I'd try to make sure he never got out in public to do harm again.
Posted by: Texan99 at August 26, 2014 02:42 PM
I feel the same way about revenge porn - if I could think of a way to write laws that would allow sensible recourse that wouldn't cause more problems than it creates, I'd support them in a moment.
But there really are areas in life (and this is one of them, sadly) where we can do ourselves a TON of damage by making poor choices or failing to exercise sensible precautions. It will always be easier for individuals to protect themselves than for society to protect all individuals, everywhere, no matter how recklessly or foolishly they behave.
Feminists are hardly the only ones making these sort of identity politics based arguments - Lord knows I've written about similar arguments coming from the more extreme of the MRA types: namely, that no matter what choices they make in life, outcomes should be equal and they shouldn't experience negative consequences.
It's just a puerile, self centered world view that it's hard to know where to start in with the clue bat.
Posted by: Cassandra at August 26, 2014 02:48 PM
Women do need protection from the harsh realities of the world. So do men.
That's what all the guns are for.
Posted by: Grim at August 26, 2014 02:49 PM
Magical thinking does not stop violent crime. And yes, I absolutely blame the rapist and not the victim for raping. But "protect yourself" is NOT about victim blaming, or controlling you in any way. It's about not becoming a victim of an awful violent crime. If you'd rather engage in risky behavior and then rail against the "patriarchy" when something bad happens, then be my guest. I just think you're being willfully obtuse if you do that.
Posted by: Cassandra at August 26, 2014 02:49 PM
Hint: it's hard to "empower" someone who won't accept power when it's offered.
Posted by: Cassandra at August 26, 2014 02:50 PM
Well, I certainly don't condone rape, and anyone who slips a mickey to anyone is scum of the lowest order. That having been said, I don't believe that it is too much to ask women to not act like toddlers in risky situations. A toddler is too immature to know that playing on railroad tracks, or running out into a busy road, can get you killed. Toddlers just do what they want at that moment with no thought for consequences. Can't we expect slightly more mature behavior from women in these circumstances?
The reason I bring this up, is I turned on the TV the other day while cooking dinner, and saw some show on the MSM. Typical, sobbing hysterical girl and compassionate liberal journo talking about her horrible rape experience. As I gather, she met some popular athlete at college, took him back to her place, engaged in oral sex, got into bed naked with him, and allowed him to engage in penetration. After several minutes of intercourse, she decided she was not "ready" to engage in sex and told him to stop. Instead, he finished. She was absolutely devastated and in shock at what had happened. The liberal journo was very understanding at how brutish men can be.
I found myself shouting at the two dumbasses on the screen. It is a little late to be rethinking having sex, when you are ALREADY IN THE MIDDLE OF INTERCOURSE! Your virginity is gone honey -- you can't unring that bell, no matter how much you want to. Blaming it all on the dude is also childish behavior. She consented to every act, but won't admit to any responsibility for her choices. This idea that "evil men" are the causes of all these problems is ridiculous, and these type of TV examples show the emptiness of such arguments.
Posted by: a former european at August 26, 2014 04:41 PM
After several minutes of intercourse, she decided she was not "ready" to engage in sex and told him to stop. Instead, he finished. She was absolutely devastated and in shock at what had happened.
Well, I completely agree that it was a bit late to decide that she didn't want to have sex after the fact (and I can't quite see this as rape).
But I do believe that either partner has the right to want to stop having sex - even in the middle of things. It's just that for most women, the man has to cooperate. And he should have, really. I'm always a bit bemused by the notion that once you say yes, it's too late to say, "I am not enjoying this and I don't want to do it anymore."
If we set a standard that says once a woman consents to any kind of sexual act, she loses the right to say, "This far, but no farther", that's a dark, dark place to go. The physical realities of sex are different for women - that why we're generally pickier about it.
We have to be, because if we pick the wrong guy (like this girl did) then we're screwed - literally and figuratively. I'm sure I'm missing the context here, but it really does fall under my general "There is no right to risk- and consequence-free sex" rubric :p
For women, one of those risks is that a physically larger and stronger man will think he has the right to do whatever he wants to her (as opposed to with her, which is how sex is supposed to work). She's not a blowup doll, though I'm sure we're not far from that joyous day :p
That's probably the biggest reason women aren't as into casual sex as men - a lot of men aren't what I'd call considerate in bed, and if they don't have some emotional attachment to the woman, it's not going to be much fun for her and she may even get hurt.
For women, the costs are a lot higher and the benefits not as good :p
How much you want to bet both of them were drunk?
Posted by: Cassandra at August 26, 2014 05:05 PM
No bet on the drunk question, Cass. I agree with most of what you said, but we need to demand responsibility drom both sexual partners. The TV show was not clear on all the details, but the girl denied she was forced or coerced in any way by the guy. It seemed to me that she was upset at the idea of having sex at all,and perhaps losing her virginity, rather than anything this guy did.
My point is that a woman should freely choose what she wants to do or not do, but she needs to take responsibility for whatever choices she does make. Weeping on TV about how she has been "traumatized" by what she freely did is asking to be treated like an immature child, imho.
Posted by: a former european at August 26, 2014 10:44 PM
We could deter quite a few rapes if we went back to hanging the demonstrably guilty awful rapists.
Posted by: CAPT Mike at August 27, 2014 12:47 AM
That having been said, I don't believe that it is too much to ask women to not act like toddlers in risky situations. A toddler is too immature to know that playing on railroad tracks, or running out into a busy road, can get you killed.
Quite literally, this very thing came up on the radio during my morning drive to work and made me think of this topic. A three year old was killed when she got away from her parents in a hospital parking lot and ran out in front of a vehicle. While tragic, and not particularly anyone's "fault" (I am not one that finds it reasonable to expect parents to have 100% control over a child 100% of the time, these things do happen), it exactly reflects the attitude of the woman who stamps her foot and says "I don't want to live in a world where I have to test my drink!" Well, toddlers want to live in a world where they can run freely and have no negative consequences too. But this is not that world. And how sad is it that an "adult" has no more sense than God gave a three year old who thinks that wanting something means that it will be.
And I don't think it's "blaming the victim" or saying "she deserved it" to point out that the three year old should not have run out in front of a vehicle. Clearly the child did not deserve to die, and blame is hard to place on a three year old who didn't know better. Rape is also surely different in that there is malice on the part of the offender (where none is in the driver of the vehicle that struck the little girl), but I for one believe that an adult should not be offended when told to take REASONABLE precautions to protect their own safety. Now, perhaps "chemically testing one's own drink" might be stretching that definition of "reasonable", but walking in groups? Not getting drunk alone? Having a designated driver? These are reasonable beyond a doubt.
And one final tangent that I believe is related. As a result of the events in Ferguson, I've heard a lot about how black parents shouldn't have to tell their children what to do if they're stopped by a police officer and how awful it is that they need to be respectful, non-threatening, and compliant. Except that I completely had this talk with my parents as a child, and I turn off my engine when pulled over, keep my hands at 10 and 2, don't move a muscle until asked for identification, say "yes sir, no sir" to the officer, be as non-threatening as possible... and I'm as lily white as they come, no tattoos, no gang colors, nothing that would indicate "threat" to a police officer. Why? Because to do otherwise is #%&^ing stupid! Any time you are being addressed by an armed individual, it's generally smart not to present yourself as a threat and to be polite unless you're prepared to engage that individual as a threat. Added to that is that the police officer has no way of knowing that I might not be a threat when he approaches my car. I want to put him at ease. His job is hard enough as it is. I do the same for women in parking lots. I'll cross to the other side of the lane from them even if my car is on the side they are on. Why? Because I'm a big guy and can look scary, and I don't want to make them afraid. I want them to be comfortable in public, and not have to worry if I'm going to attack them (even though... no... ESPECIALLY because I'm not).
So how does this tie in? Because there's nothing wrong or awful about having to use common sense to deal with the world as it is. This "no one should have to teach their children this" bull is just as patently stupid as "I shouldn't have to walk with friends" stuff. I suppose it lets them absolve themselves of any responsibility to just say "cops should just KNOW my baby's not a threat" or "men just shouldn't rape" because clearly they're uncomfortable with responsibility. And I think that's the root of it, and it's a shame.
Posted by: MikeD at August 27, 2014 08:59 AM
As I recall, Brock Adams (Democratic congressman and senator, member of Carter's Cabinet) was accused of drugging the women he was accused of raping.
I believe that's why he was never charged with a crime, though there was a fair amount of evidence against him. (The Wikipedia biography will give you the basics, if you aren't familiar with his story.)
Posted by: Jim Miller at August 27, 2014 07:06 PM
When I was 18 or so, I went into a bank lobby dressed like a hippie and carrying a big old disreputable backpack. I couldn't find my deposit slip right away, so I was rooting around in the backpack. Presently I noticed that a security guard was standing right in front of me, almost toe to toe. Was I infuriated that he mistook my innocent intentions? No, I was a little bemused, but my first thought was that I'd make myself look scary, and I needed to look less scary right away. Time for a friendly smile and an offer to let the guard look into my pack and reassure himself that there were no weapons or bombs in there.
I'd prefer not to live in a world where jerks are out there setting off bombs and shooting up bank lobbies and security guards have to be jumpy about it. But since that's the world I do live in, I figure the reasonable and healthy attitude is to face reality, and maybe figure out ways I can personally improve things.
I never try to make armed people afraid of me. No percentage in it.
Posted by: Texan99 at August 28, 2014 12:00 AM
I agree with most of what you said, but we need to demand responsibility drom both sexual partners.
I agree with that 100%. My only point was that it's not really unreasonable to expect the person you're having sex with to stop if you're not having any fun. Kind of that whole "consensual" thing.
I would never call what he did rape, but I do call it morally wrong, inconsiderate, even a bit thuggish.
I for one believe that an adult should not be offended when told to take REASONABLE precautions to protect their own safety. Now, perhaps "chemically testing one's own drink" might be stretching that definition of "reasonable", but walking in groups? Not getting drunk alone? Having a designated driver? These are reasonable beyond a doubt.
Yes, yes, yes!
As a result of the events in Ferguson, I've heard a lot about how black parents shouldn't have to tell their children what to do if they're stopped by a police officer and how awful it is that they need to be respectful, non-threatening, and compliant. Except that I completely had this talk with my parents as a child, and I turn off my engine when pulled over, keep my hands at 10 and 2, don't move a muscle until asked for identification, say "yes sir, no sir" to the officer, be as non-threatening as possible... and I'm as lily white as they come, no tattoos, no gang colors, nothing that would indicate "threat" to a police officer. Why? Because to do otherwise is #%&^ing stupid!
As you know, my oldest son is a cop. And I had EXACTLY the same talk with him as a teen, and so did his father, when he was old enough to be out at night with his friends.
And he actually came home one night complaining that the cops "hassled" him and his friends. I said, "Look how you're dressed, son. When you go to school, I make you wear a polo shirt or a shirt with a collar. I make you keep your hair neatly cut and combed, and we have always insisted that you dress better for school than you do at home or when you're hanging out with your friends."
"If you choose to wear baggy pants that hang down around your non-existent butt and a beanie and a big shirt, know that you're conveying a far different impression of who you are than you do at school. I let you do it, but that doesn't mean I think it's a smart thing to do".
Kids only learn some things by experience :p
Posted by: Cassandra at August 28, 2014 10:38 AM
...I turn off my engine when pulled over, keep my hands at 10 and 2, don't move a muscle until asked for identification, say "yes sir, no sir" to the officer, be as non-threatening as possible
So do I, and I'm about 2/3 the size of the average cop (and that's a skinny one!) and female!
I do it, not because I'm afraid of cops, but from awareness that they really have NO idea what to expect when approaching a car they've pulled over. I'm also very aware that they have a skewed perception of people because they deal with a disproportionately large number of jackwagons and criminals, so they would be stupid not to be more cautious and suspicious.
Why on earth should I cause *anyone* (particularly someone who has put his or her life on the line to protect the public) apprehension or anxiety if I don't have to?
Posted by: Cassandra at August 28, 2014 10:46 AM
Well, in terms of "anyone," the same lack of anxiety that is keeping you safe from the police is making you look like a target to an armed robber. One of the precautions available -- on the order of 'not dressing like a target' -- is looking like someone who ought not to be messed with by the wise.
I have never had a bad encounter with the police. I haven't had all that many, to be sure, but on occasion when it's come up they've always gone well. I'm very clearly a threat, and almost always armed, but extending them the same politeness I expect from them has always resulted in easy encounters.
I think of John Wayne's advice from The Shootist -- "I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them." The part about I don't do these things to other people is really important. Showing them the courtesy you expect is what works.
At least it does for me. The question is whether it would work as well if I were black. The police study we looked at recently suggests that the police (excepting black police) think they would treat me just the same. The Pew study that came out a few days ago suggests that almost no one else in America thinks they would, excepting Republicans who tend to believe in the police's ability to do it.
It's an unknowable, in a way, since I can't try being black to see how it goes.
Posted by: Grim at August 28, 2014 11:26 AM
Posted by: MikeD at August 28, 2014 01:06 PM
I have no doubt of the conditions in the 1950s Deep South, Mike. I'm just not sure about today.
Posted by: Grim at August 28, 2014 01:36 PM
It was more a comment on how it CAN be attempted. Or at least, how it was once done.
Posted by: MikeD at August 29, 2014 09:22 AM