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Don’t Be That Rape Apologist: Arthur Koestler, Judgy Bitch, and why MRAs hate rape awareness campaigns

Arthur Koestler: Brilliant writer, serial rapist?
Arthur Koestler: Brilliant writer, serial rapist?

Today I’m going to talk about Janet Bloomfield — AKA JudgyBitch — and her bizarre attack on the original Don’t Be That Guy anti-rape posters in Edmonton. But I’m going to take a bit of a detour first, so bear with me.

I recently picked up a copy of Arthur Koestler’s The Case of the Midwife Toad, a nonfiction account of a scientific feud that provided me with some diverting travel reading and put me in the mood to read more of Koestler’s nonfiction.

But doing some rudimentary Googling I made a rather horrifying discovery about Koestler, whom I’d admired since reading his bracing account of breaking with Communism in the classic The God That Failed anthology: according to a recent biographer, Koestler was a serial rapist and abuser of women.

While some doubt the evidence of rape, even his supporters have had to acknowledge, as one reviewer has written, that Koestler’s “treatment of the many women in his life [was] – even without the ‘rape’ – deeply unpleasant. He was manipulative, demanding, sexually voracious and utterly faithless.”

Koestler himself doesn’t exactly make a persuasive witness for his own defense, having once written to his second wife that “without an element of initial rape there is no delight.”

But in some ways as eye-opening as these revelations has been the response of some of Koestler’s defenders. Case in point: Michael Scammell, the author of a nearly 700-page biography of Koestler. After detailing many instances of Koestler’s mistreatment of women, he writes of the accusations of violent rape:

The exercise of male strength to gain sexual satisfaction wasn’t exactly uncommon at that time … The line between consensual and forced sex was often blurred.

Hey, it was the 1950s. EVERYBODY raped women back then.

The sad fact is that, while this is no defense of Koestler’s alleged behavior, there is an element of truth to Scammell’s claims. The line between consensual sex and rape was often blurred back then. Women were often cajoled, pressured, manipulated, and forced into sex by more physically powerful men. And neither party necessarily recognized what had happened as rape.

The fact that the line between consensual sex and rape is a lot clearer today — and that the rate of rape has declined markedly in the past several decades — is largely due to feminism. Feminism challenged older attitudes and definitions of rape and worked at changing these attitudes through education and awareness campaigns.

Feminist activists worked on teaching — and reteaching — both men and women what is and what isn’t acceptable sexual behavior.

It’s an ongoing process, which continues in awareness campaigns like this one, the Don’t Be That Guy campaign launched in Edmonton (and elsewhere):

posters1edmonton-police-re-launch-poster-campaign-to-deter-sexual-assault_posters

It’s pretty clear that there’s a lot more work to be done, as the reactions to this campaign have pretty clearly shown.

Anyone who has read much in the so-called manosphere — on MRA and PUA sites alike — will have noticed a lot of alarmist nonsense about the alleged difficulties men have in determining if a sex act with a woman is consensual or not, as if it is simply impossible, if there is any confusion, for men to open their mouths and ask. MRAs and PUAs act as if obtaining consent “the way feminists want it” would consist of some complicated legalistic procedure that would ruin sex forever.

This is patent nonsense. Clarifying issues of consent about (and during) sex — making anything that’s blurry clear — can be done in less time than it takes to read this sentence.

“Do you like this?” “Yes.”

“Do you want me to [incredibly dirty thing]?” “Yes.”

But, as I said, the MRAs and PUAs complaining about the alleged difficulties of consent don’t really seem to be interested in making things clear. They would, it seems, rather have things as blurry as possible.

And that’s because a lot of them want to return to a world in which, to paraphrase that quote from Scammell above, the exercise of male strength to gain sexual satisfaction isn’t exactly uncommon, and in which the line between consensual and forced sex is often blurred.

They would prefer to return to a world in which it’s considered fair game to “take advantage” of seriously drunk women. One in which all accusations of date rape could be dismissed as the result of a fickle woman changing her mind later.

And that, I think, is why MRAs have such a problem with date rape awareness campaigns like Edmonton’s Don’t Be That Guy campaign — which they try to both ridicule as unnecessary and denounce as an exercise in Nazi-style anti-male propaganda. Sometimes both at the same time.

Consider, for example, Janet Bloomfield/JudgyBitch’s recent A Voice for Men post on the Edmonton poster controversies. Bloomfield — who apparently likes to think of herself as one of those no-nonsense women who can get by just fine without any help from feminists, thank you very much — begins by trying to ridicule the original Don’t Be That Guy posters as simple-minded, obvious and utterly unnecessary.

Referring to several specific posters from the original campaign, she writes:

No, obviously, you should not be having sex with a woman so drunk she is passed out face down on the couch with her ass in the air. …

Obviously, helping a drunk woman home does not entitle you to sex.

And in what is going to come as SHOCKING news to everyone, if someone doesn’t want to have sex with you, you should not have sex with them.

I’ll give you a while to process that information, because I’m sure that until this clever campaign came along, you were all busy screwing comatose girls at parties and gleefully hailing cabs so you could help ladies home and then rape them.

That would be very witty and pointed but for the fact that, guess what, men do attempt to “have sex” with women who are passed out or asleep, and that there are plenty of men who seem to think that this counts as a sort of “no harm, no foul, no rape” situation.

Take a look at the discussion whenever this topic comes up on Reddit, for example. Or consider all those supporters of Julian Assange who pretend that the issue is women changing their mind after sex when in fact one of the things he’s been accused of is penetrating a woman sans condom while she was sleeping.

And as for “taking advantage” of seriously drunk women, well, there are plenty of men who think this is perfectly fine — and some who make this the centerpiece of their “seduction” technique. Indeed, one prominent PUA — Roosh V — has confessed to doing just that with one woman who was clearly too drunk to consent:

While walking to my place, I realized how drunk she was. In America, having sex with her would have been rape, since she legally couldn’t give her consent. It didn’t help matters that I was relatively sober, but I can’t say I cared or even hesitated. I won’t rationalize my actions, but having sex is what I do.

Somehow this confession — boast? —  hasn’t, to my knowledge, earned him any condemnations from manosphere or MRA bloggers, or even, it seems, cost him any fans.

Meanwhile, on the very site Bloomfield is publishing her post, Paul Elam blames drunk women for being sexually assaulted, writing (as I pointed out yesterday) that women who drink with men are, “freaking begging” to be raped,

Damn near demanding it. … walk[ing] though life with the equivalent of a I’M A STUPID, CONNIVING BITCH – PLEASE RAPE ME neon sign glowing above their empty little narcissistic heads.

After dismissing the Don’t Be That Guy campaign as so much silliness,  Bloomfield makes a sudden 180 degree turn and declares it the virtual equivalent of Nazi propaganda against Jews.

Which would be offensive if it weren’t so manifestly absurd. The Don’t Be That Guy campaign isn’t directed at men, per se. It’s directed at men WHO THINK IT’S OK TO RAPE WOMEN and/or MEN WHO MAKE EXCUSES FOR RAPISTS.

A good number of these men — and some women with similar beliefs — seem to spend much of their time reading and/or writing for manosphere sites like Roosh V’s blog and A Voice for Men.

736 replies on “Don’t Be That Rape Apologist: Arthur Koestler, Judgy Bitch, and why MRAs hate rape awareness campaigns”

“It’s directed at men WHO THINK IT’S OK TO RAPE WOMEN and/or MEN WHO MAKE EXCUSES FOR RAPISTS”

Exactly – its aimed at them, and the people that they hookwink into thinking that its all such an oh so difficult issue. Thats why they are pissed off about it.

I pointed this out to some MRAs the other day. I said, “If men don’t need to be educated on what consent is, then how come a good deal of you clearly don’t know what consent is based on your own rhetoric?”

It’s kind of a self-defeating argument on their part.

It’s very heartening to see it (consent, creeping, proper public behaviour) coming up everywhere, though. Yes, there’s pushback, but it’s being talked about, and the squishy, fuzzy area of “gosh, I didn’t realize” and “golly, I didn’t mean anything by grabbing your ass” is being reduced. Creepers are having to work harder and harder at operating as they do, and their justifications are becoming less and less accepted. It’s a good thing.

It goes without saying that I agree with this post, but I warn you that this:

“That would be very witty and pointed but for the fact that, guess what, men do attempt to “have sex” with women who are passed out or asleep, and that there are plenty of men who seem to think that this counts as a sort of “no harm, no foul, no rape” situation.”

Implies that all men as a group attempt to rape women, which obviously wasn’t want you intended to say. But trolls are going to jump on it anyway. Just saying.

I’d go further than saying they want the line blurred. They don’t want to have to think about consent at all; they don’t want it to be a requirement, or even to exist. I don’t think they even want consent to be taken as the default; I don’t think they want it to exist as a concept. They want women to have essentially no right of refusal. As we were just saying on the other thread, they want rape to be so narrowly defined as to be almost nonexistent – the young, religious, white woman who was saving her virginity for marriage being brutalised by the stranger leaping out from the bushes. And that would just be window-dressing.

This campaign confuses me a little, but not in the “aah but how am I supposed to know if I’m raping someone a bloo bloo” way mentioned in the post. I’d always thought of “that guy” as being the person who butchers Bob Marley covers on an acoustic guitar all night at a party, or dismisses mass-produced lager, or calls the cops over something harmless, or vomits somewhere inconvenient – someone annoying, but not heinous on the raping-people level.

I can’t decide if “don’t be that guy” works because it addresses the fact that much rape comes from casual “hey, I could totally have sex with her if I wanted and nobody would ever know” rather than dark Definite-Bad-Guy thinking, or is vaguely insulting by comparing rape to the acts committed by the aforementioned annoying dudes.

lowquacks,
Considering the alarming number of men in surveys who apparently don’t understand consent, the campaign was designed to address all men for that reason. The implication is not that every man is going to rape, but rather it addresses the factual problem that a lot of good men don’t quite understand rape. The poster campaign, we should note, has apparently been successful according to the police in that area.

So yeah, apparently some good men really do need to be taught what consent is.

Considering the alarming number of men in surveys who apparently don’t understand consent, the campaign was designed to address all men for that reason. The implication is not that every man is going to rape, but rather it addresses the factual problem that a lot of good men don’t quite understand rape. The poster campaign, we should note, has apparently been successful according to the police in that area.

I understand that entirely, and the success of the campaign is great. Perhaps I’m just sad or exasperated that “don’t rape people” has to be put across with the same language as “don’t play bad Bob Marley covers in a fake patois all night”, but if that’s what works, that’s what works.

Good men don’t understand rape? Eh, I’m not buying it. What campaigns like this are designed to do is use social shaming to influence behavior. It’s not so much about changing the potential rapist’s internal feelings about consent as it is about making it clear that if he crosses certain lines he will be judged for it.

“Good men don’t understand rape? Eh, I’m not buying it. What campaigns like this are designed to do is use social shaming to influence behavior. It’s not so much about changing the potential rapist’s internal feelings about consent as it is about making it clear that if he crosses certain lines he will be judged for it.”

Word.

I work at a university and our own internal reports have shown that incoming male freshmen get offended by the more direct “don’t rape people” campaign. Go figure.

The “don’t be that guy” language is actually a little schmoozy in my opinion, it’s sort of like, “Hey dude, c’mon… you don’t want to be the guy who has sex without consent, do you? That’s not cool bro.” As opposed to, “Hey, asshole, she needs to consent, so keep it in your pants.”

Where I work we’ve implemented a way to fight the “bystander effect” by encouraging men and women to stave off sexual assault that may happen to their peers in their presence. MRAs would hate that campaign too because they’d complain about being told to be “white knights”. You just can’t win with compromise, and I think the “don’t be that guy” campaign actually is something of a compromise which is probably why it works.

I don’t understand. How, HOW can anyone think that rape is justified? HOW can they EXCUSE that action? How the fuck can they think that there is any justification at any time for someone fucking someone else without clear consent? I’m not talking about Roosh, who clearly thinks it’s justified because he doesn’t think of women as people with autonomy or sentience, and therefore it’s okay to use them however he likes, but people like JB and others who know that rape is wrong and yet the constant refrain is that sometimes, that pesky slut just didn’t take the necessary precautions!

/end rant.

That last sentence of mine seems to be a contradiction. I mean that you can’t win with MRAs even with compromise, but compromise seems to work for the general population of men who don’t want to feel like they’re being demonized by a “don’t rape” message. MRAs aren’t happy with anything except rape being so nebulous as to not be something they have to think about. It’s their male self-entitlement to sex.

I have to second that, CassandraSays – it works not just by teaching young impressionable folks that no, if she’s passed out that doesn’t mean she’s asking it (survivors and friends and so forth need to hear this), as well as making it clear that they can’t just hide behind “well okay she was maaaybe a little out of it” nope, no maybes, just a little, etc. “that guy” won’t be tolerated.

Date rapists shouldn’t just be shamed, they should be prosecuted, which is why I’m more of a fan of the direct route of informing men of this. As I said though, where I work the young men were bitching about this much like many of the MRAs, so my school backpedaled to try alternative methods.

And then the Dean decided upon mandatory investigation of all claims and took a hard line and it really made me happy. The only thing not making it work is the stigma towards the victims that makes them decide not to report it. But if we had a poster campaign that said, “To hell with shame, have the bastard investigated,” then we’d be called misandrists for encouraging women to report acquaintance rape, wouldn’t we?

TW-rape

Bloomfield [. . .] begins by trying to ridicule the original Don’t Be That Guy posters as simple-minded, obvious and utterly unnecessary.

Didn’t JB write a whole screed about how the Steubenville was totally the girl’s fault because she drank so ‘duh’ she was going to be raped?

Hm. Didn’t she also write that Jimmy Saville was a poor victim of gold-digging children wanting free candy and cigarettes from Saville?

Sounds like she would have refuted her quote above too.

You know, when someone tells men not to rape and how they constantly ask the “what if…” questions over and over again reminds me of school when there was some presentation on a drill such as an Intruder drill, and then afterwards, everyone would be asking stupid questions like “What if the intruder grabs you?” or “what if you’re taken hostage?” Then they say that it’s “too complicated.”

Alternatively, it also reminds me of this skit.

Also, is anyone else surprised that JudgyBitch said about how good men know that drunken sex is rape, when the “Don’t Be that Girl” campaign implied that drunken rape isn’t rape and there was that one poster made by MRAs that directly said “Sex while drunk isn’t rape?”

That’s another thing MaudeLL, how terrible a worldview do you have to have when you a) believe rape is wrong but b) believe that it’s an inevitable consequence of being drunk around men without backup? Like, what does that say about what you’re willing to put up with from the people around you that you just sigh and shrug and be like “well, it’s totally expected, why is anyone surprised” with a kind of weary acceptance? What does it say that you expect in every situation not only are there men willing to rape someone who is drunk, but you also think that none of the other men will help you? What does it say about how you view the world, how you view men, and how you view yourself? It’s just sad, it shows such an utter lack of self-respect.

I’m trying to figure out how “men are totally untrustworthy and will rape you if you let your guard down for even a second” is supposed to be a man-friendly idea.

Cassandra, these people are the champions of cognitive dissonance, so you’ll be hard-pressed to make sense of any of their seemingly contradictory of self-deprecating opinions about men and women in society.

I think the “don’t be that guy” thing also works on guys who aren’t sure that what their friend did was wrong- it basically eliminates the gray area and gives guys the language to tell their rape-y or straight-up rapist friends that THAT’S NOT COOL.

With their deep, intense hatred of women, I’m just going to come out and say it; I reckon a lot of the man-O-sphere men ARE rapists

Not to mention would attract a lot of rapists, with their apparent condoning of rape & misogyny

TRIGGER WARNING:

I hate, hate, hate when “taken advantage of” is used in the context of rape. A few years back I was raped by someone who was intoxicated at his fraternity. I had a lot of reasons to trust him– he mentored me in classes, helped me find buildings when I was new on campus, helped my friends and I get into parties, would watch movies with me in my dorm, and even said I reminded him of his sister (I was her age).

One night he offered to walk me home when I lost my friends and my phone was dead. Except he didn’t. And he had quite a bit of beer that night–smelled like a brewery. Made me sick. I still don’t like the smell of beer, but it’s no longer as strong of a trigger (sometimes I would have a hallucination where I would smell beer so strongly I thought it had been poured all over my room, later to find it was just a hallucination….fucking PTSD).

I was a virgin, devout Christian, and waiting until marriage. I remember feeling awkward going out that night because I was dressed in far more concealing clothing than most girls, in flats, and didn’t put on makeup before going out.

But it doesn’t matter that I did the “right things”. I was still attacked. I was still raped.

I remember how long it took me for me before I could use the r word. For a while I would refer to it as “the incident;” except, its not incidental. It’s not an accident. I wasn’t TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF. You take advantage of an opportunity, not a HUMAN BEING.

There’s a clear word for what happened to me. It was rape. The fact that I knew my attacker doesn’t make it any less than what it was. In fact, it makes it worse. It makes it scarier, to think that men like this are around your sisters, your daughters, your wives, your mothers.

It’s disgusting.

The reason I HATE, HATE, HATE these “false rape” proponents is that guess what this guy’s defense was after I went to the university police, who inevitably shifted the whole case (even though he practically confessed through text) to the university’s judicial system?

“She just had regrets because I took her virginity and it wasnt the way she wanted it and I didn’t walk her home, and I wasn’t romantic enough. She’s just trying to get revenge.”

Yes. Because women need to get revenge for good, healthy, enjoyable, CONSENSUAL SEX. Fuck you.

Seriously. Whenever someone screams about the prevalence of false rape, I just see my rapists’ face in place of theirs. Because in my mind, they’re just rapists trying to justify their shit actions.

RE: SittieKitty

That’s another thing MaudeLL, how terrible a worldview do you have to have when you a) believe rape is wrong but b) believe that it’s an inevitable consequence of being drunk around men without backup?

Enh, replace ‘drunk around men’ with ‘in a relationship with a man,’ and you pretty much describe me for a good portion of my life. There was heavy-duty conditioning that told me if I wanted to be loved, then I had to put out. And if I was ace, that was just too bad, it was the way the world worked. I didn’t learn otherwise until I met hubby, and sad to say, I thought he was just lying to me at first to make me feel better.

It takes a long time for that kind of conditioning to get undone.

I think a lot of people are unclear on consent, period, specially amongst those a bit more sheltered who haven’t been exposed to much direct discussion on the topic. I know women who still don’t think “marital rape” is a legitimate thing, or who carry around huge mental burdens because of episodes where they started to have sex with someone, then changed their mind & were essentially bullied into doing it anyway because “blueballs/cocktease/I bought you dinner”. I think I’m a bit older than the average poster/reader here, and believe me, there is a definite generational gap. Conservative religious folk also have horrible ideas about what constitutes bodily autonomy for women, much of which the women believe as well.
Men, in particular, still think “blueballs/cocktease/I bought you dinner” are legitimate reasons to resent women who push them away, and don’t grasp that consent is a process, not free for all pass. I’m trying to recall where I recently read another write-up on the Edmonton signs, and immediately in the comments there appeared MRA assholes & one dude who thought he was being so helpful by pointing out that as far as he knew (and I paraphrase) “once consent is given it cannot be revoked”. As if it was some sort of legal precedent.
I think just the fact that incidents like Steubenville & the gang rape case of the underage girl in Texas from a while back, the case up here in Canada of the girl who killed herself, still are ongoing prove we have not, in fact, done a good job of communicating what consent is or isn’t.
I think more people could clearly define the importance of recycling than they could define what consent means and how to obtain it.

LBT, what I said was poorly worded, I’m sorry. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that kind of grooming doesn’t happen or that there’s any responsibility associated with it for the person being conditioned.

I shouldn’t have said “inevitable consequence”, as I can see how that can be taken in the way you say and I feel like that’s a bit too close to victim-blaming by me to be comfortable with my words. I should have said a) when you believe rape is wrong, b) when you think it’s gonna happen when *they’re* drunk around men without a backup (because it’ll never happen to you) and c) that *they* should have been more careful. I meant to elucidate the idea that victim-blaming is such a natural viewpoint to these people, along with their poor view of men, that it’s expected, and encouraged, to force women to protect themselves against an event out of their control and external to their actions.

Zimmerman. UnFuckingBelievable, though not surprising at the same time. You don’t have to be Bond to have a license to kill, just pick the right target and you’re home free.

Stormster, I am SO sorry for what that man and then the systems did to you.

Jayem Griffin, I think so too. Hey, Good Men Project, your friend is a rapist and that’s not ok

Rjjspesh, possibly

Stormster, I’m sorry you went through that

LBT, I’m sorry you went through that

Rabbitwink, “know women who still don’t think “marital rape” is a legitimate thing.” Yeah, someone posted a womensredpill reddit thing yesterday with various scary ideas including some woman who thought ‘withholding sex’ from her husband was akin to ‘withholding food from him.’ I don’t get that

As to the Zimmerman verdict, I don’t get that either. 🙁

Cloudiah — in short, because I’m still in the “fuck everything” stage here…a boy is dead, for walking home, while black, and no one, FUCKING NO ONE, is going to pay for that.

Fuck this fucking…FUCK

I’m going to go stare at my fish for awhile, cuz fuck our species.

Manslaughter was my expectation also.
I keep thinking of Marissa Alexander doing 20 years for firing a warning shot.

Stormster, I’m sorry that all that happened to you. I’m sorry there are people who like to make an mockery of experiences like yours that are already horrible enough. I’m sorry that sometimes “trustyworthy” men – the ones that offer to walk you home safely (the nerve!) are the ones who do these things and there are people who refuse to believe that. Hugs if you want them.

Hey David, if you’re around, might I suggest an Open Thread for us to talk about the Zimmerman verdict?

Judgy Bitch is an ass, but I can’t focus on that right now.

I just realized I wasn’t gender neutral in my response to LBT above (“to force women to protect themselves against an event out of their control and external to their actions.”), but I should have been. ;-.- sorry, that was shitty of me. I’m being really careless with my words today.

And while I believed in the possibility he’d be acquitted, I thought he’d get something. On a visceral level I want to say I’m glad I don’t live in the States, but that doesn’t make anything better for those people who do, and for the Martin family. So really, all I want to say is that I’m sorry the justice system failed them so badly, and that society has failed them so badly. It’s an indescribable injustice and betrayal.

“I keep thinking of Marissa Alexander doing 20 years for firing a warning shot”

Yes.

And the despicable defense attorney for Zimmerman stating that crap about ‘aside from the bullet, the only one injured was Zimmerman.’ Well, that’s great.

rjjspesh:

With their deep, intense hatred of women, I’m just going to come out and say it; I reckon a lot of the man-O-sphere men ARE rapists

Just how I feel. Rapists or wannabes; I’m over giving them any benefit of the doubt.

You know, honestly, the best I hoped for was that it’d drag on for ages and get a ton of media exposure before he inevitably got acquitted. But we didn’t even get that.

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