A nightmare scenario

(This probably needs a trigger warning for sexual assault discussion)

Fetlife is apparently taking steps (link may need a site profile) to prevent users from naming names of the other users who’ve sexually assaulted them.  Of course, people are upset, but I thought maybe I should explain what they’re trying to do here.

Imagine a world in which anyone could just, willy-nilly and without any consequences, accuse men of rape. Why, men would have an incredible burden to bear in such a society! We’d have to be very careful whom we let into our lives, and be sure that anyone we spent time alone with was someone we could trust.  We’d have to avoid being alone with strange women, lest we be hit with a damning accusation out of nowhere.  When going on first dates, we’d have to be sure someone knew where we were, and was willing and capable to act as an alibi if we got a strange vibe.

It wouldn’t prevent us from living our lives, of course, but some part of our minds would always have to be devoted to making sure someone knew where we were and could vouch for us.  At night, walking down the street, we’d have to be careful not to enter dark areas where we couldn’t be seen.  We’d probably want to do most things in groups of other men. In particular, those men who did get accused of such by a good friend or family member would have–justifiable!–trouble learning to trust women again.  And of course, despite the stereotype that would develop, most of the accusations would come from friends and family.

In such a world, the prevalence of rape accusations would no doubt be incredibly high.  I’ve heard estimates that, if such a thing could happen, as many as one in five or even one in four men might be accused of rape in their lifetimes, and even those men who weren’t in that large minority would always have that possibility hanging over their heads.

Luckily, we have people like the Fetlife admins, and basically all of the rest of society, to levy enormous social consequences on anyone who makes a rape accusation.  Of course this means that rape goes wildly under reported, but it does mean that some small number of innocent men are spared tarnished reputations, and that’s–clearly–much more important to us.

See this post for a more clear and serious discussion


17 thoughts on “A nightmare scenario

  1. You realize that women experience this every day, right? This “nightmare scenario” in which men are constantly worried about who they are with and where they are, lest they be accused of rape? A rape accusation culture, let’s say. Women are victims of rape culture all day every day already. We are LIVING your nightmare scenario and we’ve endured it for thousands of years.

  2. Well… yes. I’m sorry if it wasn’t clear, but that was the point of the piece. It’s intended as satire.

    This is happening a lot lately. I think maybe my sarcastometer is miscalibrated.

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  5. Beautiful piece of satire! Lovely!!

    I’m poly & a blogger, too. I’ve been very vocal about rape and outing rapists lately. I was raped by a trusted lover, my secondary, almost 6 months ago. Twice. On top of extensive psychological and emotional abuse.

    Recently, he outed himself by protesting his innocence on a TX local burning FB group. I’d love to have a further discussion about this entire topic with you. Are you going to Burning Man?

    I am. And so is my rapist. I’m quite terrified. I just moved 2000 miles away from Texas because I was scared all the time. Now I have to face that fear again at Burning Man.

    I’m considering doing an art installation entitled SASS which stands for sexual assault survivors speak, where survivors can tell their stories, name their assailants, leave poetry, or even a letter to their assailant.

    Please email me if you would like to speak further about this. I’m going to share this post.

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  9. Thank you. I got an initial flood of people when this first went up who seem to have skipped the last couple of paragraphs, but since then the response has been “positive”, to the extent that “that post you wrote about how fucked up society is is correct” counts as positive.

  10. This is perfect, and the same message i have been trying to get out, to men, for many years. Since i havent been able to change our culture, i have tried to make a difference one man at a time, alerting them to the consequences of abusing me in any way, or making sure they suffer a consequence — not as serious a consequence as they would face if prosecuted for rape, perhaps – but i do the best i can. And if all women/victims did even the things that i do, we could turn the tables a bit. I’d love to brainstorm with you.

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