Drawing the Line

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I’ve been thinking about Voltaire lately. Specifically, one of his most famous quotations: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

Last Monday, my campus newspaper printed a column by a male writer. In this piece, he called feminists and gay activists “a sniveling bunch of emotional cripples,” declared that date rape is an “incoherent concept,” and essentially that drunken flirtation is consent.

As a result, the internet exploded. Angry Facebook statuses and comments on the article grew. Some people said they were ashamed to go to a school where such views would be espoused, and that it was a sad day for the campus. Apparently threats were made against the writer, and the story grew until it got picked up on some major feminist websites and the local news, including the Washington Post. A quick google of my school’s name comes up with headlines along the lines of “’Rape Apology’ Angers Students.”

In addition to this, though, attacks were directed at the newspaper. Issues were stolen en masse from newsstands and the Editorial board was maligned and accused of having no journalistic integrity, and being rape apologists themselves. Amid the controversy, the paper has since admitted mistakes in their editorial process, and apologized for mistaking “better editing for censorship.”

I think the views the article espouses are uninformed, ignorant, misogynistic, and arrogant. But here’s the thing. I’m glad this article was published. I’m sorry it caused people pain and I agree there were editorial mistakes, but the potential of offending people is not grounds for censorship.

The writer’s opinion is extreme, but the fact is, he’s not alone—not close to it. I know people who tend to agree with him—that girls who get drunk too often cry “rape” when it was more accurately a poor decision. As romance readers, the issue is often presented to us, with heroes thinking “no” means “yes,” and we accept it because we know what’s really between these characters is True Love, and the heroine ends up enjoying it anyway so no harm done. Remember Whitney, My Love, whose first edition included the hero raping the heroine and hitting her with a riding crop? Most books wouldn’t get away with this anymore, but the issue of consent still finds itself drowning in shades of gray.

But let’s consider the result of the article. People are discussing what “consent” means and whether or not drunk sex (or forced seduction) is rape. People are coming out of the woodwork in support of rape victims and women’s rights and creating organizations that support victims of sexual violence. People are exercising their own freedom of speech by writing letters to the editor of the paper. There are plans to host a “constructive dialogue,” and students are debating censorship and the freedom of speech. Are these things bad?

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sometimes we need something inflammatory to spark action. There is such beauty in the peaceful counter protest and the respectful exchange of ideas. We need more of that. We should be discussing what constitutes as consent and where editing stops being for the good of the reader and starts being censorship of ideas and opinions. Romance readers should be talking about whether heroes too often cross the line and if that’s okay in that context.

So don’t let even hateful speech create anger and retaliation. Let it create dialogue and discussion.

- Jane Granville

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169 Responses to “Drawing the Line”

  1. Nancy says:

    Katja says: Answer this for me – do you believe that sex outside of marriage is OK?

    Yes, I 100% think that sex outside of marriage is OK. Why on earth shouldn’t it be o.k. As long as it’s between consenting adults a marriage certificate doesn’t change a thing in my opinion.

    That the consequences from relationships outside of marriage are more positive and better than marriage?

    Well no, not better. But certainly not worse either. Which consequences anyway. If you mean pregnancy, than I suppose it might be somewhat better if the parents were married. But as long as people have a stable partnership a legal certificate doesn’t change much, and if the relationship is unstable. then they should have taken precautions anyway and there won’t be a child.

    But these questions and some of the comments above to me raise one important question: Why the assumption that it is o.k. for men to have sex with different partners, one night stands etc. etc., while women (girls) should really stick to a different moral code. Couldn’t it be, that if tgirls wouldn’t still be deemed sluts, morally suspect, not proper relationship material or whatever, just because they enjoy sex and like to experiment, they wouldn’t feel the need to be so ashamed if they had drunken sex.

    Katja – I didn’t mean pregnancy either, these days getting pregnant is not an issue is it? After all your daughter can get an abortion anytime she needs it.

    The reason sex outside of marriage is not OK is for the very reasons everyone is hot about these issues:

    Adultery

    Sexually transmitted diseases

    Double standards

    Lack of respect for self and others

    Rape

    Incest

    Domestic violence and abuse.

    I’m sure some of the other readers can come up with other examples of the joys of our current society’s standards that as long as you don’t hurt yourself or break any laws what you are doing is OK.

    Current laws are not just for spousal abuse, the laws cover cohabitants as well. You stated an ideal of “consenting adults.”

    What if one of the consenting adults is actually married, doesn’t that just create a wonderful emotion growth experience.

    I’m not sorry I’m not buying that is it OK to be sexually free and do whatever I damn well please – there are consequences for every action and choice we make and I’m not liking what I am seeing in our current society.

    It is not OK to go to a Fraternity party and get drunk, it is not OK to date rape anyone!

    It is not OK to ruin someone else’s life by your disrepectful behavior thinking you can do anything you want because it’s OK when everyone else does it. No – it is not OK by any means.

    And I will tell this my son’s were raised to know that if they were ever stupid and had violated anyone, first the woodshed and then jail.

    This thread is about choices, action and consequences – the question is do we like what we are seeing and what are we as a society going to do about it?

    • Katja says:

      Hi Nancy, interesting the way you read or should I say interpreted my replay.

      I can’t really recall that I advocated

      Nancy:
      Adultery
      Sexually transmitted diseases
      Double standards
      Lack of respect for self and others
      Rape
      Incest
      Domestic violence and abuse.
      I’m sure some of the other readers can come up with other examples of the joys of our current society’s standards

      What I talked about was sex outside of marriage and not sex with a otherwise married partner, nor did I adcocate rape (in fact I decidely wrote, that I do not excuse rape), certainly not incest and most definitely not domestic violence and abuse. (And really I am a little confused here: Wouldn’t domestic violence sort of suggest, that marriage or at least some sort of fixed partnership would have to be present?)

      I’m sorry I pushed some buttons here, but do you really think, that to have sex outside of a marriage or even to be sexually liberated means you can do whatever you want. Actually I do not think that’s the case. But I do think, that sexual freedom is as important as freedom of speech. And by sexual freedom I do not mean sexual harassement or forced sexual relations or any kind of violence.
      But I certainly refuse to see sex as something best kept in the dark.

  2. Nikki says:

    One of the legedary trials a young squire was challenged with on his journey to become a knight was being put to bed with a young, naked virgin woman. Success in passing this trial was determined by the young woman still being a vigin in the morning.

    It was a standard of behavior that the chivalrous society required of its best men and placed as the ideal example for all its men.

    They weren’t fools, though. They didn’t make the squire and the young virgin woman get well liquored up before tossing them into bed together – they needed some knights!

  3. Nancy says:

    Nikki – you are fantastic, good story!

  4. AAR Rachel says:

    Sandy – you made my point for me. People never stopped shaming or judging, they just wanted to renegotiate the terms for the shaming/judging and make it individual instead of societal. This has resulted in a whole lot of people doing pretty much whatever they want and feeling entirely justified in doing it.

    Lynn – I hear what you are saying. I don’t think any system is perfect, but in focusing on the welfare and rights of the individual, as we have since the Sixties we have let down whole generations of people. I am frankly unconcerned about women’s rights. I am concerned about children’s rights – specifically the right of children to grow up in intact two-parent families. The well being and success of children as a whole seems to be inversely proportional with the increase in women’s rights since the sexual revolution. We are failing kids. We are watching them slide through the cracks. Middle class kids and children from wealthy households are hanging on better, but lower and working class kids are seriously floundering. I am concerned that the future women those children become are going to be completely dysfunctional and our society is going to crash and burn.

    Lee – I understand if you feel you can’t read my content in future. I knew when my fingers started tapping on the keys that my views would be unpalatable to many.

    Maria – I appreciate your viewpoint and your support.

  5. JulieLeto says:

    I’m really having trouble understanding how people who do not believe in consensual, pre-marital sex can hang out at a site for romance novels.

    Hey, I’m all for waiting for marriage if that’s what floats your boat. As the mother of a pre-teen daughter, I have no trouble with that idea one little bit. However, sex is not dirty. It is not bad or shameful. Irresponsible sex is, of course, but sex itself? It’s actually nice. Very nice.

    To be honest if I had to chose between my daughter getting married at 18 or even 21 so that she can have sex (because those hormonal urges are powerful stuff) and having responsible pre-marital sex with someone she cares about and then waiting to marry until she’s 30, I go with plan B. I’d rather her have the opportunity to explore her full self before she makes a commitment to love, honor and cherish for the rest of her life.

    Sex is not just an expression of love and I’m sorry, but it’s not just for pro-creation, either. It’s a healthy expression of the physical urges of the body. It’s good for the heart in more than just a spiritual sense. I see nothing wrong with responsible sex between consenting adults. It is not what is bringing down the whole of civilization. What’s contributing to that is sex among kids, sex between adults and kids, unprotected sex, promiscuous sex, drunken sex, drugged sex, etc. But sex between two people who know their own hearts & desires, but who aren’t ready to tie each other down for the rest of their lives? Nothing wrong with it.

    Nearly every single romance novel I’ve written is based on that belief. If I said otherwise (if I believed otherwise) then I’d be a hypocrite.

    • MaryK says:

      JulieLeto: I’m really having trouble understanding how people who do not believe in consensual, pre-marital sex can hang out at a site for romance novels.

      In the same way lots of law-abiding people watch Dexter and play violent video games.

      You know, I come to this site for Romance, not politics. If there’s going to be a show of party cards, I’d like some advance warning.

  6. Lee says:

    Maria – I’m confused – are you saying you prefer a society where people are intolerant of each other? Or just intolerant of what you’re intolerant of, like premarital sex, abortion and unnatural (whatever that is) sex?

  7. Katja says:

    Or I could just have seconded what JulieLeto wrote. Great post, thanks.

  8. Nancy says:

    Katja – No what I stated was your example was an ideal – “consenting adults.” The reality is what I listed as consequences of sex outside of marriage between consenting adults, it is not at all simple. You are assuming that the consenting adults are honest people, life has repeatedly shown that is not the case.

    By allowing sexual freedom outside of marriage – we have created a society that will tolerate a lot of behavior that is unacceptable and consequences for that freedom.

    And I would point out to JulieLeto that the historical romance novels we read rarely end in anything but marriage.

    Can we at least agree that any behavior we engage in has consequences?

  9. By allowing sexual freedom outside of marriage – we have created a society that will tolerate a lot of behavior that is unacceptable and consequences for that freedom.”

    When did “we” create the society that allows “sexual freedom outside of marriage”? It seems to me that, at least for men, “sexual freedom outside of marriage” has been tolerated for a very long time. Here are a few figures relating to Victorian England:

    Estimates of the number of prostitutes in Victorian London differ depending on who is doing the estimating. The police claim there are 7,000, while the Society for the Suppression of Vice says 80,000. A 19th-century city commonly has 1 prostitute per 36 inhabitants, or 1 per 12 adult males, which means 55,000 prostitutes for London, often called ‘the whoreshop of the world’. (Channel 4)

    Moreover,

    During the nineteenth century, domestic principles were based on a patriarchal system. The husband was seen as the superior being in the house (Glenn 66). The wife was viewed as being property of her husband, just as one of his slaves or children (Glenn 71). As owner of his wife, a man could do as he pleased with and to his spouse because she lacked the power to control her own actions. It was considered a husband’s duty to protect his wife, therefore, he was given the right to control and limit her behavior (Glenn 67) This authority also allowed for him to use violence, if necessary, in order to keep her in line (Glenn 71). These standards a man’s domination over his wife created social acceptance of moderate martial cruelty (Hammerton 43). (Nolte)

  10. JMM says:

    “Men may go to these parties hoping to hook up with someone. But – that doesn’t mean they’re entitled to it. The idea that men have uncontrollable urges and that women must constrict their lives as a result is an old one that needs to die. Just as women should treat men with respect, so too should men learn self-control and treat women with respect.”

    Thank you. Maybe since men are such uncontrollable beasts who can’t be expected to show a little restraint, THEY should be locked up while women safely walk the streets. Maybe the little bastards should constrict their lives until they can control their male urges.

  11. JulieLeto says:

    And I would point out to JulieLeto that the historical romance novels we read rarely end in anything but marriage.

    Point taken…but up until the marriage, isn’t there sex? Sex before marriage between two consenting (questionable in some historicals) adults where though the reader may know they’ll end up happily wed in the end, the characters don’t?

    We’re not talking inspirationals here, are we? I know they are popular, but they are not what this site mainly reviews.

    In my mind, all my characters end up getting married at some point, too. As I write contemporaries, though, I don’t end with marriage because I don’t think it’s all that realistic and my books (just stating my own personal preferences) tend to take place over a short period of time so that ending with marriage or engagement is really unbelievable.

    I agree that actions have consequences. That’s just a law of physics. (For every action, there is a equal reaction.) BUT what I don’t agree with is that all those consequences are NEGATIVE. The consequence of a sexual relationship might just be that the couple enjoyed their time together, had an intimate emotional bond that will be remembered fondly for the rest of their lives, even if circumstances outside the bedroom kept them from getting married or even staying together. Or maybe the consequences will be that a woman and man shared great orgasms. Not everything about sex is unwanted pregnancy, STDs and torn-up psyches.

  12. Nancy says:

    We are a free society, “we are a tolerant society.” We are more tolerant today than ever in history. We are all responsible for the behaviors perpetuated in our society. I understand the history discussed above – but we free women in this time and place, we have the right to chose our lifestyles and our beliefs – so yes “we are responsible” for the behaviors of our society – case in point:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/TheLaw/teens-charged-bullying-mass-girl-kill/story?id=10231357

    When did it become OK to sit by and watch a child tormented by other children? Are we too tolerant? Why did “we” as our society do nothing to help this child when she was being tormented? Why are we OK with our children getting drunk at fraternity parties, because that is what they are going to do despite our teaching.

    None of it is OK, what are “we” as a society going to do about the consequences that have emerged from the current behaviors that are the norm that have emerged with terrible consequences as discussed in this blog? What are “we” as a society going to do to protect our children? This is why I’ve taken my position of sex remains in marriage, I understand yours, please try to understand mine.

    Again I ask this question – can we at least agree that any behavior we engage in has consequences?

  13. When did it become OK to sit by and watch a child tormented by other children? Are we too tolerant? Why did “we” as our society do nothing to help this child when she was being tormented?

    I’m not at all sure what the connection is that you’re trying to draw between people’s sexual behaviour and a girl being bullied by other girls from her school. But I’d say that in general there is far, far more awareness of bullying nowadays than there was even when I was at school. I also think that there’s far more social awareness and condemnation of cruelty towards children. In the Victorian era, for example, young children were still being sent down coal mines and working in very dangerous conditions in factories.

    can we at least agree that any behavior we engage in has consequences?

    To quote Julie Leto, “I agree that actions have consequences. That’s just a law of physics. (For every action, there is a equal reaction.) “

  14. Lee says:

    Wait a minute, Nancy. No one here is tolerating bullying. “We” as a society are holding those teens responsible by charging them with a crime. There will always be individuals who are afraid, for whatever reasons, to get involved, but that’s not society as a whole.

    Of course all behavior has consequences. Making a decision about what’s right for you as an individual and dealing with the consequences is what maturity is all about. Not breastfeeding a baby has consequences. Should we as a society make sure all women breastfeed? Waiting until late 30′s/early 40′s has consequences for fertility. Should we as a society enforce all women have children in their 20′s? The world is overpopulated – should we enforce couples to have only one child? And I could go on and on. Individual choices, as long as they don’t hurt anyone else, are up to the individual. Not me, not you, not society as a whole. When they DO hurt someone else, we as a society make sure they are held responsible.

  15. Incidentally, on the topics of naming and shaming, women’s sexuality, and suicide, three of George Augustus Egg’s paintings

    came to be understood as representing an adulteress with the consequences of her actions, as prescribed by Victorian social morality [...]

    One of the greatest embarrassments to the Victorians was the huge number of prostitutes roaming the British city streets. According to William Acton, as early as 1841, there were 9,409 prostitutes in London alone. [...] As writers Acton, William Greg, and Henry Mayhew reveal, prostitution was a heavily layered and highly complex issue in the major cities. In his four-volume sociological study, London Labour and London Poor (1861), Mayhew explores and exposes the vast underworld of London prostitutes and categorises them in their many guises from brothel dwellers to ladies of intrigue. However, one category of women barely acknowledged in this lengthy study is that of the fallen wife and mother, the adulteress, cast out of her home and forced into prostitution for survival. Indeed, Mayhew all but dismisses these women in his claim that adultery reveals ‘a state of immorality amongst the upper and middle classes that is deplorable’. In Egg’s triptych, the fallen woman represents the outcast adulteress who, abandoned with illegitimate child, is left destitute, wandering the streets.

    Adultery was considered far more serious for a woman than a man. During the many debates over the passing of the bill of divorce (Matrimonial Causes Act) in 1857, the Lord Chancellor testified that a ‘wife might, without any loss of caste, and possibly with reference to the interests of her children, or even of her husband, condone an act of adultery on the part of the husband; but a husband could not condone a similar act on the part of a wife’. [...] If adultery was such a major issue – and, obviously, it was – was something wrong with the institution of marriage in Victorian times?

    Patriarchal law and social practice made many Victorian women seek early marriage.

    The quotations are taken from an essay by Annabel Rutherford.

  16. Nancy says:

    Ladies – I used the bullying story as an example of lawless behavior that while we are more aware of bullying today shows that our children believe they can conduct such behavior and get away with it. The adults at Phoebe’s school knew of the harassment and did not intervene.

    No my point is this – why did the children who harassed Phoebe unrelentingly believe was it OK to do that? Why weren’t concerned that what they were doing was wrong? What are their values that allow them to believe it’s OK to torment another human being? Why is it acceptable to drink wildly when in college and believe a girl is asking for it?

    As for sex outside of marriage – again my point is there have been societal consequences for the behaviors we chose to engage in such as date rape and all the other lovely items I stated earlier, did I say that all the consequences of sex outside of marriage are negative, no I just listed the negative.

    I appreciate the agreement that there are consequences for our actions.

    I’m not arguing that the Victorian society was fair, of course it wasn’t. We live in a free society that has lost its set of moral values albeit a very basic one first – “treating each other the way we want to be treated.” I am not stating any societal command of one child or breastfeeding – we as a society have to accept responsibility that acceptable behaviors by today’s standards have consequences and we are seeing some of those consequences through our children.

    You can argue that these types of behavior have occurred all along – however, my generation knew that there were consequences from our parents for unkind, disrespectful behavior.

  17. JulieLeto says:

    Nancy, tolerance and bullying are two different things. I think I’m a very tolerant person, but bullying has never been something I’ve been willing to turn my back on–trust me, I used to be a teacher. And now that I’m a parent with a very active neighborhood full of kids, the rules with ALL the parents here are very clear–being mean to each other is not allowed. It’s not only wrong, but it makes no sense since we all live on the same block, we have to get along!

    I do think as a society, we are finally having valuable conversations about bullying for the first time–though I’m not convinced it will make any difference until parents are willing to look at THEIR OWN BEHAVIOR and say enough is enough. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Children who bully didn’t learn that behavior from no where. They either were bullied themselves or they have watched their parents bully the lawn guy, the grocery checker, the ex-husband’s new wife…whatever. Bullying behavior doesn’t come from television or rap music. It comes from society–and mainly, it comes from parents.

    The behavior that girl went through has happened hundreds of times before–exacerbated by intolerant people who considered her suspect because of she was Irish and because she may or may not have been sexually active. Is her death a consequence of being sexually active, if indeed she was? Did she deserve to die because of it? I don’t think so. It’s tragic. But I don’t think TOLERANCE caused it…I think INtolerance did.

  18. JMM says:

    I don’t know if I think that bullying is any worse, per se – I think that technology has made it more pervasive. When I was a kid, I could find a refuge at home at the end of the day.

    Nowadays, there is no such refuge. Texting. Facebook. Youtube. A victim can’t escape.

    And I don’t believe that there were more consequences for bad behavior back then – I remember being told over and over, “Don’t be so sensitive! Boys will be boys! It means they like you!” when I was made fun of.

    And I know damn well that rape was barely a crime – unless the victim was a nun locked in a convent and the rapist was a drooling degenerate.

    Not to mention, men have always been congratulated for “scoring” while women have been shamed.

  19. Laurie says:

    JulieLeto — Beautifully said. I agree with it all.

  20. Nancy says:

    JulieLeto:

    I agree the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and it is good to hear you were a responsible teacher.

    “Is her death a consequence of being sexually active, if indeed she was? Did she deserve to die because of it? I don’t think so. It’s tragic. But I don’t think TOLERANCE caused it…I think INtolerance did.”

    Try jealousy as a reason for the harassment.

    Please don’t infer that my opinion is intolerance of the choices people make – what I said is there are consequences for the behaviors we decide to engage in and we are seeing those consequences in our society through our children – via the college article and the news.

    Perhaps you didn’t mean to or perhaps you did, but it is unkind and unfair to imply that I because of my values would believe that Phoebe deserved death because she may have been sexually active.

    That is just wrong.

  21. JulieLeto says:

    Nancy, obviously you didn’t say that Phoebe deserved to die. You were outraged by what happened to her–that was clear.

    I just was trying to draw all the conversations together. I understood you to say earlier that pre-marital sexual activity had consequences. I was only taking that supposition one step further since Phoebe’s bullying included people calling her a “slut.” The bullies were using her alleged sexual activity as a cause to judge her–they probably thought their behavior was okay, because it was a “consequence” of Phoebe’s real or imagined behavior.

    I think that’s why so many of us try to embrace tolerance of other people’s choices, especially in regards to sexuality. Judging people for their sexual choices (real or imagined) can lead precisely to what happened to Phoebe.

  22. Nancy says:

    JulieLeto:

    I appreciate your response and what you say is true – her persecutors were accusing her of behavior that was real or imagine. The bullies may have accused her of behavior they may have committed but are to hypocritical to admit. The whole situation is just so darn unfair and the bullies will deserve everything they get. What is worse is I recall a movie about girls doing the same thing to a new girl at school, I think it was on the Lifetime channel last year – in the end the victim walked away from the lot of them. I wish Phoebe had the strength that would have enabled her to walk away from the bullies and not give up.

    This has been an interesting thread, it’s been heart wrenching and thought provocating at the double standards/situations described that are ongoing in our society…

  23. Lee says:

    I just wanted to add – I’m from MA, and this story has been covered extensively since it broke. The bullying was not the result of Phoebe having sex outside of marriage. It was the result of a pretty girl coming into a new school, who caught the eye of the football hero and the mean girls who didn’t like it. They didn’t pick on her because she was a slut. That’s just the insult du jour for teenage girls.

    Frankly, I don’t think the circumstances of bullying someone to death as related will result in a conviction, or if it does, it will be overturned on appeal. This is a first in MA. The parents should, and probably will, sue the school district civilly. Nobody will go on record why the school authorities have not been criminally charged, but the uproar about this continues, so maybe it will happen. I hope so. This could have been prevented.

  24. JulieLeto says:

    Lee, thanks for giving us more information.

    I think the problem with bullying, speaking as both a parent and a former teacher, is that the attitude of “kids will be kids” and “kids are mean” is an accepted truth that people aren’t willing to challenge. Kids are only mean when we LET them be or when we encourage them to be. Kids can also be kind and giving and empathetic. They live up to the standards of the people around them–if the people (ie, adults) pay attention enough to get involved.

    Why do I know this?

    Back when I was in the 6th grade, something very similar happened to me. The “mean girls” in school decided that my best friend was a “slut” (though we didn’t use that word) because she was pretty and popular. They turned on her and eventually, turned on me and another couple of girls who refused to give her up. It was really ugly. But not for long. The parents called the school and that afternoon, the two 6th grade teachers, one of whom was a nun, sat us down in a room and made us talk it out.

    We’d all been in school together since kindergarten, for the most part. It wasn’t a fun conversation, but after that day, the bullying stopped. By the time we reached high school, the two groups had become friends–not best friends, but we co-existed and whatever anger and resentments existed in our pre-teen years dissipated.

    Parents got involved. Teachers not only made us talk out our differences, but also made it clear that this behavior would no longer be tolerated. We were in private school. Kicking us out was a possibility.

    It stopped. Now, we didn’t have Facebook and Twitter and MySpace to exacerbate the problem but I think if we had, the problem still could have been resolved.

    I haven’t thought about that incident in YEARS. Not until this conversation, to be honest. But it just bolsters my conviction that parents and teachers and school administrators have got to start taking more responsibility in shaping our children and in putting higher expectations on their behavior–as well as more serious consequences.

    That said, I’m also a homeschooling mom and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the lack of standards of behavior in schools and among a lot of parents isn’t one of the many reasons I chose to take charge of her education myself.

  25. Caryl says:

    Jane,
    Thank you for starting this discussion. I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts and the heated respectfulness of the conversation.

  26. [...] an inflammatory article by a college student, which lead to an equally unfortunate flamewar on the All About Romance blog about whether or not monogamous marriage was the only truly safe sex [...]

  27. Leigh says:

    Wow, I feel like have whiplash from the many direction this topic has taken. . I am not sure which one to comment on. . Do I believe in complete freedom of speech, I am not sure Just recently a group of protesters were protected after disrupting a funeral for a service man, under this guise and I felt like it was completely wrong. Do I approve of the paparazzi exposing every little thing on every celebrity in the world. Not so much. I didn’t read the school newspaper, but I understand that there are 100′s of web sites out there that men visit that say more or less the same thing. I can see how some good came out of the editorial, and how the school was embarrassed by comments that they didn’t condone. I can’t really give a good answer on whether the writer should have been fired or not. We don’t let major newspapers get away with things like that. But I would worry more, if something like this is said and there is no outcry, because it is accepted as truth. So I guess in a nut shell we need articles like this and people protesting them.

    As far as what the article supposedly discussed. I don’t buy into women teasing men into rape. I understand the cause and affect argument, but that could be used for anything. I murdered him because he hit me. Of course using common sense is the best practice in any scenario but it seems more like blaming the victim.

    Interesting article here about the role that alcohol plays in sexual assult:
    http://www.athealth.com/Practitioner/ceduc/alc_assault.html

    Several studies that compared the characteristics of men who had committed sexual assault with those who had not noted the following differences (Seto and Barbaree 1997):
    With respect to personality traits, men who had committed sexual assault were more hostile toward women and lower in empathy compared with other men.
    With respect to attitudes, men who had committed sexual assault were more likely than other men to endorse traditional stereotypes about gender roles–for example, that men are responsible for initiating sex and women are responsible for setting the limits.

    Perpetrators of sexual assault also were more likely to endorse statements that have been used to justify rape–for example, “women say ‘no’ when they mean ‘yes’” and “women enjoy forced sex.”

    Finally, men who had committed sexual assaults were more likely to hold adversarial beliefs about relationships between men and women (e.g., “all’s fair in love and war”) and to consider the use of force in interpersonal relationships acceptable

    and:
    heavy drinkers may routinely use intoxication as an excuse for engaging in socially unacceptable behavior, including sexual assault (Abbey et al. 1996b).

    certain personality characteristics (e.g., impulsivity and antisocial behavior) may increase men’s propensity both to drink heavily and to commit sexual assault (Seto and Barbaree 1997).

    and what else is sad is:

    Parallel to research on perpetrators, numerous studies have compared the personality characteristics, attitudes, and life experiences of women who were sexually assaulted with those of other women. Overall, those analyses found only few significant effects and explain only small amounts of variance, indicating that women’s personal characteristics are not strong predictors of victimization. Some differences exist, however, among women who have been victims of sexual assault and those who have not. Women who have been sexually assaulted are more likely than are other women to have experienced childhood sexual abuse, to have frequent sexual relationships, and to be heavy drinkers (Abbey et al. 1996a; Koss and Dinero 1989). Explanations of these findings focus on the long-term effects of childhood victimization (Wilsnack et al. 1997).

    Some victims of childhood sexual abuse cope with the resulting stress and negative emotions through early and frequent sexual relations and heavy drinking. These women may also be more likely to drink alcohol in potential sexual situations as a means of coping with their ambivalent feelings about sex. In turn, drinking in potential sexual situations increases women’s risk of being sexually assaulted, both because sexually assaultive men may view them as easy targets and because the women may be less able to resist effectively.

    I am not sure where the discussion about mores came about. . marriage/sex/etc. Per this article typically the more a man believes in the traditional role and stereotypes women in the Madonna/whore, the more he believes that the women wanted it. Am I saying that more traditional men are more likely to rape. Nope, but I do think a percentage of them will have less respect for what they see as loose women.

    But then again, I have little respect for the women that became Tiger’s, Jesse, mistresses. So I am traditional in my own way. I do want women to respect other women’s relationships.

    I remember when Brittany Spears was very popular, and all the pre-teens were going to see here and duplicating her sexual attire which just seem to me to be teaching young girls that their worth was tied to being sexually attractive. Seems like a chicken or an egg scenario here.

  28. Leigh, I hadn’t seen that study, but I did recently read a summary of some research carried out by David Lisak into rape and sexual assault which supports the findings in the paper you mentioned. The summary I read included the following quotations from Lisak’s work:

    Many of the motivational factors that were identified in incarcerated rapists have been shown to apply equally to undetected rapists. When compared to men who do not rape, these undetected rapists are measurably more angry at women, more motivated by the need to dominate and control women, more impulsive and disinhibited in their behavior, more hyper-masculine in their beliefs and attitudes, less empathic and more antisocial.

    and

    In the course of 20 years of interviewing these undetected rapists, in both research and forensic settings, it has been possible for me to distill some of the common characteristics of the modus operandi of these sex offenders. These undetected rapists:

    • are extremely adept at identifying “likely” victims, and testing prospective victims’ boundaries;

    • plan and premeditate their attacks, using sophisticated strategies to groom their victims for attack, and to isolate them physically;

    • use “instrumental” not gratuitous violence; they exhibit strong impulse control and use only as much violence as is needed to terrify and coerce their victims into submission;

    • use psychological weapons – power, control, manipulation, and threats – backed up by physical force, and almost never resort to weapons such as knives or guns;

    • use alcohol deliberately to render victims more vulnerable to attack, or completely unconscious.

    and

    This picture conflicts sharply with the widely-held view that rapes committed on university campuses are typically the result of a basically “decent” young man who, were it not for too much alcohol and too little communication, would never do such a thing. While some campus rapes do fit this more benign view, the evidence points to a far less benign reality, in which the vast majority of rapes are committed by serial, violent predators.

    The paper those quotes originally came from is “Understanding the Predatory Nature of Sexual Violence“, David Lisak, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Boston.

  29. Leigh says:

    This picture conflicts sharply with the widely-held view that rapes committed on university campuses are typically the result of a basically “decent” young man who, were it not for too much alcohol and too little communication, would never do such a thing. While some campus rapes do fit this more benign view, the evidence points to a far less benign reality, in which the vast majority of rapes are committed by serial, violent predators.

    Which honestly doesn’t make me feel better. It would be so much easier to blame on alcohol, drugs, etc, then that we have predators out there.

    I do feel bad that romance for years victimized women and or had the no,no, I mean yes scenario. And in the 80′s the authors that I bouht used this in their plots. I won’t read that type of book now. . . Even looking back at the more beign books. . one where the hero tames the heroine like she would a bird is repugnant to me. .

    Do I think that women by reading this type of fiction internalize it and think there is a situation where a man is allowed to override a no. Honestly, I don’t know. But I would hate for it to happen, so that is why I vote with my pocket book and don’t buy books with these scenario anymore. And one reason, that I don’t want to do re-read of the books that I used to think were great

  30. LauraD says:

    You know, I’ve been following this for awhile now, since I first saw it posted on Jezebel. I am a survivor of date rape. Yep, I’d been drinking. Nope, did not deserve to get punched repeatedly and raped because I decided to say “stop”. And 24 years later, I can tell you I did not deserve the violence, did not deserve the shame. So, Andrew Knepper, fuck you. And any other smug person who thinks that I “deserved” what happened…..fuck you, too.

  31. “There is no such thing as safe sex. The only safe sex is in a monogamous marriage or no sex at all”…

    There’s a very interesting post over at the All About Romance blog, entitled Drawing The Line. The columnist, Jane, writes: I’ve been thinking about Voltaire lately. Specifically, one of his most famous quotations: “I do not agree with what you have to…

  32. Lee says:

    Laura D,
    Your pain and anger come through achingly clear. No matter what anyone says, you DID NOT deserve this. I am so sorry that this happened to you and I applaud you for posting this.

  33. AAR Rachel says:

    Please note: never in this discussion have I said that anyone deserves to be raped. In fact, I said that I do not view rape as a punishment, but merely a possible outcome of risky behavior.

    If a war zone correspondent dies in the course of fulfilling his job, does he deserve that death? No. Was it one of many foreseeable outcomes? Yes.

    No one deserves rape. Rapists should be punished.

    The willful misunderstanding here is pretty thick. This is because the modern woman expects to have the freedom to do whatever she wants/feels and at the same time protection from any negative outcome of that freedom.

    It is a lot easier to just stay away from the party than to go through rape trauma, emotionally recover from it, and attempt to prosecute it.

  34. Lee says:

    The lack of compassion here on the part of a few is pretty thick also.

    What else can it possibly mean to say it’s a “possible outcome”? That might be prettier language, but it ultimately means the same thing. You go to a party, you have a few drinks, you leave with a guy, you get what you deserve – or in your words, you experience a possible outcome.

    Wouldn’t LauraD.’s post have been the perfect opportunity for you (and Nancy and Maria) to say that her’s was a clear cut rape that you admit does happen? She was punched repeatedly after she told the thug to stop, and then raped. Is this a possible outcome everytime women have a few drinks on a date? Maybe women should just stop dating. Or drinking. Or maybe men should stop dating or drinking.

    Finally, it might be easier for women not to go to any parties (easier for whom I don’t know), but it is a hell of a lot easier for a male to take no for an answer and to respect every woman he comes into contact with.

  35. Nancy says:

    Lee – you are now taking a reasonable discussion and turning into a “flamewar” as Stephanie and Karen said on their blogs.

    What happened to LauraD WAS WRONG – it is the outcome of when people chose to engage in criminal behavior. Did LauraD deserve to be RAPED? HELL NO! But it happened because we live in a Society where it is OK to get drunk/drugged up and these types of CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR will happen.

    Am I saying that it was LauraD’s fault because she chose to drink that she was raped? NO, but the male with her thought it was OK to take advantage of her in her condition because of HIS MENTALITY!

    You may not like to hear this but it’s a fact – people chose to live by THEIR own rules of behavior AND MOST CHOSE not TO LIVE BY the basic tenent of “TREATING EACH OTHER THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED.”

    Now I’ve listened to your opinion, kindly respect mine.

  36. Lee says:

    How am I turning it into a flamewar? By screaming in CAPS at another poster? By responding to Rachel’s comments? Sorry, I have no idea who Stephanie or Karen are. I cannot respect your opinion, because frankly I can’t follow your post. What exactly are you saying? Is date rape a woman’s fault or a man’s fault? I don’t see you treating me the way you want to be treated, unless you want to be treated rudely.

  37. Nancy says:

    LauraD says: Wouldn’t LauraD.’s post have been the perfect opportunity for you (and Nancy and Maria) to say that her’s was a clear cut rape that you admit does happen?

    You are making judgment on our opinions by infering that Rachel, Maria or myself are not admitting that RAPE doesn’t happened? When did this blog take the tune that I believe RAPE doesn’t happen?

    Young Lady – I was the victim of a RAPE, I wasn’t drunk/drugged, I was a child! And right now I believe I am being RAPED by you in your opinion that because of my beliefs and yes they are based on the BIBLE, that these beliefs are not possibly the best way to conduct one’s life. I work with victims of domestic violence, I enjoy “Romance Novels” not for the Sex but for the fairytale stories and I do not appreciate your apparent inept reading of my last post.

    Try reading the other posts in this thread and you will find out who Stephanie and Karen are.

  38. Jenny says:

    Are you seriously comparing a disagreement on a blog to being raped by that person?

  39. Dhympna says:

    I am very amused by the idea (as expressed by a few commentators here) that we have lost the good ol’ days and we are now afflicted with unnatural sex acts and sex out of marriage. WOW. I really wish people would check their history before claiming that the good ol’ days were golden.

    Sex has NEVER existed (in terms of society) entirely within marriage. Even in the Middle Ages prostitution was accepted. Why? Because it was believed that it was a necessary evil because men could not help themselves but to penetrate things.

    (This also goes back to the post by a previous commentator on proof of knighthood and why they were put in bed with virgins)

    Sex for women was kept within marriage (by men) to maintain blood lines and who ensuring that the offspring that inherit land and such are indeed the husband’s offspring. It had nothing to do with religion or morals–that came later. Oh, the battles and wars that were fought when succession could not be properly determined.

  40. Lee says:

    Well, I guess I should thank you for calling me young.

    I know that you know that rape happens, and I am truly sorry that it happened to you. But the 3 of you have posted that date rape isn’t real and that it’s a woman’s fault because of HER behavior. That’s wrong. Nuns holding a Bible in their hands can be raped. A prostitute can be raped. A child, through no fault of her own, can be raped just because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not because of what she was wearing or because she decided to ride her bike down the street by herself. But because a pedophile decided to act out HIS urges.

    You are also making judgments about me, which I’m sure your Bible counsels against, especially in calling my total disagreement with you a “rape” of you. I used to be a lawyer before having 4 kids. I prosecuted these jerks. I hugged and held the hands of the victims and their families. I encouraged them to tell their stories in open court, as hard as it was, to make sure these jerks didn’t do it again. And every time, every single time, there was at least one juror who sat in that box convinced that the woman or child brought it on herself somehow. So this attitude bothers me very much. I’ve had to overcome it too many times to get across what really happened, and to see it pop up again – well I had to speak out. Would reading the Bible have helped the victims of domestic violence you work with? Or would the men still beat them up?

    Go ahead and read romance for the fairytales. But real life is not a fairytale.

    Thanks for the info on Stephanie and Karen, btw.

  41. Nancy says:

    I’m comparing the feeling of total disregard for anyone’s opinion, it is emotional rape, not physical, hurtful just the same – do they compare in physical pain or length of pain – no, but the disappointment of your fellow man – yes. You never forget how people hurt you physically and you do not forget the emotional pain of being shamed for one’s beliefs or being shunned for circumstances beyond one’s control.

    Time heals, but you never forget.

    Do you think any set of beliefs comes easily? It takes years of commitment and it is not easy taking a stand alone. The one issue with the families I work with comes is this, “I have learned to live with the physical pain, but WHY did s/he think it was OK to do that to me.”

    Yes domestic violence is conducted by both men and women. So yes I am hurt at the lack of understanding of my beliefs that I have received from this blog, I will learn to live with the disappointment in my fellow man.

    And Lee – thank you for your response and I apologize for judging, it was wrong.

  42. AAR Lynn says:

    “But sex between two people who know their own hearts & desires, but who aren’t ready to tie each other down for the rest of their lives? Nothing wrong with it.”
    @JulieLeto – good point, and I don’t have a problem with this either. A relationship between 2 adults who love each other is not the same thing as irresponsible sexual behavior and in debating the topic, I think it’s important not to conflate these ideas. That’s why I admit I get somewhat taken aback by the argument that sex outside of marriage causes adultery, abortions, STDs and the general fall of civilization.

    Unfortunately, we do have these problems in the world today. However, I think there is a distinction between a loving relationship between two consenting adults and the behaviors that lead to the problems I mention above. They’re not the same thing. Even in the days when an unmarried woman caught having sex would have been cast out of society, we still had problems with adultery, STDs, unplanned pregnancies, exploitation of children and the like. Not to mention prostitution, as Laura Vivanco pointed out in her statistics comments.

    And there’s one more thing that I think needs to be remembered. Back in the day, a woman raped would be loathe to report it because the likelihood of her being blamed and shamed for the crime was higher than the likelihood of her assailant being punished. Prosecution of rape has come a long way over the centuries, but it still isn’t perfect and some vestiges of the “blame the victim” mentality remain. I would hate to see the justice system move backward rather than forward on this issue. I’ve seen rape and child molestation trials and even with the psychological support systems in place for victims nowadays, they are still very painful experiences for these people.

    @LauraD None of that was your fault and you certainly didn’t deserve it. No one ever deserves to be treated in such a fashion, and I’m sorry to hear that you were the victim of a rape.

  43. Lee says:

    No apology necessary, but thank you anyway. Just to be clear, I do not (and I don’t think I’m the only one here) have a total disregard for you or your opinions. That would be saying that what you have to say doesn’t matter. That’s not what I was saying. Of course it matters, and we couldn’t have a proper discussion without opposing opinions. So I don’t have a disregard for you or your opinions – you’re entitled to hold them. I do have a total, absolute disagreement with your opinion, as you do with mine, and that’s what these comments sections are for. Flamewars don’t happen when there are legitimate respectful disagreements, only when it devolves into name-calling and purposefully inflammatory remarks. I think that’s mostly been carefully avoided here.

  44. Karen Scott says:

    You are making judgment on our opinions by infering that Rachel, Maria or myself are not admitting that RAPE doesn’t happened?

    @Nancy It seems to me that we’re all making judgments in one way or another. I’m judging you and the other two for some of the comments that you’ve made with regards to rape victims, and you’re judging everybody else, barring Rachel and Maria, for disagreeing with you. My dear mother has a saying that she’s very fond of – a thousand flies on shit can’t be wrong. Think about it. Or not.

    And right now I believe I am being RAPED by you in your opinion that because of my beliefs and yes they are based on the BIBLE, that these beliefs are not possibly the best way to conduct one’s life.

    @Nancy Wow, did you really just compare somebody disagreeing with you to being raped? Did you really do that? Maybe it’s time you backed away from the computer so that you can regain some perspective, yes?

    It never fails to bemuse me how the most judgmental of people, are usually the ones who go round citing the bible.

    Between you, Maria and Rachel, you’ve said the following:

    1. Sex outside of marriage is the reason for the high divorce rates and high number of abortions,
    2. Women who wear skimpy clothes and go out to parties where there are men, are asking to be raped, (of course they don’t deserve to be raped, says Rachel, but they are definitely asking for it.) and quite frankly they should know that.
    3. Unnatural sexual acts only occur as a result of people having sex outside marriage.
    4. Unnatural relationships being allowed to go mainstream is another result of sex outside marriage.
    5. Out-of-marriage sex leads to the sexualization of children
    6. Out-of-marriage sex has led to the porn industry growing massively
    7. Maria admitted to not having “compassion for women who place themselves in dangerous situations.”
    8. “As long as individuals believe in free sexual relations outside the contract of marriage”, rape, and other heinous crimes will continue.
    9. Men cannot control themselves, so it’s up to the women to be more circumspect in their behaviour.
    10. We would live in a much better world if people weren’t having sex outside marriage.
    11. As a woman if you go to parties dressed scantily, and flirt with the men, and get lots of attention, you are a tease. (I believe that was one of Rachel’s gems)

    I look at those points above, and I’m amazed, and gob-smacked that there are actually women who think like this. I would expect these types of opinions from men, but it always feels like a bigger betrayal when it’s women who espouse such views.

  45. Nancy says:

    Karen – That’s right those of the minority in this blog may/may not cite the Bible – I did. And yes, you now know that there are women who think like Rachel, Maria and myself – this is call Freedom.

    Your quote – My dear mother has a saying that she’s very fond of – a thousand flies on shit can’t be wrong. Think about it. Or not.

    I could state that the flies can be wrong and are doing the shit because that is what all the other flies are doing – think about that. Or not.

  46. Karen Scott says:

    By your response, I’m guessing that you didn’t get the thousand flies quote. I really shouldn’t be surprised.

    And yes, freedom of speech is great. It means that 99% of us can disagree with you, Rachel and Maria in perfect harmony, accusations of “raping” you because of your opinions, notwithstanding.

  47. xina says:

    I can’t believe I am reading some of these opinions which seem to have been taken right out of the 1950′s where women had very little say about anything. I also find it hard to believe that these opinions come from people who post on a romance novel reading site. What are the reactions to sex in these books? Do you tear out those pages and read the other half?

  48. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Robin L.. Robin L. said: @lazaraspaste Gird your loins before going in: http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=4195&cpage=1#comments [...]

  49. reader says:

    Wow! This is a heated topic.

    I don’t condone rape and assault in any form, let me be clear.

    But in the world of historical romance, I think there is often a place for what some people term forced seduction. With some exceptions (ex Anna Campbell), it’s fallen out of fashion because women’s attitudes toward sex have changed since the 70s and 80s. No longer does the virginal heroine have to resist to the point of absurdity and be overpowered by a forceful hero. But I can think of a couple books for which the forced seduction is indeed a pivotal part of the plot and character development for the hero. When it is sensitively written and the hero later is truly sorrowful about the action, I think it can work.

    I also don’t think that these books are in any way advocating rape. First, these books are read by women and not men. And, I think that there is a good deal of fantasy at play in these situations. It’s okay to read these plots because (1) it’s not real life and (2) ultimately 99% of the time the hero and the heroine are or will be in love.

    In real life, these issues are vastly more complex. “No means no” is a clear rule on its face. But don’t forget that we communicate not just with our words but also with our actions. A woman provacatively dressed and writhing on a guy’s lap may be saying no with her words but sending a very different message with her actions. When drugs and alcohol are involved, it’s even more murky because both persons may have impaired judgement.

    Somehow it doesn’t seem entirely fair to place the responsibility burden entirely on men. Women need to act responsibly with their our bodies–i.e. don’t get drunk or get high and get yourself in a hookup situation that you wouldn’t have consented to when sober. And don’t lead a guy on and then say no at the last possible moment. I guess what I mean is that to avoid being a potential victim, women need to be mindful of how they may have contributed to the situation.

    • xina says:

      reader: Wow! This is a heated topic.I don’t condone rape and assault in any form, let me be clear.But in the world of historical romance, I think there is often a place for what some people term forced seduction. With some exceptions (ex Anna Campbell), it’s fallen out of fashion because women’s attitudes toward sex have changed since the 70s and 80s. No longer does the virginal heroine have to resist to the point of absurdity and be overpowered by a forceful hero. But I can think of a couple books for which the forced seduction is indeed a pivotal part of the plot and character development for the hero. When it is sensitively written and the hero later is truly sorrowful about the action, I think it can work.I also don’t think that these books are in any way advocating rape. First, these books are read by women and not men. And, I think that there is a good deal of fantasy at play in these situations. It’s okay to read these plots because (1) it’s not real life and (2) ultimately 99% of the time the hero and the heroine are or will be in love. In real life, these issues are vastly more complex. “No means no” is a clear rule on its face. But don’t forget that we communicate not just with our words but also with our actions. A woman provacatively dressed and writhing on a guy’s lap may be saying no with her words but sending a very different message with her actions. When drugs and alcohol are involved, it’s even more murky because both persons may have impaired judgement. Somehow it doesn’t seem entirely fair to place the responsibility burden entirely on men. Women need to act responsibly with their our bodies–i.e. don’t get drunk or get high and get yourself in a hookup situation that you wouldn’t have consented to when sober. And don’t lead a guy on and then say no at the last possible moment. I guess what I mean is that to avoid being a potential victim, women need to be mindful of how they may have contributed to the situation.

      Disagree. No, means no at any time. Are you giving a guy a ticket to do whatever when a certain time frame is crossed? Boys should be taught at an early enough age to respect women and no…means no at any time. period

    • Honeywell says:

      reader: But don’t forget that we communicate not just with our words but also with our actions. A woman provacatively dressed and writhing on a guy’s lap may be saying no with her words but sending a very different message with her actions. When drugs and alcohol are involved, it’s even more murky because both persons may have impaired judgement. Somehow it doesn’t seem entirely fair to place the responsibility burden entirely on men. Women need to act responsibly with their our bodies–i.e. don’t get drunk or get high and get yourself in a hookup situation that you wouldn’t have consented to when sober. And don’t lead a guy on and then say no at the last possible moment. I guess what I mean is that to avoid being a potential victim, women need to be mindful of how they may have contributed to the situation.

      I’m a huge believer in taking responsibility for your actions but to outright say or even imply that the victim is to blame is so fucked up I can’t even fathom it.

      Do you blame kids who are victimized because they talked to a stranger? They should have KNOWN better they were told all the time not to.

      Is it the wife’s fault she was beat up for not having dinner on the table? She KNEW better. Besides if she didn’t marry him in the first place or got a divorce it never would have happened.

      Sure that boy didn’t deserve to wind up dead in a ditch but what do you expect when you hitch a ride with strangers? Everyone KNOWS you don’t take rides from strangers.

      Of course that prostitute was raped and murdered. She was a prostitute what else did she think would happen when she fucked strangers for money?

      That child knew to come straight home after school or there would be hell to pay. It’s awful they’ll be scared for the rest of their life but they KNEW they had to come straight home. What did they expect would happen if they didn’t?

      Of course that teenager was robbed at gun point. They worked overnight at a gas station. Everyone KNOWS stores get robbed at night and besides their parents should have never let them take that job in the first place. What did they think would happen?

      You can play this game all day long but it’s NEVER the victims fault they were abused. To say a rapist would never have raped if the victim wasn’t a slut and didn’t give them the opportunity to in the first place is disgusting.

  50. Nancy says:

    Karen – you moms saying that thousand of flies at one time are doing the same thing i.e. therefore the flies must be right.

    Since you don’t get what I’m saying, I’ll explain – one fly decided the shit was good, whether it was good or not doesn’t matter that one fly thought the shit was good, others followed because they thought oh that fly must be in some shit and as it continued you now have a thousands of flies thinking this is good shit.

    So there goes the intelligent flies eating the same shit and not thinking for themselves.

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