Web dev at the end of the world, from Hveragerði, Iceland

Strange definitions of ‘nice’

This post caught my attention the other day and it has been bugging me since.

Unfortunately, and I never thought I’d have to write this on one of my blog posts, this one needs a trigger warning for rape.

The post is ‘Nice guys commit rape too’ and the nuttery doesn’t end at the title.

On the night in question, there was drinking. A lot of it. I wasn’t there, but there was probably some drugging. There was music and dancing. At some point, people started clustering off into smaller groups, some of which turned sexual. My friend and this woman fell asleep together. And by all accounts, when she woke up, he was penetrating her.

Now, the writer is an activist, sex-educator, and generally a person that knows better.

The problem with the entire post is that she does know better, but she just can’t get over her cognitive dissonance of liking a man who is a rapist.

She tries to spin an otherwise incredibly straightforward case into a song and dance about how modern society portrays sexuality and how fucked up our gender politics are.

All fine subjects that need talking about, but in this case she’s just building up to a shaggy dog story about how the rapist never forgave himself, suffered disdain from his peers, and had to leave town.

Normally, I’d just find the entire thing distasteful. But something about this story just didn’t square with the facts.

First of all, somebody who has to ask – after the fact, mind you – whether raping an unconscious woman is okay, isn’t a nice guy. Even if he didn’t think it was rape, there’s no way in hell that anybody with even a shred of conscience wouldn’t realise that it was wrong. I can believe that our gender politics are fucked up enough for him not to want to call it rape, but there’s no way that he didn’t know it was wrong.

And that means that he just wasn’t a nice guy. A charming guy, probably. Likeable? Sure, I can believe that. But, nice? No. There is no definition of ‘nice’ that squares with how this guy behaved. You don’t do what he did out of misunderstanding terminology.

The clincher is the fact that he was regarded with disdain and that their community believed her over him.

Communities almost never do this. In every case, they are going to find ways of defending the guy, especially in circumstances such as these where the victim had been flirting and acting sexy beforehand.

There’s only one exception to this I can think of and that’s if he’s done it before.

If he’s done this before, then I can believe that their community treated him with disdain and believed the woman. Based on what the writer says and on the fact that he had to leave town I can’t help but conclude that he’s a serial offender whose charm offensive finally ran out.

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