A recent thread on Reddit asked rapists what their motivation was for carrying out sexual assaults and if they regretted it. Whilst what personal qualities or circumstances render somebody capable of rape is a serious and worthwhile issue to explore, the internet isn’t a suitable place. Opportunities to hear rapists should be taken away from the public eye, by trained professionals, not by Reddit. We might as well start compiling 4chan into an encyclopaedia.
The internet is such an open forum that anonymously written rape stories can be written to be more shocking or unique than others, in the most depressing style of one-upmanship. Marketing rape into a sensational story just makes it more dangerous.
The stories become an encyclopaedia of how to rape women, what to look for. It overshadowed the sobering acknowledgement that rape is often committed by somebody close to the victim, as users talked about what they looked for in victims; “I wanted the thrill of the chase, and that’s what led me to forcing myself on girls. I would find attractive girls that were self-conscious about their looks. Girls who were pretty in their own unique way, but not the outgoing sort, mostly introverts, and girls that didn’t party or do wild things. Hopefully a girl who was a bit damaged, had a shitty ex-boyfriend, or family issues, came from a small shut in town, that sort of thing.”
“Picked her up at a bar, bought her drinks, took her home with me. We do some foreplay and then she tells me that she should really get going because she made a huge mistake. Well too fucking bad. I wasted the last 5 hours baiting this fish, and now it wants to escape. Nope.”
For victims of rape, reading this thread would have been a triggering event, as ultimately, its not the rapists story to tell. To find that your rapist gets upvoted for roughly raping you at knife point highlights why this thread was dangerous. A recurrent point was “‘woman use their sexuality to economically exploit men.” IF YOU BUY ME A JACKET POTATO AND EXPECT ME TO SLEEP WITH YOU, I WILL NOT SLEEP WITH YOU BECAUSE OF THAT. NOT EVER.
This wasn’t a useful analogous exercise providing an insight into rapists thoughts and activities, it rather became a forum of rape apologising, where people were lauded for carrying on, past the point of ‘No’.
The thread raised an interesting point overall, that rape does need to be discussed and looked at differently, it does need to be a part of a wider discussion that goes beyond the idea that all rapists are strangers in dark spaces. Norwich Rape Crisis shelter predict that over 13,000 women are raped at work each year and that four out of five victims will know their rapist. In short, roughly 90% of victims are raped by somebody they know.
Rape does have to be discussed away from the current hysteria it often possesses when brought up in public; “Don’t drink too much! Or walk down a dark alley! DON’T WEAR A LOW-CUT TOP YOU FLUTTERING HUSSY!” West Mercia Police recently apologised for their recent campaign posters, which highlighted a women’s responsibility for not drinking too much, but said nothing about saying no.
However, when the rapists story becomes more interesting than the victims story due to its anonymous fictional content than we have a problem.