This summer I read a book that shocked me. It made me realize that I, an intelligent female, had put myself in situations where I could have been date-raped. And before I read the book, I never even realized how close I could have been. Now perhaps I’m slightly naive- but honestly, until it happens to you or your friend, who isn’t?
I was lucky- I wasn’t one of the unfortunate women who said no and were ignored. But I want to share with everyone “The mindset of justification” that can lead some men into date-rape. Without remorse. Without regret. Without recognizing that they did anything wrong.
The following are sections of the book I read- How Dangerous Men Think. This is from the date rape chapter. (Note- the book was written in Australia, so some of the words are a bit foreign- like lift instead of elevator)
“I remember interviewing a young guy under arrest for the rape of a young woman he had met at a nightclub earlier in the evening. To my surprise he was quite happy to talk about the events of the evening, even to the point of admitting that he had had intercourse with the young woman in question when it was quite clear that she didn’t want him to. In an attempt to defend his actions he told me he had been invited back to the woman’s place, that he had been buying her drinks during the night and had even paid for the taxi. He added that they had already had sex once that evening and that about an hour later he wanted to do it again, but she wasn’t so keen. He told me she “wasn’t so keen” because she was yelling and screaming at him to stop and trying to push him off. I asked him what he did at this stage, to which he replied, that he held her down and had sex with her. When I asked if he could see the problem with that he said “mate, I’d been buying her drinks all night; I paid for the bloody taxi; we’d already done it once. Yeah she was saying “no”, come on mate, they all say “no” what’s the problem?” The “problem” was he had just admitted to committing sexual assault. The “problem” was he ended up going to prison for it. The “problem” was that he didn’t think he had done anything wrong”
What was shocking to me in this first excerpt was that because he’d bought her drinks and paid for her taxi then he deserved something in return. This seems like some sort of prostitution. And perhaps more relevant to me, something that I never realized- I’ve been on dates and had guys buy me drinks or pay for the movie, etc. and I didn’t realize that, according to some mindsets, this could require me to engage in sexual activity. Generally I insist on splitting the bill, but on occasion he’ll insist and I’ll let him. But I know that I’d much rather buy my own drink than put myself in this sort of prostitution- I never realized those were the rules of the game played by some males!
Here is another excerpt:
“On Saturday night a group of young women were out together at a well-known nightclub in the city. During the evening they met up with a group of guys who joined them at their table and bought the girls a round of drinks. Over the next few hours one of the young women was getting on well with one of the guys. He asked if she would like to join him for a cup of coffee at a cafe a short distance away. The young woman, obviously thinking he was a nice guy, was happy to accept the invitation and told her girlfriends that they were heading off for a bite and would be back in about half an hour. It was then 1am and she said she would be back at 2am, at the latest.
“The couple headed out of the nightclub towards the cafe, a walk of no more than 150 meters in a heavily populated area. As they approached the cafe the guy suggested that rather than waiting to get a seat they head up to a coffee lounge high within a neighboring skyscraper which was always quiet and had a great view of the city. The young woman agreed. The pair headed through the foyer of the hotel and into the lift. The young woman didn’t know it but there was not such coffee lounge in the building, but of course she had no reason to suspect the guy or think anything was wrong; she wouldn’t have left the nightclub with him if she didn’t believe she could trust him.
“The lift doors open at what should have been the correct floor to reveal a corridor with rooms going off it- no coffee lounge. Obviously at this stage the young woman began to get concerned, but the guy was more than prepared for this reaction and reassured her he had mistaken the floor and that the coffee lounge must be the next floor up. He suggests that rather than wait for the lift, now heading back down to the foyer to return, they take the fire stairs to the next level. Having come this far, and believing it was a genuine mistake, the young woman agreed.
“They walked to the stairwell, the guy opened the door and the young woman walked in. Once inside the stairwell the guy grabbed her by the shoulders, pinned her to the wall and started saying something like “come on, let’s do it, we’ll do it here, no one will see” It became quite obvious to the young woman that this guy had set this whole situation up to get her away from her friends and have sex with her.
“It would have taken them no more than three to four minutes to get from the nightclub to the stairwell of the high-rise building. So a few minutes earlier this young woman was in a nightclub with over 300 people among them her closet girlfriends. she is now in the stairwell of a hotel with a guy who is about to rape her. This highlights how easy it can be to more from relatively safe environment to a potentially volatile one. What happened next is every woman’s nightmare. In the stairwell the young woman made it very clear to the guy that she wasn’t interested in his advances and wanted to go back to her girlfriends. Unfortunately the more that she resisted the more violent he became.
“The confrontation ended with him punching her so hard that she fell down a flight of stairs. He then kicked her to death. After this he caught a taxi home.
“Back at the nightclub the you woman’s girlfriends had started to get concerned as two o’clock turned to 3, then 3:30 and she still didn’t come back. They headed out onto the street and checked other nightclubs, bars and cafes in an attempt to find her- A cleaner discovered the young woman’s body later that morning.
“A short time later the guy was arrested and charged with murder. When asked why he had done what he had, he said “I’d been buying her drinks all night; she just kept saying ‘No;’ I was getting really pissed off.” He is now serving 12 years in prison.
This mindset of justification terrifies me- reading how the rapists felt that they were entitled to sex, how they didn’t even realize that they’d done anything wrong. Tell your friends about this- make sure that your guy friends recognize that No means No and that they know the definition of rape- and more importantly, tell your female friends, and make sure that they understand that a guy buying them drinks may feel entitled to more than the female is willing.
And as always, post your thoughts. I expect that this post will bring in a lot of controversy, so check back over the next several months to see what everyone else has to say.