Predators Prey

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

Researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Washington have confirmed what anti-rape advocates have been observing for a very long time: Sexual harassment, assault, and violence are not a matter of a "misunderstanding" or "miscommunication." Predators prey:
Young women are often the targets of aggression when they're out in bars, but the problem isn't that guys are too drunk to know better.

Instead, men are preying on women who have had too much to drink.

...The researchers hired and trained 140 young adults to go into bars in the Toronto area and note every incident of aggression they saw. They found that 25 percent of all incidents involved sexual aggression. And 90 percent of the victims of sexual aggression were women being harassed by men.

Almost all of the aggression was physical, with about two-thirds of the aggressors physically touching women without consent. About 17 percent threatened contact. And 9 percent verbally harassed their targets.

Men may perceive intoxicated women either as more amenable to advances or as easier targets who are less able to rebuff them because they don't have their wits about them, the researchers say.
That, certainly—but also, as I've observed before, no one is more intimately familiar with the rape culture, and how to exploit it to his advantage, than a rapist. Anyone who imagines that predators aren't well aware of victim-blaming narratives that undercut survivors' credibility with shit like, "She was drunk; she was asking for it; she consented but can't remember and now regrets it," etc., is fooling themselves.

Just yesterday, I read this piece at CNN by David Perry in which he documents a number of cases in which judges reduced rapists' sentences, or ordered new trials, based on how the victim behaved during and/or after the assault. Victim-blaming around intoxicated victims is pervasive, and the difficulty of prosecuting cases in which victims were intoxicated is notoriously difficult as a result—and even securing a conviction is no guarantee of meaningful consequences when there are judges who will side against intoxicated victims.

Predators know who makes good victims, both in terms of victimizing them in the first place and subsequently getting away with it.
The researchers also wanted to look into whether unwanted sexual advances were intentional or just a matter of misperception. This study points to the former, Graham says.

"If you walk through a bar and grab a woman's breasts and then disappear into the crowd, that's probably not a misunderstanding," she says. "You don't actually think that she wants you to do that."

...[T]he takeaway, [Kate Graham, the study's lead researcher and a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto] says, is that "people should stop believing that [Robin Thicke] song. The lines really aren't that blurred."
No. No they are not.

[Via Amanda Levitt.]

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