WHOA: 4 Questions That Got 120 Rapists To Admit They Were Rapists

Here's the thing — the guys in this study probably seemed like normal guys. And if you asked them if they were rapists or if what they did was rape, they'd say no. But when you rephrase the question like this, you get a whole different and horrifyingly eye-opening set of answers. And the scariest thing? They never got caught.

Yes means yes, no means no. Why is that so hard for some people to understand?

Trigger warning: Rape and sexual assault.

* The exact questions asked in the study were:

  1. Have you ever been in a situation where you tried, but for various reasons did not succeed, in having sexual intercourse with an adult by using or threatening to use physical force (twisting their arm, holding them down, etc.) if they did not cooperate?
  2. Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual advances (e.g., removing their clothes)?
  3. Have you ever had sexual intercourse with an adult when they didn't want to because you used or threatened to use physical force (twisting their arm; holding them down, etc.) if they didn't cooperate?
  4. Have you ever had oral sex with an adult when they didn't want to because you used or threatened to use physical force (twisting their arm; holding them down, etc.) if they didn't cooperate?

FACT CHECK TIME! The data were pulled from two different studies. The first was a 2002 study done by David Lisak and Paul M. Miller titled "College Men: Repeat Rape and Multiple Offenders Among Undetected Rapists" [PDF]. The second was a 2009 study by Stephanie K. McWhorter et al. in which the results of the L&M study were duplicated on a larger scale, titled "Reports of Rape Reperpetration by Newly Enlisted Male Navy Personnel" [PDF].

For more depressing facts about rape, check out this list by Soraya Chemaly and this 2012 report from the CDC.

NOTE: Unfortunately, these studies focused solely on men as perpetrators of rape and didn't get into the sex, orientation, or gender identity of the victims. I had trouble finding up-to-date, accurate, and trustworthy statistics on perpetrators of rape because this kind of research is still in its infancy. But if you know where I can find that data, please tweet me a link.


Gifs by the-dark-side-of-the-room on Tumblr, based on a post from the Yes Means Yes blog. Found via warrior-queen-argent, also on Tumblr. Thumbnail image via Thinkstock.

Here's some more COLD, HARD FACTS though, in case you still need 'em: According to a 1997 report [PDF, see pages 5 and 8], 99% of people who are convicted and serve time for rape are men, even though 97% of rapists never see the inside of a jail cell. According to data from RAINN and the National Violence Against Women Survey [PDF], 1 in 6 American women has been a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime, and 1 in 33 American men has been a victim of rape or attempted rape in his lifetime — although rape is one of the most underreported crimes (especially among male victims when the stigma and fear of emasculation keeps them from coming forward), with about 60% of cases never even taken to the police.

If you're interested, there are some nifty predator alert tools that you can use on sites like OK Cupid, Facebook, and other social networks that let you know if the person you're talking to has given a troubling answer to questions like the ones asked above. I don't support everything the creator of some of these tools does though, so make sure you do some research into the tools yourself before signing up if you're concerned about who has access to your information and data.

Mar 21, 2014

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