They would if they could: new study reports that nearly one-third of college men would rape if they could get away with it, and feminist policies again fail to help real women.

[Note: This post will discuss rape and thus is not suitable for readers under the age of about 13. Furthermore, I ask that if there are any readers here under the age of 18, please ask your parents’ permission before reading this post.

Also, the word rape in this essay refers to the legal definition used by the FBI, which is:

“The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”]

I once queried the male readers on a different site about whether rape was something they ever fantasized about doing since feminists are always yammering on about rape culture on campus while simultaneously encouraging young women to put themselves into dangerous situations by engaging in casual sex as a form of “empowerment”. The men all assured me that men don’t want to rape women and that only an extremely tiny minority of men would ever consider raping a woman under any circumstances. Even then I wasn’t sure if that was exactly true, but it turns out that although those particular men were probably sincere in their feelings about rape, they may not be correct in their estimation of how many men would rape a woman if they thought they could get away with it.

A recently-published study, Denying Rape but Endorsing Forceful Intercourse:
Exploring Differences Among Responders, yields some preliminary results which suggest (not prove, but suggest) that actually a much larger minority of men would rape a woman if they thought they could get away with it. The study can only be considered preliminary because the sample size was only 86, but what the authors did was administer a self-reporting scale to college men:

This scale measures self-reported likelihood to engage in a variety of sexual behaviors ‘‘if nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences’’ for the participants. The behaviors that were included were heterosexual intercourse, forcing a female to do something sexual she does not want to, and rape.

Out of the 86 college guys, 26 (31.7%) said they would force a woman to have sexual intercourse with them if no one would find out and there would be no repercussions. When the word rape was used, that number dropped to 11 out of the 86 (13.6%). But just let that sink in for a moment: 31.7% of these college men would force a woman to have sexual intercourse (though they wouldn’t call it rape) if they thought they could get away with it.

Nearly one-third.

That’s not an extremely tiny minority.

Could the study be poorly designed? Yes. Might the results not be replicated? Maybe not. Does this mean one-third of men will rape someone? Of course not.

All it means is that rape is something that a sizable minority of young men say they would do if the opportunity presented itself and they knew for sure there would be no negative consequences.  This is why we have laws against rape and why there are negative consequences for it if you get caught doing it. This is why historically fathers were protective of their unmarried daughters and husbands were protective of their wives.

I’m not especially angry that some men find rape vaguely appealing and would consider doing it. Rape is a terrible thing, but given the average intensity of the male sex drive compared to the female sex drive, it isn’t terribly shocking information to learn. It’s just a facet of reality that we have to deal with.

And you know what? I don’t think we are ever going to be able to socialize this desire out of all men and “teach” them not to rape.  All we can do is make sure that men know rape is a crime and that they’ll go to jail if they get caught doing it.

Oh, but there is one more thing we can do, and this is the only reason I’m even posting this study at all:

We can encourage girls to keep themselves safe.

We know for sure there are men who want to rape women – all that is in dispute is how common this desire it – so how do we keep girls safe from them? Will passing a law like Yes Means Yes do anything to help?

No, it will not. That is because, if this study is valid, the men already know it’s wrong to rape – that’s why they’d only consider doing it if they could get away with it. Encouraging girls to believe the fantasy that they’re going to be able to say no to a rapist is ludicrous. It is even more delusional to believe that a rapist will be stopped because a woman didn’t say yesYou can’t stop a rapist from raping you by saying no to him, nor can you stop him from raping you by not saying yes to him.  And you can’t identify a potential rapist terribly easily beforehand because he probably looks like all the other guys – the 68.3% of young men who wouldn’t rape even if they could get away with it – on campus.

Gee, let me wrack my brain and try to figure out how we can fix this problem…

Oh wait, I know! How about telling girls not to get drunk, not to go out to bars and nightclubs alone or with other women, and not to go home with guys? All the Yes Means Yes laws in the world, all the campus rape tribunals that convict men who thought they were engaging in a consensual hookup, all the feminist tripe about the empowerment of casual sex or even “relationship” sex is not going to do a darn bit of good when she finds herself alone with a real potential rapist – and that is possibly 31.7% of young men if this study is at all correct – who sees an opportunity and believes he can probably get away with it.

You’re never going to “teach” these guys not to rape; they already know that rape is wrong, which is why they say they’d only do it if they could get away with it. But you can teach women to avoid the vast majority of situations where they could be the victim of rape (other than the rare case of a stranger who violently assaults a woman who is just walking down the street or sitting alone at home). You can teach them that drinking is dangerous and that pre-marital sex – especially casual sex – is also potentially dangerous.

Teaching young women this would have the immediate effect of keeping them out of the hands of young men who ADMIT they would rape if they could.  So why do feminists always and everywhere oppose this? Why when Emily Yoffe, hardly a beacon of traditionalism or conservatism, wrote College Women: Stop Getting Drunk, It’s closely associated with sexual assault, did feminists go nuts and denounce Yoffe as a tool of the Evil Patriarchy™?

I don’t suppose rape was this much of a problem when The Patriarchy was in charge.

Lesson for women: There are men out there who will not respect your no. They will rape you if they think they can get away with it. You are largely responsible for your own safety. Do not get drunk, do not hook up (whether you know the guy well or not); just by refraining from these two activities alone, you will remove yourself from most situations where a man who would rape if he could will think, “I can probably get away with this right now” and go for it.

Feminists can shriek about the misogyny of telling women to avoid premarital sex. Manospherians can shriek about the misandry of stating the fact that there are significant numbers of men who would rape if they could get away with it.

But you, Young Woman, you ignore both of them and realize that there are a lot of potential rapists out there and your no or yes doesn’t mean squat to them. You be realistic and responsible, and you will greatly decrease your chances of ever being raped.

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24 thoughts on “They would if they could: new study reports that nearly one-third of college men would rape if they could get away with it, and feminist policies again fail to help real women.

  1. I was really shocked by the number of young men who admitted they would force an unwilling woman to have intercourse with them. I would not have expected it to be that high. I will be really interested in seeing if these results can be replicated in larger groups and among different populations.

    It seems like maybe there are several different kinds of rapists:

    1. A truly pathological man who actively seeks out rape and violently assaults women he doesn’t know. This is probably a very small number of men.

    2. Opportunistic rapists (perhaps more than we would have thought) who are passive – they don’t really seek rape out – but will consider raping a woman if the opportunity presents itself and they think they can get away with it.

    I still believe the majority of men would never rape under any circumstances. But the number who would at least consider whether they could get away with it or not and then proceed accordingly may be higher than I previously thought.

    So, score one (sort of) point for the feminists. They may be right that there are more potential rapists out there they we traditionalists want to admit. Too bad feminists are inadvertently in cahoots with those opportunistic rapists by encouraging girls to put themselves into the very situations that provide opportunistic rapists with the opportunity to rape.

    So really, it’s score one for the Traditional Patriarchy for acknowledging the true potential in some men and knowing how to keep women safe from those men.

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  2. Given the sample size and the population demographics of that study, I’m hesitant to accept its conclusions about the numbers involved. However, that doesn’t devalue anything you have said Sunshine. It doesn’t matter if it is 1/3 or 1/10 of all men who would be “opportunistic rapists”, that number is high enough that women need to act accordingly.

    I remember that post (or was it more than one?). From what I recall, I was one of those who argued it was a relatively low number. But what I hadn’t considered was the difference between “overt rapists” and those who might “force a women to do something sexually” if they thought they could get away with it (but not call it rape).

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    • Given the sample size and the population demographics of that study, I’m hesitant to accept its conclusions about the numbers involved.

      Me too.

      However, that doesn’t devalue anything you have said Sunshine. It doesn’t matter if it is 1/3 or 1/10 of all men who would be “opportunistic rapists”, that number is high enough that women need to act accordingly.

      Exactly! I’m glad you’ve understood my point; I wasn’t sure if everyone would.

      I’m always skeptical of social science research, given that our universities exclusively conduct and report research to support a liberal-progressive narrative. But as you say, it doesn’t matter the exact number; we know some men rape, so why wouldn’t we want to teach women to avoid being raped as much as they possibly can? It makes no sense at all. Feminism has made women significantly more likely to be raped by encouraging foolish behavior. You can’t “teach” a rapist not to rape any more than you can teach a serial killer not to kill.

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    • Indeed, Nanking, Manila and Berlin happened less than a century ago. It might be important to also remember that these were all non-Western powers.

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  3. It looks like those wacky feminists have hit your hysteria button. This is a horrible survey and may even be worse than the one that Mary Koss did for Ms. magazine that started the “one in four” myth. It hit my button because I am sick and tired of seeing male sexuality get bashed by feminists.

    As a conterpoint, I have to wonder how it would have turned out if they had asked about robbing banks. It’s one thing to indulge in a fantasy and quite another to do the deed. Not too many people are going to rob a bank, even if they could get away with it.

    Finally, as for feminists enouraging behavior that would enable opportunists, they are going to do that because they are running out of victims on some campuses. What will those full time counsellors do if there are no victims?

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  4. It’s one thing to indulge in a fantasy and quite another to do the deed.

    Of course it is.

    However, the study did not purport to be measuring how many men planned to commit a rape nor how many men fantasize about rape. It only purports to measure how many men say they would rape a woman if they thought they could get away with it.

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  5. Fuzzie, even if the study was off by a factor of 5, or even 10, that still leaves a huge number of men who are dangers, potential sexual assailants. With a magnitude of 10 error, that still gives you 3%. Combined with the men who would admit to a desire to rape and those who lied (of which there would be at least some), you are still looking at near 5%. That is almost 1 man in 20. This is not a number to be dismissed. Hence the importance of women protecting themselves.

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  6. The bias isn’t that they conducted this study. The bias is that they won’t conduct a study asking young women about their willingness to lie about being raped for some reason. We could use a study like that to write an analogous post to this one warning our sons about how to keep themselves safe from false rape accusations (i.e don’t get drunk, don’t go home with girls you aren’t married to, because X% say they are willing to lie about rape).

    The fact that they won’t do such a study is unfortunate and rooted in bias against men.

    It does not, however, turn all men into innocent angels or negate the fact that some percentage of men – could be 1/3 as they report or could be 5% as Donalgraeme mentions – say they would rape if they could get away with it.

    Evangelicals have made a false idol out of Woman Good-ism.

    I will not participate in that, but nor will I participate in making a false idol out of Man Good-ism.

    No one is good–except God alone.” – Jesus

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  7. This whole issue has gotten my goat. In the wake of the exposure of the Rolling Stone/UVa rape hoax, our wacky opponents had to find something to feed the hysteria and keep ‘rape culture” going. It’s man bashing.
    I have to wonder why men would continue to support a society that treats them with such blatant contempt.
    Shelby Foote,mentioned that in Sherman’s March to the Sea campaign, there were only three reports of rape. I think it has always been that way where US soldiers go. While the penalties are harsh, I think that it is more likely that our men are not predisposed to this.

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  8. http://newsbusters.org/blogs/kristine-marsh/2014/12/12/doj-debunks-whs-stats-college-rape-will-media-report

    http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5176

    http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/rsavacaf9513.txt

    These three links provide useful information for anyone who wishes to talk seriously about the issue of rape and rape culture. I think most of us here understand that the 1 in 5 figure came from a survey in which the survey authors themselves were the ones who decided when a response indicated that a sexual assult or rape had occurred. None of the respondents were asked directly if they had ever been sexually assaulted or raped. No serious scientist would accept that survey as legitimate.

    But – consider the DOJ survey that has just been released. It’s methodology was more honest and in keeping with scientific standards. Over the period surveyed, the rate of rape and sexual assault was 6.1 per 1,000 for college students. But look at the actual report, provided at the third link above. That 6.1 per 1,000 figure does not actually reflect the rate of rape and sexual assault as claimed. Rather, that rate is comprised of, and reflects the following (from the second paragraph of the report):

    [quote] Rape and sexual assault are defined by the NCVS to include completed and attempted rape, completed and attempted sexual assault, and threats of rape or
    sexual assault. [end quote] All of these added together equal 6.1 per 1,000.

    Attempted rape is not rape; attempted sexual assault is not sexual assault; threats of rape or sexual assault are not rape or sexual assault (otherwise, we would not distinguish between the two). So let us throw out attempts and threats and look at how many actual sexual assaults and actual rapes took place – since that is what the DOJ report is purporting to be measuring. When we throw out the attempts and threats, and count only what actually happened, we can see that the real number is less than 6.1 per 1,000. And approximately 80% of whatever the real number is knew their attacker – which suggests that a fair number of the charges happened because someone regretted having had sex.

    Where have you seen a big deal made about this DOJ report?

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  9. I agree that as parents we must teach our daughters to avoid potentially dangerous situations. When I was in college, men were slipping “date rape” drugs into women’s drinks. The drug would make the women pass out with no memory of what had transpired when they were unconscious.

    My mom warned me that I should never leave my drink unattended and that I should take it with me if I wanted to go out on the dance floor for a while and cover the top of the glass with my hand if a guy were to sit down next to me and start a conversation.

    Likewise, I’ll teach my daughters how to stay safe in different situations before they go off to college.

    Still, I think that young people have a false sense of security that sometimes leads them to take unnecessary chances. I wouldn’t feel comfortable blaming the victim in those cases because ultimately it’s the man who chose to assault her. Going to a party alone isn’t a crime; forcing someone to have sex against their will is.

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    • I agree that as parents we must teach our daughters to avoid potentially dangerous situations. When I was in college, men were slipping “date rape” drugs into women’s drinks. The drug would make the women pass out with no memory of what had transpired when they were unconscious.

      Although I’ve heard of this, I’ve always wondered if perhaps this wasn’t more urban legend than anything else. You’re a reporter, so maybe you’re a good person to ask – is there any evidence that this actually occurred or was it sort of “rape hysteria”? I genuinely want to know.

      Likewise, I’ll teach my daughters how to stay safe in different situations before they go off to college.

      Yes, though I prefer our daughters to stay home and attend college for the exact reason you mention – young people have a false sense of security sometimes. And teaching young women to stay safe is really my point here. Fuzzie is very upset because he’s worried this is meant to attack all men, when the only point is to look at reality and advise girls on how to stay safe. It doesn’t say anything bad about men per se, it’s just a fact of nature that some men are rapists and there is no way to tell who is whom. Most men are good; some are dangerous. Be wary, young woman (and the same can be said to young men with regard to false accusations).

      Still, I think that young people have a false sense of security that sometimes leads them to take unnecessary chances. I wouldn’t feel comfortable blaming the victim in those cases because ultimately it’s the man who chose to assault her. Going to a party alone isn’t a crime; forcing someone to have sex against their will is.

      Look, Lisa, I am not about blaming the victim. Even if she does something foolish, I would never say it’s her “fault”. My point is: why do something foolish when you can be wise instead?

      It may not be her fault, but that’s small consolation when she meets a charming man at a party, goes off with him to make out in his room, and ends up being raped. It’s not an impossible scenario by any stretch of the imagination. Read this quote from a recent post by the Christian manosphere blogger Free Northerner:

      I’ve noted before that about one third of males have rape fantasies; a large portion of male population is inclined to this particular sexual crime. Only about one in six of those so inclined actually act on the fantasies (as I’ve noted before, about 6% of men are rapists). We do not imprison those males who merely fantasize about rape, only those who act. As well, it is not a sin to be inclined to rape, only if it the inclination becomes lust or action does it become a sin.

      Here are some statistics from the paper that Free Northerner quotes:

      Possible links between fantasy and behavior have been investigated in studies that included some probe into sexual or aggressive behavior. Greendlinger and Byrne reported that 35.7 percent of their sample of undergraduate men endorsed having a fantasy of raping a woman. In this study, “fantasy” was not clearly defined, but was equivalent to “imagery.”

      Additional sexually violent fantasies included bondage (66.1%), using force to subdue a woman (63.7%), using force for sex (55.9%), and wanting to hurt a partner during sex (44.6%). The phrasing of the questions was apparently important, considering “force to subdue,” “force to have sex,” and “rape” as roughly equivalent acts of sexual aggression, although they were endorsed at different frequencies. While the study did not control for social desirability, one may argue that “using force for sex,” sounds less aggressive and prohibitive than “rape,” which may explain the discrepancy in frequency.

      The investigators examined the reported fantasies in relationship with the subjects’ reports of coercive behavior (ranging from lying and arguments to force and rape) and found a correlation between the total coercion score with the fantasy measure. The authors suggested that sexually aggressive fantasies “serve as models” for aggressive acts (i.e., these fantasies may serve to “prepare for action”).

      Another study from Free Northerner’s article:

      Using a sexual inventory, Person and colleagues examined the sexual experiences and fantasies of 193 undergraduate men and women from data obtained in the early 1980s. Five percent of women and 31 percent of men reported recent fantasies (within three months) of “forcing a partner to submit.”

      The majority of men aren’t rapists, but the number who would be willing to rape is high enough so that girls need to be warned to take their own safety seriously and to be responsible for themselves.

      On another post, Free Northerner writes:

      I came across this old post on two major studies of self-reported rape. When asked about having sex with someone against their will (rape by a less off-putting name) about 6% of men said they had (or had attempted to), about 4% of men had said they had repeatedly. In other words, about 4-6% of men are rapists. This is a little more than I thought it would be (my guess would have been about 2-4%). Of these rapes, 70% of them involved intoxication. (I would have thought this to be much lower, in the 30-40% range).

      In the past, I’ve said I believed it was only a tiny, tiny minority of men who would rape. I was wrong about that; it turns out there is a lot more evidence of it being a somewhat larger minority (though still very much not a majority). Understanding now that feminists were right about this one thing – there are more rapists out there than I had believed – it is only wise and prudent to make sure young women know that, while the majority of men are good and decent and would never rape, a significant minority will. However, there are things girls can do to keep themselves safe (i.e. not drinking, not going out alone, not going off with guys, not hooking up, etc).

      Girls taking responsibility for their safety to the best of their ability was really the whole point of this post.

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    • Is that a true story in that post? It reminds me of something; do you know who the Jonas Brothers are? They were brothers in a boy band about six years ago or so. They made a concert movie and I took the girls to see it. During the movie, they showed multiple incidents of hordes of screaming girls chasing the Jonas Brothers, grabbing at them, trying to break into their hotel rooms and vehicles, grabbing at their clothes, trying to kiss them, and just behaving like out-of-control animals.

      My thought: hysterical girls grabbing these young men’s bodies is different from sexual assault how?

      Answer: It isn’t different. So girls clearly have it in them to commit sexual assault, but I think it’s much rarer than men committing rape. What men are more likely to face from women is a false allegation more than an assault, and if I had sons, I would probably be more concerned about them being falsely accused of something.

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  10. ** According to the 12-14 DOJ report cited above – approximately 7 out of 1,000 women are subject to the following: threatened sexual abuse or rape, attempted sexual abuse or rape, completed sexual abuse or rape. (It is important to note that, of these six categories that make up the 7 out of 1,000 figure, only one is actually rape.)

    ** According to data cited by Free Northerner above, 6 out of 100 men have raped a woman.
    ————————–

    Those statistics gives us the following odd situation: 6 percent of the men rape .6 percent of the women. If the number of men who exist is approximately equal to the number of women, these figures imply that each woman who is raped is raped 10 times.

    Are we really supposed to buy into that figure???

    The reality is that rapists are generally serial rapists – they rape more than one woman. That would lead to this more realistic understanding: If 7 out of 1,000 women are raped, statistics suggest that it is fewer than 7 out of 1,000 men that are doing the raping.

    Which raises the question: Is the conversation really about rape (accomplished, not attempted)? Or is the conversation really about the fact that many men are willing to have sexual intercourse whenever and wherever they can?

    Statistics suggest that women can do little to guard against an actual rapist. But there is a great deal they can do to guard themselves against men who are willing to have sexual intercourse whenever and wherever they can. It seems to me that Mrs. Thiry is telling young women that this second category of men exists and that young women can and should develop a defense against them. And a large part of that defense is to not go where these types of young men congregate. Such as bars and frat parties.

    Question: Does the biology of ovulation drive young women to seek out this second category of men? If the answer is “yes”, what defense does society have against that? Are young women likely to remember and pay attention to words of warning when they are in heat? If the answer is “no”, then what is society’s defense against that reality? And, is it logical for society to think that they can and should mount a defense against the social cost that results from the biology of ovulation? (For the sake of simplicity, we can think of the biology of ovulation as “I want your alpha now”; then, two weeks later, “I don’t want your alpha at all”.)

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  11. For those interested in the biology of ovulation, this is a good place to start:
    (hat tip to Glenn from Rollo’s “Acing the Test” thread.
    http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/comm/haselton/research/
    and this paper in particular:
    http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/comm/haselton/unify_uploads/files/gangestad%20and%20haselton%20current%20opinion%2012-1-14%20in%20press.pdf

    The sources listed at both of these link are considerable and point to further resources for study. The paper (2nd link) is particularly good for young girls who may not be familiar with the reality of “the biology of ovulation”. I’m convinced that the majority of young girls have no idea of this reality governing their own behavior.

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  12. Pingback: Sensible precautions for single young men and women who want to protect their futures. | The Sunshine Thiry Blog

  13. Pingback: Don’t ignore warning signs. | The Sunshine Thiry Blog

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