The Rape Dialogues

A sign from SlutWalk St. Louis 2012

What do you do when the guy you believe raped your friend, calls you out of the blue?

Some of you remember this post. A friend of mine accused a guy I know of raping her. I believed her. I confronted him. He denied it. I sought no further contact with him. Fast forward six months or so, he calls me on the phone “to catch up,” and says that we never talk anymore and “that’s a shame.”

I say, “Well, that’s one way to look at it. Another way would be that in our last conversation, I accused you of raping someone. Rape accusations have a way of ending relationships.” Amazingly enough, a civil conversation took place after this. He asked me to do him a favor, and while my knee jerk reaction was to tell him to go fuck himself, the favor only required a small amount of my time and a couple dollars of my money, so I complied. I used the opportunity to encourage him to seek counseling and also to invite him to and anti-violence against women event that I am co-hosting.

I also sent him a link to this awesome post on the Captain Awkward blog about “creepers and proto-rapists” and asked him to read it. That article inspired the conversation below.

To his credit, the man in question did not oppose me posting our correspondence publically. I have removed his name and other identifying characteristics. For the sake of her privacy, I will refer to the woman who made the initial rape allegation as “Jane,” which is not her real name. The order of some comments has been changed to preserve the continuity of a conversation that took place via instant message. Without further editorial comment, here is the conversation in almost its entirety:

Him: I have read your article about the creepers.

My first thought is that you spend a lot more time thinking about my dick and what I do with it than I ever have yours, which is a little hard to do sense yours is almost a public forum.

Second was to evaluate why you want me to read it. This is coming from Jane asking to crash at my place? Or more?

Me: Yes and more. Other women coming to me (unsolicited) with stories about you. Women have told me that they don’t want to come to my events because they saw you on my Facebook friends list and question how I could associate with someone like you. Please believe, I don’t go around asking women what they think of you. They bring this stuff to me. Women I didn’t even know you knew.

So, yes, it’s more than Jane, but when one of my good friends says you fucked her in her sleep, that’s kind of significant in and of itself. 

And, I can honestly say, I have never thought about your dick in anything but the abstract until just now. Thanks for that. But, come on, “you spend a lot more time thinking about my dick and what I do with it than I ever have yours” is a pretty lame response under the circumstances. Even from you.

Him: I get that a number of years ago I exhibited some of the characteristics of some of these guys. Particularly after [my long-term girlfriend] dumped me. I felt as if my entire world had imploded with the help of my instantly vanished social network. I felt that way because that is what happened.

I eventually made new friends and moved on, slowly. Ever so slowly. I worked on bettering myself but not without making cardinal mistakes to learn from.

When freshly single, I hit on everything that I had interest in. I stopped after getting negative responses and was tired of the rejection. I made my focus when going out to drink limited to just that- to get drunk and enjoy drinking.

When you asked me to talk to Jane and clear things up, and I did, and she tried to assault me, I was out on a date with a girlfriend of 3 months.

Since you have known me I have had many relationships, some good, some bad, some long term, some shorter. I have had many friendships with women that have nothing to do with sex. My motives in dating are for a long-term romance, not just sex. I find just sex, hollow and meaningless, unfulfilling. If I was the bad guy as you have painted me, would that be so? If I was a raping creeper would that be the case?

Me: In a word, yes. Having a girlfriend doesn’t render you incapable of being a creeper. Even if you didn’t fuck Jane in her sleep (as I believe you did), two other women have come to me with stories about you in just the past year (I’m sorry, but I’m not at liberty to disclose who they are). And you and I don’t even hang out in the same crowd anymore. Should I discount them as well? What are the mathematical odds that this is all a series of misunderstandings and you are totally blameless? 

I think you have a problem with women. End of story. I think you need help. If you disagree with me, fine. Maybe I’m wrong. However, I haven’t tried to have any contact with you since we discussed the Jane incident. You called me. If I honestly believe you raped someone and you continue to try to have a relationship with me, what am I supposed to do? Pretend it never happened?

Him: I am not saying I am totally blameless. I did point out that I have made many mistakes prior to now. I am not asking who has said what. I do wonder why they never addressed their problem with me to me. I have been the subject of unmitigated, unwarranted attack in the past. If I am acting creepy, I do expect to be called out on it so I may correct my action.

Me: You did read the article I sent you, right? There are a myriad of reasons why a woman would not feel comfortable calling out a guy who goes over the line with her. It’s really not her responsibility to police your behavior. You are a grown man. Secondly, I have no idea if these women called you out at the time or not, but if they did, I have a hard time imagining you being very receptive to what they said. 

Him: If, however, someone asks to sleep in my bed I do take that as a sign that they want to sleep with me. If we have had relations in the past, doubly so.

I understand that there is “buyer’s remorse”, but I don’t think that is justification to attack someone.

Me:If someone asks to sleep in my bed I do take that as a sign that they want to sleep with me. If we have had relations in the past, doubly so”? Dude, that makes you sound a tiny bit rapey. 

As far as “buyer’s remorse,” people don’t shop in their sleep.

Him: If you are predisposed to see me as you do, then I have no chance of you seeing me as anything else.

Me: You’re probably right. But my predisposition comes from an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence and personal observation. It’s not like I have a genetic disorder that makes me see rapists everywhere. And while it’s true that I don’t like you, there’s lots of people who I don’t like that I have no reason to believe have raped anyone.

Him: And this evidence is anecdotal being told to someone who doesn’t like me. And the observance is seen by someone who doesn’t like me. Someone who has prejudged me long ago because they don’t like me. Yes. I have made mistakes in the past. I have tried to learn from those mistakes and make amends. I think I am a better person for learning from my mistakes. I believe I have grown greatly sense I was that person that you decided to not like. Not that I am asking you to like me now.

Me: Fair enough. It is what it is.

This has been interesting to say the least. I hope you don’t mind, but I plan to reprint our correspondence on my blog. I think people can learn from it. I will, of course, remove your name and any identifying characteristics. 

If you do decide to come to the teach-in on Saturday (and I hope you do), I will be totally professional and leave our personal history at the door.

Him: I will look at it again. I haven’t ruled it out.

Me: I appreciate that.

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