Fantasy and reality

There’s a support group called Women Against Rape.

Without wanting to make light of it, is that really necessary? Is there a counter-group called Women For Rape?

There have been a raft of news stories about rape in the last few weeks, and today Twitter seems to be trending #replacebandnameswithrape, which I’m sure is supposed to be funny, but which frankly isn’t.

Let’s get a few things straight: rape isn’t a sexual crime, it’s a violent one. The use of the word “sexual” puts it in a category with stockings and dirty weekends, and it doesn’t belong in that category at all. Rape is violence. It’s a strong person overpowering and assaulting a weaker one. It’s not sexy. Any fucking halfwit who uses the “she was dressed like a slut” argument needs a long hard conversation with himself, and if that doesn’t work he can pop round to my place and I’ll cut his dick off. The girl’s clothing or alcohol content is no excuse. There is no excuse. It’s a fucking abomination.

You never hear people saying “by wearing that short skirt and drinking an imperial gallon of Tropical Reef she was just begging to be stabbed/shot/strangled”. No jury would hear that argument; no lawyer could make it. Why is rape considered the exception? Why are victims of rape often blamed for bringing it on themselves? I think it’s abhorrent.

But I don’t like the assertion (made by a few radical feminists) that all men are rapists. For one thing, we’re clearly not. We have the potential to be rapists, but only in as much as fertiliser has the potential to be a bomb: it takes a sick mind and broken personality to go that extra mile and actually do it.

My other problem with “all men are rapists” is that the corollary is “all women are victims”. And that’s clearly not true. Most women I know are extraordinarily tough. Pop down the gym: women outnumber men 4 to 1, and they don’t do that because they’re feeble. They do it because they’re physically and mentally determined.

Sure, an average guy can beat an average girl at an arm-wrestle, but that’s a brief burst of power, which is what we’re designed to do. Try doing it for 30 minutes, and the woman will win every time. An average girl can work longer, harder, smarter, pop to the gym, and then go home and clean her flat too.

The average guy gets home to his squalid bedsit, kicks the pizza boxes out of the way until he can reach a beer, and then crawls into his bed and rots in the fart-sack, pulling his pud and blowing zombies away on his Xbox. Ask him to get up and clean the place, and assuming his latest wanking-and-murdering spree haven’t reduced his level of communication to a set of animalistic grunts, he’ll simply insist that cleaning is a woman’s job.

Which is just his admission that physically, women are generally one up on men. I’m not trying to flatter women, because all this stuff is really fucking irritating. But I have to be honest: by comparison most men are pathetic, including me.

But if you want a good example of a pathetic man, look at a rapist, or somebody who attempts to excuse it. There is no excuse, and I speak with authority, because I was once encouraged to rape somebody, so I know how easy it is not to do it.

Let me explain before you put me on a register!

I recently had a conversation with somebody about sexual history. Every “how to have a date” advice column tells you not to talk about this. Don’t mention that you’ve boinked 417 women, because it makes your new partner feel like an insignificant notch on a highly infectious bedpost. Or if you’ve only slept with 2 women, don’t mention that either, because you’re 41 for Christ’s sake: 2 sexual partners is less than the average priest (although in my defence both of my sexual partners consented, and both had pubic hair, which is more than you can say for the conquests of most clergymen).

All those rules about dating make sense. Meet in public. Have an escape route planned. Don’t cry, or drink 12 pints of mead, or forget your shoes, or own up to needing to have a baby right fucking now.

But sometimes relationships are just weird, and you end up doing all those things you’re warned not to do. You have conversations about commitment that are supposed to make normal people run a mile. You dig deep into your humiliating past for the things that are meant to be hidden forever, attach fairy-lights to them, and wave them around for all to see. You admit to your all failings and weaknesses, and show off what psychiatrists would call “complex personal problems”.

In short, you do nothing to hide the crazy.

And sometimes, like it or not, that includes a revealing a bit of sexual history, which happened recently. Neither of us could remember exact numbers, and it seemed ungallant to start counting on my fingers at that very moment. But later, bored and alone, I did a quick flip through the Rolodex in my brain, and remembered something I’d blocked out: rapey woman.

I had a very brief fling with rapey woman about 12-15 years ago. It wasn’t anything major, and barely lasted 3 weeks, but it disturbed me, because as soon as we got to the fabled third date, and sex was put into the equation, she begged me to rape her.

Now I enjoy a bit vigorous sex, and all of the “hold me down and do me hard” stuff is definitely my idea of fun. But this girl was waaaay past that. We’re not talking about playful bedroom mischief, we’re talking about an absolutely accurate simulcrum of a rape. She liked it to feel completely real. I never did it, because just her description of what she was after freaked the shit out of me; she asked me to surprise her as she walked to her car, drag her into an alley at knifepoint, and do a perfectly accurate simulation of a rape.

At knifepoint.

I know rape is a pretty common fantasy for some women, even if they tend to imagine it being done by George Clooney, and he hugs her afterwards. And I get that, I really do: it’s a small, limited extension of the “hold me down” thing. But there’s a world of difference between a bit of slightly pervy, highly consensual roleplaying, and wielding a knife in an alley. And it’s a difference I couldn’t come to terms with.

And nor should anybody. I doubt this blog will become essential reading for any rapists, would-be-rapists, rape-apologists or moral philosophers. And it’s not exactly full of jokes, so I doubt it’ll get the usual 27 visits that my hilarious blogs about alcohol poisonings get. But if you’re a guy and haven’t yet worked out the difference between a dirty fantasy with your adventurous girlfriend, and a violent assault on a stranger in a footballer’s hotel room, you need to seek professional help.

I’ll be back with jokes next time. But #replacebandnameswithrape has knocked the humour out of me for a while.