Why the "Nice Guys Commit Rape Too" Conversation Is Not Helpful

Jill Filipovic of Feministe—writing this time at The Guardian—brings the story of The Good Men Project’s recent unfortunate posts about rape culture into the mainstream with a relatively balanced, unassuming explanation of what, exactly, The Good Men Project is getting wrong:

We actually know quite a bit about why men rape, and especially about the kinds of rapes that the media often calls “date rape” or “acquaintance rape”—rapes where the perpetrator knew the victim, or at least ran in the same social circles. Academics, researchers and sociologists have done in-depth studies on sexual assault and found that it’s actually a small number of men who commit large numbers of acquaintance rapes. Most of those men intentionally target intoxicated women. They socially isolate them, ply them with alcohol to incapacitate them and intentionally push their boundaries to make them vulnerable.

These repeat rapists are more likely to have rigid views of gender roles and are more angry at women than the non-rapist men. They perpetrate their crimes intentionally, but use our social narratives about rape to avoid prosecution.

So, in general, nice guys are much less likely to commit rape. This does not mean that our society is conducting a constructive conversation on the subject of rape culture; our error, though, seems on the whole to be in thinking that unknown predators attack women in dark alleys. But clarifying that most raped women know their rapists personally does not indicate that those rapists are totally normal men who just “made a mistake” or “didn’t realize what they were doing”.

I particularly encourage you to click through to the link in the quote above for more information and statistics.