The thing that stood out the most to me is that the men in this situations didn't realize what they were doing was rape. They didn't check in with their partners during the sex and when they did, some of them realized that the women actually didn't want it. This particular account stood out to me the most:
Now, I remember exactly what I was thinking at the time. This girl gave me "the look" earlier, she invited me into her bed. What teenage girl would pass up the oppertunity to be with a 22 year old guy? She MUST want it. I tried again, and slid my hands over her body.
It was then I looked at her face. She was petrified. I at that point pulled myself together, rolled off her and apologized. My hormones were RAGING. I asked her why she didn't want to. I told her what I thought above. She started to cry.These men don't seem themselves as rapists. They see themselves as misreading the signals, and this guy, thankfully, stopped before he completely forced himself on the young girl.
I think a large part of the problem and the reason sexual assault is so common, is the narrative of sexual assault. By and large the stories that I read on that thread were men who crossed lines they didn't realize they were crossing. Women initiated a certain kind of contact and then he pushed it into a realm they didn't want, lots of misread signals, and often far too much alcohol. But while this type of sexual assault is the most common, that is not the way rape is framed in our society. Sexual assault is something that happens when you walk home alone at night and some guy jumps out of the bushes, or its perpetrated by an abusive boyfriend, or its a girl getting roophied at a party, or its slimy guys who know exactly what they're doing when they coerce a girl into having sex. While rape is definitely all of those things, its also very frequently some guy who doesn't understand what consent means or how to obtain it, and that is the crux of the problem. We need to reframe the discussion about sexual assault so that we're not talking about avoiding being roophied or out late at night or the creepy guys, but what consent is, how to get it, and how to be sure you have it.
When I was freshman coming into the University of Michigan, I lived in the dorms. Once we got on campus and moved in, The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center had a meeting we were all required to attend where they talked about consent and sexual assault. It was about an hour or so long and they had a brief presentation and then we were allowed to ask questions. SAPAC is a wonderful organization and does really important work on campus and I'm very glad that they are available to run presentations like this. The problem with these programs is that they're an hour long and then the students never have to think about it again and likely never have thought about it before, even if they're already having sex. Conversations like this need to happen early and often, but they're not. I'm going into my senior year now and I have never seen another presentation like the one we attended freshman year. Clearly we are not teaching people enough about sex and consent when we have men (and women) sexually assaulting others and coming away with "I didn't realize s/he wasn't into it."
While I've personally had enlightening discussions about consent and gender differences when it comes to sex with both men and women, those discussions are product of my own personal interest. I find consent a fascinating topic and so I enjoy talking about the issues surrounding it. The reason I find it so interesting is precisely because it is such a complicated topic, especially when you throw in alcohol, or people who like to experiment with consensual non-consent role playing, or power dynamics. As is made obvious by the reddit thread, we are not doing enough to inform people about the issues surrounding consent. We need to start focusing on proper, comprehensive sex education in this country, and one that includes how to give and get consent, which is something that these guys clearly don't understand. We need to listen to the things they have to say in order to best address the problems at their source (the rapists) instead of the victims.