Stop Saying that Nobody Supports Rape. Lots of People Support Rape.

When I write about sexual assault on this site, particularly when I talk about the difficulty in combatting sexual assault, one comment recurs over and over:

“Nobody supports rape.”

Sometimes it’s phrased more delicately than that, sometimes not. But the basic idea is the same — that the ideas of rape culture and rape apologism are ridiculous. Everyone’s against rape. Everyone agrees that rape is bad.

But of course it’s not true.

For starters, of course, there’s the fact that rapists exist in society, most of them unpunished. They’re not against rape. And while estimates of how many rapists are out there vary, it’s clear that they’re not all that rare. We know them. We may not know we know them, but we know them. If you’re talking about rape in public — in a classroom, at a speech, in a crowd, at a rally — there’s a strong chance that…

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