The Sexist

When the Threat of Stranger Rape Facilitates Acquaintance Rape

At Tiger Beatdown, B. Michael points out one abusive tactic revealed in the leaked Mel Gibson tapes:

Mel Gibson was condemned for (allegedly) threatening to burn down his house and force his ex, Oksana Grigorieva, to blow him (presumably after he saved her from being raped by a group he describes with his usual Gibsonian eloquence).

Gibson allegedly said this: "I am going to come and burn the f–king house down . . . but you will blow me first." He added that Grigorieva looks like a "fucking pig in heat" whose clothes will get her "raped by a pack of [racial slur too horrible to repeat]."

This is how the threat of an uncommon form of sexual assault—stranger gang rape—is used to facilitate the more common form of abuse—acquaintance rape. So next time you start to warn someone in your life against wearing "suggestive" clothing outside the house? Keep in mind that this is a tactic rapists use, and that you are actually statistically more likely than any of the lurking strangers out there to commit this offense.

  • Kate Black

    Ah yes. This is also akin to survival sex many homeless/indigent youth resort to. Have sex with someone for a place to stay so that something unspeakably worse isn't done on the streets.

  • canice

    do you have links/source on this? genuinely curious (not shit-starting skeptic).

    "Keep in mind that this is a tactic rapists use, and that you are actually statistically more likely than any of the lurking strangers out there to commit this offense."

  • Amanda Hess

    Here's what the National Center for Victims of Crime says:

    "Seventy-seven (77)% of completed rapes are committed by non-strangers (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997). A woman is four times more likely to be raped by an acquaintance than by a stranger (Illinois Coaliltion Against Sexual Assault, 2002). Acquaintance rape is rarely reported to police. Less than 2% of acquaintance rape victims reported the assault whereas 21% of women raped by strangers reported the crime to police (Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 2002). Every year, an estimated one woman in eight in college is raped and in 85% of those assaults the women knew their attacker (Texas Woman's University, 2007)."

  • Stewart

    Okay, I am officially lost.
    Agreed that a woman is far more likely to be raped by someone she knows than by a stranger. No news there. That statistic has been common knowledge for a long time.
    I don't get the connection between the threat of stranger gang rape and aquaintance rape. I don't see any support for the assertion that acquaintance rapists typically tell their victims that they are wearing suggestive clothing. Maybe they do. I just don't see any support for that in your piece or comment.
    I read the original story The comment about her dress was separate from his threat to burn the house down after she blew him. To me the comment is more about how insane Mel Gibson has become (or perhaps always was), than about tactics acquaintance rapists generally use.
    Maybe you should have picked someone more sane than Mel Gibson to base your example on.

  • Amanda Hess

    @Stewart next time I will write a post on a much more reasonable rapist.

  • kza

    So 50% of female college graduates get raped?

  • Kit-Kat

    I think the confusion is that the phrasing you used makes it sound like acquaintance rapists themselves use the threat of stranger rape to facilitate their own rapes. Which is confusing and not supported by the post. Also, the idea that acquaintance rapists tell their victims that their clothing will get them raped by strangers. Perhaps they do, but the article doesn't support it.

    I actually shared Stewart's confusion. Yes, women are more likely to be raped by someone they know than by a stranger. So far as I can tell, no one is denying that fact. It's the confusion of that fact with a claim about a tactic supposedly used by rapists.

  • Melissa

    Some acquaintance rapists do use the threat of stranger rape to facilitate their actions, though. Like when a woman is leaving a party or bar, and a "friend" (who, unbeknownst to her, is a rapist) offers to walk her home and keep her "safe."

  • pipi long stockings

    This is just one of the many tactics an abusive partner might use to manipulate and isolate their victim.

    Is it really important how many rapists do or don't use this strategy? The point is that it's a form of manipulation that is disguised as "concern for your wellbeing".

  • chris

    Um. Facilitating rape with the threat of stranger rape is exactly what Mel Gibson did/what this post is about.

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