I have a lot of complaints about this book
A couple of thoughts:
The current wave of destigmatization around non-alcoholic drugs means that there are a lot of new avenues for using intoxicants to rape people. I feel that this is an under-discussed problem.
Also, I used to go to nightclubs a lot. It’s been a while but iirc bouncers are motivated to keep really invasive guys away from girls. In fact my experience was that bouncers were better at keeping invasive guys away from me and kicking them out than I was, because they knew that my most likely action upon having my boundaries invaded was to say nothing and leave, and as a hot girl I was a more valuable club patron than an invasive guy was.
Perry's apparent belief that evolutionary psychology means deterrence doesn't work for rape is very odd—shouldn't it lead us to expect deterrence ought to work quite well if we can solve the problem of identifying rapists? However, I don't think rape is unique in there being way more rape than we can ever prosecute. My understanding from reading criminologists like David Kennedy is that this is a common problem and the solution is to prioritize arresting and prosecuting the worst offenders. This deters way more crime than you can actually prosecute people for—even people who are going to keep doing some crime will want to make sure they don't wind on the police's priority list. This is challenging with rape for reasons you mention but if we magically "solved all issues related to proving beyond a reasonable doubt that someone committed rape" it would be the approach I'd advocating for.
"In general, undetected-rapist studies involve asking men3 questions like “have you put your penis in a woman’s vagina without her consent by using force?” A surprising number of men respond to this question with a “yes,” but I want to highlight that undetected rapist research inherently suffers from the twin problems of:
1. People who do not admit to committing felonies on surveys.
2. People who think it is funny to claim to have committed rape when they really didn’t.
But we go to war with the data we have, so let’s see what we can find out."
On Prolific, it is easy to recruit couples. Since you say a lot of rapes happen within relationships, maybe one could use this as a convenient method to study the psychology of confirmed rapists.
One complication is that one would need to somehow guarantee the safety of the woman who reports her partner through this survey. The most obvious approach might be to just not reveal the purpose of the study to the man, but in that case that probably limits the kinds of questions one can ask.
I've read about groups of young men using rape as part of initiation for new members. I don't know if this is common, but it may mean that men are at as least as much risk of being raped as women.
Re: sending young men the message, “You would never commit rape, obviously, but those guys might commit rape. We think you can help stop them.”
I went to a large public American university 2012-2016 and at some point while I was there, they started mandatory online anti-sexual-assault training for all students and employees. This was the tactic they used. It took maybe 10-15 minutes and I had to watch some videos and then pass a short quiz. I remember one of the questions being something like, "What percent of men commit sexual assault?" with the correct answer being in the single digits. There might have been some questions about domestic violence and coercive rape in relationships.
It seemed to me (a female student) like they were trying to make SA sound like an uncool thing and to communicate that if you want to be a cool, normal person you won't rape anyone. My female friends thought it was absurd that they were framing the training that way; I think they were more concerned about people being educated about the existence of a SA epidemic on college campuses. My male friends were the sort of guys who wouldn't rape someone (as far as I could tell, and I have always been paranoid about these things) and they seemed to dismiss the training as being completely self-evident to the point of uselessness. I'm curious as to how the frat guys and sorority girls interpreted it; I didn't really interact with that crowd.
For marital rape, I actually think awareness might help. You don't need a violent person to commit marital rape, just a clueless person paired with a passive one. Many things can go wrong in the valley of miscommunication and emotional insecurity, specially for inexperienced young people.
With respect to Louise Perry's suggestion to strengthen marriage norms, I wonder if she is trying to make some sort of sacrifice play. Like if ten percent of men are rapists, but society is arranged so that they only get to rape their wives and the small percentage of women deemed "whores" you could potentially limit the rate of rape victimization to maybe about one eighth of women. This could be considered an improvement if present rape victimization rates are higher than that. Now I personally would consider that to be a very bad trade off because of the substantial decrease in human liberty required to attain it, but I wonder if that's what Perry is trying to get at yet is unwilling to explicitly say.
It seems to me at least some young women are unaware that rape can happen to them. This seems like a necessary first step.
"What would be ideal is qualitative research exploring one-offs’ narratives of their experiences, but unfortunately even men who admit to violent felonies on surveys are unlikely to admit to them face-to-face."
Surprisingly, Lisak has also been able to conduct some face-to-face research on rapists, for example in the paper "Motives and psychodynamics of self-reported, unincarcerated rapists". The detailed case studies presented in that paper are on repeat rapists, but it suggests that that it might be possible.
"If 80% of men were rapists, they wouldn’t have criminalized marital rape"
Unless, of course, they had strong reasons to expect that crime to be acknowledged and punished only selectively, when it is convenient against some low-status man who may or may not actually have raped anyone.
A serious question: why can't we, as a society, use the tiny guillotine solution and castrate ten percent of most violent/strong/otherwise-at-risk-of-becoming-rapist males (including proven rapists)? Ability to have sex and/or children is arguably a privilege (the latter might also be resolved by storing sperm), not a basic right. Also, one man's sperm can impregnate several women, so it is not even necessary that birth rates would fail significantly (except between religious fundamentalists, who would only benefit themselves and society by producing a lesser share of children). Also also, castration and the corresponding testosterone drop has an obvious positive effect on society: less aggression and status competition (for the sake of status itself rather than the goods it provides). Also also also, it would solve prison rape: inmates for violent crimes are obviously first candidates for being in the ten percent. I would frankly volunteer to join said ten percent even though I share no risk factors beyond being cis-by-default male — the benefits seem obvious and large, the downsides pretty non-existent (in particular, that would probably be cheaper than incarceration!).
Otherwise, I really enjoyed this peace and largely agree.