The reason why the drunk obsessive in the parking lot was so dangerous is that he didn’t consciously know he was there to commit a sexual assault.
How’s that for a BS sounding statement?
Having admitted that, it’s still true. Realize that in many instances a would-be rapist is in a state that is like stepping on the gas and the brake at the same time. He is at war with himself, one half is obsessed with sexually having you, while another part is saying “STOP! This ain’t right.”
Here’s where things get both ugly and confusing. Being sexually interested in someone is very human. So in that sense, it’s right. However, being ‘sexually obsessed’ is too much of a good thing. In fact, it has become wrong. This is why use the gas and brake pedal analogy. Although wanting sex is normal, he also knows the degree which he wants it is wrong and that he can’t act on it.But, that doesn’t help him stop wanting it.
Think about this for a second. Have you ever wanted something that you know was wrong?. What did you do?
This gas vs. brake pedal conflict is often resolved by a very specific solution — a solution that allows the person to have both. You should also know this solution is almost entirely unique to violence — and extremely common to acquaintance rape(3). When you’re talking about violence in general, we refer to this solution as “The-Accidentally-On-Purpose-Attack-Set-Up.”
Shockingly enough, when we’re talking about rape it’s called the “The-Accidentally-On-Purpose-Rape-Set-Up” (TAOPuRSU pronounced ‘tao-pursue’).
Here’s the catch. The person who is engaging in TAOPuRSU can both perfectlyset up the conditions for rape and NEVER realize that he’s doing it. We’re not talking about lying about it after the fact either, HE doesn’t realize he’s setting up a rape — even though he’s doing it by the numbers.
To understand TAOPuRSU you must first realize the difference between conscious motivation and unconscious motivation. Even though every decision he makes is ‘conscious’ he doesn’t realize that they have unconscious motivations. Motivations that are directing him to a certain goal. A goal that he is not consciously aware of. To him it just looks like a series of innocent decisions. He doesn’t see they are taking him to create the circumstances for giving himself permission to attack.
Let’s, for example, look at the classmate ending up drunk in the parking lot. Now this was, as we said, a by the numbers set up for an attack. But information Marc collected indicated that the classmate had been unconsciously doing a TAOPuRSU, but not consciously planning an attack.
The following is a model based on known facts and filling in the blanks. (Art kept an eye on the guy afterwards gathering this information). TAOPuRSU probably developed something like this. A known fact is the situation that caused him to miss school was legitimate business. Having free time on his hands, he’d gone out to get some food. Food led to a couple of drinks, those lead to a couple more. This, he admitted in later statements. Now we get into filling in the blanks. Odd are, once he was good and buzzed, he conveniently ‘realized’ that school was about to let out. It suddenly seemed like a ‘really good idea’ to go talk to the female classmate. This, in spite of the reality that she was furious with him. He probably thought he was going to apologize and plead his case.
Without consciously being aware of it, he had gone out of his way to set up conditions to both lower his inhibitions via alcohol and put himself into a position to attack the female classmate. What’s more, although it would never consciously cross his intoxicated mind, he’d also put himself into a position where HE could feel justified for physically attacking her because SHE became verbally aggressive. Her anger at him would have exploded and given him the provocation he needed to physically attack. And the reason is, according to this drunken, self-rationalizing brain, SHE would have attacked him first.
At this junction many rape advocates will be frothing at the mouth that it doesn’t matter that he wasn’t conscious of his intent. The fact that subconsciously was there means the rapist should be strung up by his balls. (And then they wonder why people don’t listen to them).
However, the real problem with TAOPuRSU is it masks intent even from the person doing it! And if he doesn’t know that he’s up to no good, how can you spot it? The situation isn’t obvious because he’s unconsciously moving towards attacking you. There’s no obvious deceit and you are probably caught up in the emotions of the moment yourself. This is a classic situation where people tell you to trust your feelings, but we’ll tell you the situation isn’t just going weird, it’s already arrived there on a pogo stick.
The good news is that like situations where there is willful deceit and intent to attack, even with TAOPuRSU, there is both non-verbal leakage and the development of the condition for an attack. The leopard can’t change its spots and criminal attacks HAVE to pass through these stages.
This is where we get back to our version ‘trust your feelings’ — you’ll sense that something isn’t quite right, so instead of looking for something that is obviously wrong (the exit with the red building) start looking for the road signs that say destination trouble is coming up fast.
Who Says You Can’t Lie?
During our Women’s Self-Defense programs we often encounter an interesting phenomenon. During the conversations about their past experiences we routinely come across women who are embarrassed that they didn’t get raped.
Although that isn’t exactly how they look at it, in our eyes their attitude is the same thing. See, these women are embarrassed because when faced with a pending rape/sexual assault — instead of becoming a combination of Wonder Woman/ Super Girl/ Laura Croft and delivering a whirlwind of blows to their would-be rapist — they tricked their way out of being raped. Amazingly enough, they are ashamed that they took this strategy.
There’s just one problem with this shame … what matters is that they didn’t get raped, not how they prevented it.
To us, what is important is that they didn’t get raped. In our book that is a victory! High fives all around, you won that one.
The simple truth is that no matter what these women believed about their competence, power and ability to take care of themselves, in the face of immediate physical threat by an overwhelming force, they did the math and realized they needed to come up with something more reliable than becoming a comic book heroine. And they did so successfully.
You go girl.
Realize that whatever social prohibitions you may have accepted about lying and deception, the criminal and violent use deception all the time. If they’re trying to deceive, threaten or harm you, why shouldn’t you use deception to prevent that?
One of the hardest things to do is come out of your own lizard brain response to a situation that is taking an unusual turn and assess it in a different light. Once you realize that the situation is no longer what you thought it was, (whether a date, normal interaction or conflict) you can begin to counter the threat by — although not obvious — none the less effective measure.
To help you to be more effective in your deception let us give you an important idea we learned form John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. And this is: The best deception is one the person you are deceiving can easily understand. In the book there is a character named “Doc.” Doc loves to walk. He would without any other reason than this love take 30 or 40 mile walks. What he learned is that if people asked him why he was walking if he told them the truth they would become nervous, unsure and think of him as a ‘weirdo’ . So the strategy he adopted was to to give them an explanation they could immediately understand — and not think about. If people asked him why he was in the middle of a long walk, he would tell them that it was a bet. Any unease or suspicion about his ‘odd’ behavior immediately vanished and people readily accepted his odd behavior.
So how can you use this?
Let us for example, say that in the midst of hot and heavy making out your date begins to become too aggressive and you decide that “No maybe this isn’t such a good idea after all.” Suddenly announcing that you’re in the middle of your period so you’re not going to have sex with him isn’t really believable. (why didn’t you mention it earlier?) This is where the idea of “no means no” is often proven to be good in theory but hard to put into practice. You’re telling a larger, stronger, probably drunk and definitely horny person — who’s deeply engaged in a kind of thought process that doesn’t deal very well with being told ‘no’ — NO. And you’re being deceitful about it by claiming its your period.
On the other hand you saying “I have to pee” is more believable (especially if you have been drinking). Explain the need to pee is somewhat pressing and you’ll both enjoy yourself more if your bladder isn’t complaining. Become adamant. If he still objects, offer to pee in his hands. (thereby giving him an unpleasant option). The promise (that you intend to break) is that you will beright back. Then get up and leave the room. Amazingly enough you’re either going to forget to come back or while in the bathroom you receive an emergency phone call that requires you to rush out of the house (or even climb out the bathroom window if you have to).
The key is to use deception to get out of his immediate reach where he can control your options. And as long as he believes that you’ll come back he has no reason to try and stop you. By the time he realizes something is wrong, you’re gone.
Do NOT Use Ineffective Violence
President Theodore Roosevelt gave us this bit of wisdom: Don’t hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.
Entirely too many women fail to achieve this goal. When being pressed by a male, they often retaliate by striking, not only first, but ineffectively. In doing so they actually initiate the physical violence that leads to rape. We actually dedicated an entire page to this idea. We don’t object to using force to stop a rape, what we object to is not breaking his jaw.
Your Goal Is NOT to Fight, It Is To Escape
In fact, let us add some other things that you should NOT have on your To-Do list:
1) You are not there to punish him for disrespecting you
2) You are not there to correct his behavior
3) You are not there to make him feel like less of a man for misbehaving
4) You are not there to teach him a lesson about messing with you
5) You are not there to extract revenge for past wrongs done to you. 6) You are not there to vent your anger
7) You are not there to prove your ‘Right’ to behave anyway you want. 8) You are not there to build your self-esteem by beating him up
9) You are not there to give him a piece of your mind AFTER you’ve beat
In fact, at the moment of attack your ONLY priority is getting out of the situation where you could be successfully raped. Until you’ve achieved that goal, everything else is of secondary importance — including your anger andemotions. We know it’s not how it is commonly done in ‘civilized society’ but these aren’t civilized circumstances. You are in physical danger. Your physical safety comes first, then after you’ve avoided being hit by a runaway train, worry about your emotional comfort.
Call In Extra Help
We have a saying: A big qualifier of ‘truth’ is that you can find variations of it in many places. What we are about to you to tell you applies to rape. It also applies to stalking. What’s more, we tell men the same thing about when another man attacks them. So realize what we’re going to tell you applies not to just rape, but to most assaults.
If the guy didn’t think he could take you, he wouldn’t attack
you in the first place.
What’s more, there’s a good chance that he’s right. He can physically overwhelm you if you try to fight him. (And yes, there is a HUGE difference between self-defense and fighting). This unpleasant truth needs to be aMAJOR factor in your strategy of what to do to stop rape.
Let us ask you something, when was the last time you were in a knock-down, drag out brawl? When was the last time you threw someone a beating? When was the last time you had to drop someone with one punch because he was acting up?
If you answered ‘never’ to any and all of these questions, then we must ask you what makes you think you’re going to be able to not only fight, a bigger stronger male, but defeat him? Most men are incapable of effectively fighting another man into submission and most physical violence between them is more threat display in nature. That is to say it is NOT designed to incapacitate or kill an opponent. So realize right now, that competence at using physical force isn’t something that you just do. In fact, we have huge sections on self-defense, martial arts, street-fighting and defensive tactics on this Website. All of which are studies on the subject of effective use of physical force.
The reason we tell you this is that it is critical that you recognize the NEED to ‘call in the cavalry.’ We often tell people: Do not run from danger, run towards safety. Another saying is “Head for the lights and the noise.” That is where people are, and where there are people there are those who will stop the rapist in his tracks. Remember, rape needs isolation!
It is a dirty little secret that can only exist in isolation.
Remember the story about Marc’s ex and the classmates? Not only did she help her friend, but she called in the help of the biggest, meanest dude available. (Art immediately spotted the danger and swung into action to keep the obsessed classmate not only away from the female, but there in the parking lot when she had left). In the same vein, she also called in the school administration.
The obsessed student might be able to physically overwhelm the female student, but he couldn’t win against her, Marc’s girlfriend (and by extension Marc), Art, the school administration, the police, the court system and prison.
Is why you need to call in help beginning to make sense?
It doesn’t matter if you use crowds and public to avoid the possibility of rape, escape to them to avoid rape or run to them after successfully stop rape or call in help after rape, do NOT try to handle it all by yourself. Call in the cavalry.