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Inside the Mind of a Serial Rapist

A discussion thread on Reddit asked members if any of them had ever committed sexual assault. One response in particular stood out.

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This story was originally published on  Salon.

It may be a convincing hoax. Or it may truly be a portrait of the inside of a serial rapist’s mind. Either way, it’s the most chilling thing you’ll read all day.

On AskReddit earlier this week, the question was posed, “Reddit’s had a few threads about sexual assault victims, but are there any redditors from the other side of the story? What were your motivations? Do you regret it?” The responses quickly flooded in. Stories from people who knew rapists. “My brother is serving time for sexual assault on his under age daughters,” writes one commenter. “I can tell you first hand he has no remorse. He blames his ex-wife and his daughters for ‘doing this to him.’ He will get out in 2015 and he is totally convinced he is a victim.” There are stories from people who’ve done awful things and still rationalize them. “I ignored her and did it. She realized what was happening and tried to clamp her legs shut, but it was too late and I was much stronger than her.” There are stories from people who did things in the most messed up times of their lives, things they regret horribly. There are stories from people who’d been confused, and can now recall with clarity and wisdom how easily a moment could change dramatically. “I remember pulling off her and she kept crying,” writes one man. “I then do remember doing something i’m probably most ashamed of is asking her to finish me off, more begging for it… I hate to say it but after it was done I went to bed, she stayed up crying.” Another admits, “Later, I realized the big difference between what she had offered to do and what I had tried to make her do. MUCH later I realized that I had basically assaulted her, and that was why she broke up with me.”

It’s an unflinching and incredibly insightful document, a reminder that the persistent notion of sexual assault somehow only counting if it happens to a modestly dressed lady who’s attacked by a stranger is utter BS. It happens in vague and complicated situations, every day and night. It happens between buddies. It happens between boyfriends and girlfriends. The lines are not always clear-cut. And that’s what makes the entire thread a fiercely illuminating conversation. How can you not feel the obvious pain of both parties involved in the story of a man who says that a classmate he’d been friends with had said, “okay I guess” to sex but later admitted “she felt like I had raped her”? How can you not ache when he goes on to say, “I have never in my life felt as shitty and depressed as when she told me that she felt what happened was rape. The depression made me have to drop out of school and go live back home. My parents thought I was gonna try to kill myself”? How can you not try to have the same measure of compassion for the guy who drunkenly undressed a female friend as the girl herself, who says, “He had been really drunk, I had been really drunk… so I talked to him, he apologized again, and we moved on. I forgave him a very long time ago”?

The thread is a powerful testament to the insidiousness of sexual coercion, and of how damaging to both men and women the culture of silence can be. It’s still expected that nice girls won’t make a fuss. Females are still  raised to keep quiet and not make a scene, even when they want say no. They’re raised to keep quiet, even after they’ve been abused. And that’s nowhere more harrowingly clear than in the story of the man who claims to be “a post-colleged age male who raped several girls through use of coercion, alcohol, and other tactics over a course of 3 years.”

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