How Not to Make a “How Not to Rape Video”

A video written by myself and Kaytlin Bailey called “How Not to Rape” gathered over five thousand views, 28 “likes” and 643 “dislikes” in a few days. And now I am taking it down.  Why? because one of the cast in the video asked to be “taken out” of the video.  A feat that is completely possible BEFORE the video is released, but on YouTube there is no replacing a video. You lose your views, comments, and the link dies.

Some have suggested that since the person in the video agreed to be in it, read the script, came to my house, ate my food, took a nasty shit in my bathroom (unconfirmed), and then thanked me profusely for including them in the whole process, that I should just leave the video up.

But why would I keep someone in a video about consent against their will?

That being said, here’s what I am really proud of about the video.

THE VIDEO REACHED THE AUDIENCE THAT NEEDED TO HEAR IT

Tons of comments on the video say that the video jumps to conclusions and overstate grossly.  But actually it doesn’t. I was very careful when finishing the script. I ran it by a lawyer who specializes in sexual assault before we locked it. I myself used to teach kids about sexual assault in high schools.

Some surprising facts are these.

  1. The age and gender ratio of the viewership of the video closely match the age and gender ratio of potential rapists. NOTE: I am definitely not saying that the 89% male audience in the target age range that watched the video are rapey in any way. But I am saying that if you were going to make a video about consent, then these are the people that should see it.screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-9-59-00-am screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-9-57-47-amWas the message worded strongly, maybe unnecessarily so? Yes. There is a technique in communication where you start out making a broad maybe confrontational statement in the hopes of sparking a more moderate conversation that people learn from. It may be aggressive and some may not appreciate that I used this technique, but I stand by my choice because just what I had hoped happened. People saw the video got upset and then turned around and showed it to their friends. Then they had conversations where they said what they saw in the video wasn’t a complete definition of rape or consent but then talked with about what they think it should be.  How can I be sure? Because-..
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  2. People who hated the video actually learned from conversations sparked by it. The comments section on the video is a mess, but that’s on purpose. I approved all the comments one by one. I allowed anyone with a different opinion or with something funny to say to post on the video. The only comments I blocked were extreme vulgarity, threats of rape, nonsense, and lame jokes. (Yes I decided which jokes were lame). I also answered a lot of questions in private messages.Although the video does not explicitly state it, many many viewers feel that the video supports the idea that someone can regret bad sex and then call it rape. We don’t explicitly say that on purpose but yes you might infer that from some of the lines in the video even though the subject matter was more aimed at what happens when people are coerced into sex. Here is a positive exchange in the comments.
    screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-11-22-19-amThe video was dissected and made fun of on the popular podcast Legion of Skanks: The Most Offensive Podcast on Earth. But they inadvertently learned that they had differing opinions about what is rape and what is okay while doing the show.  My favorite moment in the episode is at 1:38:03 when they play a clip from the video that says “If you are having sex and it’s getting good and then you pull the condom off in the middle and she didn’t agree to raw dog it, now you’re raping.” They stop the playback. One of them says “It’s not rape.” It is of course. Perhaps in the moment making fun of the video he might have just tried to throw in an extra joke, but then another host says that what’s in the video is factual but lacks nuance, which is true. The video states a raw fact.  But yes, in every case of sex between two people your interaction is unique and there are a million things that could happen.I actually agree with everything they say in this clip except for the fact that they don’t explicitly state that pulling a condom off without telling someone and continuing to have sex with them is indeed rape.  Here’s the one minute clip..
    I know a lot of the guys on the show and are cool with them but for real, the part where one guy says maybe you take the condom off and show it to her and give her a look is nuts.And here’s a link to the entire episode. Warning: They don’t call their show offensive for nothing so don’t go there if you are even a little squeamish. THIS MEANS YOU MOM!
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  3. I spoke with Luis Gomez in person at The Stand comedy club in New York. Luis is one of the hosts of Legion of Skanks and maybe partially because of personal experiences that happened to someone in his family he is adamantly against sexual assault. He, Kaytlin and I were having a heated conversation which started because of the video. Kaytlin tried to explain what the fight, flight, or freeze mechanism is when concerning assault. Luis had never heard of the “freeze” portion and loudly proclaimed his disbelief. However, one Google search later and he was man enough to admit that he was wrong about it.  I don’t know if he would even want to admit it, but if not for the video, he might not have ever learned that.

I would only change one line in the video if I had it to do again; just to make a certain part of the message a little more clear.

I would change the line “If someone feels raped, they were raped” to “If a someone feels raped, their feelings are valid.” Of course this is not a legal standard & no one is suggesting that just because a person feels raped the person who made them feel that way is necessarily a rapist or monster. But just because you didn’t mean to hurt someone’s, doesn’t mean you didn’t.
We wanted to start a more nuanced conversation, and I think we did.

If anyone is interested in talking about it I am completely willing to do so, but I don’t fight people on the internet. If you want to talk in any other forum or come on my upcoming podcast and tell me to my face how crazy you think I am I would welcome it.

Lastly I want to thank everyone who contributed to the video with their time and talent, even to the person that changed their mind thus wasting my time and money. Even though I would like to teach a bionic donkey to kick you into space, It wouldn’t have been the same without you.

The video is coming down on Saturday.  If you want to watch it. Here is your last chance.

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