OT - Powerful article by Detroit Lion DeAndre Levy on sexual assault

Submitted by kehnonymous on April 29th, 2016 at 1:05 PM


I was pretty ignorant on this topic for a long time. I think a lot of men are, because it’s often talked about as a women’s issue. The focus always seems to be on teaching young women how not to get raped and on what steps they can take to “stay safe.” But why are we not also focused on educating young men about the definition of consent and what constitutes rape? We’re essentially dealing with the problem by telling women to be more careful.

And that’s bullshit.

I really liked this article because it goes beyond acknowledging the obvious (that rape is far too prevalent and severely under-reported) and speaks to the cultural factors that are that the root of the issue.  As a personal aside, I recently finished NFL Confidential by an anonymous former NFL player and one of the chapters touched on how laughably half-assed NFL sensitivity training seminars are - zero percent surprising from a league where beating up your fiancee in an elevator is two gamechecks less awful than deflating footballs.  One of the great points Levy makes is that because of our collective worship for football and other major sports, pro athletes are - fairly or not -  thrust front and center into this discussion because they're seen as paragons of masculinity.



April 29th, 2016 at 1:23 PM ^

Why? Sexual assault is not a political topic, nor should it be controversial. It's a terrible thing and it's up to everyone, men and women to stop it.

Awareness about it and its prevention is also highly important and an article like this by a local NFL player is a big deal.

Everyone Murders

April 29th, 2016 at 1:25 PM ^

Hats off to Levy for taking a position on this issue.  It's fascinating that from his perspective men are not "getting" what constitutes rape. 

Let me start with clearest version of the message I’d like to communicate:

Consent only occurs when a woman clearly says yes. Consent is not being naked, it’s not kissing, and it’s not touching or flirting. It’s a clear, freely given yes, which is not the same as the absence of a no.  

That's a hugely important message - one most parents have conveyed to their sons and daughters, I hope.  Coming from Levy, hopefully it will find more ears than from another spokesperson.


April 29th, 2016 at 2:49 PM ^

I was never even flat-out told not to rape or sexually assault anyone.

This quote stuck out to me. I mean, I wasn't either. I filed rape under "treating women with respect" which was always my moms message to me. But better understanding that rape/sexual assault is more than having sex with a girl as she cries no as your 3-toothed buddy Jim-Bob holds her down while he is laughing*. I wish I knew what I know now 5 years ago, and talking about it like this is a great way for 15-21 year olds to learn these lessons before it's too late.

*sadly, Hollywood seems to only think of rape this way. Sure, South Park isn't probably the best example to use, but the imagery the used to express the "raping" of Lucas and Speilbergs most precious characters literally reduced George Lucas to 2 teeth. 



April 29th, 2016 at 3:21 PM ^

is a whole lot of truth to this, but there is also the truth that there are few things worse in this world than a person being charged and/or convicted of a very serious crime that they did not commit.  As important as it is for our culture to develop a more complete, nuanced idea of sexual assault, it is also very important that such an understanding of the problem does not result in an over-encompassing definition of the crime wherein people in that 17-21 age group could get convicted of crimes where they truly had no criminal culpability. 

Levy's definition of the crime treads perilously close to proposing a definition of consent that is so narrow as to make the scenario where consent exists almost unrealistic, non-existent, and/or subject to unilateral rescision that arguably may not even have to be communicated. Very few people of either gender are going to stop and execute a binding verbal contract with each other before continuing in certain circumstances and I think there are circumstances where the "absence of no" and very strong contextual indicators does amount to consent.  The word "yes" does not appear in any laws concerning sexual assault.  Further, Levy's article, when taken to its complete conclusion, would indicate that "yes" can actually mean "no" in certain circumstances that might not always be obvious to those involved. That is a problem.

As somebody with young sons, I of course am concerned with the victims of sexual assault and developing better insight of the crime as a culture to prevent it from happening, but I am also concerned with not creating a culture where consent is almost an illusory concept.  That is why I think education as to the issue on both sides of the gender isle is imperative.


April 29th, 2016 at 3:54 PM ^

I can agree there. When I was in my late teens, I wasn't really in a position where I could afford to ruin the mood with an "are you sure?"  Luckily I can say everything was on the up and up.

But I could see how two drunk college students having fun could turn into regret the next morning. I don't think that should turn into rape/sexual assault the next morning. And your points about context clues is a great one. Not to oversimplify things, or compare the severity of these two things, but it is almost like a catch in football. A catch is a catch when you see one, but the rule is written in a certain way, and so over defined that you can't even get it right on slow motion reviews half the time. 


April 29th, 2016 at 4:27 PM ^

"afford to ruin the mood" is exactly the crap he's talking about. Why exactly can't you afford to take a moment for that? Why do you need to be thankful it was on the up-and -up instead of making sure it is?

I'm not trying to say you made any mistakes, because maybe there wasn't a hint of a gray area in your situation, but not wanting to ruin the mood is not a valid reason not to be 100% sure.

Michigan Shirt

April 29th, 2016 at 4:39 PM ^

I still ask my wife every time and have never felt it ruin the mood at all, except when she says no :(, that's always a mood killer. I never really thought about doing it until just now, but that's how I've always done it, hopefully that's how most people do it. Always best to know both parties are into it for sure.


April 30th, 2016 at 1:45 PM ^

Insecurity is a hell of thing. My first post stated that I wish I had known what I do now back then. I didn't think I needed to repeat that. So yeah I agree with you. I wish I wouldn't have had that mentality. My experiences were always in a relationship, lead to a relationship, or initiated by the other party. I'm glad my insecurity never lead to a sketchy situation, but I can definitely see how it could have. The unwillingness or fear to speak up and ask. Overreliance on context clues. That could potentially lead to something bad.


April 29th, 2016 at 4:05 PM ^

But here's something that's hopefully more positive for your young sons: Consent is Sexy.

This is a new slogan (? or something?) that's being promoted as a way to avoid the grey areas that you're talking about. Sexual assault is inherently a difficult topic, as sex is extremely personal and everyone's definition might not match everyone elses. "What's OK" is not a clear line. As you say, context is very important.

That's where the "Consent is Sexy" part comes in. Excessive positive feedback from both parties would serve to A - eliminate any grey area and B - improve the actual sexual interaction.


April 29th, 2016 at 4:25 PM ^

Your arguments are for a perfect world that doesn't exist. The numbers are not equal and therefore cannot be treated as such.  Too large a percentage of women, like women you know personally, have faced sexual assualt.  When the number of sexual assualt victims reduces DRAMATICALLY, and when the #1 KILLER OF WOMEN stops being the male species then I believe we'll be at a better vantage point to consider the possibility of false rape accusations raising. 

Be serious here, woman are being scared for life and your top concern is a false rape allegation.  Lets focus more energy and effort on the real assualts that occur that go unpunished.  If full and clear consent (a YES, her unbuttoning your pants) is too high a bar then maybe sex isn't for you at this time.    


April 29th, 2016 at 5:08 PM ^

I think Levy makes some very good points about what constitutes rape. Having a clear "yes" is a great rule of thumb.

Where I got uncomfortable was his example of gang rape where the victim said yes because she was intimidated. The reason that troubles me is that there was a clear yes, which he says should be required. But then the perpetrators would have to get inside the victim's head to determine whether her explicit yes really meant yes.

I'm not suggesting that that particular situation is not rape. But, let's say these guys get charged. Under the standard of "we had a clear yes", could they really be convicted? 

Kudos to him for starting the conversation. It's incredibly important.

Cranky Dave

April 29th, 2016 at 1:29 PM ^

I just watched an episode of Law & Order SVU about a college girl who did porn in order to pay for tuition.  Two guys raped her under the guise that hey she does porn, including simulated rape.  They weren't convicted so the girl left school and went into porn full time, because as she said the world now believes i'm a slut who every guy is entitled to have sex with.  Awful stuff. 


April 29th, 2016 at 1:34 PM ^

be completely honest, I believe he is legally incorrect with regard to a couple of the examples he gives.  It is a powerfully written piece nonetheless and I applaud him for writing it.


April 29th, 2016 at 1:38 PM ^

It's good to see sportpersons are acknowledging that they live in the same world as the rest of the fans. I understand this is a sports blog and some people are quesy about talking anything other than a tightly thrown spiral or Don Brown's Bear front philosophy or why Beilein must be fired. But the sportspersons we follow here are 18-22 year olds who are going to grow up to be tomorrow's leaders. I don't think it's out of line to link or discuss what they are thinking/doing away from sports on this site. 


April 29th, 2016 at 5:12 PM ^

The most incredible thing about the recent conviction of Sam Ukwuachu is that, after he raped his victim, he told her, "this isn't rape." Uh, if you have to say that, yes it is. "I'm not a racist, but . . .", "I'm not a homophobe, but . . ." YES YOU ARE.

What made the Baylor stuff way more appalling was the half-assed "investigation" the university did. And, it yanked the victim's scholarship. Absolutely shameful.


April 29th, 2016 at 2:33 PM ^

Unfortunately there will always be isolated incidents with individuals everywhere; especially colleged-age kids who drink and/or do drugs.   The thing that makes Tennesee so repulsive is that a player did the right thing by helping the survvor and was beat up by his teammates twice for it and called a traitor by his coach.  That is a bad place.  That is Joe Paterno level stuff.  


But your point is valid.  It is hard to be holier-than-thou.


April 29th, 2016 at 2:41 PM ^

Not to mention the Knoxville police coordinate with the Tennessee coach to protect the football players.

And Baylor has had a steady stream of rape and domestic abuse cases the past few years, that somehow just goes mostly ignored by the Waco PD, the university, and most media outlets. Briles's players have been involved in some disgusting shit.


April 29th, 2016 at 2:30 PM ^

"It’s truly astounding the number of awful things that occur in this world because men are afraid of appearing weak."

It's awesome that this was in a very large typeface in the article because it is true, in my own estimation. One thing that I personally cannot stand is when people still say things or even justify things in the "boys will be boys" way because it tells me that - first and foremost - your opinion of those boys is alarmingly low anyway (or your expectations for them are low), and more to the point, in your mind there is some distinction between "male" behavior and, say, "being a civil human being". 

It's very easy to have the "boys will be boys" gripe at events with other fathers, come to think of it, when your shirt has Rainbow Dash on it. At least they know you're sincere in your disgust.


April 29th, 2016 at 3:08 PM ^

Really happy to see Levy talking about this, especially so well. I've been proud of our Detroit teams and their spokespeople lately for speaking out for good.


April 29th, 2016 at 3:11 PM ^

that reviews the legal risks would be very advisable.

It's great if she says yes and you're both sober, but is that really enough?

How does an individual (male or female) go about proving that consent for sex was received and when it was received?

I hear people say "well, yes means yes, you idiot...duh!"

I guess in the future we'll all be carrying around digitally signed mobile contracts, or wear body cams or purchase personal floating drones/droids recording our every endeavor, and it somehow will won't be hackable, nor regarded as a violation of privacy or "creepy".




April 29th, 2016 at 3:37 PM ^

one person falsely convicted of rape is one too many.  The ramifications for such a person both in and out of prison are far too destructive.  Both bridges needs to be crossed at exactly the same time.


April 29th, 2016 at 4:46 PM ^

I think they meant "every 100 alleged rapists".

I'm not surprised, given the current climate where due process has become an afterthought certain people wish to see the accused considered guilty until proven innocent.



April 29th, 2016 at 4:50 PM ^

how incredibly brainwashed men are in this country. This thread is embarrassing.

Men commit SUICIDE at 4X the rate of women.


They receive 63% longer prison sentences than women for the same crime:


Women have five years longer LIFE EXPECTANCY than men in this country.


They don't even keep prison rape statistics because no one gives a crap about what happens to men in there.

Hopefully someday men care as much about themselves, the death, and disposability of their own gender as they do women's problems.

Rape is a horrible thing I wouldn't wish on anyone. Also there are issues at least as important as these that people need to start TALKING ABOUT that have to do with men.

If you don't like it you can negbomb me to the depths of hell.



April 29th, 2016 at 4:53 PM ^

1. Suicide is for the weak. 2. Prison sentences should be harsher, broadly speaking. 3. They're in prison, why should we care what happens to them? They're lucky they are getting a roof, three square meals, and rec time. A bullet would be much cheaper.


Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad