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Duly Noted

Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012, 1:52 pm

Anti-Rape Activist Alyssa Royse Duped By Rapist

By Lindsay Beyerstein

Anti-rape activist Alyssa Royse sure is gullible. Her friend told her that he didn't know it was rape to stick his penis in a sleeping woman. He swore he had no idea before he went ahead and did it. Royse believed him.

She agrees that her friend committed rape but she maintains that, "The problem isn’t even that he’s a rapist." (Tell that to the victim.)

In Alyssa's view, the problem is that our society confuses men about when it's appropriate to stick their penises in women. How ironic that an anti-rape activist is friends with the only person on the planet who doesn't know that sex with an unconscious person is rape.

Royse thinks it's understandable that her friend would be confused. His victim had been flirting with him for weeks and she seemed interested in having sex with him that night, that is, before she fell asleep:

To a large degree, my friend thought he was doing what was expected. And while he was wrong, weeks of flirting, provocative dancing and intimate innuendo led him to believe that sex was the logical conclusion of their social intercourse. Many people watching it unfold would have thought that, too.

Let's try a thought experiment:

The woman agreed to catch the midnight screening of Lincoln with this guy, but then she fell asleep. The correct response would be to: a) Wake her up and ask if she still wants to go to the movie, or b) Pick her up and carry her to the Cineplex?


The woman ordered a pizza and offered to share it with the guy, but she fell asleep before the pizza arrived. Should he, a) Wake her up for pizza, or b) Shove some pizza in her mouth while she's sleeping?

If Alyssa's friend can grasp the basics of sleep, he can understand why it's not okay to penetrate a sleeping person, even if they were totally excited about having sex before they fell asleep.

Alyssa should ask herself why her supposedly nice friend didn't wake the girl up, if he was so sure she wanted sex.

Lindsay Beyerstein is an award-winning investigative journalist and In These Times staff writer who writes the blog Duly Noted. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her photographs have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times' City Room. She also blogs at The Hillman Blog (, a publication of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit that honors journalism in the public interest.

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