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Women's Bodies

College Newspaper Article: “Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It and Benefits Ugly Women”


An opinion piece in a college newspaper, described as satire by editors, drew strong protests Thursday from members of the Central Connecticut State University community outraged at its topic – extolling the virtues of rape.

The Feb. 7 article in The Recorder , headlined “Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It,” argues that rape has been a positive force in western civilization and benefits “ugly women.”
Students rallied in protest at the school Thursday and called for the resignation of the article’s writer John Petroski, and newspaper editor Mark Rowan.

An apology was posted on a bulletin outside The Recorder’s office in the school’s student center.

“We didn’t know the campus community as well as we thought we knew, and because of that that’s why we’re getting this backlash and we’re sorry because of it,” Rowan wrote in the apology.

Right. If they’d known these guys better, they’d have gotten the joke. They have no sense of humor. I mean, come ON. Everybody jokes about rape. It’s just so FUNNY.

Thanks to jfr for e-mailing this story to me.



35 thoughts on “College Newspaper Article: “Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It and Benefits Ugly Women”

  1. “that’s why we’re getting this backlash and we’re sorry because of it”

    Sounds like they are more sorry that they’ve gotten ‘a backlash’ than anything else.

    These two dudes misjudged the campus because they thought that misogyny and the rape culture were far more prevalent and acceptable than they predicted, that is all.

    With college campus rapes being much higher than the outside world, it is doubtful that it is a joking matter (unless you are male, and unless you are getting away with it).

    Posted by stormy | February 10, 2007, 8:03 am
  2. It’s a joking matter – I remember well.
    Too well.
    (naturally, in a male-dominated profession 70-90% of my peers were male)

    Posted by Sophie | February 10, 2007, 9:13 am
  3. I was out walking the dog this morning, thinking about this post, among other things, when all of a sudden I had a jolt of memory, of being of high school age, or perhaps junior high, and feeling like I was unredeemably ugly, an outcast, of no worth to anyone. It saddens me when I see that the conditions that create that mentality still exists today, that being ugly is still something to joke about and that for a woman to have sex with a man, any man, anyhow, anyway, is still considered by some young males as what all woman want. I graudated from high school in 1966.

    When I read the stories of horror, young girls raped in their beds, brutally murdered or abused by men, it is terrifying and to me emblematic of the patriarchal structure of our society that teaches men that if nothing else they are better than women, that they have a right to women’s bodies, to girls bodies, to do with as they want, but of course such acts of brutality can be passed off as “sickness”, not typical of most men, individual abberations. We can be afraid of “those” men without fearing “our” men. Somehow it is these stories, of ordinary guys, suceeding in ordinary ways, exercising their ordinary privilege, to demean women, that reveals to me how deep patriarchal thinking still permeates our society, as if I need any reminders.

    Posted by jfr | February 10, 2007, 12:41 pm
  4. Speaking as an “ugly” woman, I will gladly forfeit any supposed benefits I receive from the rape culture, as a sacrifice for my non-ugly sisters. Isn’t that generous of me? (Not really, because I haven’t actually noticed any.)

    Sheesh. I remember sometime back some asshole frat boy posted a solicitation on some fat community bulletin board about some party that they were having, where the ugliest girl there would “get” to have sex with all the guys. This was supposed to be some kind of PRIZE. Although it may have been a joke, the idea that fat women are and ought to be grateful for any sexual attention from men is alive and well, and something I’ve struggled against my entire adolescent and adult life. Why is it so hard for some men to fathom that some of us ARE NOT INTERESTED in their dicks?

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 10, 2007, 3:56 pm
  5. What Stormy said. They thought the campus would agree and laugh sadistically, so they published the story. They misjudged, and do not enjoy being called on what they did.

    Posted by profacero | February 10, 2007, 5:46 pm
  6. P.S. Amy: “Why is it so hard for some men to fathom that some of us ARE NOT INTERESTED in their dicks?”

    I would not say “some” men, I would say “most.” Of course one knows why: the patriarchal propaganda machine, which permeates everyone and especially men. It still is really amazing, though. I find that most believe women are here primarily to please and serve them – even when they hide this in polite company. And they turn ugly the moment they are faced with the idea that … maybe not.

    Posted by profacero | February 10, 2007, 5:50 pm
  7. It doesn’t surprise me that people think this way, though I think it’s awful.

    I was blogging today on rape or coerced sex(in lieu of arrest) which falls under the rape under the color of authority laws, by law enforcement officers and listing the employees with one local agency, but I wrote about an incident I witnessed years ago where my own knee-jerk attitudes make me cringe now. I think with all the messages even women receive about rape in this society that even we sometimes have to reexamine how we view it. And whether our views are based on reality or the stereotypes that are sometimes blatent. Sometimes so insidious, they permeate our thoughts without us knowing it or where they came from. My belief systems when I saw that incident weren’t as bad as the ones expressed here but were they any less harmful to women? They certainly weren’t harmless, because I was the witness to that. It didn’t help that the officer had seen me and showed up where I was waiting for my ride to work the next day and began yelling at me and that back then, any report by me would have been tossed in the circular file, but still I wished I had done something.

    Posted by Radfem | February 10, 2007, 6:28 pm
  8. I can honestly say that in my lifetime I have only seen a handful, if that, of people that I would consider to be “physically” ugly.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | February 10, 2007, 7:42 pm
  9. “I can honestly say that in my lifetime I have only seen a handful, if that, of people that I would consider to be “physically” ugly.”

    But I’ve seen a lot who were physically beautiful…until they opened their big f#$%^ng mouths and spoke. They then turned very ugly very quickly.

    Posted by CoolAunt | February 11, 2007, 1:07 am
  10. Eek! The way I left that comment, it looks like I’m insulting chasingmoksha. No! No! No! I’m not doing that at all. My comment only means that pretty is as pretty does. (Second time I’ve posted that here in as many days.)

    Posted by CoolAunt | February 11, 2007, 1:09 am
  11. “pretty is as pretty does”

    Are you developing some kind of catch-phrase CoolAunt? 😉

    Posted by stormy | February 11, 2007, 1:30 am
  12. Wow, this is seriously egregious. I mean, even by the misogynistic standards of right-wing “satire.” Even at DailyKos, hardly a bastion of feminism, people were totally disgusted by this article.

    Posted by Metal Prophet | February 11, 2007, 6:51 am
  13. “Hate” speech – type of speech which is used to deliberately offend an individual; or racial, ethnic, religious or other group. Such speech generally seeks to condemn or dehumanize the individual or group; or express anger, hatred, violence or contempt toward them.

    Legal aspects

    In the United States, government is broadly forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech. Jurists generally understand this to mean that the government cannot regulate the content of speech, but that it can sanction the harmful effects of speech through laws such as those against defamation or incitement to riot.


    Rape is a severe act of violence, and act of hate, anger. This supposed ‘joke’ about women and rape is deliberately offensive to individual women and the class of and group of women. What was said in that article is hate speech.

    When a person or group uses rape as a topic meant to belittle females or any person, that is hate speech.

    Rape is not an act of love; it is an act of hate. No jokes can be made that are acceptable surrounding violence against the people of women. To pretend that, for example, the college editorial is acceptable is to say that women are the not covered under Hate Speech.

    To pretend to be joking about rape places the speaker in no different position than is they talk about gassing, lynching, burning or otherwise harming groups of people or individuals.

    Those who justify or defend the right to verbally abuse others, to use hate speech often point to the value of unfettered free speech. Those who condemn and react to such abuse point to the harm done to its victims.

    Males have determined, by the power to make and enact laws, what Hate Speech is, using male sanctioned definitions, what is covered under hate speech, and consequently they have determined that females are not covered under hate speech, are fair game for abusive, offensive and hateful language.

    It is convenient and serves a purpose to males, to assist in subordinating females when they can use language as an aid, use hate words towards females without consequences.

    If the people of women were ‘allowed by men’ to be protected under hate speech laws then all of the ‘fun’ and common words used against us, such as bitch, c***, whore, ho, skank, pussy, (and the list is long), would all be a crime to utter.

    Males/men are not interested in lifting the weight of these words from women’s backs. Allowing the use of offensive language against females, excluding women from certain legal protections, further assists in maintaining a less than, not equal to man relationship.

    What those college students wrote is hate speech. As a womon, I claim it to be hate speech, and I should be allowed by the full extent of the law to pursue his language as the hate speech that it is.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | February 11, 2007, 1:47 pm
  14. Brilliant summation Uppity, brilliant.

    Posted by stormy | February 11, 2007, 9:00 pm
  15. After I heard the two boys speak today, I don’t feel as if they are sorry, take responsibility or truely know the pain they caused.
    It is sad that a place of learning created an enviernment in which two students thought this would be a good idea to publish this article of hate.
    Why focus on those two allone? Where are the faculty advisors? Where have they been for the last few years while articles of hate were published? What are the rules regarding sexual assault on campus? What is the school going to do about the fact that the school is not fallowing federal and state laws, spasifically title 9 and the Clery Act? What about those violations on the news?

    Posted by CCSU female student | February 13, 2007, 2:43 am
  16. I just think that these two are stupid.
    As a practicing journalist myself (ok, a practicing journalism student) I can say that they have no right to soil the profession that I love. True journalists don’t write about discriminatory articles that have not any ring of truth.

    Posted by geekcritic | February 13, 2007, 6:29 am
  17. I do not believe in politically correct speech or thought or in punishing free speech no matter how vile. That said, this piece is an ugly hunk of evidence that PC does not work and will never work. Forcing an artificial template of desired public behavior down on society did not prevent this carbuncle of thought. It did not prevent the ediots (for I cannot call the editors) from having no clue that this would be wretchedly cruel on every level; not to mention sophorically written and frankly only funny to those who think “Even more dirty jokes vol. 3” is the height of hilarity.
    It is however evidence that we have failed another generation of men. Society has allowed them to feel comfortable in the violent dismissively slimy patriarchal attitudes of their lumpen forefathers and neglected to give them even a rudimentary patina of manners, much less any core morals or consciences. It’s not the boys (for they cannot be called men) who should feel the most shame, it’s every teacher, every relative, every religeous leader, every person who ever claimed to have any influence over these people, clearly they were not doing their job.

    Posted by D. Long | February 13, 2007, 6:10 pm
  18. “It’s not the boys (for they cannot be called men)”

    Yeah, because no Real Man has ever gone and raped anyone. It’s just the immature boyish set doing that.

    Posted by Rich | February 13, 2007, 6:18 pm
  19. This was satire, written by a 23 yr. old kid. Their journal is full of sophomoric humor which appeals to kids that age. They made a mistake to think that they could poke fun at this issue, and they know it now. This isn’t the New York Times, folks. Give the kids a break, for crying out loud…..

    Read the rest of their pieces, many of which are styled after the Onion. It’s hard when you’re 23 to know exactly where that line is, because it moves. Watch Dane Cook or any comic their age, and you’ll see it differently. This was a humor piece that was in poor taste– not hate speech.

    There are damn few true journalists out there– they’re all drowned out by reporting about Anna Nichole Smith and Brittney Spears….

    Posted by stayingup2late | February 13, 2007, 6:20 pm
  20. I heard this 20+ something male speak about his intentions. His intentions weren’t to harm girls; he didn’t mean to drive some girls to think about suicide, he didn’t mean this or that regarding rape and girls.

    It was very telling that he stood there, a person, male on this planet for 23? years, in the year 2007, supposedly has enough brain matter to gain entry into a college, and he uses the word ‘girl’ to refer to the adult females, the WOMEN he offended and made hate speech towards, (including all females, but his apology was directed to the ‘girls’ on campus and elsewhere that may be a little upset).

    I view his writing as a fine example of the condition of those born male in this enlightened day and age. He cannot even acknowledge the offensiveness of referring to any female over the age of 12 as a ‘girl’.

    I refuse to accept that we are just so ignorant that we cannot appreciate his worldly talents in the field of satire, or his deep desire to bring to light the severity of rape.

    If this male cannot even call adult females, women, and sees us as children, refers to us as girls, I don’t believe he has any ability to do anything but tell the truth. His calling us ‘girls’ was a truth about how he views adult females, as less than him, a 20 something man and we are mere children to him regardless of our time on the planet.

    He told the truth about thinking rape is funny and necessary and he told the truth that he cannot respect women enough to not call us girls.

    He needs to learn the real definition of rape, receive education on what rape really is. He needs to see the photos of the 2 month old girl infant, raped, dead. He and all males of all ages need to know what rape truly is and make sure that they police their own and that rape is stopped, ended, and thing of the past.

    He is a glaring example of the condition called being born male, privileged and what we, as women, girl children, born female, become aware of, are terrorized by and are made aware of from our birth.

    Just my buck fifty’s worth.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | February 13, 2007, 6:49 pm
  21. Yeah. Plus, I’m not buying it. My 11-year-old son would be horrified by this essay. He would have been horrified by it when he was 8.

    This is a man who is used to saying whatever he wants without being concerned about the way what he says affects people. It would be bad enough for him to say this, as opposed to writing it– in fact, many men, maybe most men, have either said something like what’s in this essay or they’ve stood by as another man said it and never said a word about it. That’s where phrases like, “just lay back and enjoy it,” come from– that’s how most men think when it comes to rape. They don’t take it seriously. They don’t have to.

    What is egregious about this is, this man not only, say, said this at the bar to his buddies and everybody laughed about it, or something like that, he put pen to paper, typed it out on his computer, proofread it, sent it for editing, and then others read it, it made it to paste-up and got published in the newspaper. Lots of people saw it, read it, and let it go through. As people reacted with outrage or astonishment, the editor of the paper, Rowan, still didn’t get it and characterized the author as a brilliant satirist or something like that. These are astoundingly misogynist men, in a way that is scary. That’s why they aren’t getting a pass and shouldn’t, despite that they are in their 20s. They are adult men and there is no excuse or justification for this.


    Posted by womensspace | February 13, 2007, 7:01 pm
  22. I am also getting a lot of horrible comments from men defending this guy in ways that are really horrifying. I’m not going to approve any of these comments. But from my perspective, this essay could only have been written by someone who didn’t deviate very far from the much more misogynist/racist comments I am getting.

    This IS how most men talk with one another, especially young men, and it doesn’t concern them at all. It wasn’t long ago that I blogged about the incident here at SPU where men took photos out of students facebook pages and then rated them? Where is that, let me find that.


    Posted by womensspace | February 13, 2007, 7:09 pm
  23. The two students who are responsible for the “satire” should have to spend some time with actual rape survivors (incest, jail, etc.), survivors of eating disorder victims, and some overweight individuals [who have thought about, or attempted, suicide because of ridicule]. They should have to hear these peoples’ stories and write about them.

    If this crash course in sensitivity training doesn’t change their attitudes for the better, then they are just sociopaths.

    Posted by alamero1 | February 14, 2007, 2:19 am
  24. I disagree with you, stayingup2late. This was most definitely not satire. Satire is not hateful and discriminatory. Satire gets its point across through the clever use of words and situations, not the minimizing description of horrendous events.

    And since when was a 23-year-old considered a ‘kid’? As womensspace says, even an 8-year-old would know better. You’d think a 23-year-old MAN can see where this supposedly wavering line is. But I guess not.

    As a 27-year-old man, I’d like to put this incident behind all males, and chalk it up to the crappy decision-making of a writer and his ‘editor’. But that’s impossible, because I see this article representing a dark undercurrent in college-aged male culture.

    I’m a frequenter of forums and boards where males in their early-20s like to make their thoughts known. For the most part, people are respectful, but occasionally someone will post something vile and misogynistic. Then all the bandwagon jumpers post supporting comments. Taking the Internet with a grain of salt, and male testosterone and bravado for what they are, I’m still amazed by the number of people that seemingly support these hateful statements.

    I think that Petroski has, knowingly or unknowingly (but I think knowingly), tapped into the misogynistic feelings of many college males. Most won’t express themselves as such in public, and may even speak vehemently against it, but it’s still there. It may be the case that it’s only a few loudmouths leading the pack, but it’s worrying.

    Do I think misogyny is increasing, as someone mentioned above? I have no idea. It’s hard to see trends where the Internet is involved – everything is magnified and accelerated.

    But regardless of the larger social issue here, this particular incident calls for the resignations of Petroski and Rowan. Being of age, they should have known better. Given a public voice, they should have exercised due care. Being HUMAN BEINGS, they should have kept their ideas to themselves.

    Posted by wrongwords | February 14, 2007, 9:26 pm
  25. This articles paints Petroski in a two tones of bad light. First, it is poor satire. Petroski does take an absurd point of view, but what is his message? Is it to say rape is bad? Perhaps, but what is front page news about that?

    Is he merely trying to play shock-jock? If so, leave the shocking commentary to the likes of Howard Stern. Even Stern knows some lines must not be crossed — it is one thing to objectify women as sex objects, quite another to dehumanize them as objects of violence. And Stern often uses a little self-deprecating humour to remind us that his shocking is just so much bravado.

    In this search-engine era, John Petroski’s name will forever be tied to the headline: “Rape Only Hurts if You Fight It”. Future potential employers who do a cheap internet background search powered by Google will undoubtedly excavate this article. The stain on his reputation will follow him, in the end Petroski will pay a high price for the lack of judgement which led to his distasteful opinion piece.

    Posted by Sierra Golf | February 14, 2007, 10:13 pm
  26. Like many of you, we were disgusted and appalled by this article. Consequently, we contacted John Petroski. We believe that he has had his chance to be heard. Now, it is time to give survivors the chance to be heard. John Petroski has given us his e-mail address to forward any and all comments his way. We do not forward the e-mails with the person’s actual e-mail address listed anywhere (to protect their privacy). He can only respond to the e-mails through our blog (to help insure he does not accidentally or intentionally cause any more pain, we see all communications first). Please help everyone speak out at

    Posted by Mike | February 15, 2007, 4:05 am
  27. I read the apology by Petroski and his article on abortion. He is trying to play the innocent, as if he had no idea the effect his words would have. Maybe he is that blind, but his credibility is shot to hell, deservedly so. He is no friend of women, regardless of his protestations about how terrible he feels about the pain he did not mean to cause. Yeah right.

    Posted by Aletha | February 15, 2007, 5:16 am
  28. The latest update from him at is not encouraging!!

    Posted by Mike | February 16, 2007, 5:50 pm
  29. Mike,

    For some reason, I don’t have a warm fuzzy about you and your group.

    John already has read private recounts, in detail from women that have been raped.

    You ask that women send emails to you, and you will send them to John.

    I don’t know you, and I, personally, don’t trust you, as I don’t trust any male when it comes to rape.

    My gut reaction is that you are in this to promote your site, found this site, and use the traffic here to get hits on your site.

    That’s my gut reaction, along with feeling sick about any woman that might write to you, detailing her rape, which can be and is a boner factor for some males, and then you act as the mediator to send the material to Mr. John.

    None of this feels good. I have held off writing this. I wrote this same comment after your first post, and considering that you came back to dip in for more, I decided to release this comment.

    Something about this, imo, just isn’t shaking out as being right.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | February 16, 2007, 6:29 pm
  30. I agree Uppity. Raped women do not need some male to help us air our experience of brutality. Men know what we have suffered. They don’t listen to us. If I thought airing it “once again” would help I sure wouldn’t be asking Mike to “help” me. Be a big man somewhere else Mike.

    Posted by MedeaOnCrack | February 16, 2007, 6:35 pm
  31. Oh and I don’t give a shit about him and his updates. This just rapes all over again. Get fucking lost and take him with you.

    Posted by MedeaOnCrack | February 16, 2007, 6:36 pm
  32. Well, not to mention that if you google John Boy, you will find Mike showing up around the web, placing his same solicitation for emails.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | February 16, 2007, 6:52 pm
  33. Just another pimp making his living off women’s bodies.

    Posted by MedeaOnCrack | February 16, 2007, 7:05 pm
  34. “Raped women do not need some male to help us air our experience of brutality…Be a big man somewhere else Mike.”

    You’re so right, MedeaOnCrack. What does he think he is, some knight in shining armour?

    I’m brand new to this blog and forum, and just wanted to say that many of the posts and heart’s blog are really interesting and insightful.

    Petroski’s “humour” reminds me a bit of Brocket 99 (I’m not going to link – you can google it), a “satirical” tape making fun of first nations people and with a few violent comments directed towards women…sometimes people pretend to joke when they’re not.

    Posted by Lisa | February 18, 2007, 4:34 am

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