While this material is mostly based on the post-Soviet realities, it does include parts that might be relevant to other countries and regions. Let’s take off.

In 2012 in Ukraine Oksana Makar was raped and murdered. Together with two unfamiliar men aged 22 and 23, she drank in a café-bar, whereupon they went to an apartment of their common 24-year-old friend, where the crime took place.

The next notorious incident occurred with a sixteen-year-old Anna Shatova in Novosibirsk three years ago. While living in a dorm, she didn’t make it home before 23:00 (the time after which doors are closed for the night) and joined her friend (or boyfriend) who was at home-party with his friends.

Fortunately, no one was killed, but the girl was raped by several people (four to five) aged 15–19. As “Komsomolskaya Pravda” writes: “It’s not clear how many people raped the girl <…>” as she was unconscious. It is also not quite clear how much alcohol (or drugs) was consumed at the apartment. The rapists say that everybody drank alcohol and used drugs while Anna claims that she didn’t use any drugs and according to the tests her blood is “clean”. Although the same article quotes the mayor of Yekaterinburg Yevgeny Roizman: “But the worst thing is that no drug test can identify the “salt” <…>”, where “salt” is some newfangled drug.

The story of Irina Sycheva is similar to the story of Shatova. After drinking too much alcohol at a party she took a guy to the toilet where she was raped.

Apparently, wanting to show their coolness, Shatova rapists posted online a photo of the naked girl and Sycheva rapists posted a video of the whole process. These materials received wide publicity and subsequently, the two girls went to the police to report rape. They didn’t go to the police straight ahead as they didn’t want to ruin the lives of the rapists.

The story of Diana Shurygina is as trivial as the previous ones: teens got drunk on a party and the sixteen-year-old Diana was raped by a 21-year-old guy to whom she seemed to be sympathetic.

The recent campaign #IAmNotAfraidToSay can be also recalled. It was held in social networks and its purpose was to talk about violence against women.

Why Sexual Violence Is a Problem

Let’s assume a pupil or a student is reading this and the abovementioned cases don’t touch him from a moral point of view. “It’s her fault, she wanted it, she provoked”, — and so on. Alright, maybe it was the case (if we take a closer look at the cases some parts of them are indeed very controversial and even contradictory). But who actually went to the jail?

All rapists went to the prison for 3−10 years. Just think about these numbers. Only yesterday you were a young trendy guy who was hanging out with his friends and tomorrow you are going to jail to join real criminals who will only be happy to see such “boys” that have no criminal experience.

It is likely that the prison will break the guy and with a criminal record, he’ll not be able to get a normal job in Russia. In ten years everyone will forget about the notorious case that could have been controversial, but a rape conviction will be in his bio.

As for relations, if it was a big case (as the above), then it will be hard to start any relationship as Google doesn’t forget anything and all a person needs is to type someone’s name to see one’s greatest achievements (good and bad ones).

In sum, in my eyes, all convicted guys have already put an end to their life and they still have to go through the Russian prison and live their whole life with this mark. So it’s important because of the Russian prison. Let’s forget about morality, feelings, feminism and other abstract things. The reason is that if you rape a girl (or even give a reason to think about that!) then you can get into a Russian prison. Yes, the one where there’re a lot of inmates in one cell, unsanitary conditions, shower once a week, cockroaches, rats, tuberculosis, tough guards and, of course, sexual violence.

It is not the West, where professionals will work on your case for years and carefully work over every piece of evidence only to get to the truth. It is Russia here (or any other former Soviet country). At some point, the boss will come and will tell to put the guy in jail for “that many” years, simply because the authorities do not want social unrest. And the young and promising guy will go to prison. I’m sure the inmates will carefully listen to you about how much she is a “whore” and you were “set up”.

What to Do With All This?

This video fits this topic very much:

Probably some of the readers roll their eyes and think how obvious all this is, but I have a different opinion. There is simply no such concept as “consent” in the post-Soviet space. And most cases described in the video were in place in the abovementioned rapes: (a) the girl says both “yes” and “no”, (b) the girl says “yes” and then says “no”, (c) the girl says “yes” and then passes out, (d) the girl is passed out. Yes, all of these situations occurred, so I’m completely serious.

Some Advice to Guys

The basic principle: don’t rape girls. In general, all condemn rape in its “classical” version of sexual assault towards a stranger.

Alcohol and friends:

  • Be sober. In most cases, either the guy or the girl or the whole company consumed alcohol and / or A drunk person has nothing to do with a sober person, so if you have serious plans for the girl (and your life), therefore be sober and don’t let her drink. In this case, you can take her away from your drunk buddies, call the police or just neighbors.
  • If you’re planning to drink — do it with guys. If your plan is to “get wasted” then it would be wise to do it only with guys. Just put the phones away so you wouldn’t be able to inadvertently invite any girls (or even worse — a girl) to the party.
  • Learn how to party. In theory, parties are fun — there is the same number of guys and girls, everybody drinks, but just to relax, everybody is cheerful and has a good time, some couples go to the rooms to have some time alone etc. In the post-Soviet realities, everything is different: the gender balance is usually shifted towards men and in addition to the enormous doses of alcohol, cheap drugs are consumed. In order to make this event more civilized one can start, again, with moderate (minimal) doses of alcohol.
  • Pay attention to your behavior in a group. It is well known that people in groups behave differently than on their own. So don’t be a herd that rapes an unconscious girl in five and then puts it online.

In general, in a company it would be best to stay sober and that the majority would be sober, then there wouldn’t be any inadequate group actions. Also, it is better to avoid situations when there are a lot of guys in a group, but only one or two girls. However, even the presence of many girls doesn’t prevent from going to a room with a girl and conducting the rape there. So we arrive at the paragraph about the girls:

  • Be considered to the wishes of the girls that you know. In many cases, rapists are people that the victim knows. It is evident in the mentioned cases. A girl can go to a person’s apartment, to a group of friends on a party and so on just because she trusts these people and feels safe. This does not mean that she 100 % “wants” exactly you. Yes, probably she has some sympathy, but this does not mean that specifically at this gathering she wants sex. Maybe she came to have fun and that’s all. So be attentive to her desires, no matter how foolish they can be. It’s better to tolerate her whim than to be in a jail, right?
  • A “no” is almost always a “no”. If you’re both sober and she says “no”, then almost always it really means “no”. Of course, there’s this tricky “no” and it all depends on the situation. There are plenty of reasons why she says “no”: lack of sexual experience, shyness, lack of confidence, fatigue, she has her period and so on. If you see that her “no” isn’t a playful “no” that says “go on” (and this also happens), then it’s better to just stop and ask what’s the case. Even if she cannot give a clear answer it is better to stop. Keep in mind that you don’t listen to her “no” today and a couple of months later it is quite possible that the convicts will not listen to yours.
  • A drunk “yes” isn’t always equal to a sober “yes”. You can’t be sure that tomorrow she will not go to the police reporting a rape (and there’s nothing you can do about it). Also, even if you were both extremely drunk and everything was mutual, the chance to catch a disease or get pregnant increases dramatically. Can’t live without alcohol — consume a minimum amount of it (one or two glasses).
  • Make sure she’s safe if she’s unconscious. That means that don’t let your drunk friends hit on her, take care of her if she starts vomiting and so on. An unconscious person doesn’t want anything and certainly doesn’t want to be raped.
  • She can say “yes” and then “no”. If she says “no” at the last moment then just stop and don’t continue. Do you feel stupid? Upset? What’s going on, right? But that’s no reason to rape her. Remember that an average sex with some girl is not worth being blackmailed or even gooing to jail at the beginning of your life.
  • If you are not sure — imagine your relatives. The basic concept of ethics: would you like to be treated like this? If not sure in the situation, then think whether you would want your mother, grandmother, future daughter, sister or aunt be treated like this.
  • No need to “push” or “force” the girl and seek sex by any means. A very bad practice in post-Soviet countries lies in the fact that sleeping with a girl is considered a great achievement and one should seek it by any means necessary. And after sleeping, it’s necessary to increase this number otherwise “the guys will laugh”. Therefore any girls’ doubts are met with skepticism and sex is “pushed” or even “forced”. This is, of course, sad for both parties. There’s no need to “push” sex and there’s certainly no need to think about “what the guys will think”. Again — today you are the “alpha male” and tomorrow you are abused in prison. And you won’t care much what “the guys will think”.
  • Don’t sleep with just anyone. It is a very important point, as in many of the abovementioned rapes a lot of information came up after the publicity about the families of the girls and their reputation. A lot of them are from bad and poor families and many of the girls have not the best reputation (some of them were described by some people as “she sleeps with everyone”). I’m not going to say that this is true or not true, but the point is that a girl of low social status and / or with a bad reputation is less burdened with morality and other things like that. You may get an STD from her (if “she sleeps with everyone”), she may blackmail you that she will go to the police and demand money from your family, she may say that she’s pregnant and also use it to blackmail you and so on depending on her imagination. So, in general, don’t be a fool and think what are you doing and with whom.

Let’s summarize for the guys: (a) less alcohol for everybody, (b) don’t be part of a herd, (c) listen to the girl. You can “get lucky” this time, but the other time you will become an internet hero known by the whole country, who, of course, will get prison time — all “heroes” of these stories ended up in prison. Do you want it?

However, even if you’re lucky and you didn’t end up in jail, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to complicate your life with things like STDs or blackmail. Because of the post-Soviet specifics, we can surely say that a large number of cases are resolved without the police and without any publicity. Do you want to deprive your family of all the savings and go into debt? I seriously doubt that it’s worth it.

Some Advice to Girls

As it seems to me, girls can avoid such dangerous situations, but in this case, it should be admitted that part of the blame for what happened to her is on her. Everyone understands that going to Switzerland, Canada, and Spain is not the same thing as going to Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq. One understands that these countries are dangerous and you should behave appropriately and should be alert.

I understand that the rapist is the main cause of the crime, but it does change much? My goal is to prevent such crimes and by blaming the rapist we are assuming that the girl would be raped in any case. But in the real world, we always choose where we go to — Germany or Somalia and much depends on our choice.

That’s exactly why I don’t quite understand why is it so important for girls to walk half-naked in the night and demand security from being raped. If a person knows that he could be hypothetically be robbed, raped or killed at some place and at some time, then it is quite logical not to show up at that place at that time. This applies to rape performed by strangers.

With regard to rape, performed by acquaintances, I’ll start with the basics, which, I think girls don’t really understand or don’t want to understand:

  • Guys want sex. If someone demonstrates an interest in you keep in mind that his ultimate goal is sex. It doesn’t mean that the relationship will end after it, but only a complete nerd will argue that he is with you for your “soul, emotions, your mind etc.”. Especially at such a young age, all guys want sex and that’s fine. If you’re invited home — you know what the purpose is. Once you realize this, you can really have the situation in control.

I think the problem of rape between acquaintances (a girl and a guy, not a father and a daughter) is misunderstanding. And not misunderstanding during the act itself, but generally during the entire relationship.

  • Decide what do you want yourself. What do you want from this guy and from this day? Is he only a friend and at the party you just want to hang out and relax? Then just say it. In advance. Just say: “I see you as a friend because…” and then a clear reason. It is in your best interest to make so that he will leave you alone and will not bother you at every possible moment. No need to hide and be silent. No one can read your mind. If you don’t do it you might experience “harassment” in the apartment (according to you), while the guy will consider it making the next step. Same applies to parties. If you, for example, sympathize a guy but on this party, you just want to have fun, then just say it beforehand. In this case, he will know that you are “together” and will not let his drunk friends to you and will not hit on you because you showed sympathy and shared your plans with him.
  • Don’t be afraid to take the initiative. This point completes the previous. If you share your plans and desires you take the initiative in your hands and thus make yourself safer. You say what, where, when and how and any adequate guy is only happy of such transparency. He doesn’t need to “push” or “force” you — he knows what’s in your head and won’t go on when you don’t want it or you are “not ready”. Guys are not animals — you just need to discuss everything with them openly.
  • Decide for yourself what exactly do you want. Here’s an example:

  • So the girl started kissing with a guy (both pretty drunk), they went to the bed and then she had “second thoughts” and instead of just saying “No!” and leaving she tried to switch the topic to books: “Do you like books?” Even I, a reading person, couldn’t say anything decent during such moment. Having found nothing better than to say “I’m on my period!” she got offended when the guy (obviously quite excited) said: “Can I at least get some head?” and then she stood up and proudly walked away. The whole situation is completely abnormal. If you’re not ready to lose your virginity — what is the point in going to a drunk party and dumping someone at the last moment. Why not just say: “I’m a virgin and I’m not ready. I thought that I could do it, but I can’t”? What’s the point in starting to talk about books and then proudly leaving? Such behavior is simply foolish. I would have understood if she was honest and openly shared her worries, but she started talking about books. Therefore: decide very clearly for yourself what do you want, where do you want, when do you want and with whom. Going to a drunk party as a virgin is not the best decision. Better find a sympathetic guy and tell him your situation. Any adequate person will understand and appreciate it and you will have everything when you both will decide on it. But saying “no” to a drunk guy in the last moment is unwise and dangerous. Yes, you can buy a ticket and throw a tantrum while boarding the plane. It’s everyone’s right but there’s little logic in such behavior. It is possible to say “no” after “yes” and it should be used when necessary. But it should be a kind of “emergency exit” and it’s better to disclose the reason (otherwise he will think that you’re playing with him and can become angry and you don’t need it).
  • “Yes” should mean “yes”, “no” should mean “no”. It seems to me that girls for some reason cannot clearly express their wishes. I had cases when a vague “no” turned into a “yes” and both were satisfied. This is not normal. No need to say “no” if you think “yes” and no need to say “yes” if you think “no”. By doing so you devalue these words and guys have a myth of “breaking” girls — “she’s just shy, she’ll soon say “yes”, I just need to try more and harder”. And if everything has gone well with you, the situation, however, may be different with another girl. Her “no” can really mean “no” and the guy will be “breaking” her.

So, in general, girls be open and honest (“transparent”). Take the initiative. In my opinion, it is better to “dig” in your head for a couple of days and express your position openly (and thereby be in control of the situation and the relationship), than to experience a rape (which may even become a public case), and develop a lot of problems and phobias for your lifetime.

And a few simple practical tips:

  • Stop drinking and using drugs. I think it’s obvious. Aren’t you afraid yourself to get wasted with a bunch of men? A glass or two of wine (max) and that’s it. Want to get drunk? Invite your (girl)friends and drink together; the chance of being raped decreases significantly.
  • Be careful in groups. If girls are in the minority, then be alert. If everybody is heavy drunk, then be even more alert or just leave. Take a cab or, even better — call your parents so you don’t get into trouble during the night. Best of all is when everybody doesn’t drink much and everybody is sober.
  • Worst case — defend yourself. If the guy doesn’t hear you and pays no attention to your clear demands to stop or even to your screams, then it’s time to defend. Keep at close hand, for example, a pepper spray, which you shouldn’t be afraid to use (you can play along with the rapist and ask him to pass your bag to you under the pretext that there are condoms and you feel “safer” with you own). After the spray kick him a couple of times in the balls and you’ll get a chance to save yourself.
  • If something (unfortunately) does happen — go to the police. No matter how humiliating and unpleasant it was, but you need to act within the law. Don’t blackmail the rapist or accept money from him — it throws a shadow on all the girls who were raped.

In sum: (a) guys want sex, make decisions taking this fact into account; (b) be open — if you like him — say so, you want sex — tell when, you are “just friends” — just say so; (c) “yes means “yes”, “no” means “no”; (d) if you have any doubts, then share these doubts — no need to jump to another subject; (e) you have the right to say “no” at the last minute, but it’s better not to fall into such situation for your own good — the guy can be aggressive and you won’t leave so easily; (f) no alcohol or drugs; (g) keep in mind where are you going, what kind of a party it is (“Germany” or “Afghanistan”) and that crime occurs even in “Germany”, therefore, in case of any potential danger leave quickly and (h) go to the police, if a rape, unfortunately, has happened.

Some Advice to the Society

Today’s girls and guys are a product of the current post-Soviet society, which in many ways is completely unhealthy.

  • The attitude towards alcohol. A significant number of adults “condemn” alcohol, but any celebration is accompanied by alcohol consumption in the family. Sometimes it is even so that the more active relatives beset the sober ones and almost force them to drink. It is not surprising that in such a society young people believe that getting inadequately drunk is “OK”. Before condemning the younger generations, flush all the alcohol in the apartment into the toilet and throw all the bottles in the trash. If you can’t live without alcohol one bottle of wine for one to three glasses a week will do.
  • Culture of pastime. I can quite surely say that in the last couple of years more exhibitions are being promoted in Moscow compared to the past. Museums are sometimes opened at night (“A night at the Museum”), parks are being renovated and more cultural activities are created, improved or popularized. This is the right decision — people should have an alternative to “getting wasted at home”. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that there are much fewer cultural activities in small towns and this should be taken into account. It should also be remembered that nothing stops from getting together with friends (of both sexes) at someone’s apartment and listen to the music, drink wine (if alcohol cannot be omitted), play some board games (“Monopoly”, “Jenga”, “Twister”) and chat. Unless, of course, such activities wouldn’t be called “nerdy” or “geeky” (see, for example, “The Big Bang Theory”) and “get drunk & get laid” wouldn’t be heroized (what is currently being done in the movies).
  • Inadequate rules. Anna Shatova didn’t make it to her dorm before 23:00 and that’s why she was on the street. Why should dorms be closed at night? Why an adult person in the XXI century cannot just come home anytime he or she wants and needs? There are many reasons why a girl or a guy can stay late: work, study, a party, a date. One can even get back from his hometown in the middle of the night — that’s the train schedule. And so the student should be a homeless guy for the whole night, exposing himself (and his property) to risk?
  • Stop raising “princesses” and “princes”. I also think that the current parenting style is outdated and creates many problems. Guys are taught that they “have to” “conquer” girls, “take the initiative” and so on. Girls are taught that they “have to” be meek, modest, mysterious, have a maximally ambivalent attitude towards sex and so on. He has to be a “man” who has to “get” sex at any cost possible, and she has to be a “girl” who has to “keep the defense” as long as possible. In practice, we get guys who really “get” sex at any possible cost (and get offended when being rejected, since they putting all the effort), and girls give up after some time and are like “okay, so be it, do what you need to do”.

The whole current parenting system should go to the landfill. Guys don’t have to do anything for sex. It’s not such a great thing to pursue it any cost and get into trouble. Girls shouldn’t look like some kind of chaste old lady that don’t enjoy and don’t understand sex. Girls shouldn’t look like some mysterious and weird creatures that behave extremely irrational. If you like a guy and you like sex — it is normal. Only from girls I’ve heard how much they suffer that “it was a mistake”, “I shouldn’t have slept with him” and so on. Only from girls, I’ve heard “I’m not ready” even though everybody got their period a long time ago and the body is definitely ready for everything. This is kind of a guilt indoctrination.

Girls should not be raised as cakes that “are not ready”, but as full members of the modern society who can take the initiative when they want something, can talk openly about their feelings and worries, can clearly say “no” which would mean “no” and can openly tell a guy that they love sex. We need to educate boys, not as conquerors who have to get “laid” with the maximum number of girls at any cost, because otherwise, you’re a “loser” and a “virgin”, but as modern men that can decide for themselves when and with whom they want to lose their virginity (and not with a random person while being wasted since the “guys will laugh at me”), and for whom sex is not the purpose of the whole life.


In conclusion, I would like to say that even though it is a very difficult topic, it is useful to keep in mind that there are many simple “rules”, following which can help one avoid unpleasant situations. Also, adults and the society should be mindful of their parenting (but not sanctimonious!) role and that they are role models for their children. Disrespect for your wife / husband, alcohol consumption, and sofa-television pastime are very easily absorbed by the younger generation, which, not finding activities for themselves on the decadent streets of the post-Soviet cities and villages, gathers into groups, drinks and gets into trouble.

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Stefan Vanli

Editor

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Moscow

Russia