Rapists talk about their crimes on Redditt causing online storm

The Reddit discussion on “ask a rapist” was started by researchers from Georgia State University wishing to explore the psychology of sexual violence. The threat allowed self-identifying rapists to narrate their experiences anonymously. Before long, it caused an online storm and needed to be removed.

Researchers were interested at looking into how rapists justified their actions. The post said:

“Reddit’s had a few threads about sexual assault victims, but are there any redditors from the other side of the story? What were your motivations? Do you regret it?”

The responses made for difficult reading, causing an outcry as many claimed that the discussion gave rapists the chance to achieve catharsis by crafting their own narrative of events in which they justified their actions, making them inevitable.

The reasons for rape given refered to rapists feeling that they had a biological need with one commenter stating that an “erect dick has no conscience” and many other posts pushed the blame onto the victim showing that the rapists had not really repented or regretted their crime.

Posts were anonymous, hence some of the stories could be force, however there were also unusually frank insights into the psychology of the rapist.

The study narrowed the original 12,000 posts to just 68 first-hand accounts from the first two days of postings on the basis that those ones would be less likely to have been influenced by the media attention the thread was getting.

The researchers hope their study will inform research and aid rape prevention efforts.

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