The Dark Side of Burning Man – Rape on the Playa (updates)

We brought this issue to your attention a couple of weeks back, it’s a serious one and needs to be addressed by the community – especially as the event gets bigger and intends to fertilize its seed around the world. Tackling a large social problem like this, that can’t easily be solved by any one institution in the Default world Meatspace, sounds like a great job for the Burning Man Project. Not sure what else they’re really doing, and it certainly seems to be beyond the capabilities of BMOrg to address it in any meaningful way. Encouraging to see it getting some mainstream media attention, at last; maybe that’s what we need to move this from the “too hard” basket to the “to do” list:

Whenever you hear about Burning Man, it’s often about the art, the peace, the spiritual enlightenment, and, most importantly, the freedom. Some burners, as the attendees like to be called, even feel as if that is their home and they can’t wait to get back to it every year.

This year, however, in addition to all the posts about how 2012 was the best burn ever, there was also a very different post entitled “Serial Rapist on the Playa.” It details the story of a 19-year-old girl who was strangled, drugged, and raped one night. According to the blog, which was written by the victim’s mother, who was also at Burning Man, she was found face down behind Emerald City. The people who found her assumed she had overdosed and took her to the medical tent. After being attached to an IV all night, they released her. Upon returning to her tent, the bruises that appeared made it clear she had been strangled and raped.

Crime is rarely mentioned in conjunction with Burning Man, and neither is rape or assault. When the victim reported the assault on the playa, she was informed that Burning Man is not equipped with rape kits. If you are assaulted while at Burning Man and you want a rape kit, you have to travel to Reno. Joseph Pred, Burning Man’s Emergency Services Operations Chief confirmed, “Rape kits do not exist in Black Rock City. Forensic exams are incredibly complex issues that have to do with the court system and are not something that is really easily taken on. In Northern Nevada, there is only one facility that does that type of exam.”

I found this curious, so I contacted a hospital in Northern Nevada and asked if rape kits were only done in specific facilities. A charge nurse in the ER said that when a person is brought in for rape, they are instructed by law enforcement to conduct a special exam and it can be done in any hospital in Northern Nevada.

This is not the first, nor will this be the last sexual assault that occurs on the playa. Burning Man is a city, and in keeping with that belief, it has a responsibility to provide rape kits for its attendees, as well as a better way of handling a situation like this.

Megan Miller, Burning Man’s Public Relations Manager, explained that if an attendee is sexually assaulted and they want to go to the hospital, then they drive the person to the facility and bring them back to the burn, if they so choose. So, they do offer transportation, but how much evidence do they lose along that drive? As equipped as Black Rock City claims to be, clearly this a situation that calls for better planning and sensitivity. Burning Man needs to find a better way to keep victims from being further traumatized after something like this occurs, in the form of rape crisis counseling, better medical aid, increased awareness, and support.

via The Dark Side of Burning Man: Rape on the Playa – San Francisco – Arts – The Exhibitionist.

The issue is not as simple as “get rape kits on the Playa”. The kits themselves are only $15 or so. Despite what the unnamed nurse says in this story, our information (now confirmed by BMOrg) is that there are only 3 facilities in the whole state that can process this properly (a medical issue, not LEO) and there’s a massive backlog of unprocessed rape kits delaying prosecutions. The medical side requires specialized training, and there are important issues with data storage and security, preserving the chain of evidence, as well as Doctor/Patient confidentiality through the whole legal process that happens afterwards.

Burner Omgrey shares from her own painful experiences:

this is harder to write than any of you can imagine, even if she had a rape kit done, even if they could find the guy, even if they had enough evidence to move forward with a criminal investigation and it made it to trial (only 14% of reported cases do), then there is a 3% chance he’d be convicted.

That’s right. 97% of rapists walk free.
Every rapist will rape 6 to 10 different women.

I was as naive as some of the comments I see here when it comes to thinking that the police can do anything. They really can’t. It comes down to he said, she said, and with “reasonable doubt,” the rapists walks free 97% of the time.

All he has to say is “it was consensual.” Quick presto, reasonable doubt. Especially at a place like BM.

This is why it’s not a private issue. It’s a cultural one.
Burning Man is a wonderful place to start addressing this seriously and finding ways to identify and prosecute (if possible), ostracize if not.

Burner Kittyrodriguez gets to the crux of the matter:

I think many are misunderstanding the major issue here. It is not a matter of the ability to collect the evidence. It is a matter of the viability of such collection in court. Even in the default world, a rape examination cannot be performed at any medical facility by any medical professional. There are specific, licensed centers that use approved labs. Even in major cities with excellent facilities that have spotless records, evidence collected can, and is, disputed and thrown out. It is unreasonable to think that a facility, no matter how state of the art, that is only operational for one or two weeks a year, in a location that is volatile and misunderstood by the general population, would be accepted as an acceptable forensics laboratory.

We are completely against sexual assault or violence of any kind. However, Burning Man is a unique environment. Like, people whose camp is a bicycle powered dildo unique environment. Or, people who want to be tied up and punished. Not just one or two of them, either! Unfortunately, in a city of 61,000, there are even registered sex offenders – yep, they show up and check in with the LEOs. Think about that next time you want to bring your kids to the middle of nowhere.

This year at Burning Man, a half naked girl got on our art car. She seemed cute and fun and super-friendly, and was talking to one of my buddies. Then she started taking more of her clothes off, and we realized how wasted she was. So we found out where she was camped, then drove her back to the camp and left her with her friends. Lucky for her she got on the right Art Car, with the good guys – you can see how easily these things could go the other way. The victim might not even fully remember what happened. No means no, absolutely, but what if someone is saying “yes” – maybe because they took too many drugs? I’m not saying that it would be that girl’s responsibility if she had been sexually assaulted – quite the opposite – but she and her friends do have a responsibility of radical self-reliance to not get so fucked up that they put themselves in dangerous situations, where they are not fully aware of their words and actions. Education about this is needed in the community too.

The cries of “kill the rapist” are a knee-jerk reaction, and will solve nothing. We need to maintain the system of justice, and not let it devolve into lynch mob anarchy. It’s the 21st Century now, we have evolved past that. This is a community issue which needs awareness, collaboration, as well as technical problem solving and disruptive innovation that is well suited to the diverse experience and skillset of Burners.

The official Burning Man blog mentions the issue…sort of. You have to watch half an hour of Halcyon before he gets into it, describing in a rambling way the story of someone being arrested in handcuffs at his camp as a “beautiful thing”. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the hippy way is going to convince the rapists to change.

[Update 9/23/12] – there’s quite a bit of discussion on this topic over at Free Thought Blog.

BMOrg has now issued a belated and wishy-washy response on this topic. Moderator trilobyte has now shut down the ePlaya thread, perhaps because Burning Man wants to take the ostrich approach; anyone interested should read the excellent response from Jason the Mayor of the accused’s camp. It sets a standard for other camps to follow in how to respond to these types of issues in the community. This is the type of leadership that is needed to pass the mantle of Burning Man on towards younger generations. Other types of crime are less serious, many of the ones the cops are out there busting people for are even victimless; this one is extremely serious. And best dealt with as a community issue, not only a legal and medical one. Also, Anile from the Bureau of Erotic Discourse has highlighted that they are working on building community awareness via their Theme Camp Challenge

The girl’s mother has written a heart-wrenching blog post. Unfortunately, it degenerates into threats of violence in the comments. Violence begetting more violence, is not the solution. Her daughter is managing OK and seeing a counsellor. She asks for us all to send loving thoughts towards her daughter.

140 comments on “The Dark Side of Burning Man – Rape on the Playa (updates)

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  28. “but she and her friends do have a responsibility of radical self-reliance to not get so fucked up that they put themselves in dangerous situations, where they are not fully aware of their words and actions.”

    No. If a woman is drunk, she is too drunk to consent. If she is fucked up, she is too fucked up to consent. It’s not her job to not get fucked up. It’s the job of men not to rape her. Sorry if that’s too much responsibility.

    • Ugh, this argument bothers me. Heard it too many times. “I refuse to take any responsibility for my personal safety – criminals just shouldn’t hurt me. If I get wasted and separate myself from my friends, its entirely reasonable to expect to Ferris-Bueller my way through life with no consequences.” Exactly wrong.

      Along with the author, I place no *blame* on the victim, but no human is more responsible for their own safety than themselves.

      I’ve never been assaulted while sober and around people I know or trust. Does getting wasted and isolating myself from my comfort zone place me at higher risk? Absolutely. Should I expect to be assaulted? No, but I should understand the increased risk. Was there an obvious way to reduce risk? Yes. And is there any reasonable way to think that before the girl got totaled, that at more than one time in her life she had not heard this before?

      It sucks, but getting polluted and wandering around strangers equally polluted isn’t a good idea anywhere, anytime. Even horrible consequences aside, its not spring break – this week is an experience worth having, and worth remembering. Overdoing it is just damn rude. Know what vomit smells like beside your tent in the Nevada desert? Try to never find out.

      Anyway, off to bed, but leaving my door unlocked and not even going to tell my man: Not on me to protect my family, its on criminals to not intrude, after all.

    • What if they are both equally drunk?
      Woman is by definition, too drunk to judge if she wants this.
      is there a point where
      Man is by definition, too drunk to judge if she’s too drunk
      is true? Or are men only capable of evil, while all women are innocent lambs?

  29. As a man, it seems so simple to me.. any woman, in any state of mind should be able to expect not to be raped. of course there are criminals out there, but c’mon, should we not own houses because they put us in a position where we are vulnerable to burglary? should men and women sew their assholes shut in order to limit a rapists potential targets? fucking ridiculous that when speaking of rape, especially when there is intoxication involved, the victim’s honesty, and ability to know if they were violated is put to question. is it acceptable for us to assume that if a car is stolen from a drunk man, that there may have been a good chance that he just gave the car away out of drunken generosity? no. no one would ever make that suggestion. but when it is rape we are talking about, generations, if not millenia of rapist’s excuses and their apologist’s arguments are somehow fair game in every single rape and the following conversation.. pathetic. hey ladies, if you want to get wasted and have a good time and be free, find me and my friends on playa, or in the real world. expect not to get raped, and watch that manifest into reality. the bottom line is: whether or not a woman was drunk, or naked, or passed out in deep playa has nothing to do with the RAPIST’s CHOICE to rape her. yes, rape has been falsely accused, but the mountain of evidence for the sexual subjugation of women suggests that this problem has been going on for a long time, and the source is centered solidly within the rapist, their mindset, and the fact that well-meaning people sometimes sound like rape apologists because our culture has taught them that giving the rapist the benefit of the doubt, and extending that doubt to the victim is appropriate. it is not. Don’t Rape.

    • oh my god.. edit : I meant to say ” the bottom line is: whether or not a woman was drunk, or naked, or passed out in deep playa has nothing to do with ANYTHING EXCEPT the RAPIST’s CHOICE to rape her.”

      • that’s true. And if I walk down a dark street in the ghetto, and get assaulted, it’s the assaulter’s fault. But that didn’t stop me getting assaulted. If I didn’t walk down that dark street by myself, and didn’t get assaulted, the assaulter might attack someone else – but I was OK. You can prevent yourself from harm, by not putting yourself in dangerous situations – this is a truism regardless of blame.

      • I think it’s sad that in a world where threat of force has equaled power and through money’s implications in that equation that we have those still in our midst that think the only way to break free of that system is through the continued threat of force… It is a shame these people think that proof of “patriotism” may mean killing Americans.. that the threat of violent tyranny somehow justifies an opposing violent tyranny to secure Liberty.. This is old way. The real revolution will not come from through violent destruction, but through the destruction of violence. The nature of justice, and Liberty is in the opposition to the idea of forcing your own brand of freedom down the throats of others. I know they feel justified in their preparations, but true Liberty will not come through force and blood, but a re-understanding of the nature of our predicament. It’s sad that many of those who think the government is controlled by those with an evil agenda, are the same people buying into the same corporate agenda with their own dollars. if the puppet strings of the government are held by profiteers in the military industrial complex, it seems sill to spend more money on their product in order to be free of their influence.. ammo, armor, fuel, everything you need to “prepare” is sold by those who many are prepared against… anyhow, my point is that real patriots don’t prepare to kill Americans in the name of freedom. what divides us, provides for them..

      • that other comment was unrelated, and I can’t seem to delete it.. I had tried to post this one, and the posting failed so I saved it and went to copy and paste, and pasted something else.. i’m sorry.. here is what I meant to post:

        It is not a truism that you can prevent yourself from being harmed.. You can sometimes mitigate some of the potentiality of being harmed by navigating various probabilities in situations where being harmed is a possibility, but you can not negate the potentiality, especially when dealing with unknown factors, such as the presence of a rapist, particularly in an ambush situation. I just think that even in situations where dangerous decisions are made such as assing out naked and drunk alone, we have to be careful because there is a fine line between “she shouldn’t have been alone” and “well, she went and got herself raped”. In such a sensitive situation as rape, a victim could easily take such comments as an accusation of blame, so it’s important to understand that when discussing it.. If people are being offended by something you say, and suggesting that you sound like a rape apologist, perhaps it’s more important to try to understand what they are hearing, instead of on what you think you are saying. In that way, perhaps we can not only avoid insult via miscommunication, but may also be able to find the appropriate language for the subject which could go a long way towards solutions. And the most important aspect of that, and source of much of the hurt surrounding our culture’s view on rape, begins with being very clear that the rapist is to blame regardless of the consciousness, intoxication, or attire of the victim. By saying, “she shouldn’t have been there” we are suggesting that she had control over the situation. But, no one, thinks to themselves, ” well, if i go over here I’m going to get raped. omw”.. Some women have certainly made decisions to get wasted and half naked, but they didn’t choose to be raped. And maybe, if they were sober, or in their ugliest clothes, or toothless, or armed, maybe, they wouldn’t get raped… but, maybe they still would have. and maybe their weapons would be turned on them.. impossible to tell. The rapist is an immoral criminal, unpredictable by their very nature, and 100% at fault. The simple fact that 90+% of rapists walk free tells us something very clear: we don’t know who they are, what drew them to their victim, why they decided to do it, and what would have steered them to not rape in that situation.. maybe, if that girl ran across the same guy and she was sober, she would have fought back, and maybe then she would have wound up dead, due to the rapist’s fear of being found out.. we don’t know. For every vulnerable woman who was an “easy target” for a rapist, there are 5 more who fought like hell and still got raped. It is not, and has never been about the woman getting herself raped.

  30. I’m a 35 year old free spirited “partier” and the BRC is my favorite place in the world. I am in no position to say this girl was or wasn’t raped on the playa but I felt like sharing my thoughts.
    First off, I’m a drinker, and there are occasions where I drink myself into “blackout” mode. (not on purpose, of course) I could be having a great time and then just that one last shot, and I’m gone, you just never know. In knowing myself and my tendencies, I’m thinking of this before I make the choice to get fucked up, so I make it a rule, as my entire camp does, to roll out using a buddy system. I can’t possibly think of one person in my very large and well known camp, that wouldn’t be my buddy for the night if need be. My camp mates and I always roll out together anyway. I camp with these people year after year, because we know each other very well and the love we all have for one another is HUGE. They wouldn’t let me take off knowing I was blacked out or looked as though I was unable to take care of myself. Have I gotten fucked up and wandered off? Of course. But this is where you have to remember the self made rules that start the minute you enter the city. Get to know your neighborhood. Find landmarks that you will be able to see from afar, and remember your address. Know yourself and what your limitations are. This may sound ridiculous or whatever, but I like to try things at home before I ever try them at a function I might go to…this way, if I’m going to get so fucked up from whatever it may be, I’m aware of this before I wander out into the desert, where the obvious self-reliance principal comes into play more than most default people would ever know. Another big big rule in my life, always always be open with my child. My child is 14, and although I’d like to keep him innocent forever, let’s be real here. I know the time will come, very soon, lol, that he’ll want to go to Burning Man or to a different festival that I go to…and I’d much rather just put it all out there before hand so that he has some idea that this shit is everywhere. And as much as I don’t want him to necessarily do the same things that I do, it’s prob inevitable. I remind him to keep all the self reliant rules that I’ve drilled into his head, in mind when he ventures out. I mean, for fuck sake, it’s 2012 (almost 2013) and the default world is a sick and cruel place. The great little town along the ocean that I live in, population 2,500, has a few sex offenders living in it, so keep in mind that in a city where there are 60,000 people, there’s going to be some weirdos out there. Jesus…so yea, get fucked up, enjoy all of the amazing things you see, feel, learn, experience in the BRC, but don’t come to this place under the assumption that all things and people are magic, because I’m sorry my friends, not always the case.

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  32. This year was my first year at Burning Man. As someone who was raped in high school, when someone drugged my drink at a party, I am very careful in my partying. I was drunker than I should have been and he got off scot free because I HAD been drinking more than I should have. He said I was willing and he was unaware of how drunk I was. It was his word against mine. The drug he used was GHB, which is not just a date rape drug, but a recreational drug as well, so that was written off, because I was a partier…
    After living through that horror, of his word against mine and him not being punished, I learned I had to make sure I was never in a position like that again.
    So, knowing the levels of drinking and drug use at Burning Man, I made sure I could take care of myself, without hindering my fun or the fun of my camp mates. I made sure when drinking, I was with my camp mates. Despite all of the bars and camps giving out liquor, I only took alcohol from the Orphan’s because I know them. I otherwise did not accept a drink from ANY stranger and carried my own. I did not drink beyond my limit (which I made sure to know) and assisted my camp mates when they did. That being said, my camp mates drank at every bar and no one had any adverse affects. We all looked after one another. I felt safer drinking at BM than I do at home. Just remember though, no one knows how drunk you are. My camp mate was fine one minute and had to be half dragged home across the playa the next.
    Take care of yourself, as best you can! You are not responsible for the A**holes out there, but you are responsible for yourself.

    • thanks Nameless. This is the kind of community response we need for this issue – stories about what can happen, and what people learned from their experiences to keep them and others safer in the future.

  33. FYI, just because someone is on a sex offenders list, doesn’t mean they deserve to be there, or that they represent any threat to the community. Often, when people think of sex offenders, they think of rapists and child molesters. They don’t think of people caught urinating in public, or people caught having consensual sex as teenagers. Our sex laws are messed up in many ways, illustrated in greater detail in this article:

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  35. Thanks for telling all the creeps that they can pretty much get away with it. this is why i hate the news.

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  37. I am a female. I have been to ten burning man celebrations. I have never been raped or even handled in any way that I did not condone. And here’s where I sound insensitive; the times I have chosen to be fucked up enough to not care for myself, I have always been surrounded by friends. I have never gotten fucked up and been around predominantly random people. This isn’t because I wasn’t “free” enough to do so, I’m just not stupid. I have an art car on playa and have for years and have taken care of random people more times than I care to count. But, to think that we are not responsible for ourselves at any time, especially when “home” is just naive and stupid. I live in New York City. I care for myself. I get drunk in my fair city and fucked up too, and if I were to do this not around friend’s the outcome is solely on my shoulders. Ladies, there are consequences to our actions no matter where you are. Thinking that because you are in a hopefully “utopian” society does not change this. Be responsible for yourselves at all times or assign a friend (yes, which is YOU being responsible still)! Don’t be lenient with your safety or well being. And if you are don’t be upset when you get raped. Harsh words yes, but really must this be pointed out at all?!

    • “And if you are don’t be upset when you get raped”.
      You’re disgusting and it is exactly this attitude that allows rapists to get away with taking advantage of women who happen to be drunk or alone at any time in their life. Thank you, for promoting the attitude that it’s a woman’s fault if she isn’t able to protect herself every minute of her existence.

      • I didn’t see Cuddlebug promoting that attitude. She’s promoting the idea that people need to be responsible for the consequences of their own actions, and if you get so wasted that you can’t control yourself, you’d be better to be surrounded by friends than by strangers.

        I see this argument somewhat like, I walk down a dark alleyway in a foreign country by myself. I’m wearing a flashy gold and diamond studded Rolex. Then someone mugs me. Whose responsibility is that? Only the mugger? What if I was so drunk that I passed out in the alleyway, and when I woke up my watch was gone? Still only the mugger?

        We live in a big scary world where bad shit happens, even to good people; you need to learn to defend yourself and not put yourself in unsafe situations – no matter whether you’re male or female, whether you’re at Burning Man or anywhere, or whether you’re more worried about rape, mugging, assault, or drunk driving, it doesn’t change that fact of life. Saying “hey, protect yourself from bad people” is not the same as saying “bad people are awesome and should be allowed to get away with it”.

    • I don’t care if a woman is wearing a t-shirt that says “RAPE ME PLZ”, she still shouldn’t be raped. If a woman wants to get shitfaced, she has her consent to do so. That doesn’t mean she is suddenly public property, and anything that happens to is because of a predator who did not get consent. Period.

      Nobody has to enjoy being raped. Nobody has to feel that going about their lives means they are too stupid to not be victimized, and therefor deserve it. Consent should be the most important word on the playa. And I wouldn’t want you to be in the role of looking out for anybody, and I pity you for being stuck with a person like you for preservation.

      I can only hope that I am lucky so far to find your vile and disgusting rapist-enabling attitude to be the exception and not the rule, Ms. Tough Titties. You aren’t above it all just because you haven’t been raped. As if women bigger and better and more careful and more BADASS than you haven’t had shit done to them. Give me a break, okay? People like you are exactly who we are trying to get away from once a year.

    • Wow. No, seriously, WOW. Thanks you for sharing your enlightened attitude. Your comment is harmful and wrong-headed. Yes, people should look out for themselves, but rape is not ok. Also, did you read what happened? The guy drugged her with something. She thought it was water…

    • I was slipped a roofie into a glass of wine at Burning Man by a man who was aggressively hitting on me. Note: I was with friends, and introduced to him by friends. Thankfully, I removed myself from the scene – and ended up tripping and puking all night. Did I deserve that, Cuddlebug? If I had stayed, would I have deserved to be assaulted, Cuddlebug? You sound very lucky, Cuddlebug, to have never have faced this kind of situation.

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  39. A personal blog post written on 9/12 by the mother of the victim stating that two other women were raped in the same way on the same night. According to the mother: “One of the rapists was arrested by the police. He had kept a ‘trophy’ of his rape and it was found in his car. Pershing county police (and everyone else I know) are hoping he will roll over on his accomplice.”

    This is clearly a horrible situation and part of a ongoing problem on the playa for years now. Let’s wish the girl and her family peace and healing. Let us take the necessary steps to help put and end to this sort of dark element on the playa and prevent this sort of tragedy from happening at future burns.

    • …and btw, I believe the eplaya thread was closed because at the end of the thread there was a growing discussion on vigilantism and putting the offenders to death. I personally saw some of those very dark posts before they were deleted.

    • I believe radical inclusion does not have to include registered sex offenders. Just check the database and do not allow them into the event, Have a BRC officer escort them back to Reno and alert the security people that they cannot enter. Even post warnings like amber alerts that they have tried to enter with a description of them and their vehicle.

  40. To clarify why my camp experience was beautiful: The woman, and her supporters spoke up when things got uncomfortable and started to cross the line. We were shaken up as a camp, but there was no rape, the problem was removed from our camp and the event, and we all felt safer knowing that we would stand up for one another and “defend our borders.”
    I read stories in the comments here of men biting women!? Those guys should leave in handcuffs, too. As a community, we need to make the line much less blurry about what is free expression and what is assault.

      • The National Center for Victims of Crime states:[5]
        “ Sexual assault takes many forms including attacks such as rape or attempted rape, as well as any unwanted sexual contact or threats. Usually a sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even through clothes, without that person’s consent.”

      • so is that why? There was a sexual assault in your camp, but not a rape? You should be more clear about it, since you are speaking about this issue on the official Burning Man blog.
        And I still don’t see what was so beautiful about the whole thing.

  41. Is it women being irresponsible if women don’t feel safe getting drunk around men, or is that the fault of rapists? Is it womens’ responsibility to never get drunk in public,
    or is it the climate that rapists have created that takes away their freedom to do something that men can do easily and freely?

    When you have a climate where women don’t feel safe going out alone at night, where women don’t feel safe getting drunk in public, think about how inequal this is. None of this is the fault of women. This climate was created by the rapists in our society, and in a big way, it makes all women inequal.

    By promoting ideas that women can’t go out alone at night, they can’t get drunk in public, they can’t wear revealing clothing, or they’re asking to be raped, you’re sending the message to all women that, hey, even if you aren’t and will never be a rape victim, certain aspects of your life will be indirectly controlled by rapists in our society, certain freedoms will be taken away, and you need to accept that.

    Saying that women who don’t follow certain rules that restrict their freedoms and only apply to women – that women who don’t follow these rules aren’t being responsible enough or self-reliant enough – it’s promoting the climate that benefits rapists, it’s saying that taking away womens’ freedoms because rapists exist is okay, and it is victim blaming because it puts an amount of responsibility for her rape on the woman if she does anything other than make perfect decisions and perfect judgements.

    A lot of people jump to say “all of this paints women as victims”. For one, all of it
    is true. If the truth makes women sound like victims to you, maybe you should think about that and what that means. Second, everything I said is said to fight victimization. Victimization is accepting a climate that forces women to give up certain freedoms for self-protection. Victimization is making a woman even partly responsible for her rape. Speaking out against these things isn’t promoting victimization, it is fighting victimization and it – bringing visibility to problems that exist – is a necessity in any non-perfect society.

    • who said anything about women? Stop being so sexist, if you really think this is an important issue then you have to acknowledge that more than 99% of men are NOT rapists, and unfortunately some men are victims of rape.

    • What I said,
      “And we can longer pretend that there is no Sexual Assault at Burning Man – you have to use good judgement, look out for one another…AND speak up when somebody crosses the line.

      There is an important conversation going on on ePlaya about the challenges and need for Rape Kits & other preparations in Black Rock City.

      In this week’s Hug Nation (“Back From Burning Man”) broadcast, I discussed my own camp’s episode this year which involved a camp mate who crossed the line and ended up leaving in cuffs.”

      But I just saw that there is a new blog post about Sexual Assault as well:

    • Naively pretending that there aren’t bad people in the world–even at burning man–who won’t capitalize on the opportunity to take advantage of an intoxicated woman or man is promoting a climate where that sort of thing can and does happen. Our society is self selective. We don’t bar convicted sex offenders from our midst, so long as you have the money to pay for your ticket and want to come here, you can come be one of us for a week. We are a radically inclusive society. On the playa we are responsible first and foremost for ourselves and our own safety, then the safety of those around us. What you call promoting victimization, I call promoting radical self-relaince. Getting to the kind of safe and equal society you describe above would require sacrifices such as ideological homogenization of a heterogenous culture and radical exclusion of those who fail to fall within in pre-set bounds determined by a majority vote or a selected set of “moral judges,” who is going to make that call?

      I have a responsibility to myself, as a woman, to make sure that I can take care of myself, speak up for myself, and get out of a dangerous situation or avoid one to begin with. That’s not promoting victimization, that’s promoting self empowerment and radical self reliance. A woman CAN do all the things you described above and be safe if she has the knowledge base and the skills to protect herself. To go out there naively thinking “I should be able to get drunk and pass out naked on this art car without anyone hassling me” isn’t protection, it turns the situation into a craps shoot. Sorry. To promote that kind of attitude is to promote the conditions that turn women into targets and victims because it tells them that they shouldn’t need to get the skills and the knowledge to protect themselves and takes their safety out of their own hands and puts it into the hands of someone else.

  42. Thank you for this article, burners xxx. As someone who has been raped (not at BM), I found your tone both fair & considerate. Having wild playa sex I can’t remember clearly & being raped are entirely separate issues, to my mind. You have done us a service as a community by highlighting this issue: please understand that people may have extreme reactions to the mention of rape. Words can be a tool of creative understanding, just as emotions can bridge gaps in our understanding in the form of empathy. However, emotive responses may also cloud our perceptions, and distort the content of words. Be calm, be well, and please keep writing. You, your critiquing readers, and I are all of the same kind as none of us want to see any person harmed on the playa. I’m a man, we’re all human, so let us consider this problem honestly, without resorting to acrimony amongst ourselves.

  43. I am seriously concerned that the girl who was assaulted was just “assumed” to have OD’d and that a thorough medical check wasn’t performed before she was released. The after affects of strangulation can be serious, even fatal. What does it say about our society when we just assume that someone in her situation got there on their own?

  44. Pingback: Parenting on the Playa: Do Kids Belong at Burning Man? | Burners.Me Burning Man commentary blog

  45. OMG, no, rapists should not be raped as punishment. Just like torturers should not be tortured. And make no mistake, rape is a form of torture. Sorry, burnerxxx, but you are wrong: NOBODY DESERVES TO BE RAPED, PERIOD. Anything short of that is enabling rape culture, which, I’m sad to say, your comments about getting fucked up also do.

    Being raped is not the result of being intoxicated. Being raped is the result of being in the presence of a rapist who decides to rape.

    • Being raped is the result of being in the presence of a rapist who decides to rape, AND determines you’re someone he/she can rape. If someone is mentally impaired due to intoxication, it increases the likelihood that an opportunistic rapist will select them, over, say, someone who is in more control of their mental faculties, and/or able to physically defend themselves. Not all rapists behave the same, where one rapist might violently subdue his/her victim, another might slip something into a drink, and another may simply wait for the “perfect opportunity.” It’s still rape. Some rapists just happen to be morally bankrupt individuals who see a lone woman passed out and view it as an easy opportunity for sexual gratification. It’s still rape. Being so intoxicated that you can’t stand up and end-up blacking out in a random shade structure increases your likelihood of getting victimized by that kind of person. It’s still rape. Being blackout intoxicated by no means makes someone deserving of being raped, but increases the odds that they will be if other circumstances are met, such as, the presence of a rapist. So which is the more Burner Course of action? Teaching potential victims how to protect themselves (IE. be Radically Self Reliant) or encourage them to continue behaviors that increase their odds of victimization and encourage their would be rapists to “control” the urge to rape?

    • I see your point Sally. And it is a quite reasonable one. Personally, I believe that people who torture animals, should themselves be tortured as punishment. Other people, billions, believe “an eye for an eye” as a religious belief – which they have the right to hold in this country. However, the Rule of Law applies, and trumps whatever you or I might think about this personally. I know there is very little crime in Muslim countries, where if you steal, your hand gets chopped off. Even in those “civilizations” (and we can argue that point, but this is perhaps not the place…), the accused has the right to defend himself in a trial.

  46. As a female reading this article, yes, I can see how some of the comments can be construed as victim blaming, but only if you choose to read them that way. I don’t. I was attacked one night on my way back to my car after going out to a local bar with some friends. My narrow escape from being a rape victim, I owe in part to the fact that I wasn’t drunk, and was able to scream and shout and fight him off and eventually run to safety. I could not have done that if I was wasted. I think BurnerSxxx makes a good point and offers the same advice to any woman that I got in Women’s Self Defense Class, which is “Don’t get so intoxicated that you make yourself an easy target.” that’s not victim blaming, that’s Radical Self Responsibility and common sense. Burning Man is more than just some big party where you can drink and do as many drugs as you want and assume someone will take care of you when you can’t take care of yourself. That attitude is the antithesis of Radical Self Reliance and just as dangerous to our social wellbeing as having a serial rapist running around. We have a saying where I come from, if you don’t want to have a bear problem, don’t leave your trash out where he can get it. If you make conditions favorable to a bear or a serial rapist, eventually one will show up.

    So what do we do as a community?
    Run background checks on all the people who enter our gates and RADICALLY EXCLUDE those classified as sexual predators? (that only screens out the ones who’ve been caught and prosecuted you know) Would that make everyone feel a little bit safer? Who is going to run those background checks? How much will it cost? How much are you willing to pay for that kind of “security” ?

    It doesn’t do much good to try and educate the perpetrators, particularly if they have a compulsion that drives them to antisocial behavior like rape in the first place. And the fact that the girl in the story was first assumed to have OD’d or passed out drunk tells you a little something about our society and the assumptions made within it. The people that took her to the med tent didn’t think that she was raped, they thought she’d over indulged, why? Because on the playa women and men regularly get that plastered. And they turn themselves into targets when they do that. No one (I hope) leaves their camp with the intention to get raped, but rape DOES happen on the playa, and it happens because conditions are favorable for it. A sexual predator capitalized on behavior and assumptions that makes people vulnerable to rape, such as the assumption that she’d OD’d. It’s not the elk’s fault that it got old and thus gets singled out from the herd by a cougar and killed, but it is your own damn fault if you drink too much and fall off a scaffolding at a sound camp and hurt yourself. Everyone at burning man (except the small children) is responsible for themselves out there. If you choose to do things that make you a rapist’s target, then don’t blame the messenger when he suggests you reconsider your choices, it’s not intended to blame the victim, it’s intended to educate you and to keep you from becoming one.

    • Thanks Kodiak. I believe all people should study self defense, even very limited martial arts training could save your life – or someone else’s. One further point – I know someone who is on the sex offender list, because he had willing, happy, consensual, pleasurable sex, with a girl he met in a bar. The drinking age in the US is 21. The girl had a fake ID, lied about her age, as it turned out she was only 17. That is considered “statutory rape”. I am not defending this guy’s actions, however surely anyone can see that what he did is different from “rape”. He thought he got lucky, she said yes. And now he’s on this list for the rest of his life, there is no way to get off it.
      C’mon trolls, give it to me! See if you can take some sentences out of context, ignore qualifiers etc.

      • clearly wongdawg, you are a troll. Your attitude and comments highlight the problem with “rape” as a crime – it is too easy for people to cry “rape” when they are just completely lying. I have never even met you (as far as I know) and yet you are calling me a rapist – so now it’s he said, she said. And the onus becomes on me to prove I didn’t rape you, or anyone else…even though I’ve done nothing except be the victim of your misguided lies and slurs. Perhaps you think you’re coming from a good place?

  47. If you read the original article, there were indeed more reported rapes and the identity of the rapist and his accomplice seem to be known or easy to establish. This is very serious. If women are not safe on the playa, I feel a dead, sickening in my soul. Why can’t the community at least name and shame as a starting point to dealing with this?

    • This.

      As someone who was new this year, I’m worried at the implication that a rapist’s enjoyable experience of the burn will be considered more important than mine. If law enforcement won’t do anything, and the community can’t do anything, then are rapists simply the price of admission to Burning Man? That’s a steep price to pay, and I don’t know if I can afford it.

    • the naming and shaming has happened in a way – the camp has been named, and are now all “guilty by association” in the eyes of some Burners, with no right to trial, defense, explanation. To me this seems unfair, and I appreciate the camp leader’s eloquent and immediate statement on the matter. We live in a world of laws, that is still the case at Burning Man, if a crime happened and the identity of the criminal is known, then we have much better ways of dealing with this than “shaming”.

      • yeah, like what is wrong with starting with exposing the guilty? hummmm burners xxx ? cut their dicks off too ! This is also a great message to the rape minded masses. yes, i am for bloodletting. now is the time. you men just need to suck it up for a while , shut up, take your well deserved punishment and let the tide turn until balance is born.

  48. The amount of rape apology and vapid excuses in this article really bother me. I love going to burns because I feel infinitely safer than in the default world. I understand that there will always be a few who take advantage of that, but to say that there is nothing we can do is absolute bullshit. And then to say that the girl is the one who needs to better follow the principles only worsens the entire tone. We absolutely CAN work towards solutions, as a community. And the only way we fail in bringing about that change is when we throw our hands up and just say “this is just the way it is.”

      • Pretty much the entire conclusion. And yes, I read the whole thing, twice, just to be sure I was actually seeing what I though I was seeing. I understand the complications with getting the rape kits, but then to conclude with, repeating, that’s the way it is in cities, and then blaming the women for not following principle, really?

        “I’m not saying that it would be that girl’s responsibility if she had been sexually assaulted – quite the opposite – but she and her friends do have a responsibility of radical self-reliance to not get so fucked up that they put themselves in dangerous situations, where they are not fully aware of their words and actions. Education about this is needed in the community too.”

        Basically, “I’m not saying, I’m just saying.”

        How about we have more education about ask first. About consent. About respect. I was walking with my roommate this year, who was topless. There were so many men cat-calling and taking photographs without permission that we had to walk back to camp so she could put a top on, becuase it was that bad. We were not on anything. We had not even had our morning bloody marys yet, and we were already facing harrasement. I’ve been assaulted in the default world, as have pretty much most of the women you’ve encountered in your life, and a large portion of the men as well. I’ve been physically assaulted, followed home, yelled at. Most of us have. And most of those times I was sober. A few times I wasn’t. I learned from those experiences. I watch as the men who commited those crimes had excuse after excuse after excuse made for them. I learned that I am never going to be able to be as free simply because I was born female. You want to complain to me that you don’t know where to draw the line with an intoxicated girl? I have absolutely no sympothy. Because we live in a world where, as the one quote explains, I will 97% of the time be left without legal justice.

        “We are completely against sexual assault or violence of any kind. However, Burning Man is a unique environment.”

        Yes, it is a unique environment. Its one that is supposed to be centered on a balance between personal responsibility and community. Yes, everyone should take responsibility for how fucked up they get. But as a community, maybe we should speak up when we see these things happening. Maybe we should brainstorm solutions. Offer more education. There ARE solutions. We can build a city out of nothing in a few months. We can live without money or commodification. We have tackled so many large issues, surely we can do something about this, without just resting on the same old garbage that gets us no where. The article is riddled with the same sort of double speak that societally allows the rate of rapists who go free to stay at 97%.

      • I was referring to the girl in the art car, who was so wasted that she could get herself in a situation where she gladly and willingly consented to sex, then the next day may not remember…not the poor girl who was drugged, strangled, raped, and is probably very lucky to be alive right now.

      • other than that, I agree with your suggestions, and am glad that you see things that way after reading my post twice. This is a community issue best dealt with through education, not lynch mob violence.

      • In response to your comments below, I’m far from agreeing with you. You pointed out a problem, congrats. Its a problem many of us have already been dealing with for years. And then, you followed it with victim blaming. Yes, I read your article twice. And, I came to the same conclusion as my first post.

      • Stop having a temper tantrum and learn to take some criticism. Its good that you are beginning a discussion on this. But that’s exactly what it is. Its a discussion. People have differing opinions in discussions. If you can’t be an adult about it, don’t write publicly.

      • yeah, like what is wrong with starting with exposing the guilty? hummmm burners xxx ? cut their dicks off too ! This is also a great message to the rape minded masses. yes, i am for bloodletting. now is the time. the men just need to suck it up for a while , shut up, take your well deserved punishment and let the tide turn until balance is born.

  49. “but she and her friends do have a responsibility of radical self-reliance to not get so fucked up that they put themselves in dangerous situations, where they are not fully aware of their words and actions.” This is disgusting victim blaming and rapist logic. You know, it is very easy to rape a disabled person, should we all make sure not to make ourselves disabled? Or ever break legs or arms or get injured otherwise? it is also very easy to rape a kid, a small person, because they can’t fight back. It is very easy to attack a person while sleeping – should we all sleep in seriously locked RVs and never hang out on art cars and other places where you can dose off? It is very easy to rape a sick person, for instance a person that has flu, should we all make sure not to get flu or food poisoning?

    Your suggestion to not get fucked is disgusting victim blaming and rape apology. Men can be as fucked up as they want and nobody would rape them huh?


    • crazyprotein – glad you said this.

      19 year old girl strangled and raped in the dirt? It doesn’t matter what she’s had to drink, that’s a violent assault and the responsibility for it lies with the man who did it.

      heart breaking that going out at night at burning man can be considered a ‘potentially dangerous situation’.

        • What a delightfully snarky reply. Foolish me for thinking you might be commenting on the incident in the actual article.

          Not sure why were resurrecting all the well worn arguments around date rape… But while were doing it..

          How difficult is it to refrain from fucking someone who is too wasted to consent? Or if it doubt saying ‘ you seem pretty drunk – are you ok with this or do you want to sleep it off?’ who enjoys sex with someone so trashed they are passing out anyway?

          And that’s not relying on men to be ‘gentlemen’, it’s expecting fellow burners to act like decent human beings.

          Default world endlessly tells women that if you walk in the dark / dress provocatively / get too drunk then it’s your fault if you get raped.

          One of the joys of BM has been that it is a safe place to express yourself and leave all that bullshit behind. Maybe not anymore, maybe it’s just a big club.

          Sent from my iPhone

    • Er, read what I wrote. I was giving an example of a girl who did not get raped, but was in a situation where if the crowd was just slightly different, she could have been sexually assaulted (different crime from rape) because she was so out of it that she said “yes”, but the guy she was with was a virgin who’d never seen people on drugs before so didn’t realize she was not in control of herself. No means no , but what does yes mean?

      • so tell me what a YES from a wasted woman means? does mean yeah sure let’s have sex right now? how is that not rape when a person clearly is not aware of their own actions?
        you made me really curious
        also I want a clarification where is a line between sexual assault and rape

      • again, read what I wrote. I am saying exactly the opposite. But I am also highlighting that this is more than just about the perpetrator – punishing the offender won’t stop the crime, particularly if 97% of offenders get off. This is a community issue, and always has been since the dawn of civilization.
        I am not a lawyer but if a girl runs up to me and grabs my crotch through my pants, she didn’t rape me but she did sexually assault me.

      • this is a quote: but she and her friends do have a responsibility of radical self-reliance to not get so fucked up that they put themselves in dangerous situations, where they are not fully aware of their words and actions.

        what do I not understand? so being fucked up is a dangerous situation because you can be raped. so you are responsible to not get fucked up. don’t get yourself raped.
        if I don’t understand you, please rephrase, I am really open to a polite discussion

      • being so fucked up that you’re not yourself is dangerous, period. At Burning Man, or anywhere else. You could get raped, you could get run over by an art car, you could fall off a high platform, you could accidentally wander in a fire. You shouldn’t get so wasted that you’re in that situation, this is not “getting high” or “having a life altering transcendental experience”. It is just wrong. It is sad. It is worse than addiction. And a lot of times, it just comes from inexperienced people not knowing their own limits.

        Other times, I’m sure, it comes from fucked up people dosing out GHB and pouring too much, or people getting dosed on something without their knowledge or consent.

        I have been lucky in that my friends always look out for each other; in the case of the story I shared with you of the girl in our art car who did not get raped, when we returned her to her friends and they saw the condition she was in they were very relieved. Perhaps I am being “Burn-ist” to say that they looked like Virgins, to me I certainly would have been asking each one of them for ID before giving them any booze.

  50. We live in a society that is obsessed with rape and even entertained by it (Lifetime Network). The definition of rape has been broadened to also include intoxication. A woman cannot consent to sex if she is intoxicated, and it is a man’s responsibility to gauge if she is intoxicated before engaging in sex. This is why I always carry a breathalyzer machine with me when I go out on a date.

    Men, if you’ve had sex with a woman who had more than two glasses of wine, you raped her. The only reason you’re not in jail right now is because she chose not to go to the police.

    • Actually, its pretty easy. If you think to yourself, “this girl is too fucked up to speak,” don’t touch her, don’t put anything in her, and be a decent human being and help her get home safely.

      • radical self reliance does not mean “it’s fine, just assume every guy will be a gentleman so you’ll be totally safe no matter how wasted you want to get” – you’re a fool if you think that, at Burning Man more than anywhere

      • Just like “expecting that no one will run you over in an art car, just because you’re drunk” is a stupid belief. If you’re so intoxicated that you have absolutely no idea what you are doing or saying, then you should expect that you have majorly increased your risk of anything bad happening. And for what? Just to express your “right to get totally fucked up”? I personally don’t think that anyone needs to have that right. That’s why we have laws against public intoxication and indecency.

      • Do you feel like you were assaulted? If so, there is a reason and those feelings have merit.

        I refuse to accept the idea that we can accomplish so many amazing things in this world but when comes to something as simple as “don’t rape” we throw our hands up and say impossible. If that makes me a fool in your eyes, then I hate to see what you think is the opposite.

        If you have had an amount to drink that makes you wonder whether you’ll remember an action tomorrow, if you can tell she or he has had too much to drink, if you feel off, if you can she/he feels off, if any question of whether or not this might not be the best time to have sex with this person crosses your mind, stop and ask. If you ask and they insist, you can always ask again. Don’t be afraid of open conversation. That is the number one way to have healthy safe partnerships, one night stands, burning man booty calls, or whatever your heart desires. No matter what level of connection you have, if you and a partner can discuss it, you should wait. Plus, once you can establish those open lines of communications, you can also talk about all the other things you want to have happen. Ask. Ask first, second and third.

        And women should do the same. Maybe if we did less sex shaming in general, if we could all talk openly about things we all do anyway, and if everything wasn’t treated like you’ve brought plauge upon your family, we could grow to be mature enough to have these conversations. Both partners have the right to speak up and be considered.

      • drunk rape only applies to women. so if you were both equally drunk, only she was raped.

        there is no way to a prove woman’s prove blood alcohol level at the time of the alleged rape, so it’s basically her word about how drunk she was. if she thinks she was drunk, then she was drunk, and you better have a very good lawyer.

        ( )
        ( )

        i’m wondering when this logic will be applied to women drinking and driving. if a woman is not responsible for her actions when she’s drunk, where consent does not equal consent. then drunk driving laws should not apply to her since she was unable to consent to driving in the first place because she was drunk.

      • Nice point, but the difference is drinking and driving is illegal. Last I checked, being drunk and in possession of a vagina is not.

  51. The state of Nevada is interested in convictions, not helping people. As someone who was stopped in violation of the 4th amendment, lied to, falsely imprisoned, convicted of a crime by police who lied and manufactured evidence and finally received a court record where the judge’s remarks were altered by the court stenographer in Nevada the lack of interest in anything that doesn’t produce revenue for a state that lives off prostitution and gambling is vile and inexcusable.

    With all the money that pours in the borg for this event every year something needs to be done. We can construct anything, but not a place to collect evidence after events like this? Volunteer doctors and personnel can’t be found to staff such a space? With Pershing County claiming moral high ground while trying to sink its teeth into the cash flow it’s a joke this isn’t being looked at with the intent for a solution on site. If 60,000 people can build a temporary city and mostly cohabitate it’s a g-d lie that something can’t be done about this.

  52. it is a horrible thing to say, that the rapist should be raped himself. aren’t we a civilized society, and isn’t imprisonment supposed to be a punishment? rape culture in prisons is a shame on our country.

    MaryMagpie – thank you for clarification on a rape kit processing, I didn’t know any of that. It makes me very uneasy about nevada, feels like it is free for all for rapists :/ and it is not exactly the Burning Man problem. Maybe BMOR could invest in having trained medical personnel for serious issues such as rape? Admitting that the problem exists is a step towards making it better

    • I take your point; let me rephrase it to “the rapist should be re-habilitated”. If we look at things that worked throughout history in tribal societies dealing with this, it was getting shunned from the tribe or getting the shit kicked out of you by all the leaders that was the most effective. Prison culture in general is a blight on our civilization and needs major reform. Perhaps Burning Man can start to innovate on this front also.

  53. Thank you Jane, exactly. As a former volunteer advocate with both Reno’s Sexual Assault Support Services and Burning Man’s crisis team, I’d like to clarify the rape kits situation. Under Nevada law rape kits can only be administered by health professionals with specific training using required methods and technology. These necessities are to protect the *survivor* by gathering evidence as well as possible. Because of limited funding (and before you get angry about funding, especially in this economy, tell me which little old lady you’re going to yank it from to get more) and limited population Nevada has are two places where rape kits can be administered. For *all* of Northern Nevada, that place is in Sparks (a really amazing place with spectacular nurses and terrific volunteer advocates) and in Southern Nevada in Vegas. That means if anyone anywhere (Winnemucca, Elko, Beowawe, Burning Man) in Northern Nevada needs a rape kit done – they must transport to Sparks.
    I recognize the outrage and the feeling that “there should be” rape kits at the burn; however, the conditions absolutely do not recommend it.
    By being brought into town a survivor can have the rape kit administered in a clean, controlled, caring environment which can make a difficult exam at least a little more tolerable. Also, from there, it is easier to have access to full medical facilities and transport *away* should that be desired.
    Rape kits can be administered up to 7 days after a sexual assault. Conditions may not be ideal, but there is a possibility of evidence being found even then. Still it is recommended and requested that clothing not be changed and the survivor not bathe until the kit can be administered.
    It would be terrific if this weren’t a “face” of Burning Man, but it is, and the conditions for survivor care, particularly considering the environment, are, in my opinion, *amazing*. The people who volunteer and work from the rangers to the crisis folks, to even the cops (that I’ve encountered) have been wonderful. Laud Burning Man for what they do, do your best to help in ways they can’t. Keep your eyes open and have a safe burn.

  54. It appears that neither the Borg or Nevada are properly equipped to deal with this serious offense. As anyone, male or female, who has been raped knows, you are considered guilty until proven innocent. Victims of rape and abuse are commonly neglected by whichever System in which they find themselves.

    The other problem here is, where were her friends? Her camp mates? What about the people who had to have seen something when this started? It also provides a tragic reminder that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Radical self-reliance includes not getting so hammered that you can’t cry out or defend yourself. I’m not blaming the victim, but being overly intoxicated makes anyone more vulnerable.

    • I lived with a veteran burner who was a dream when I first met him. Talented, smart, handy, beautiful… in the end I knew he could set me on fire and be cool with it by the next day, he committed about 10 felonies against me and stole years from me and my children as well as about 10,000$ from a single mom. He completlely burned any good will I have for burners in general.

  55. Like the Catholic church or any other institution, Burning Man (the city/LLC/whatever it is) is not above the law. And any city of 60,000 should have adequate means on hand to follow up on a crime… especially a brutal one such as rape. It’s a responsibility we all share as members of this community. I’d like to have some of my ticket money go towards rape prevention and rape kits even if it means one less big art piece.
    (ps – I’m a male and wish more men would speak up about this crime)

  56. This sad story does not surprise me. 2012 is the first time (in 5 burns over 10 years) that I’ve felt uneasy about some of the men I’ve met on the playa.

    In particular, I was dancing in a club when a man unexpectedly approached me, grabbed me and tried to kiss me. He then BIT ME really hard when I turned my face away. I had teeth marks and a huge bruise on my upper arm for a week.

    A few days later, my friend met a girl who’d had a similar experience of being bitten when she rejected a guys advances.

    Obvoiusly this is not as serious as rape, but there is a point here about boundaries, consent and respect.

  57. This sad story does not surprise me. 2012 is the first time (in 5 burns over 10 years) that I’ve felt uneasy about some of the men I’ve met on the playa.

    In particular, I was dancing in a club when a man unexpectedly approached me, grabbed me and tried to kiss me. He then BIT ME really hard when I turned my face away. I had teeth marks and a huge bruise on my upper arm for a week.

    A few days later, my friend met a girl who’d had a similar experience of being bitten when she rejected a guys advances.

    Obvoiusly this is not as serious as rape, but there is a point here about boundaries, consent and respect.

  58. In a city of 60,000 people, no matter how good the intentions of most, there will always be the ugly ones that come because they can get away with things they cannot in real life. Rape processing (kits) require a hospital. If a person is raped, they should go to the hospital anyway for treatment. The playa is not the place to stay if you have been assaulted/raped. Police would likely act and take that person to hospital and to lay charges. It sounds like the rapist was not caught? Why call them a “serial” rapist if only 1 account of rape? Is there further story to report?

  59. Are you fricking kidding me? Get rape kits on the playa now! Always protect the woman and children first! And kill the rapist!

      • If he’s guilty, then maybe he should be in prison getting raped himself. But, he has a right to a fair trial before the lynch mob deems him guilty. This is not Saudi Arabia where we stone people to death for showing their ankles or riding in cars with boys.

      • in this rape hysterical society, the rule of law doesn’t apply if someone is accused of rape. it’s just a matter of pointing the finger at any man and saying ‘he raped me.’ and the man’s life is over, regardless of a conviction.

        men are presumed guilty in all accusations of rape. and most accusations of rape are false ( )

        • What a bunch of crap. I hope that after this life you are reborn as the sexiest girl anyone has ever seen- without a brother or father. After THAT life, let us hear your opinion.

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