“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” Author Witnessed Real-Life Gang Rape, Never Reported It

by FCM

the international best-selling “the millennium trilogy” and its author, swedish journalist stieg larsson, are making headlines again, after his life partner of 30 years revealed that larsson left behind an unfinished fourth novel when he died unexpectedly in 2004…without a will, and leaving her nothing except an ongoing bitter battle with his father and brother over his now-considerable estate.  gee, thanks dood! 

better known as “the girl with the dragon tattoo” series, the first book (in swedish) was originally called men who hate women

…by its author, a lefty-liberal journalist who died before his first book was ever published.  the heroine “lisbeth” in larssons books and their movie adaptations, as well as larsson’s fixation on writing about misogynist violence was apparently inspired by a real-life gang rape that larsson witnessed when he was 15.  according to larsson’s wiki entry,”[Larsson] never forgave himself for failing to help the girl, whose name was Lisbeth – like the young heroine of his books, herself a rape victim, which inspired the theme of sexual violence against women in his books.” 

oh, poor larsson!  and, oh really?  he witnessed it, and knew the victim well enough to know her name…okay, so what was he doing there?  in what sense was he a “witness” and how did he come to “witness” it?  what did he see?  and more importantly, what did he do *instead* of helping her?  did he participate?  did he report it?  wiki doesnt say…but does provide a link.  footnote 22 to be exact.

so i clicked on it, and learned this:

The [gang-rape] happened in 1969 at a camping site in northern Sweden. Three of his friends assaulted a 15-year-old girl as Larsson watched.

‘Her screams were heartrending, but he didn’t intervene,’ writes [Larsson’s friend] Baksi in his [own] book. ‘His loyalty to his friends was too strong. He was too young, too insecure. It was inevitable that he would realize afterwards that he could have acted and possibly prevented the rape.’

[Larsson tried later to apologize to the victim, but] Larsson’s apology fell on deaf ears. ‘In the north of Sweden, nobody forgets,’ said Baksi.

yeah no shit dickwad. but heres something that should really bother him (but clearly doesnt): its not just in the north of sweden.  rape victims never.  forget.

meanwhile, larssons friend has apparently dedicated his life to avenging the victim and the gang-rape that haunted him…but unfortunately, old baksi cant seem to figure out the rapists identities.  curious!  considering that the rapists were larssons “friends” you would think he couldve just asked larsson while he was alive, or that larsson himself would have come forward with that information if it was so important to him that the real lisbeth be “avenged” and her rapists punished:

‘[Creating “Lisbeth” and writing about misogynist violence] was his way of apologizing,’ said Baksi, who is devoted to avenging the gang rape that haunted his friend for so many years. So far, he hasn’t found their identities, but has pledged to continue the search.

‘I don’t even know if Lisbeth is alive,’ said Baksi. ‘But it’s very important to me.’

Larsson, in real life an investigative journalist who was a tireless advocate for women, died of a heart attack at the age of 50 in 2004.

a tireless advocate ay?  yet he couldnt be bothered to pick up the phone and identify the real lisbeth’s rapists to the cops.  okay!  and its interesting, isnt it, how larsson and his friend are made into some kind of womens-rights champions (or at least anti-gang-rape champions?) in this story for doing what, again?  nothing?  thats what i thought. actually, what larsson did was *worse* than nothing wasnt it, when he approached the victim and demanded (or expected) her forgiveness afterwards?  expecting and demanding shit from rape victims!  thats rich. 

but anyway, moving onto “the millennium trilogy” itself, its interesting, isnt it, that when these works were translated into english, the title was so drastically changed.  no longer are consumers of this material supposed to consume it within a framework of misogyny, and illustrating misogyny and criticizing misogyny, which is apparently how it was intended by its author.  (a man who was creatively-inspired by witnessing a real-life gang rape, and never bothering to turn in the rapists he was friends with.  did i say that already?  good.) 

no, we are supposed to consume it with the issues framed thusly: sexxxay individualistic girl has some experiences.  how post-modern!  how porny!  and indeed, this *is* how the first movie played out to this viewer (me!) when i watched the first film.  i didnt know what it was originally called, for the first 3/4 of it, until i looked it up.  and i have to say, the movie made a lot more sense after i realized the intention with which it was written.  i mean really.  every single man in the film was either a rapist, a kidnapper, a murderer, or at the very least a PIV-entitled prick — even the male protagonist, a womanizing journalist who larsson himself was apparently envious of. (gah, it burns…)

of course, if we were to imagine that every film, every book, every everything in popular culture were entitled “men who hate women” everything would look differently wouldnt it?  everything would start to make sense.  and that we simply cannot have.

individualistic and porny it is, then.  meanwhile, “we” all wait in breathless anticipation of the american-film remakes, and the mysterious “unfinished fourth novel” that larsson tapped out on his laptop at the very end of his life…when he couldve been writing a will, to protect the woman who stood by him for 3 decades in life, from the men in his own family, who he mustve known werent going to protect her or compensate her financially at the peril of their own inheritance, after he was dead.  now thats good misogyny.

49 Comments to ““The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” Author Witnessed Real-Life Gang Rape, Never Reported It”

  1. Oh my, I never realized what these books/films were about. I never bothered to check them out. Ugh, how messed up is this! It seems super exploitative for he and well, now his family to make so much profit and fame from the horrible experience of the woman who was gang-raped. Can you imagine having these books as some reminder of that time you were gang raped, written by the dude who did nothing to stop your rape? Wow.

  2. It is possible that this guy never witnessed the gang rape at all, so if he reported who had done it, the initial lie would have been exposed. Or he did witness it, and was just too cowardly to do anything about it at the tender age of 15. Either way, he exploits this in “fiction” and screwed up his partner’s financial life by not bothering to do the basics, will, trust, life insurance. Geez guys, it’s not that difficult!

  3. My guess is that this time male egoism could be inspired by the idea that POOR HIM has to live in a horrible world like THIS making himself the victim (although others are). It’s all about HIM. Damn asshole. Ok, what he saw (if he saw it) was really traumatic (and I have read that it is traumatic to witness violence) – but he must have understood what he was doing by writing about it. If he really cared about the victim he would have turned the perpetrators in to the police – who wouldn’t have? Do men pity themselves enough to change things? No. They don’t even care about their partners. It’s all about them.

  4. ok i hadnt considered that the asshole was LYING! thats an interesting twist, and entirely plausible isnt it? literally fantasizing about male sexual violence against women…and then crying AND LYING about how it all affected HIM. it also ties up all the the loose ends regarding why lisbeth cant be found, why the rapists identities remain unknown (even though larsson was supposedly friends with them) and why we dont have any real details at all about what he allegedly witnessed…even though it was supposedly so important to him and affected his entire life and drove his writing and his career.

    pfft. omg! disgusting!

  5. He could have lied about witnessing the rape, but in my experience dudes tend to have this really strong brotherhood bond that makes it possible for them to stand by and protect their buds in spite of the immorality of the situation. Quite simply, their loyalty is towards men and this rule is ingrained in them from day one. Even a so called “tireless advocate” will chose men over women regardless of the situation, even if his loyalty is only expressed by silence and complicity.

  6. I like this post. I actually really liked one of the movies, saw it in the theater- she winds up kicking some serious ass and doesn’t she ultimately gore her rapist with a giant meathook? even some of the guys in the theater were clapping. anyway, I like your point about how the patriarchal mind is so male-centrist that even as this man writes books thinking he’s assuaging guilt or somehow compensating for his participation in the gang-rape, his life and work is still very much centered on his experience. frequently it happens, right? egocentric focus on the male experience, even of female suffering.

  7. What happens most often with this kind of “truth telling” is that plural episodes become singularised. There is this one awful traumatic event! Like the few rapes and murders that make the news each week. I suspect he and his friends like many frat boys have gang raped many times, by making it a one off you make it more digestible for the public, and at the same time more intense, because it’s not diluted by the many other gang rapes. This monumentalises the rape, and your book! It creates a good selling point, the true story, and how cut up about it you are! Because you never went to a prostitute and gang raped her with your mates? That is a virtual right of passage for young men. Its like pretending that the Romans only had one slave, and then telling the story of his “exceptional” life.

  8. Zeph that’s an excellent point. If it happened, it probably wasn’t the first or only time it happened. And the part about him merely witnessing it just stinks to high heaven doesn’t it? Jeebus.

  9. Can you imagine

    standing there



    and doing nothing?

    I cannot. I cannot come to grips with the idea of doing nothing but standing there watching and listening while a human being screamed and screamed and screamed.

  10. Well now that you mention it tbw, his story about “just watching” sounds less plausible than either of the following: either he made it all up and used his own fantasies of misogynist violence to drive his career…or he raped her too, and probably gang raped many women with his buddies over time. Seriously. His story just doesn’t add up, especially all this bullshit about avenging her, when he KNEW the rapists identities. It’s not as if he even claimed to have witnessed strangers attacking an unknown woman, he knew her name and he was friends with the men and probably with her too. I mean really. He tracked her down later to apologize. Wtf?

  11. And even if he did “just watch” what are the chances that he watched in horror as opposed to watching in excitement and arousal, like watching live porn? Or supporting his friends and egging them on? This is all very disturbing, but every single scenario anyone here has proposed makes more sense than the one he used. Did he think everyone was fucking stupid or what? And did anyone criticize him while he was alive? Who?

  12. Anyone who assumes that “just watched” equals “just watched in horror” is probably reading that into it. The articles didn’t say that did they? And was he reported to have said that himself? Or was it just implied? That’s a mistake.

  13. Thank you for this post, FCM. In addition to all the horrible f’d up facets of this story that have already been brought up, I’d like to add something else that upsets me. The man was inspired by the gang rape, and made all his money off of that inspiration. Talk about exploitation!

  14. One of the oldest tricks in the book for so called “reformed men” is to mention the ONE event that changed their lives. I notice this is a rhetorical device of male speakers and scholockmeisters as well… so for Larsson, it was the “one gang rape” for other guys it was the mythic kid who calls from Altona, PA ‘gotta give ’em hope’ Or a so-called gay ally site where the guy claims that three of his “best friends” came out to him over a three year period, so he stopped being a homophobe, and now runs a little potential profit center… we never get the stories from the “friends” from the “rape victim” from the Altona kid. And then there is the story of the elderly woman with no name who drops of a quilt at the AIDS Quilt organization, and that tear jerker story is still being told by woman hating gay guys on the lecture circuit.

    So beware when some stupid guy tells a tear jerker story… it is a convenient easy answer as to why they want to exploit women… making money in novels, siphoning money from the “gay” (read male) community…. the convenient one size fits all story. And who’s to say Lasson wasn’t one of the rapists himself, and then felt moral remorse… I suppose some men feel this, although lately, I think they are incapable of feeling anything for women…. it’s kind of a fake crocodile tears kind of thing with them.

    The story stinks, because it fits so well with this male narrative of “the one bad” incident. When I talk to women, I find they have dozens of horror stories, not just one. I wonder if we can list the top 10 male fake pattern stories, and see if we can make this info go viral. A good way to expose the male lies that are so predictable, even a swiss watch would envy them!

  15. I think standing by in silence out of for oneself is not uncommon, esp in a 15 year old. There is that tv show “what would you do” and most peopele, men and women, do nothing when seeing a crime or verbal abuse. At least the few show I’ve seen. There was also a study done maybe three decades ago where people were told to push a button that elicited tortured screams from other room. They were simply, firmly instructed “please continue”‘and the vast majority did. There is just something really askew in the make up of human beings , very ugly and cowardly. Maybe these types were the evolutionary survivors whereas the braver nobler tupes perished? Anyway if this guy is telling the truth, he might be unusual in that he turned his guilt into an adventure story. I haven’t read the books or seen the movie, but from what I know of the plot, and then reading this blog post, it seems like another example of a man who puts the responsibility for responding to men’s violence onto the women. If he instead wrote a story about a 15 year old boy who witnessed a gang rape, and a year or so later turned in his friends… And showed how the victims life continued in a realistic way… Would it be a bestseller? What if someone wrote a book about how her rapist apologized decades later to assuage his guilt and she got him sent to prison and was vilified for doing so (Crash Into Me). No, not a bestseller but the stuff of heroism, and also complexity. The vast majority of women don’t try to use violence against men who have seriously hurt them. But if depicting this, after all a good read needs action, why not tell the story about how women organized together and used military tactics against rapists and pimps, and the guerilla movement grew… A bestseller? Can you imagine? This kind puts responsibility on individual women to react, while avoiding the idea of organized social change.

  16. Adriene, please do not derail with some gender-neutral study of sexless subjects administering generic pain on sexless other subjects.

    This is a discussion about rape, on a radical feminist blog. Thank you.

  17. “The story stinks, because it fits so well with this male narrative of “the one bad” incident. When I talk to women, I find they have dozens of horror stories, not just one. I wonder if we can list the top 10 male fake pattern stories, and see if we can make this info go viral. A good way to expose the male lies that are so predictable, even a swiss watch would envy them!”

    1)The heroic husband/father who avenges the rape/murder of their female, by a few bad apples! Providing the filmmakers with justification for making gratuitous amounts of graphic cider out of them.

    2)The terrible regret of a man who happens to fall in love with one twelve year old girl and ends up having lots of sex with her. Lolita, has not just been written, it has been enacted millions of times throughout history, and love has nothing to do with it.

    3)The husband who has sex with his children and or prostitutes, only because his wife sexually rejects him, sometimes. How much more active must he have been before he had a wife!

    4)The man who, under the influence of a sudden and inexplicable fetish, rapes a granny, and then takes a job in an old peoples home to atone for it!

    5)The regretful teacher, who tries to overcome his desire to grope teen girls, by using his job as exposure therapy!

    All versions of the rapist who fucks his victim over a second time, by writing a book about her suffering and making money from it!
    All stories that singularise, multiple, commonplace events, so as to conceal their systemic nature.

  18. Omg zeph, are those all examples of real books? We are well on our way to Sheilas top 10! 😦

  19. Lolita is a book, the others I have seen as plots for screen plays, short stories and even as psychoanalytical mansplainations for criminal acts. Some are common tropes in self help books for women: why your husband strays and what you can do about it, type of thing. The same stories, churned out across all types of media.

  20. Damn Zeph… I barely had a chance to put down my quill pen (I mean mouse pad) before you came up with a list! The one time mistake… the one girl Lolita (great literature 😦 NOT), the one time trip to the prostitute (caught on camera– Dick Morris)…. all one time “rape” stories to profit from. ‘Exposure therapy” LOL LOL, did you invent that phrase???… sounds like a line from old liver.

    D.H. Lawrence… Tolstoy (yikes read Dworkin on Tolstoy), Henry Miller, all leftist hippie free love men, all the rapists at Woodstock,
    all rock concerts…. the confessional stories of a one time offender… oh officer, this is the first time I have ever sped, oh officer, this is the first time I have ever gone to a minor’s house (To Catch a Preditor– can’t believe men put that show on TV), VD epidemic in early 20th century Jane Addams’ America… girls age 12 with VD… must have gotten it off a toilet seat! Baby boys with VD… after a Rabbi’s visit (no kidding here)….

    If I hear one more man say, “Oh I gave that up, I stopped having sex with students, I only bought prostitutes before I saw the feminist light, I’m a male feminist… my wife supports my story…. oops… Paula Jones was a S—.” Well I shouldn’t scream because butch dykes don’t do that sort of thing 🙂

    Zeph … you just made my day, you’re one damn brilliant woman! Just when I thought… it might be a few days to come up with a list of ten things…. this blog is faster than the speed of Athena’s light, more powerful than Artemis’ arrows, more accurate that 5 lesbian ex’s talking…. Can we actually believe ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING men have to say about women in their past ever? My greatest challenge is to challenge every damn word they write including “a” and “the”– a line I stole from Mary McCarthy btw 🙂

  21. Haha! “A” and “the” being exactly the kinds of lies we are talking about here…its literally every word out of their mouths isn’t it? Instead of the truth: “many” and “all of the”.

  22. “Exposure therapy” LOL LOL, did you invent that phrase???… sounds like a line from old liver.”

    Don’t know if I invented the exact phrase, it’s the kind of approach they use to get you over phobias of one sort or another. I must admit that a Bacon-esque (as in Francis) image of H floated briefly across my vision as I was writing it. Fortunately it dissolved almost instantaneously.

    Thanks for the encouraging words, Sheila. All hail the HUB!

  23. I really hated this movie. I just could not understand why so many women were telling me to read the books and watch the movie because it would be right up my alley ie. feminist. I didn’t think the movie could have been characterised as feminist in the slightest. And the books sound even worse than the movie. There was a fantastic review of the books on The F Word blog a while ago. http://www.thefword.org.uk/reviews/2009/09/larrson_review

    It does not surprise me that the author of these novels would “witness” a gang-rape and not report it. I have trouble believing that the author didn’t have a hard on when watching a girl being raped. I have even more trouble believing that he didn’t have a hard on when he was writing about his female characters getting raped and dismemebered.

  24. I am genuinely ashamed to admit, I saw all 3 movies (although I didn’t pay a cent for any of them – does that count? 🙂 )
    The first one was an unintentional accident – I watched the European version titled ‘Men Who Hate Women’ and the blurb I read made me think it was just a murder mystery/crime thriller. I didn’t recognise it until about half-way through when I saw her dragon tattoo… and went oh derr … felt so-sucked-in-and-ripped-off. And it just went from bad-to-worse, from the scene where Lisbeth goes to bed with the dude, into ho-hum boring torture-porn. I sure didn’t bother with the books, but I never read best-sellers by male writers anyway. But then I had to watch the following two in the trilogy, just to find out how it all ended.

    As for the author’s hanging around for a gang-rape – immediately thought of another old movie I hated, but was a blockbuster in its day, called “Blackrock” which was based on a real rape/murder case. The whole movie is about the young dude who witnessed it, and his teenage adolescent male angst…. farkinell..

  25. I think men “witness” other mens brutality all the time, but the significance is only ever the impact it has on them (the male). And whether the man chooses to join in, or ignore what’s going on, or whether he feels all disturbed and produces hip-cool-angsty tomes about it – it’s all still his ego, his “experiences” – and the victim beomes his invention of the victim, never her actual experince as a human being

  26. In other words: male narratives

  27. Thanks for the link allecto! It was a great recap of several so-called feminist ass-kicking books/movies penned by pornsick misogynist doods, who people are mistaking for feminists. There are many.

    Also, it reminded me that larsson actually DID have a will when he died! It just wasn’t a VALID will (aka. Not a will, not worth the paper it was written on) bc the dood, who has been called “brilliant” more times than anyone can count, failed to have it witnessed. Oops! And apparently it left everything to some commie political organization!! Haha! So its EVEN WORSE than what I wrote! He was an idiot and a moron who couldn’t do something important CORRECTLY, and he deliberately excluded his life partner from an inheritance in favor of some lefty liberal doodbro commies, who he ALSO SCREWED OVER due to his incompetence! Priceless.

  28. hi smash

    your comment was lost for a few days, sorry bout that! if it happens again please let me know. thanks for reading!

  29. Two people were partners, one of whom witnessed a gang rape, and in the 30 years they were together and supposedly agonizing about the rape, neither one ever mentioned the names of the rapists to each other. Not bloodly likely. I’m sure the surviving partner knows exactly who the rapists were, but for some mysterious reason is still protecting their identities while trying to get a cookie for being so “concerned” about the victim. In fact, even the dead person who witnessed the gang rape had 30 years to name the rapists but chose instead to “express his profound concern for the victim” to the entire world — without ever once naming the rapist.

    As always, you’re brillant and thanks for bringing this very important point to light. I’ve read a few feminist analyses of this situation, but you’re the first one to notice what total hypocritical assholes these people are.

    and screwed up his partner’s financial life by not bothering to do the basics, will, trust, life insurance. Geez guys, it’s not that difficult!

    Remember how men will deliberately do a piss-poor job at kitchen duty, so their wife gets shafted with all the drudge work? Perhaps he deliberately made it impossible for her to inherit but allowed her to think he was leaving everything to her, so she would coddle his stupid ass while he was alive.

  30. Hmmm M. Andrea… I never thought that men deliberately did estate planning badly… just like kitchen duty. They like to pretend to be dumb too, and hide the identity of rapists. The new rinkle in all of this, is that after their deaths they are lauded for “feminist” movies or books. And most people don’t even bother to question the absurdity of their explanations.
    Every man that mansplains an event needs to be put on the stand of radical feminist inquiry!

  31. It’s good he screwed up the will, or the commie organization would have gotten it all, apparently. But it’s likely he lied to her and made her think she would get a share since they were partners. At least now she can try to get a share of some sort. It’s just pathetic how oblivious and nasty men are. Maybe she can tell the victim she knows who raped her and together they can bring the criminals to justice.

    I just read about a woman from Virginia, Liz Securro, who did that with some rapists after 25 years. A guy wrote her a letter apologizing as a part of his AA treatment, very narcissitic apology. She went after him legally. Apparently there is no statute of limitations in Virginia. The main guy who did it is in jail. She wrote a book about it. Here’s a link with the story. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Crash-into-Me/Liz-Seccuro/e/9781596915855

    Hell, if they get together and go after the rapists, they can then write a book, something that will let the world know what a dickwad Larrsonns is. I’ll bet the partner knows how to write. She probably wrote half the books, or more.

  32. Yes, there is speculation that she wrote the books in the first place, or had a significant role in “helping him” do it. If that’s the case, I suppose its also possible that she’s the one who tapped out this mysterious unfinished fourth novel too? We’ll see. Thanks for the link!

  33. This is the first I’ve heard of the plot of that book, and it’s disturbing how much it is advertised (shoved in our faces, like so much patriarchal mind-programming.)

  34. As a survivor of a gang event, this is perhaps too provocative subject for me. I did not read the book, but a woman friend recommended and took me to the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. I was mesmerized, but Lisbeth’s revenge on her former psychiatrist which was sub-plot throughout all 3 movies and ultimately she triumphed.

    I know the identities of my 3 assailants. I tried to tell my mom back when I was 10, but it was only upon finding them with my baby 2 year old sister whom I rescued and she cut me off about blabbing on the sister’s experience and making it worse as she wouldn’t remember this as a 2 year old anyway…and daddy would shoot them and then we’d have six kids without a father so better to just not mention it again…..and I didn’t. For 27 years.

    I don’t know that I would recommend this movie to anyone. But it was strangely cathartic. I’ve thought of having her revenge scenes edited together for a quick fix.

    My assailants had a very violent surroundings, a sad fact their own mother found in bed a couple of years later with her throat slit, no suspect every identified. Anyway, I don’t have anything to say other than my direct experience, my 22 year conscious healing journey now with therapy, energy and meditation studies, singing and dancing lessons and performing, everything it took to recover…these movies made me feel a feeling of victory for at least one woman over her rapist. I don’t think I could ever do what she did, I can’t even get a group of allies to go over and confront my assailant (only the oldest, the ring leader I care about, in fact the younger observer, the 4th one, was victimized too and struck dumb by what the others instructed him to do…. I went to school with youngest one for 7 more years, rode the same school bus. I know how deeply shamed he felt to share that ugly memory with me.

    I once took karate, did also fight off an adult assailant. For years after that I dreamed of catching him, as I did fight him, and then chased him as he ran off with my purse (my keys, ID, did not want his angry ass coming to my apt)…and he finally gave up the purse and ran off. I dreamed for many years about catching up to him, jumping on his back, tackling him and grabbing the back of his head with both my hands and smashing his face on the concrete until his skull crushed. I could never have acted out like Lisbeth, but in my heart, when I saw her retaliation and this was NOT an easy movie for me to watch, in fact I never went to violent movies or every saw “Big Boys Don’t Cry”…..

    Lisbeth’s retaliation was very cathartic for me. I don’t have any political analysis. I had a really hard time watching those movies, but in the end, Lisbeth prevailed.

  35. Survivor, I’m glad it was helpful to you.

    I think that there are virtually no fantasy models out there of women getting revenge against rapists. I remember seeing Thelma and Louise. The problem is they committed suicide at the end. Lorena Bobbitt. Years apart, everyone remembers them. Lorena is not seen (by most) as getting justice, but as a crazy bitch. It’s so common for women to be mutilated by men, it never makes the news. Lorena is rare and remembered because of how rare it is. Then there are the “girls rule the world” memes in which women are just sex objects, kind of dangerous, just enough to be exciting to men. Not enough to rain on a parade like Lorena Bobbitt.

    When I think of all the over-the-top revenge male movies, when another male does them wrong, even encroaching on some property line, they are just too many to count. Violent as hell. But women are never seen getting revenge against men who seriously harm them, revenge in a meaningful way. Like the kind you see in the male revenge movies. I guess we need more of these movies. I don’t like violent movies and don’t normally see them. But I do think there’s something to be said for an avenging kind of violent movie. If it helps women with catharsis, it must be a good thing.

  36. Yes, if the movies or books were cathartic for some, that’s not something anyone can disagree with, and noone probably wants to. That’s the thing about personal experience: its personal. It’s just striking how badly this dickwad failed at being a non misogynist asshole, himself. His entire life was apparently one big woman hating FAIL.

  37. Yes, I agree. It still doesn’t change that at all.

    I’d like to see more women taking violent revenge for rape in books and movies. That would be the good thing.

  38. I have compiled a list of women’s revenge movies on my blog at: http://rainsinger.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/womens-revenge-films/

  39. Hi, I read the novels and watched the second and third movies out of professional interest since I write too in this sort of genre. I didn’t go to the first movie because I didn’t think I could stand to see the woman be attacked as graphically as in the book.

    Survivor and Katie I agree with your comments especially. I had two strong reactions to these books, especially the first one, the Dragon Tattoo. One reaction came long after the other and after a great deal of thought. The first reaction was that there was way too much prurience, and a slight attempt to hide it, that showed Larsen was enjoying writing the rape and other scenes and trying to disguise his enjoyment. It was disgusting to feel the creepy prurience and so the very idea of calling the novels “feminist” in any way seemed crazed.

    After several months I was still haunted by the novels. I finally figured out that the long and explicit scene of the very physical and fantastically humiliating revenge-rape of the woman’s attacker, was the very first time I had ever read such a scene in all my years of reading. This woman raped him in exactly as personal and sickening a way as he had when she was attacked. The attacker learned exactly how she had felt. I have seen revenge movies where the woman, her hand trembling, her hair all messed up, kills her attacker with a gun or something. But I have never seen in literature a woman coldly harm her attacker up close and personal. It’s not the same to shoot the guy down.

    I now think the scene is a feminist watershed of sorts. When I read about the woman who recently cut off her attacker’s penis, I think, that’s right, it should happen a lot. It should be part of our culture that rapists are likely to be raped back. It would stop a lot of rapes, seems to me, when that consequence became a real possibility. I think if I was attacked now I would think of the Dragon Tattoo and consider if I could pull it off (haha!).

    I wish a woman had written the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, just as ferociously but without the hidden hard-on.

    Now I’ll look at the list of rainsinger’s revenge movies. Maybe I’m wrong, and somebody did do it already.

  40. Vliet, your comment that “it should be a part of our culture that rapists are more likely to be raped back” reminded me of the rape-Axe, a condom with teeth. It is painful, and can only be removed by a doctor. The idea is to make someone think twice before they try to rape someone.


    Here’s an anti comment in the article, “It’s also a form of “enslavement,” said Victoria Kajja, a fellow for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the east African country of Uganda. “The fears surrounding the victim, the act of wearing the condom in anticipation of being assaulted all represent enslavement that no woman should be subjected to.”

    Kajja said the device constantly reminds women of their vulnerability.”

    As if women didn’t constantly feel their vulnerability. I don’t see how this is enslavement at all. It’s just that retribution is unacceptable around the world.

  41. Thanks for that link, Katie,wow, let’s make that ol’ vagina dentata myth come true! It’s got some problems as a concept (like, she can’t really warn him, right? Or he’ll force her to remove it – and there might be more murders) but it should be part of the arsenal for those special occasions…Lizbet in Dragon Tattoo could have used it…

    but still, I think Dragon Tattoo’s revenge-rape turned my head around. This huge fear we have…this “vulnerability”…well, not to be crude, but men have a vulnerability too…they can be raped and humilated too…why are we more vulnerable than them? Because we are physically weaker? Because we are socialized not to fight back? Those things, to the extent they might be true, can be worked on. Is it so bad ethically or legally to commit a violent rape-reprisal crime? Would a jury convict? It would be a she said/he said crime, ya know how hard it is to get a conviction…and no dna proof to worry about…and a lot of men wouldn’t report it due to shame and stigma…welcome to our world, fellas…

  42. i actually thought the rape-scene was weird tiptree, although i see what you are saying: ive never seen anything like it either. the thing i thought was weird about it was that she “raped” him anally with a dildo….but thats not really the same thing as being raped with a penis is it? even anally raped with one? i’ll take the dildo any day, sorry. he got off easy, and YES it was completely obvious that larsson had a “hidden boner” the whole time, which just made the whole thing porny and gross, rather than cathartic and vengeful. it was weird. the question i always have whenever i see a woman getting “revenge” in a film is did she instill the same FEAR in the dood, as he instilled in her first? and then answer is always NO. in fact, i think it would be impossible.

  43. men are sexual terrorists, not just sexual sadists, predators or even sexual murderers. that terror is not anything that women can probably recreate to our own benefit, or to harm men. is it?

  44. FCM, yes, not unless a whole, very large movement got started to Bobbitt them for crimes committed, along with the kinds of things that happen all the time during rape, humiliation, begging not to have it done, etc. Gangs of women bobbiting in retribution would strike terror. Much of it is psychological.

    It would have to be a huge movement to instill the type of terrorism they routinely practice. Women are just too caring to do this. I cannot see it happening because women are not like men. Not just through conditioning, but because we do not enjoy the pain of others, overpowering them, etc. that men do.

    But theoretically I do think it would instill that type of terror. Even saying this theoretically would engender huge resistance, just like reactions to the teeth device, which doesn’t even do physical harm, just causes a lot of pain until it is removed and shame because only a hospital can remove it. What I’m saying is it is their vulnerable spot. You know, the thing they treasure most.

  45. i love seeing “bobbit” used as a verb. 🙂

  46. Well, then, let’s have a little fun…

    looks like China has it all together…


  47. bahahaha! omg theres a LIST of documented accidental/intentional penectomies across history. still waiting for the list of documented clitoridectomies. oh wait, noone keeps track of those, and they are too numerous to count anyway.

  48. Thanks rainsinger for the compilation of women’s revenge films!!!!! I’m going to start with Bandit Queen, awesome.

    I’d very much love to see a brain storming and resulting outline of female revenge scenarios. I especially like the group retaliation theme.

    My friend is married to a Nepalese, and he showed me a book about his country, where I read that a Nepali woman has the legal right to kill her rapist w/i 24 hours. If it takes her a few more days to get weaponry, assistants, or to find the dood, she just has to present her reasons to some local council and she’s off the hook.

    Right now what worries me is that there appears to be so many abductions of young women. No bodynf97hd, hence no rape charges or any accountability. Because there is no national database of missing adult persons these statistics are not known. I don’t think its in my mind, and wonder if the violence against women now includes those abduction/imprisonment scenarios more than just plain single rape and run. I also would like to know if there are more gang rapes now, and if there are more rapes involving weapons. Anybody else got this hunch? I don’t think its just because we publicize these cases more, I just think they are proliferating.

    Anyway, the point to me is that we have to turn the tide on the predators. Watch the predators instead of them watching us. It’s cool that we have the sex offender public listing in the U.S. – something “they” are squealing about, how nobody will hire or rent to sex offenders now because of it. Poor widdle guyz. More ostracism, that is in order!

    There recently has been traction it seems in helping communities see how child prostitution is really child rape and their johns are pedophiles and sexual offenders. I realize I’m jumping around here so sorry, but it really comes back to my central premise that we have got to be wily predator watchers. Right now with all the public awareness about how much sex trafficking is occurring is a new ripe moment to fight all sexual violence.

    And, part of that turning the table on them also includes a strategic, femme revenge group. Anonymous style, a nonorganization that is committed to revenge for ….um, repeat offenders, violent offenders that don’t get adequate time, pedophile offenders, etc. “Off with their bobbits!”

    Yes! Thanks for “to bobbit” the verb! Bobbitize. Bobbitrator. Bobbitratee.

  49. As you said vliet “This huge fear we have…this “vulnerability”…well, not to be crude, but men have a vulnerability too…they can be raped and humilated too…why are we more vulnerable than them? Because we are physically weaker? Because we are socialized not to fight back? Those things, to the extent they might be true, can be worked on.

    Survivorthrivor, brainstorming, yes. I like the idea of having a lot of these revenge scenarios written into movies, songs, plays, stories, good and bad fiction, poems, etc. Provides a clear line in the sand, a different socialization. I don’t mean women being the aggressors, I’m not in favor of that. (Men have fantasies about that, too, so why indulge them.) But women being the avengers, yes, yes, yes. For themselves, not some male having to rescue/avenge them, not having to go through hell with the courts and being dragged through the mud for it. And these scenarios need to be clearly that, revenge, avenging angels. Having women rescue/avenge one another or an individual woman avenge herself. Gangs of women, fabulous. Portraying flash mobs? Nothing -wrong with a few courtroom dramas, either. Like a woman avenges and is given the blessing of the law like in some countries, or laws are changed to reflect women’s reality.

    And forget this mixed-up crap like “girls rule the world” by Beyonce. That takes the revenge impulse and subverts it, totally sells out women. Makes them confused and weakens them. Perhaps remake any song/video like that, revise it to show what real justice looks like.

    I really hate it that we live in such a violent culture. We’ve been told that women are the ones to be peaceful, to keep peace, that it is safer that way. If I had my way, everyone would be nonviolent. But the stark fact (see the statistics, watch the films, read the books) is that men are not peaceful and there’s no justice for women. It’s just getting worse. Time for a lot of different role models. Women avengers! And I don’t like the boner-inducing aspects, as has been noted, so those should not be written in, not be included. Thelma and Louise, but once they get a taste of vengence they go on and make a career of it, a successful career.

    Time to take the gloves off, “ladies.” No more ducking and bobbing, just bobbitting, LOL! Physical avenging, but psychological, too. Also, thanks for the list, Rainsinger. May you be able to add many new entries in the years to come.

    Did I say that I hate it that we live in such a violent culture? I meant it. Perhaps this is the way to back them down. Ok, where do I aign up to learn to write a novel?

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