“Let's make rape legal. Less women will be raped because they won't voluntarily drug themselves with booze and follow a strange man into a bedroom, and less men will be unfairly jailed for what was anything but a maniacal alley rape.”
That's a paragraph written by 36-year-old 'anti-feminist' and 'neo-masculinist' writer Daryush Valizadeh, alias Roosh V, on his blog almost exactly a year ago.
Valizadeh has spent years making a name for himself online among fans of pick-up artistry (PUA) – the belief that by using easily-learned, widely repeatable psychological tricks, it's possible to bed any woman.
His “Bang” books, in which he sketches out how to apply his methods to women of a particular country, have a cult following among would-be sex tourists and Casanova fantasists worldwide.
On Friday, Valizadeh is attempting to gather his fans together at around the globe for a simultaneous “tribal meeting” – an event the website describes as “an enjoyable male bonding session where we could have locker room banter, ask for advice, tell stories, and share ideas for a couple of hours.”
Women fear spread of 'hate'
But in Germany – and across the world – women have begun organizing counter-demonstrations to the Roosh fan meetups scheduled for Aachen, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Nuremberg and Würzburg.
“Roosh V holds some very dangerous views about consent and sexual violence. We have decided to organize a counter-demonstration to show that their ideology and behaviour is not welcome in Berlin,” organizers Ami, who works at a rape crisis centre, and Becca told The Local by email.
Other people planning to join the demo said they feared Roosh's views would prove an explosive mix with the current feverish debate on sexual violence in Germany.
Germans have been debating rape and sexual assault since New Year's Eve, when it took days for reports of large numbers of men of Middle Eastern appearance assaulting women in groups to reach national media and the city police force were accused of minimizing the attacks.
And some fear that the pro-rape ideas of 'masculinists' like Roosh V could seep into the national conversation.
“The argument [of the 'masculinists'] is that, while refugees are effectively exonerated of crimes because men are expected to rape, white counterparts are expected to control themselves,” Berlin-based journalist Hannah Augur told The Local.
At least one commenter on Roosh's website asked for the date to be moved so that they could attend a Europe-wide demo by Pegida – the German anti-Islam movement born in Dresden – planned for the same day, with Roosh encouraging him to do both.
Image: screenshot from rooshv.com.
On Facebook, people are organizing a demo against Roosh in Berlin, with another planned for Munich and many Facebook posts, especially among anti-fascist and feminist users, circulating details of the other German meetups.
'We can tear them up'
Counter-demonstrations are apparently a common occurrence at Roosh's events, as he's devised a “protocol” for attendees to follow to learn the real, secret locations that sounds more CIA than PUA.
That makes counter-demonstrations risky, as Roosh suggests that his acolytes film any feminists who show up and share the images with him “so we can tear them up” afterwards.
Conversely, his FAQ also addresses fears of being “doxxed” (having personal information released online) by feminist counter-demonstrators – or that the meetup itself might have been organized by a “secret feminist agent”.
Aware of the tension, demonstrators were debating creative means of protest on Facebook on Wednesday, with some suggesting a “charm offensive” or a “dance party” rather than a direct confrontation.