Pickup Artists’ Rape Survivor: ‘I Had to Do My Part to Break the Cycle’
These PUA (Pick Up Artist) guys are sexist swine and dirt bags.
by BRANDY ZADROZNY | 02.07.17 1:21 PM ET
A woman’s mission to find and prosecute the (Link): men who raped her while she was drunk and unconscious in a downtown San Diego apartment ended this week, after a third man was sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in her attack—the maximum term possible under California law.
Friday’s sentencing of Jason Berlin, 28, wraps up a years-long investigation, undertaken in large part by the victim herself—a woman whom The Daily Beast has called Claire in previous (Link): exclusive reporting on the proceedings—and concludes a first-of-its-kind case that indicted not only Berlin and two co-defendants, 27-year-olds Jonas Dick and Alex Smith, but an entire underground community of so-called pickup artists, whose techniques San Diego Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Fraser likened to a “sophisticated criminal enterprise.”
… Claire was raped in October 2013, after a night of heavy drinking in San Diego’s trendy Gaslamp Quarter. Alex and Jonas were working as paid instructors for a company called (Link): Efficient Pickup—a private company that promised to teach “rejection proof” techniques for sleeping with women, delivered via online courses and in-person ‘bootcamps”—when they approached Claire and her friend outside one of the the bars at closing time.
Within minutes they were escorting the women to their apartment where their “student” Jason Berlin was waiting.
Jonas occupied Claire’s friend, at one point hiding her phone so she wouldn’t be “distracted” (or able to call for help, the prosecution argued) while Claire got sick and passed out in Alex’s room.
Alex raped Claire, then called in Jason to do the same.
When Claire’s friend came in to check on her, she found her naked and face-down in her own vomit. The men laughed as Claire came to and put her ripped dress back on.
Before throwing the women out—“like a bag of laundry,” (Link): according to Jason—Alex bragged, “We just tag-teamed your friend.”
Despite calling the police from outside the apartment door, filing an immediate report, and submitting to an hours-long, invasive rape kit test, a month after Claire’s rape the police had made no arrests. They hadn’t even questioned any of the suspects.
With her case stalled, Claire began sleuthing on her own and soon located all three men online, in the shady corners of the anti-feminist Internet known as the manosphere, where pickup artists congregate. Claire found their profiles on Efficient Pickup’s (Link): now-defunct website as well as their postings on the forum of Real Social Dynamics—a multi-million dollar industry leader in the pickup world.
She then stumbled on Alex and Jason’s “field reports,” or personal blogs where the men, using alter-egos, blogged about their exploits. It was there Claire read two detailed accounts of her attack.
“It’s indescribable to explain what it’s like to read about your own rape in journal format,” Claire said in a statement at Berlin’s sentencing.
…Berlin signed on as a cooperating witness and testified at Alex’s trial last year. On the stand, Jason took little blame for Claire’s rape, but served a purpose nonetheless, explaining to jurors the unique language and philosophies of the pickup community—information that Fox said was helpful in securing Alex Smith’s conviction.
Berlin told jurors how he paid for an apartment close to the bars for late night drunk pulls. (They called the apartment the “train station.”) He defined numerous words like “shit tests,” and “resistance”—terms that pickup artists use to describe a woman’s rejection—and detailed practices like “plowing through” and “rinse and repeat” to explain how the best pickup artists don’t take “no” for an answer.
… [Said Deputy District Attorney Lisa Fox ] “The people who engage in [these pickup techniques] need to know that it’s not a game. And as you can see by the judge’s sentence, it will be taken seriously. This is rape. The bottom line is if a person can’t consent because they’re intoxicated or unconscious—and that’s what some of these pickup communities are teaching–it’s rape. When you have a whole plan to go to a bar at closing time, pick up drunk women, sleep with them, and brag about it online? It really is evil to its core.”
…“Since I found out about this pick-up artist community, this event has spurred a lot of discussion in and outside the seduction community. It was alarming to hear how people—men, women, mothers, daughters, people of all ages—were quick to blame the victim. That I shouldn’t have done this or that,” she [Claire] said.
“The list of warnings to women, that they need to more careful by carrying pepper spray or learning self-defense—it both angers and saddens me. It again places the responsibility on women to “Don’t get raped” when really, as a society we should be teaching, ‘Don’t rape.’.”