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People Are Posting Hilarious Photos Of Their Irish Wolfhounds, And Its Crazy How Large They Are (38 New Pics)

Irish Wolfhounds have a majestic heritage that is believed to date back to 391 AD. Named for their mix, Wolfhounds were used by the Gaels as hunting dogs, who called them Cú Faol (wolfhound). While they might sound like the stuff of legends – they are now known as sweet, affectionate and sometimes silly pets. According to the official the World Canine Federation standards, their desired height is 32 inches (81cm) to 34 inches (86cm).

The tallest of all the American Kennel Club breeds, this enthusiastically large breed of dogs might look intimidating from afar but as their owners can prove in these photos they are just loveable goofballs. Scroll down below to check out this Bored Panda list of hilariously adorable Irish Wolfhounds we have collected from our readers that sent us the pics of their giant dogs as well as some pics found on the internet. Don’t forget to upvote your favs and if you want even more, check out our previous post on Irish Wolfhounds as well!


Murphy At 8 Months, He’s Now 4 Years Old And 165lb


If Lincoln Can’t Be A Couch Dog Then She Will Be A Floor Person


We Want Your Toast!


My Irish Wolfhound, Sitting On Grandma’s Lap. He Has No Idea How Big He Is


Big Ron And Big Ern




Christmas Morning Pjs


Just A Lap Dog


Gilligan Sharing A Birthday Kiss With 110 Year Old Mariette


Throwback To When The Grass Was Green And It Was Just Her And Him


Dog-Head Is Served. Enjoy Your Meal!


Looks Like They’re About To Drop The Hottest Music Album Of The Year


Beauty And The Beast


Manager Amber Is 5ft… Moose Is One Big Boy!


Happy And Houndy Thanksgiving!


Floki. He’s Such A Sweetheart!


Favorite Place To Nap

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Sloane Got To Sit On My Lap. He Wasn’t Excited At All…


This Is Guinness. He Just Passed Last Month At 9 Years…


My Dad, Who Always Complains About The Dogs


My Boy Fezzik

See Also on Bored Panda

Ever Get The Feeling Someone’s Watching You?


Best Kisses


How He Lies In The Kitchen Waiting For Something To Fall


On A Walk


The Space Cowboy And The Gangster Of Love


Huge Paw Or Small Hand?


Jarvis Watching His Boy


This Gang


When You’re The Size Of A Couch

See Also on Bored Panda

Stanley, 38 Inches At Shoulder, 101 Kilos (223 Pounds) Of Pure Love


My Buddy Chester Almost One Year Old Irish Wolfhound. He Wanted To Look Out The Window


Naps And Cuddles With Hoomum


Meet Winnie The White Wolfie


Partners In Crime


Me And Auntie Terri

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30 Scary NOPE NOPE NOPE Experiences To Read Tonight


In my old job, I used to cycle home from work along the country backroads just before midnight. There were no streetlights along those roads and I hated cycling on the main road because I was anxious about being in the way of traffic. I had an LED light that was fixed to the front of my bike, though. Anyway, I was on my way back home from work one night, and after turning a corner, my light shone on someone who was sitting with their legs crossed in the middle of the road.

The guy was just sitting there in complete silence and darkness by himself. I pulled on the brakes and stopped in front of him and asked if he was alright. He just looked at me and said that he trying to get to a location that was approximately 20 miles or so from where we currently were. I told him that, and he said that he knew and that he was waiting for someone else. Then he got up and walked off into one of the nearby fields without saying anything.

I had another encounter with this same person a week later in the exact same spot. It honestly gave me the freaking creeps… especially when he said that he’d found who he was looking for. Turns out the guy was waiting for a specific car to drive that way. The owner of said car was someone he loved (but was with someone else), and he was planning to kidnap her. I found this out when I saw his face in one of the local newspapers not long after this incident. He’d been arrested for sexual assault and attempted murder.


My wife was stationed in Hawaii when they had the false incoming missile warning. I was not. She called me and we basically said our goodbyes. Then she lost phone service. I thought that was it. She called me back only a few seconds later, but it seemed like an eternity.


Probably the aftermath of a grand mal/tonic-clonic seizure in which I fractured a vertebra. I woke up on the ground with two strangers over me while I was in the worst pain I had ever experienced and I didn’t know where I was or who these people were (turned out to be EMTs) or why I was in too much pain to move. They kept asking really simple questions and I just didn’t know the answers which freaked me out more. It was May and they asked what month it was. I thought really hard and didn’t know and I looked outside and thought it looked like August and gave that as my guess. They asked where I was. I didn’t know that either; it turned out to be my living room.

My girlfriend was also right there, having called the ambulance. They asked me my girlfriend’s name. I said I didn’t have a girlfriend. This was a very different form of negative emotion, I feel so guilty about that even though there was nothing I could have done about it. I also feel guilty about having had a seizure in front of her because it scared the shit out of her.


One day me and a friend were playing in the woods. We spent a good 3-4 hours there because it was sunny and a day before Christmas Eve

I realized I forgot something there the next day. It’s now Christmas Eve, and it snowed a whole inch over night. As I’m walking to the spot where we were. I noticed that someone set up (in a previously trashed area that someone probably camped in) 5 expensive foldable chairs in a semi circle with a ladder and a noose in the middle.

I bolted out of there because if someone is crazy enough to set that up in the middle of the night when it’s snowing on Christmas Eve, then they might have still been there waiting for someone


I once had my foot cut off in a car accident. The doctor reattached it. Lots of nerve damage. I fall down occasionally. Most of the time I don’t. I worry that at some point in my life it will be amputated. I fear the concept of ruining my body.


I was 21 working the overnight shift at a 24 hour pharmacy when a guy ran in with a ski mask and gun and robbed the store. He made me get on the ground and took my coworker to all the registers and empty them in to bag, then ran out and jumped into a getaway car and drove off. Still had to finish my shift after that, too.

He and his accomplices were arrested a couple weeks later and he did six years in prison for armed robbery. I got a notification in the mail from the state when he was released. Gee, thanks.


I got a call from a unsolicited number. I answered and it was a guy saying he was going to come to my dorm room and kill me. He then went into graphic detail about how he would do it, he went on about it for like 5 minutes before i finally hung up. He then called again, and i didn’t answer but he left a voicemail. I called the police, and it was a person out in Vegas. They said it was a prank… So many questions still. How did they know my name? How did they know i was in a dorm? I was super on edge for the remainder of that semester.


Growing up I had a bad relationship with my 3 older sisters, but particularly the one closest in age to me. There isn’t one moment in particular but a series of them.

When my parents would go off on dates there were too many times where my sister ended up chasing me with a knife and she wasn’t just playing around. She meant real harm. We would spend 15 minutes on opposite sides of the table running around it, trying to prevent my sister getting close enough to stab me ,all the while trying to get to the phone so I could call my parents. Then try to get to the bathroom because it was the only room with a lock on the door. She would then sometimes threaten to come into my room and kill me in my sleep. I would pile laundry baskets and dishes near my door when I went to bed at night so the noise would wake me if she tried to get in.

My sister would get in trouble sometimes but usually it was chalked up to normal sibling rivalry. And I was gaslighted by my parents into thinking it WAS normal.


Amphetamine induced psychosis. I spent a period of time addicted to crystal meth, and the psychosis one goes through after having not slept for days at a time is scary.

You see “shadow people.” You believe everyone is out to get you. Every conversation out of your earshot is about you. Your delusions become very real. At one point I though there were leprechauns that were out to kill me. I saw the leprechauns. I heard them whispering and plotting against me. It’s insane. I’m so glad that’s in the past!


When I was in high school about ten years ago I was home alone while my mom went to pick up my brother and before my mom left she told me to bring the dogs in. Now we had two beagles: one that was friendly but barked loud and an older one that we had gotten from the shelter was extremely protective and was not afraid to show his teeth. I ignored her and left them outside for a bit.

I was in the back part of the house and was on the computer when I heard a noise. I walked to our front room and saw a young guy near the front door who knocked. I stood slightly out of sight and saw him walk near our window and then back to the door and knocked again but also tried the door.

Immediately, my blood went cold and I rushed to the back door and quietly yelled for the dogs to come in. They ran in and I herded them to the front room and I heard the mailbox slot open. Right away my older beagle got on the defensive and growled the “I’m gonna fucking bite you” growl while the other one barked. I got my phone and called my mom and begged her to come back home which she did with my brother. They looked around and saw no other signs of entry. I triple check every door now and even though those two dogs have passed away, I keep our current dog near me when home alone.


Got caught in a riptide 200 yards of shore with all of my family, including my at the time 6 year old little sister. We all made it out fine except my dad. He was so exhausted from carrying my sister that he was barely able to stay afloat, they had to send a rescue crew to get him. We all made it out alive, thank God.


I’ve actually never told this story before but when I was about seven I was lured into a shed by a person who had in the past sexually assaulted me. I guess they were afraid I was going to tell so they tied my long shirt sleeves behind my back and slowly covered my nose and mouth with duct tape and left me laying there. It was like falling down a long tunnel. I had left my mouth open slightly so I started pushing with my tongue to break the seal around my mouth as I worked my hands free. I managed to get out and I was so scared I never told anyone. it’s honestly the only time I remember fearing for my life.


Since about a year and a half ago, I’ve been treated for schizophrenia. I don’t have a lot of hallucinations besides some voices as I’m going to sleep, and my delusions weren’t paranoid delusions, but more grandiose and religious. Anyway, I was treated after I designed and built a miniature guillotine out of 3D printed parts and a box cutter blade and used it to cut my tongue off. I actually only managed to cut it about half off, so they reattached it and I can speak and eat fine now. But it took me months to plan this and build the device, and every morning as I woke up and I struggled to pull my dreams apart from reality, I had to realize over and over again that the horror hidden in my desk a few feet away was not a dream, but something very real that was going to hurt me very bad. Every morning that my mom came to wake me up, I hoped she would somehow see it and help me. But I couldn’t get my thoughts together until I was awake, and when I was awake it wouldn’t scare me anymore. So I never cried for help.


When I was younger, my brother was driving me home, at night, from a 4H model railroading meeting. This was February in Indiana and we were driving on country roads to get home. We came to a stop sign and when my brother touched the brakes to slow down the SUV we were in went sideways on black ice. In an attempt to save it he over corrected and we ended up in this slow angled decent into a drainage ditch.

When the drivers side tire went into the icy black water of the ditch, the truck slowly lurched onto the drivers side and then upside down into the water. Black freezing deck began rushing into the truck and I nearly lost my mind. My brother put his hand on the ceiling and released his belt, and I tried to do the same, but being 5 years younger and in near panic I couldn’t get my buckle undone, so I had to use both hands and fell into a clump on the floor.

We clambered to the back of the vehicle and my brother began kicking the side window to no avail. At this point I had enough wherewithal to find a pair of my dad’s needle nose pliers and shatter the rear windshield so we could climb out.

The water was only like 2 feet deep, but I didn’t know that while I was upside down and water began rushing in through the door seals. I cut the crap out of my hand shattering the rear window.

The most important thing that happened that frigid night was a douche bag in a camaro blew right past us while we were standing next to the road and then a couple in a minivan pulled up to the stop sign a minute later and drove us all the way home. Like 30 minutes out of their way. I still stop anytime I see someone in need because of them.


Watching the news and seeing an old coworker on the evening news. He had been convicted of murder by bludgeoning and realizing he used to work with me on early shifts to “keep me safe”


I consider myself a rational person. Of course, most people would believe that of themselves, however objective they try to be. This is something that happened to me and a friend around eighteen years ago.

I was hanging out with him and his cousin in his new house. This was a somewhat busy area near to a major commercial center. At around 9 pm we decided to take a walk to a convenience store for food. His cousin decided to stay at the house. It took us 30 minutes to get to the store. There was a fair amount of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. On the way back we both started getting this really weird feeling. It’s hard to describe now but both of our experiences matched up when discussing it later on. It felt like the air was much lighter. Thinner. The street seemed odd somehow. Out of place. All of a sudden there were no cars or people around. Everything went dead silent. This continued for a few minutes and we both started walking faster.

What freaks me out to this day and what I could never explain is this: Both our watches stopped working. My digital and his analog. His watch stopped at 9:41 pm. He was later able to get it fixed… mine was dead for good. When we got back to the house, it was minutes to 11 and his cousin was freaking out. We were gone for an hour longer than we were meant to. There was no way we could have taken that long to get back. If anything, we walked faster than we did getting to the store. It’s something I usually don’t like thinking or talking about. Neither does my friend for that matter.


Having a dream my grandfather shot himself and about a month later actually hearing him shoot himself.


When I was a teenager my mother in a bipolar frenzy slammed on the gas while screaming at the top of her lungs in the center divider between the lanes with a foot of snow. I watched the dial turn from 30 to 100 mph in a matter of seconds and really thought she was going to drive into oncoming and kill us both that day.


It wasn’t scary at the time per se, but it was definitely a “oh shit, that could’ve gone bad” moment.

I was in college, and one of the buildings opened up out onto a second-floor patio that then went down some outdoor steps. It was my usual route out of the building, because no one took it, and after a day of class, I really just wanted to leave.

Anyway, one day, I step outside and look down onto the lawn that the patio looks out over.

And there’s a guy down on his hands and knees on the lawn just absolutely screaming and stabbing the ground over and over again with a knife. I’m watching this, and, for the life of me, I’ll never understand why, but multiple students were forming a circle around him and just watching and/or taking photos.

It was clear the guy had lost it, at least temporarily, and he was a definite danger. The campus police showed up and immediately called the city police. They had to do crowd control to get to the guy in the first place, and then it took four or five of them to bring him down and disarm him.


I used to do some urban exploring but not so much any more. Probably the freakiest experience Ive had was when I was at an abandoned factory with a friend in a rougher part of town. We had been through most of the building at that point and not run into anybody. Ive only ever occasionally bumped into other explorers and thats it.

As we were about to leave, we heard a loud clang hitting the concrete from somewhere behind us and the sounds of footsteps taking off deeper into the building towards a distant exit. Since the footsteps had moved away and I was with my friend, I hurried over to see what made the noise. I discovered a rusty crowbar laying on the floor which I hadn’t seen when we had been in that area earlier.

My guess was someone was planning on robbing us or attacking us but had mistakenly dropped the crowbar and they took off. I had wondered if they had been following us around and how long theyd been doing so, waiting for the perfect opportunity to ambush us. Whether or not they were planning on doing something, someone with a rusty crowbar in an abandoned building in a bad part of town isnt exactly a good sign. Of course, we got the fuck out of there because we were convinced that whoever had just bolted might be trying to get more people to go wait at the exits for us to come out. Sure that was more paranoia than anything. But until we were safely away from that building and back in the car, I was pretty shook up.


Me and 5 other people saw a monster while we were out camping. We were walking through a trail to get to the campsite and we noticed a tall dark tree sized something kinda swaying back and forth about 50yds from us. We all turned around and ran immediately. Worst part is none of our parents believed us at the time. They didn’t even question why we came home the first day into what was supposed to be a 5 day camping trip


At about this time last year, I found myself standing on top of a bridge, ready to jump. Looking back now, I was terrified of the constant barrage of intrusive voices in my head, and of the person I had become because of these horrendous, uncontrollable thoughts, but at the moment i just felt as if there was nothing left for me. After having a moment of clarity standing there, I broke down and, for the first time, realized how afraid I was of myself and my thoughts.

I know to the average person this is not as scary as most of the other stories here, but I have been held at gunpoint, almost drowned, among other things, and, for me, this was 100 times scarier than anything else.


Midnight It’s dark out. Home alone. No pets. Mom out of state so I locked the doors. Back deck door was open. The deck overlooked a cliff, essentially, so there’s no way anyone could have come inside that way.

I was watching T.V. all night, sitting on the couch downstairs. I went upstairs for some reason but I was up their for a little while. All the lights were off and the T.V stayed running. Again, I was home alone,

When I walked downstairs some lights were on and the kitchen cabinets were open. I swear the T.V. Sounded louder than before I thought my mom came home or something but her car wasn’t in the garage

At this point I was a little freaked out so I called her but she didn’t answer. She was probably asleep already in Boston. I walked around the corner to see if the front door was open and IT WAS.

I was spooked but then the GARAGE STARTED OPENING. No car came and I waited for a little to see, but no one came.

I was sitting in the kitchen.facing a closet that had jackets that looked like people so I kept freaking myself out.

After a bit I jumped in my seat from fear that someone was in the house and sprinted upstairs to my moms room.

I literally did not sleep that night or next night. Looking back I feel like it was fucking ghosts because nothing happened after that. No sounds or anything.

To my knowledge it wasn’t robbery. I was ten. This is the reason I’m afraid of the dark.


Delirium and hallucinations caused by an intense fever. I was at the beach and probably about 16 at the time. I ate a fuck ton of shrimps ans caught a viral infection. It was me and both my parents in a hotel, but it qas late at night and they were both asleep. I silently walked to the bathroom and locked myself in there. After about 2 hours or so of diarrhea and vomiting, I was severely dehydrated and started firmly believing someone was coming adter me to torture me. I have no idea why this specific thing came into my mind, but I couldn’t think of anything besides “I’m gonna be murdered today”. I panicked hard and started hearing things, like someone outside my room shouting and looking for me. I left the bathroom and decided I was gonna kill myself, so I looked for a knife. Thankfully, there were no knives since it was a hotel room, so I went to the window to jump off. My mother woke up and I collapsed before I could reach the window, then they took me to a hospital and I recovered. I remember it all very clearly and I’ve never felt such fear in my entire life.


I was raped when I was eight. The guy smiled the entire time. He didn’t say a thing, he just smiled.


Some parts were scary at the time, the entire thing is kinda scary in hindsight.

I had a semester in college that broke down who I was as a human being. I have Major Depressive Disorder (that, along with other diagnoses in remission), and this semester was the most emotionally challenging thing I have ever experienced. On top of that, I was still trying new meds.

Essentially, it induced psychosis and amped up my eating disorder tenfold.

I was seeing bugs and feeling them on my body (ears, mostly), and I thought my room and electronics were bugged, so I spent a lot of time covering up holes, putting tape over my cameras, moving my room around to cover outlets and stuff, hiding from my window. Meanwhile, I went three weeks straight without eating, a few more with heavily restricting.

That was pretty rough.

Anyway, im on better meds now lol


Watching my mother go from healthy as a horse to paralyzed and dying from ALS in just a few years and knowing that no one can do anything about it.


Many years ago, when I started my career as a nurse, it was common to see large multi dose vials of potassium chloride in med rooms and nurses stations so nurses could mix potassium IV bags. I worked obstetrics, and we had a floor full new moms and babies. It was common for us to clamp off the mom’s IV after delivery and flush it with normal saline once a shift, just in case we needed to use the IV again. There was even a little indentation on the drug cart specifically to hold the vial of normal saline. These large multi dose vials had a blue label. So did the potassium chloride. One of my coworkers left the potassium in the saline spot. At a glance they were identical. I was going to flush the IVs of three patients, so I grabbed three syringes and filled them with what I thought was normal saline. I got about ten feet down the hall when I literally heard a voice say “Stop, go look what you did.” I had never heard a disembodied voice (and haven’t heard another) so I went back to the cart, picked up the vial, and discovered that I’d come close, very close, to killing someone. Straight IV potassium can stop a heart. I threw the syringes in the sharps container and went in the bathroom and cried for a while, and that started my extreme OCD when it comes to giving meds. Check, then check again at least twice more.

Shortly after this happened, you could no longer find multi dose potassium in med rooms. If we needed to give potassium it came premixed. I’m assuming some nurse somewhere made the mistake I nearly did. I was very young, but it made an impression on me that never left. And any time I’ve trained nursing students I’ve told the story to them, in hopes they would learn from my mistake. I’ve never felt like that ever. Pounding heart, sweat, terror at what could have happened. It’s another reason I care so much about proper nurse to patient ratios and too much overtime. Tired nurses make more mistakes. I’d also like to talk with the manufacturer that decided that something potentially deadly and something totally benign should look close to identical.


Not me, but my coworker. She was showering on the morning of September 11, 2001 and missed a phone call from her ex-husband. He left a message:

“I know we need to get together and tie up the last few details of our divorce settlement, but I’m in New York today and I’m about to walk into The World Trade Center for a meeting. I’ll call you as soon as I’m back in town.”

When the first plane hit, she went into full panic mode and spent all day trying to call and check on him. Of course, all the phone lines were jammed up and it was the next day before she was able to get a call through. He had gone into WTC for his meeting, but the man with whom he was supposed to meet was out sick, so he was out well before that attack started.


Waking up on the side of the road and looking over to see firemen using the jaws of life on a mangled piece if metal that was my dad’s car. He was driving, I was 7. Life was never the same after that.


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Chef Proves You Dont Need $1000 Knives To Cut Slices Like A Pro, It Only Takes 2 Steps

Most of us have daydreamed about becoming professional chefs and wowing everyone with our superstar skills in the kitchen. Sadly, not all of us are equally good when it comes to cooking, and intense training in the secretive ways of the culinary arts seems like a grueling task.
Petteri, a chef from Finland, is here to tell you that absolutely anybody can act like a professional cook — if they know the right techniques. He uploaded a series of photos to imgur, demonstrating how to use average kitchen knives to cut food into ultra-thin slices.

Image credits: hewari

Image credits: hewari

Bored Panda interviewed chef Petteri from Finland about how to properly use cooking knives for cutting food, and how to take proper care of them. Petteri told us that he spent 3 years learning the trade at a hotel, restaurant and catering college, and a further 8 years working at fine dining, a la carte and lunch restaurants, as well as in the catering business.
“You don’t get the benefits of a high-end knife if you use them only for home cooking,” Petteri shared some of his in-depth knowledge about knives with Bored Panda and explained that the main difference between expensive and cheap knives is the quality of steel. “For example, my expensive knives actually dull faster and need more sharpening and maintaining compared to the knives I have at home because they are in constant use. Good mid-range knives last for a lifetime if cared for properly.”

Image credits: hewari

Image credits: hewari

The chef also recommended anyone interested in taking care of their cooking knives to get a whetstone and honing stick: “They are easy to use and the Internet is full of great guides on how to use them. Honing the blade will straighten the blade and keep it sharp and the whetstone will reform the actual blade and remove little nicks and dents from it. Hone the knife when you feel it isn’t cutting smoothly. And use whetstone when you feel that the honing isn’t helping anymore.”

Finnish chef Petteri taught Internet users how to cut vegetables super-duper thin

Image credits: hewari

Image credits: hewari

Petteri warned us that we should never, ever put a knife in a dishwasher. “Rinse the blade with water and use a brush if there is something sticky, rinse and repeat. Avoid using soap and always store knives separately, such that the blade part does not come in contact with other knives and other utensils. I recommend getting a magnetic rack or a knife rack.”

Image credits: hewari

Image credits: hewari

“When testing the quality of a knife, I look for a few things. Is the handle comfortable in your hand? Do you like the grip? Is it well balanced? How fast does it lose its edge? Sadly, there is no sure way to tell if the knife is fantastic on the spot. Usually, after a month of use, I have a clear idea if I like the knife or not. I have had knives made of really high-quality steel but the handle falls apart or the blade is really top-heavy which makes the knife cumbersome to use,” the chef added.

This cutting technique can be used even with very cheap kitchen knives

Image credits: hewari

Image credits: hewari

Image credits: hewari

He also had some final advice for anyone planning on going shopping for cooking knives in the future: “Don’t buy those knives that market themselves as “never needs sharpening” or “never dull”. They actually can’t be sharpened and once it’s dull or you accidentally drop it and the blade nicks a little, it’s gone and you wasted money. It’s important to get the right knife for the right job and I recommend, at the very least, to get one knife for meat, one for veggies, and one for pairing. In the end, it’s not how expensive your knife is, it’s how well you treat and use it that counts.”

Here’s what people had to say about cooking knives

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Nigel Slaters high summer recipes

Make the most of bright summer produce with saffron and yogurt grilled chicken, tomato and roast pepper bruschetta and cherry jelly with orange cream

You come back from the shops with cherries, their skins tight and bright, the colour of beaujolais. Green-shouldered tomatoes too, fat red peppers and a bunch of basil, its leaves as big as bay. A heavy wedge of watermelon perhaps, a cool cucumber and spiky bunches of hot rocket. Summer shopping is frustrating. Peaches or nectarines? Peas in the pod or broad beans? Should we buy radishes and artichokes? We need food for the grill, something to marinade, and yet we still want something of substance. (Seafood for a potato-topped pie, chicken for the barbecue.) From now till late autumn there is almost too much from which to choose. We should make the most of it.

Watermelon, salted ricotta and pumpkin seeds

A halved watermelon becomes a fixture in the fridge from now till early autumn. Its ruby flesh chilled and waiting to become part of a salad or cut thick and brought out on a plate of crushed ice to finish a garden lunch. A watermelon laughs loudest when it is matched with chilli as it is so often in Mexico, but also when in the company of salty cheeses such as feta or ricotta salata.

In deepest summer, I soak iceberg lettuce, bunches of thick-stemmed watercress and white-nippled radishes for 20 minutes in a bowl of ice and water to crisp and refresh. The watermelon needs a good hour or two in the fridge before slicing. The marriage of ice-cold melon, salty cheese and chilli is dazzling. Tweak the amount of chilli flakes to suit your own taste. The batch I have at the moment is fiercely hot, so I proceed with caution, a pinch at a time.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish
watercress 1 bunch
red chicory leaves 100g
radishes 200g
coriander seeds 2 tsp
olive oil 4 tbsp
pumpkin seeds 45g
fennel seeds 1 tsp
chilli flakes a pinch
watermelon 1kg
mint 10 leaves
salted ricotta 50g

Wash the watercress, discarding any tough stems or less than perfect leaves then submerge in a large bowl of ice and water. Separate the chicory leaves, halve the radishes, then add both to the bowl. Leave them for 20 minutes to crisp and curl.

Use a pestle and mortar or spice mill to grind the coriander seeds to a coarse powder. Warm the olive oil in a shallow pan, then add the coriander, pumpkin and fennel seeds, moving them around for a minute or two until they are warm and fragrant. Add the chilli flakes, continue cooking for a minute, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Peel the watermelon, cut into thick slices and then into large chunks into a bowl, removing the seeds as you go.

Finely chop the mint leaves, add to the melon then crumble or coarsely grate the ricotta over them. Drain the watercress, chicory and radish and add them to the bowl.

Tip the seeds, spices and their oil over the watermelon and tumble everything together gently then transfer to a serving dish and bring to the table.

Grilled chicken with saffron and yogurt

Grilled chicken with saffron and yogurt. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

A spice-speckled yogurt marinade is something I use a lot with chicken I plan to grill. It must be said that it does have a habit of sticking to the bars of the grill and the smoke that ensues sets off the fire alarm, so I have taken to browning the marinated chicken under an overhead grill in the oven. The meat shouldnt be too close to the heat, lest the skin brown before the flesh is cooked through. I move the oven rack closer to the heat towards the end of cooking, to encourage a crisp skin. I think a little charring here and there is to be positively encouraged.

Serves 3
saffron a pinch
hot water 80ml
chillies 3 small, hot, assorted colours
garlic 3 cloves
natural yogurt 200ml
chicken thighs 6
rocket 150g
cucumbers 2 small
parsley a generous handful
olive oil 2 tbsp
white wine vinegar 1 tbsp

Grind the saffron to a powder, tip it into a small bowl then pour the hot water over and leave for 10 minutes.

Finely chop the chillies and put them into a large mixing bowl. Peel the garlic, finely chop and add to the chillies, then stir in the yogurt and the saffron liquid and set aside.

Place a chicken thigh skin-side down on a chopping board then cut out the bone with a sharp knife. Open each boned thigh flat, skin side down, then bat out with a heavy weight such as a rolling pin or cutlet bat, till the meat is about cm thick. Submerge the meat in the yogurt marinade and set aside for a good hour.

Put the rocket leaves into a large bowl of ice and water and leave for 15 minutes. Peel the cucumber, then cut into large diagonal chunks. Pick the parsley leaves from the stalks and add to the cucumber, then drain and shake the rocket dry and toss with the cucumber, olive oil and white wine vinegar. (No salt or pepper is needed here.)

Heat an overhead (oven) grill. Line a grill pan or oven tray with foil, lay the pieces of chicken on it skin-side down and cook, a good 15-20cm from the heat source, for 8-10 minutes, then turn over and cook the other side. Check the flesh is cooked right through and adjust the proximity of the oven shelf to the heat as necessary. The chicken should be nicely browned, cooked all the way through, its skin patchily gold and dark brown.

Serve the chicken hot with the cucumber salad.

Hake and prawn pie with a potato crust

Hake and prawn pie with a potato crust. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

Prawn shells make a light but flavoursome stock. Stuff the usual aromatics in with them bay, peppercorns, parsley stalks but not carrots, which can introduce too much sweetness. I used hake, which was snow-white, cheap and sustainable, but haddock or cod are suitable too, especially if the fillets are thick.

I prefer a filling that is mostly fish, but the recipe lends itself to some improvisation. You could cut down on the fish and add instead a couple of handfuls of lightly cooked and skinned broad beans or a large leek sliced and softened in butter.

Serves 4
raw prawns 500g large
bay leaves 3
black peppercorn 10
water 600ml
floury potatoes such as maris piper 850g
olive oil 5 tbsp
hake 700g
spring onions 3
butter 50g
plain flour 50g
double cream 100ml

Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Peel the prawns, putting the shells into a medium-sized saucepan and returning the prawns to the fridge. Add the bay, peppercorns and water to the pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, partially cover with a lid, then leave to simmer for 30 minutes before removing from the heat.

Peel the potatoes then coarsely grate them. Warm the olive oil in a shallow pan over a moderate heat, add the potatoes and let them sizzle for a few minutes until pale gold. Using a draining spoon or fish slice, transfer them from the pan to a piece of kitchen paper.

Strain the stock and discard the prawn shells and aromatics. Skin the hake and cut into thick pieces about 4cm in length. Roughly chop the spring onions.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan, add the flour and cook over a moderate heat, stirring constantly till you have a smooth paste. Pour in the prawn stock, stirring with a wooden spoon until you have smooth sauce. As it bubbles, stir in the cream and a few grinds of salt and pepper. Add the hake, pushing the fish under the surface. Leave them for three or four minutes then add the prawns and the chopped spring onions.

Transfer the filling to a pie dish, scatter the fried potato over the surface, leaving a few gaps here and there. Bake for 30 minutes till the sauce is bubbling up through the crust.

Tomato and roast pepper bruschetta

A scarlet slice with which to start dinner; a light garden lunch or a weekend breakfast, there is almost no stage on a summers day when this tomato toast isnt appropriate. The roast vegetables, sweet-sour and smoky, will keep in the fridge for a day or two. A useful sauce in which to toss bucatini or perhaps gnocchi that you have fried in a little olive oil till crisp.

Tomato and roast pepper bruschetta. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

Serves 4
shallots 3 medium-sized
red peppers 2 large
cherry tomatoes 1kg
olive oil 6 tbsp, plus a little extra
pine kernels 4 tbsp
beefsteak tomatoes 2
fresh basil 20g
ciabatta 1 large

Set the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Peel and roughly chop the shallots. Halve, seed and roughly chop the peppers. Put the peppers, shallots and the whole cherry tomatoes snugly in a roasting tin, pour over the 6 tablespoons of olive oil and roast for an hour until all is soft and the skins are blackened here and there.

Toast the pine kernels in a dry, shallow pan till golden, shaking them now and again, so they colour evenly. Cut the beefsteak tomatoes into large pieces, put them in a bowl then tip in the pine kernels. Tear the basil leaves from their stems and add them to the tomatoes together with a little salt and a splash of olive oil.

Slice the ciabatta in half horizontally. Toast the cut sides until golden and lightly crisp, then place on a serving board or plate. Crush the roast vegetables to a rough puree with a fork, or in a blender or food processor, and spread generously over the toasted bread. Pile the chopped tomatoes and basil on the toast, cut each piece into four slices and serve.

Cherry jelly

Cherry jelly. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

Jelly and cream was one of the most looked-forward-to desserts of my childhood, albeit orange jelly from a packet and tinned cream. Dont even think of juicing your own cherries for the recipe that follows. Better I think is to find a brand of bottled cherry juice without added sugar. (Health food stores are a good hunting ground.) I like a soft, barely set jelly that glows in the glass and shimmers on the spoon rather than one you can set in a mould and turn out. Put a spoonful of the cherry cream on top of the jelly and dig deep for a little of both the sweet, orange-scented cream and sour garnet red jelly.

Enough for 6 large wine glasses or 12 small ones
gelatine 7 sheets
cherries 200g
cherry juice 1 litre

For the cream
cherries 150g
caster sugar 3 tbsp
orange finely grated zest of 1 small
double cream 250ml

Place the gelatine in a bowl of cold water and leave for a few minutes to soften. Halve and stone the 250g of cherries for the jelly and divide them between your glasses.

Warm 250ml of the cherry juice in a small pan without letting it boil. Lift the softened gelatine from the water and stir into the warmed cherry juice. When the gelatine has dissolved, stir in the remaining juice and pour into the wine glasses. Place in the fridge and leave for five hours or until lightly set.

Make the cherry cream. Shortly before serving the jellies, halve and stone the 150g of cherries. Put the sugar and orange zest into the bowl of a food processor, and process briefly until the sugar has turned a pale lemon colour.

Pour the cream into a chilled bowl and whisk until it will sit in soft folds (stop before it is stiff enough to stand in peaks). Fold the cherries and most of the orange sugar into the whipped cream. Do this lightly, without further whipping the cream.

Serve the cherry cream with the jellies. I like to pile a spoonful of cream on each jelly at the table and a sprinkling of the remaining sugar over the top.

The Guardian and Observer aim to publish recipes for sustainable fish. For ratings in your region, check: UK; Australia; US

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This Was Elizabeth Warrens Plan All Along

When Elizabeth Warren came to Washington — not the first time, as a bankruptcy expert, or the second time, to oversee the bank bailout during the Great Recession — but the third time, when she was elected to the United States Senate, she wanted to solve a growing problem: student debt.

During her campaign, against Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Warren had talked a lot about student loan debt and making college more affordable. She had run television ads about it, saying young people were “left drowning in debt to get an education.” So, as her Senate office began to staff up, the boss wanted to roll out a policy proposal to bring down the cost of student loans. Her staff did what they always did when working for Warren: They looked for the best existing plans and the best data to show her the root causes of the problem. What they found was lacking.  

There were plenty of policy experts on K-12 education, but relatively few were focused on higher education, and even fewer were focused on student loans. The number of ideas floating around to fix the problem was minuscule.

Policy development in Washington normally runs through think tanks. Think tanks need to raise money for policy programs. But since there was no money devoted to developing a policy to relieve student loan debt, there were relatively few experts in Washington on the issue at the time. So Warren hired a top academic expert to develop student loan debt relief policy on her staff.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) steady rollout of policy plans resurrected her 2020 Democratic presidential campaign.

In the seven years since, Warren has become the most active politician in America when it comes to investigating, transforming and eliminating student debt. As the problem has grown, her proposed solutions grew. She started by fighting to lower interest rates and pushing the Obama administration to investigate for-profit colleges with high default rates, and she slowly reached the point where it was time to push for the near-total elimination of student debt.

This is how Warren has pushed the boundaries of progressive policy since coming to Washington. Instead of relying on the traditional D.C. think tank world, she made her office into her very own think tank. This vast, over-qualified policy team then consulted with a kitchen cabinet of legal academics, economists and other scholars outside the Beltway. Her goal all along has been to craft and sell policies to help solve one overarching problem: inequality in American society.

“It looks like we’re trying to solve a lot of different problems, but we’re only trying to solve one problem,” said Jon Donenberg, who is now the policy director for Warren’s presidential campaign. “It’s the rigged system; it’s the corrupt government and economy that only benefits those at the top. Every solution flows from that.” 

Now Warren’s policy-first politics is the unlikely fuel for her bid for the White House. Her steady release of detailed yet easy-to-digest policy papers became a meme and rescued her campaign after a rough first few months. Though the campaigns of other candidates originally dismissed her focus on policy as a way to appeal to an irrelevant niche, many now grumble that her policy rollouts get far more media attention than those of other presidential candidates. She now sits among the top tier of contenders in the polls and fundraising — all while eschewing big-money fundraisers. 

It’s no surprise that her focus on policy has catapulted Warren back into serious contention. Digging into policy solutions for overlooked problems and explaining it in digestible soundbites is what she has done since the publication of her first book, “As We Forgive Our Debtors,” an empirical study of bankruptcy that completely changed how academics viewed the issue. 

“This is what she’s been doing her whole life,” said Georgetown Law School professor Adam Levitin, a former Warren student at Harvard Law School.

How She Built That

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with her former counsel Ganesh Sitaraman in 2013. He’s now a professor at Vanderbilt Law School and an outside policy adviser.

Other presidential candidates have highlighted their policy advisers. Franklin Roosevelt had his Brain Trust. Richard Nixon appointed the first Cabinet-level policymaking body. Ronald Reagan had the Heritage Foundation. And Bill Clinton had “The Conversation.”

But Warren’s approach is unique. If elected president, she won’t be testing out a new policy process in office. She’ll bring one that’s been tried and tested in her offices for nearly a decade.

She’s been doing it since even before her Senate run. A decade ago, she ran the Congressional Oversight Panel overseeing the 2008 bank bailout. It was a temporary post on a hot-button issue likely to anger powerful figures in both political parties. That made it hard to attract staff from the typical pool of Washington applicants. But Warren attracted policy experts to work with her. She connected them to her world of policy-oriented legal academics.

“That’s kind of where you can start to see her build a policy shop,” said Levitin, who also worked for Warren on the oversight panel. “And then she was able to build on that model when she went into the Senate.”

Warren’s Senate office was built entirely around policy, with the largest such team in Congress. She hired an investigations team to research issues she was considering pushing or to continue to build the case for legislation she had introduced. The team, whose members had sterling academic credentials — one of the office’s first health care staffers had a doctorate in pharmacology — consulted with academics that Warren read and talked to to help guide her policy thinking.

“They were just a conduit for people who had 50-year careers working in whatever the field was and had literally written the textbook on it,” said Graham Steele, a former staffer to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) who’s now working on a team at Stanford School of Business that Warren consults with for policy advice.

Other Senate offices would consult with her staff on policy development because they knew it was the best team around, according to Steele. Or sometimes her office would hear from Warren’s kitchen cabinet of academics about a particular bill.

She is really ― and I want to contrast this with every other member of Congress I’ve worked with — she gets it, she gets down and dirty in the weeds like nobody else. Georgetown Law School professor Adam Levitin

“There’d be a D.C. consensus, and then her office would come to you and say, ‘Hey, we’ve heard some concerns about this particular bill, and I’d love to put you on the phone with this person who’s like the foremost expert on whatever this issue is,’” Steele said.

Warren doesn’t totally eschew the D.C. think tanks — many of her ideas come from the Roosevelt Institute, which is largely a traditional Washington think tank except for the fact that it’s based in New York. There’s also the Great Democracy Initiative, where her former policy staffer Julie Morgan – the student loan expert armed with a Ph.D. and law degree Warren hired back in 2012 ― and her former counsel Ganesh Sitaraman craft policies in the Warren mold. And she’s open to ideas from places like the Center for American Progress, where Sitaraman is a fellow, and Demos, where her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, was previously the chair of the board of trustees. But it’s relatively rare for her staff to think the ideas emerging from think-tank land are the best ones out there.

The goal of think tanks is to prove their worth to donors by having politicians adopt their ideas. That means they mostly assemble and pitch ideas politicians are likely to adopt, and it can be hard for them to push the type of ideas that have been banished from polite conversation in Washington, even if that’s where the data leads them.

“It’s actually not very think tank,” Levitin said of Warren’s policy process. “It’s actually remarkably non-think tank-y. I think that that can be kind of refreshing”

The academics Warren consults are all focused on empirical policy research, the kind that Warren pursued in her academic career. They include MIT’s Simon Johnson, Stanford’s Anat Admati, Cornell’s Robert Hockett and Saule Omarova, the University of Georgia’s Mehrsa Baradaran, Ohio State University’s Darrick Hamilton and Georgetown Law School’s Levitin. She also has former staffers she consults, including Sitaraman, now a professor at Vanderbilt Law School.

Baradaran first came into contact with Warren’s team in 2013 as they looked at writing legislation to allow the U.S. Postal Service to operate as a public bank. They had read Baradaran’s research on how banking practices and laws had increased the racial wealth gap and sought her out. Today, Baradaran continues to offer advice for Warren’s policy team on how to close the racial wealth gap as it relates to Warren’s banking, housing and child care plans.

‘They Read.’

Warren with fellow candidates Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), left, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas) at the first Democratic Party presidential primary debate.

What really sold Baradaran on Warren and her policy team was something very simple.

“They read,” she said. “That’s something that can’t be overemphasized enough because it really contrasts starkly to me with the rest of the members of Congress all over the spectrum. People just don’t engage with or read, not only just not academic work, but other work in general.”

Take special counsel Robert Mueller’s “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election,” which lawmakers have said they didn’t read because “It’s tedious,” “It is what it is,” and “What’s the point?” Warren read it. She came to the conclusion that President Donald Trump obstructed justice and followed the clear message of the report: that only Congress can do something about a president breaking the law. She called for the House to launch an impeachment inquiry.

She also read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2014 article for The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations,” and reached out to the author to discuss it. “She had read it, she was deeply serious, and she had questions, and it wasn’t like, ‘Would you do XYZ for me?’” Coates told The New Yorker in June. Warren is the only 2020 candidate to talk to him about the issue, he added — and he thinks she’s the only candidate who is really serious about it.

Warren’s plan to levy a 2% tax on fortunes above $50 million stems from reading the work of University of California, Berkeley, economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. Their research found that the current wealth inequality in the U.S. is the result of the growth of wealth among the top 0.1% of households caused by policy choices in Washington. Warren’s team reached out to Saez and Zucman in January to help craft her wealth tax. The two economists also worked on her corporate tax proposal and her plan to reduce overseas tax avoidance by the wealthy.

“She is really ― and I want to contrast this with every other member of Congress I’ve worked with — she gets it, she gets down and dirty in the weeds like nobody else,” Levitin said.

Sometimes Warren gets her policy from her own reading, but other times it bubbles up from her staff’s research. She makes sure to direct them toward answering the questions she always asked herself in her academic career.

“The two questions Elizabeth asks the most often is: ‘What’s driving the problem?’ and ‘What does the data say?’” Donenberg said. “If you don’t have answers to those two questions, it’s time for you to go.”

When all the research is complete and the policies appear done, Warren has one final task. It must be possible to explain every policy that comes out of her office in practical language to anyone.

She asks staffers to consider, “How can I tell the story about this that people will understand?” according to Levitin.

When she ran the Congressional Oversight Panel, every 100-page report her office put out first went to her desk, where she would write a one-page plain-language explanation for the press and the public.

“Her unusual strength is being able to translate really complex problems into a way that an ordinary person can understand them,” Levitin said.

She rocketed to political stardom by deftly explaining why the 2008 financial crisis happened in appearances on “The Daily Show.” And she’s using her policy plans not only to show what she’ll do as president to shrink the yawning inequality gap in the country but also to reveal her character and seriousness to voters.

“Issues are merely a vehicle to portray your intellectual capacity to the voters … a vehicle by which the voters will determine your honesty and candor,” then-Sen. Joe Biden, who’s now one of Warren’s major rivals in the Democratic presidential primary, said in his first major interview in 1974.

Warren is counting on it.

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‘Gimp suit’ man terrorises woman in village

Image copyright Handout
Image caption The victim took this picture as the “gimp man” came towards her

A woman says she is scared to go out after enduring a “terrifying” encounter with a man wearing a gimp suit in a dark village lane.

She was walking in Claverham, Somerset, when she saw “someone charging at me in a full black rubbery suit”.

The man advanced towards her “grunting and breathing heavily” before fleeing the scene, she said.

Police said there had been a small number of reports of a man jumping out at people in the area.

Officers were called to the scene at about 23:30 BST on Thursday and used a helicopter and sniffer dog in an unsuccessful search for the man.

The victim, in her 20s, said the experience had “hugely affected” her, and she had chosen to speak to the BBC as she was concerned it may happen again.

“I would never forgive myself if this happened to someone else and I hadn’t said anything,” she said.

‘Going to get attacked’

Describing the events that happened on her evening walk, she said: “I was walking along with my torch and looked up to see someone charging at me in a full black rubbery suit and managed to take a picture.

“He kept coming towards me and was touching his groin, grunting and breathing heavy.

“As I tried to take a step back he was right in front of my face and he put his leg forward. I was just trying to assess the situation in my head quickly.”

“Everything was running through my head. I thought: ‘This is it, I’m going to get attacked’.

“I was looking round thinking, oh my god.”

The woman, who did not wish to be named, remembers pushing and screaming at the man, before he started running backwards to the main road.

Image copyright Handout
Image caption “I was screaming and shouting and no-one came to help”

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesperson said: “We’re aware of concerns relating to a man acting suspiciously in the Claverham/Yatton area.

“While we’re keeping an open mind about the motive for these incidents, it’s clear the individual responsible is deliberately attempting to cause alarm to the men and women he’s approaching.

“While no-one has been hurt during the incidents, we fully appreciate the distress these actions have caused victims.”

You may also be interested in:

Patrols in the area were being increased to reassure the public and identify the man responsible, the spokesperson added.

The victim has been left feeling “panicked… that there’s someone watching… and I don’t want to go out.

“It’s not just a man jumping out at me going boo,” she said.

“Every time I close my eyes I just see that face.”

Related Topics

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Our Favorite Google and Nest Devices Are on Sale Right Now

Note: Amazon Prime Day is over, though some of these deals remain (as of midnight, July 18). Our Post-Prime Day deals guide and Deals from Amazon Rivals will live on until July 18-20. As always, we hope we helped you sift through the sales madness and find great products. Check the WIRED Gear section for the latest news and reviews.

The discount fest that is Amazon Prime Day is chugging along until Tuesday, July 16, ends on the West Coast, and a lot of people will probably pick up a discounted Amazon Device, like the retailer's Echo speakers, equipped with its Alexa Voice Assistant.

Google isn't thrilled with that. It would rather you purchase one of its Google Assistant devices instead. To sway you, Google is hosting its own mini Prime Day.

We here at WIRED wish you the best, no matter which smart home ecosystem you choose. (And honestly, you're fine if you choose none at all!) But from a usability standpoint, we prefer Google Assistant to Alexa. Google answers common questions more capably, and its setup process is simpler and friendlier for any third-party devices you may want to add to your smart home. Many Google devices are on sale, but these are our favorites.

Note: When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.

WIRED's Prime Day Coverage

Google's Early Prime Day Deals

The Google Home Max is big and loud.


We're primarily linking to Walmart, but these deals are also available from Google's own store and Best Buy. The Pixel phone deals are on Amazon.

The Nest Secure Alarm System is also $100 off, though we have not tested it enough to give a recommendation.

Check our Amazon Prime Day Page for more coverage and deals.

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If a woman forces a man to have sex, is that rape?

Image copyright Getty Images

When a man has penetrative sex with a woman without her consent, that’s rape. But what if a woman makes a man have penetrative sex with her, without his consent? That’s not rape under the law of England and Wales, but the author of a new study of the phenomenon says perhaps it should be.

Some readers will find this story disturbing

Dr Siobhan Weare of Lancaster University Law School carried out the first research into forced penetration in the UK in 2016-7, gathering information from more than 200 men via an online survey.

Her latest study, published this week – based on one-to-one interviews with 30 men between May 2018 and July 2019 – explores in greater detail the context in which forced penetration occurs, its consequences, and the response of the criminal justice system.

All the participants were anonymised, but I will call one of them John.

John says the first sign that something was wrong was when his partner started to self-harm. After a particularly frightening incident he rushed her to A&E for treatment. The couple spent hours discussing possible psychological causes.

About six months later instead of harming herself, she trained her sights on John.

“I was sitting in the living room and she just came in from the kitchen, punched me very hard on the nose and ran off giggling,” John says. “The violence then started happening quite regularly.”

She tried to get help from her GP, John says. She had some counselling, and she was referred to a psychologist – though didn’t attend the appointment.

She’d come home from her job “and basically demand sex”, he says.

“She would be violent, and it got to the stage that I dreaded her coming back from work.”

On one occasion John woke up to find that his partner had handcuffed his right arm to the metal bed frame. Then she started hitting him on the head with a loudspeaker from the stereo system beside the bed, tied up his other arm with some nylon rope and tried to force him to have sex.

Scared and in pain, John was unable to comply with her demands – so she beat him again and left him chained up for half an hour, before returning and freeing him. Afterwards she refused to talk about what had happened.

Not long after that she became pregnant, and the violence abated. But a few months after the baby was born, John again woke one night to discover that he was being handcuffed to the bed.

Then, he says, his partner force-fed him Viagra and gagged him.

“There was nothing I could do about it,” he says.

“Later I went and sat in the shower for I dunno how long… I eventually went downstairs. The first thing she said to me when I went into the room was, ‘What’s for dinner?'”

When John has tried to tell people about it, he says he has often met with disbelief.

“I’ve been asked why I didn’t leave the house. Well, it was my house that I’d bought for my kids. And the financial side as well, I was so locked into the relationship financially,” he says.

“I still get disbelief because it’s like, ‘Well why didn’t you hit her back?’ I get that quite a lot. Well that’s a lot easier said than done.

“I wish I’d run away a lot sooner.”

Find out more

Listen to Katie Silver and Alex Skeel discuss Siobhan Weare’s research into forced penetration on the BBC Sounds podcast, The Next Episode

Aspects of John’s story are repeated in the experiences of some of the other men Dr Weare has interviewed. One of her findings is that the perpetrator in “forced-to-penetrate” (FTP) cases is often a female partner or ex-partner (her research focuses only on forced penetration involving men and women), and that the experience is frequently one element in a wider pattern of domestic abuse.

The experience of disbelief is also mentioned by other interviewees.

“You must have enjoyed it or you’d have reported it sooner,” one man says he was told by a police officer.

Another participant said: “We’re scared to talk about it and embarrassed, and when we do talk about it, we’re not believed, because we’re men. How can a man possibly be abused? Look at him, he’s a man.”

Weare’s other findings include:

  • Men are often ashamed to report FTP experiences – they may report domestic abuse without mentioning the sexual abuse
  • The mental health impact can be severe, including PTSD, thoughts of suicide and sexual dysfunction
  • Some men report being repeatedly victimised – some experienced childhood sexual abuse, some had endured varying types of sexual violence from different perpetrators, including men
  • Many had overwhelmingly negative perceptions of the police, criminal justice system, and the law

One myth Weare’s research dispels is that forced penetration is impossible because men are physically stronger than women. Another is that men view all sexual opportunities with women as positive.

A third myth is that if men have an erection they must want sex. In fact, Weare says, “an erection is purely a physiological response to stimulus”.

“Men can obtain and sustain an erection even if they’re scared, angry, terrified etc,” she says.

“There’s also research that shows women can respond sexually when they are raped (e.g. have an orgasm) because their body is responding physiologically. This is an issue for both male and female victims that is not discussed enough, but there is clear evidence in this area.”

A number of the participants in Weare’s 2017 study reported FTP experiences after getting extremely drunk or high, and being unable to stop what was happening.

One of those interviewed for the new study describes going home with a woman after a night out clubbing, and blacking out after being given what he suspects was a date rape drug. He says he was then forced to engage in non-consensual sex.

Where to get help

Safeline – male survivors’ telephone helpline

Male Survivors Partnership directory of services

Another describes being coerced into sex while working at a holiday camp one summer, while he was a student. A female co-worker had discovered a letter he had written to a boyfriend, and threatened to out him as gay unless he slept with her.

She thought that if he had sex with a woman “this would transform my life and I would be straight”, he says. As he had not come out to his friends, family or co-workers he felt that he had no choice but to comply.

Weare says that most of the participants in the latest study regarded their forced-to-penetrate experiences as “rape”, and some were frustrated that it would not count as rape under the law of England and Wales. There was frustration also that British society would most likely not recognise it as rape.

“Talking about the fact that your ex-partner used to get drunk and force herself on you, rape you essentially, it’s like most blokes’ fantasy isn’t it?” said one of the participants.

“Down the pub, you know, she gets a bit drunk, she gets a bit frisky ‘Yay! Oh that would be fantastic! I would love a bit of that!’ No you really wouldn’t, you bloody wouldn’t. It’s not the way that you think it is.”

In one of Weare’s papers – titled “Oh, you’re a guy, how could you be raped by a woman, that makes no sense” – she points out that in several US states rape is broadly defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse, and that in the Australian state of Victoria a specific offence exists of “rape by compelling penetration”.

One of eight recommendations made in the latest study is that reform of the law of rape to include FTP cases requires “serious consideration”.

You may also be interested in:

When Hannah Price was sexually assaulted as a student, she felt unable to report it. She has since discovered she is far from alone – and that sexual assault may be far more common on campus than official figures suggest.

‘I was raped as a student – and I’m not the only one’

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