Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When Is Rape Actually Rape

In light of some asshole comments from Rush Limbaugh and also someone else, I couldn't help but put some things out there.

Did both parties say yes to sex?  Good.

Did someone not say yes to sex?  Rape.

Here's the thing, I get that there are gray areas.  He said/she said.  I get it.  But here's the point, unless everyone is actively saying yes to sex, it's not sex.  It's rape.  Maybe things didn't use to be this way, but that is some fucked up shit.  Consent, get used to it.

What our dear Rush seems to miss here is that no, in fact, does always mean no.  The only circumstance in which it wouldn't is a relationship that agreed upon that boundary.  Plenty of couples push sexual limits.  There is nothing wrong with that.  But those limits are agreed upon, take a great deal of trust, and usually have a safe word.  So in that case, no doesn't mean no.  The safe word does.  Unfortunately for Rush, that is a system that has to be decided upon by both participants.  It cannot be put in place by someone looking to score.  You cannot approach a woman/man/person attempting to find a way through their 'no'.  That's called being a giant asshole.

In the most recent Game of Thrones season (spoiler alert), Cersei and Jaime have sex next to Joffrey's corpse.  Sexy, right?  He approaches her and starts kissing her.  She says no, starts hitting his chest, and mentioning how they'll be found out.  He has sex with her anyway.  She stops fighting him.  They engage in coitus.

Let me make something abundantly clear. If someone says no, it's rape.  If they say no and have sex with you anyway, it's coercion, which is rape.  An uproar went around when it aired because people were saying the show put the scene out as rape when it was consensual in the book.  By the way, the scene I just described was directly from the book.  I can quote it if you'd like.  But it's still rape.  A rape cannot in fact become consensual. Time has a great piece about this.

I'm getting really pissed by people who say this is consensual.  She says no.  It is not consensual.  Anyone who ever says no in relation to sexual activity is taking their consent away.  So educate yourselves and be respectful of your partners.  Ask if they're ready.  Ask what they want.  Don't tiptoe around the issue.  Ask for consent.


William J. Green said...

Did she not want to have sex at all or did she just not want to have sex next to a corpse? More than one otherwise modest damsel throughout history has initially outwardly feigned reluctance for one reason or another (i.e., a dead guy lying right there), and then lustily relented under the sexy seduction by spreading her legs wide and guiding a man's pulsating penis into her throbbing and trembling engorged vulva.

Isn't this what happens often during a seduction among women of good repute?

Alexandra Mitchell said...

Both. She specifically says no, but then he forces himself on her. She then relents. People seem to be under the impression that it starts as rape but then becomes consensual. Unfortunately, that's not how rape works. Rape doesn't become consensual.

Feigning reluctance, as you put it, is different than directly saying no and having someone go against your wishes to coerce you. As for women employing this tactic, I can't speak for anyone else, but I am upfront about what I am and am not comfortable with.