Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How to detect subtle differences between yes and no before you're accused of rape

Dahlia Lithwick:


Subtle distinctions between consensual sex and date rape, between coercion and force, between silences that sound like "yes" and silences that sound like "stop," are difficult for the parties themselves to work out.
Rapists and those who defend accused rapists want us to believe the lie that it's nearly impossible to tell the difference. The reason they want us to believe this is so they can act the part of the victim if a person they offended against goes to the police. They will pretend ignorance even when their actions show premeditation.

Don't let them sucker you.

The good news, for those who don't want to rape or be accused of rape, is there is nothing subtle about these differences.

The bad news, for those who don't want to stop, is there is nothing subtle about these differences.

The first step to seeing the distinctions clearly is to realize that there are two mutually-exclusive states.
1) full consent, freely given by someone old enough and functioning at a state where they can give consent
2) non-consent

There is no state called "maybe." If you don't have the first state, you have the second.
There is no person permanently in the first state.
There is no occupation that puts someone permanently in the first state.

From this perspective the only difficulty comes when someone wants to ignore or circumvent all signs of non-consent.

If you want sex and you are getting any resistance from the other person, you don't have consent.

If you want sex and you need to manipulate the person you want to have sex with, you don't have consent.

If you want sex and know she won't come to before you're done, you don't have consent.

If you want sex and tell yourself that the other person won't make a credible witness, you don't have consent.

If you want sex and the other person is unable to give clear and unequivocal consent, you don't have consent.
If you want sex and you wonder how you will defend yourself if she/he reports you, you don't have consent.

If you want sex and your buddy yells, "Next!" when he's done, you don't have consent.

If you want sex and there is any doubt about how you will feel about it later, you don't have consent --possibly your own.

It's as simple as that. Any lack of full consent by any party involved means, "STOP!"

Any withdrawal of consent means, "STOP!"

If she was willing but changed her mind, don't blame her. Look at your own actions. Did you edge toward violence? Were you manipulating her and she realized what you were doing? Were you assuming willingness when it was never there?

If you wanted to be with this person for more than sex, accepting non-consent with grace will make you look strong, not weak.

What rapists want to do is to move this boundary so that only a clear "no" at the proper time and place from the proper person means, "STOP!"

Don't let them get away with it, even if you think the victim is immoral or too stupid to live.

If you see signs that those around you think like rapists, do what you can to counter that mentality because if they rape, you may become one of their secondary victims or an accomplice.

Or their fall guy.

People who will rape may have no problem pointing the finger at others to escape responsibility.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:08 AM   1 comments links to this post

1 Comments:

At May 01, 2006 9:42 AM, Blogger tigtog said...

Great post, Marcella. How hard can it really be to understand that if the other person is not enthusiastically into it, you don't have full consent?

 

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