Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Understanding And Misunderstanding Genuine Consent

From Kittywampus:

I'm not arguing that force or violence is present in every rape. Not at all. I'm just saying that to call an act rape, there has to be a clear absence of consent, whether because one person has said or signaled no, or because they're incapable of consenting due to drunkenness or unconsciousness.

This is a very dangerous position which I see most often from those claiming most of those who disclose having been raped are liars. This view sets up people (mostly boys and men) to commit rape which if it is rightfully reported will be claimed to have been a false report.

For sex to be consensual and legal there needs to be a clear presence of freely and legally given consent. This is a far different standard than Kittywampus has defined for "real" rape.

If you go to a car dealership and test drive a car, say wonderful things about that car, you have not consented to buy that car simply because you didn't say, "No, I'm not buying this car." It would be absurd to demand that all car shoppers' absence of consent must be clear.

Nobody who goes to a car dealership needs to be empowered to always say no in order to avoid unwanted car ownership or car ownership which comes at too high of a price.

If a shopper says, "maybe" or "I'll think about it" or says nothing everybody gets that there is no consent. So this concept is not a difficult one. Yet many people -- including those who vocally oppose rape -- continue to have trouble with this concept when it comes to sex or sexual contact.

Besides trivializing actual rape, the inflationary labeling of all coercion as "rape" drains women of agency. We remain free to say no - even when we're afraid of being called a prude or a tease, even when our partner is a manipulative bastard, even when a guy has footed the bill for haute cuisine and roses. As Natalia said, we are not children.

This view is what allows rapists to justify raping a girl after she agrees to kiss him or agrees to sexual touching. She didn't say no (because she wasn't asked since that would give her a chance to say no) so her lack of consent wasn't clear. Therefore, he can't be a "real" rapist.

The car shopper was free to say no, but we don't call that shopper's decision not to say no when that person isn't ready to consent to buy the car as turning that shopper into a child. This argument that some feminists want to treat women like children is therefore illogical and invalid.

When I did a radio interview shortly after my novel Cherry Love was published a caller disclosed a rape which highlights the danger Kittywampus ignores. When this woman was 14 an older boy she had a crush on gave her her very first kiss (which she welcomed) but that boy went quickly from that agreed upon kiss to rape. She was so shocked that she didn't have a chance to clearly communicate her lack of consent.

That rapist would be nodding in agreement with Kittywampus. If that girl didn't want sex then the fault was hers for not communicating her lack of consent clearly.

This is dangerously wrong and it encourages rapists to rape as long as they can find a way to do so in the absence of a clear lack of consent.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:51 AM   25 comments links to this post

25 Comments:

At January 06, 2009 12:09 PM, Blogger Rj said...

We remain free to say no - even when we're afraid of being called a prude or a tease, even when our partner is a manipulative bastard, even when a guy has footed the bill for haute cuisine and roses. As Natalia said, we are not children.

The first problem I see with this is that someone's mental capacity could be "childlike."

Second, she is assuming that someone is "free" "to say no." Some are not. And also she is minimizing the power of social forces and generalizing/simplifying that all people "can" say "no."

 
At January 06, 2009 12:30 PM, Blogger Julian Real said...

Hi Marcella!

I have your blog linked on my blogroll, and am a regular visitor to your posts.

Regarding the matter of consent, I have been reflecting on all the ways that "consent" doesn't prove meaningful as a measure of determining men's sexual harm to women. My thoughts on this were sparked by my own history of sex with men, and by MacKinnon's discussion, which I identify below. Thank you for speaking out. What follows is part of a recent blogpost @ A Radical Profeminist.

The whole matter of determining harm based on whether or not consent was present--at which point, one might ask?--is so problematic as to be almost completely worthless, if better than no standard at all. "Consent", interpersonally, within the context of a couple of people, implies a mutuality of agency, will, and power, including the power to determine consequences of acceptance or refusal of an act initiated. This level of consent needs to be not only interpersonally in place, but also institutionally in place.

If a corporation is buying up working class white people's homes in a section of town, and one willful and empowered home-owner says "No" to the rich thugs, are we to conclude that those who said yes gave their consent? When a white male colonialist-genocidalist "recommends" to the living members of an Indigenous Nation on Turtle Island, "We demand that you move onto this small parcel of land we stole from you, or be killed; which of these options do you prefer?" Is the colonized group's answer, "We will move to that land" an indication of willful, meaningful consent? And if they say, "Kill us, motherfuckers" (in their own tongue), is that a statement offered back in the context of consent?

Consider the heterosexually married woman of any color has been traumatised, sexually or otherwise, during an international military war against her ethnic group's people by U.S. white men. Let's also say that the U.S. military's portion of the war is over, including the rapes that constituted the terrorism against her as a woman (a human being), the rapes of the girls and women of her ethnic group as a gendered class, and the grossly intrusive and destructive assault of all of her people as a group. We'll add here that she has a loving husband, a respectful husband, who does not think the way Dennis Prager does. This kind-hearted husband initiates sexual affection but in a way that is similar, in gesture, to how one of her attackers approached her. She is immediately triggered, by this gestural similarity, into a state of deep dissociation. If they proceed to have sex, with her deeply dissociated, is she giving consent willfully and meaningfully?

I believe each of these "hypotheticals" rooted in actual U.S. history, show up the lack of worth of "a consent standard" for determining whether or not sexual assault or a rape happened. Catharine A. MacKinnon has a much more thorough discussion of this matter in her book Women's Lives, Men's Laws, in chapter 19: "A Sex Equality Approach to Sexual Assault".

 
At January 06, 2009 3:23 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Julian,

Thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I've added you to mine.

 
At January 07, 2009 3:24 PM, Anonymous hysperia said...

I really don't think this is a fair representation of the posts and conversation going on at Kittywampus, even if I do have a problem with that first paragraph -not the same problem as you, though. I do agree that some of the situations described here are problemmatic with respect to consent. BUT. One fundamental part of our criminal law is to look at the intention of the accused person. If a woman is dissociated and the man knew she was dissociated and took advantage of that in order to have sexual relations, then that is rape, legally. If not, if the man doesn't know the woman is dissociated, and I know that is possible, then it is not rape, at law. The woman may still FEEL raped and violated and phenomenologically, that's true. If a woman's ability to choose is limited or confined by social power relations, as is often the case, we have to change the power relations - individual men can't be asked to bear the results, any more than individual women ought to be.

If a woman is too "childlike" to consent and that condition is obvious, that is rape. I doubt Kittywampus would disagree.

The discussion over there is one of genuine concern. If mistakes are made, I think it's good to point them out. Never a great idea to turn a feminist into the enemy, without an attempt to point out the difficulties without making accusations as serious as the ones you make here.

 
At January 07, 2009 4:05 PM, Blogger Whiner said...

Ooo, this one is a toughie (for me). I see where you're coming from, and certainly that is the gold standard I would recommend to anyone... your partners shouldn't just be 'unprotesting' but 'enthusiastic'.

On the other hand, I have to strongly object to labelling an act rape in a case of no-consent-but-no-denial. It's not consensual sex EITHER, but it's not rape, IMO.

Why? Because I remember being a teenage girl fooling around with my first partner, scared and confused and curious, and allowing my partner to explore my body without being sure at all if this is what I wanted. My partner was a good person, if a bit clueless. Hurting me was the absolute last thing my partner wanted to do. But I was confused and uncertain and I gave no indication that I wanted to call a halt to things - I just let them happen.

Days later, we had a long talk, there was crying and hugging, and we cooled things down for a few months until I was truly ready for more.

Both my partner and I failed to behave in the optimal way. Our sexual encounter was not properly consensual. But it was not rape.

 
At January 07, 2009 4:23 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Whiner,

What you describe was consensual. You freely allowed your partner sexual contact. Of course that isn't rape.

You might have been confused and stressed and it might have been better if the talk had happened before rather than after.

Positive consent is more than the word "yes."

 
At January 07, 2009 5:06 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Hysperia,

Your definition of consent does not match the definition used in Minnesota criminal statutes.

Here is Minnesota's definition of consent:

"Consent" means words or overt actions by a person indicating a freely given present agreement to perform a particular sexual act with the actor. Consent does not mean the existence of a prior or current social relationship between the actor and the complainant or that the complainant failed to resist a particular sexual act.

Using this legal definition the man who doesn't know the woman is disassociated is still a rapist because he proceeded without legal consent.

To tell such a woman that she only feels raped is both wrong and harmful.

What Kittywampus calls legal sexual contact clearly and provably does not match the legal definition of what is legal sexual contact. Her definition therefore denies many real rapes.

If pointing this out turns a feminist into an enemy then she wasn't an ally to all rape victims and all rape survivors.

 
At January 07, 2009 7:26 PM, Anonymous hysperia said...

Well, no, I didn't say that pointing something out to a feminist is a bad thing. I said that attacking might not be great and I said I think you came close to that. I stand by that.

Also, though the words of the statute you quote are clear, the interpretation of what acts might be considered to constitute consent are not nearly so clear. When I am in a dissociated state, I can attest to the fact that it's perfectly possible for people to think I'm consenting to all sorts of things. That's anecdotal and perhaps not entirely understandable to people who haven't experienced dissociation. I'm capable of driving a car whilst dissociated. I have to make choices while doing so. I have interactions with people and, though I'm in no state to really consciously "consent" to anything that happens during those interactions, it would certainly appear that I'm doing so.

I think the bottom line is that the nature of the relationships between men and women are inevitably affected by women's unequal social, political and economic conditions. That will play itself out in ways that are detrimental to women. The construction of heterosexuality is such that I'm honestly not completely sure that it's possible for women to freely choose and to give absolutely free consent - but that doesn't mean CRIMINAL acts and responsibility in all cases where the woman herself or someone else is not sure about consent. As I've noted,a dissociated, but conscious woman cannot be clear about consent within herself but I remain certain that she is not always able to indicate lack of consent and may act in such a way as to imply consent. The statute is clear that consent can be by action and not just by words. And that's why the issue of who thought what about what does become critical. True, that might make it difficult to obtain convictions and it's unfair and unjust. The cause just might lie elsewhere.

 
At January 07, 2009 9:22 PM, Blogger Lauren O said...

She was so shocked that she didn't have a chance to clearly communicate her lack of consent.

I feel like this is a surprisingly common thing, which rapists take advantage of. Once I was in a club and this guy started dancing with me, then shoved his tongue down my throat, put my hand on his dick, and followed me around the whole night no matter where I went in the club to escape him. It was such an uncomfortable and unfamiliar situation that I didn't know how to just tell him to fuck off. If it happened again, I could definitely manage it, but I had just never been confronted with something like that before.

I hear lots of similar stories in other sexual situations, and I'm sure it's twice as bad when you're 14 and have never been in any sexual situation at all (as in the story you've described). And then people tell you how you should have reacted, and how you could have prevented it by acting different, saying no emphatically. Maybe the rapist could have prevented it by not just assuming he was entitled to whatever he wanted and seeing women as places to put his penis unless they're screaming and kicking him away.

 
At January 07, 2009 9:30 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Hysperia,

I focused on KittyWampus's position and did not attack her personally. I did attack her position since it denies many real rapes and I will not apologize for calling her on her position since that position harms real rape victims.

She began this topic in a personal manner against Maggie Hays which I in no way turned back on KittyWampus.

The words of the criminal statute are the law and they are clear that a lack of resistance is specifically not consent. The gap between the law itself and when that law is ignored is real. If certain rapes are never prosecuted that doesn't mean those aren't real rapes.

In your example of disassociation the proper interpretation of the law to make sex not be rape would be the presence of words or actions from you which clearly indicate a freely given agreement unless you are considered mentally incapacitated.

The original example was of someone who couldn't say no because they disassociated. That's completely different from someone who says yes or clearly indicates a yes while disassociated and who is participating in the sexual contact. This is mutuality even if one participant is being mutual while on autopilot.

In the second example, the law would depend on whether you would be classified as mentally incapacitated at the time of your apparent consent. That's a much trickier issue than whether there are positive indicators of freely given consent.

However, if someone knows you disassociate and deliberately waits until you are in that state to seek sex then that person is seeking to overcome your known lack of consent and that would be rape.

I believe that most women are able to freely choose and to give absolutely free consent to men if they so choose. Unfortunately too many men don't wait for that genuine consent and don't require it before sex or sexual contact.

The first time I encountered a man with this level of ethics was an eye opener. Unfortunately, many men are taught as boys that pushing for everything they can get is what a successful lover does. If the girl feels raped or abused afterwards they are taught that the problem is with the girl (girls don't like sex) not their approach.

This is different from general attitudes which people can buy into such as the idea that normal dating relationships become sexual by a certain point so that both people give legal consent when they might wish to keep the relationship platonic until they are both ready.

Whenever there is any doubt about the other person's consent the person who has any doubts must stop to avoid the possibility of becoming a rapist.

This is true even when that potential rapist knows there will never be a criminal trial.

 
At January 07, 2009 11:09 PM, Blogger Sungold said...

Hi Marcella,

First, let me say that I respect and appreciate the work you do here.

I've posted a reply at my place, in which I explain where I think this post misrepresents my position and also try to think through some of the difficulties of legislating enthusiastic consent - which absolutely ought to be the ideal, as I said clearly in my earlier post. (That's one of several areas where this post takes my words out of context.)

For the record, I didn't distort the law in my jurisdiction, because unlike Minnesota, Ohio does *not* require explicit expressions of consent to separate an act from rape. Rape is defined here in terms of unwanted contact, and while resistance need not be *physical* the law does expect resistance (except in cases of incapacitation). In other words, it expects the victim to have conveyed her *lack* of consent.

While I agree that enthusiastic consent - expressed as explicitly as possible - is the ideal toward which feminists must work, enshrining it in law is a much trickier matter. You and I may have a real disagreement on that point. I think we would strongly agree that we need to work toward making enthusiastic consent a very strong social norm.

I wish you well in your work.

 
At January 08, 2009 12:07 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Sungold,

I only took your statements out of context because your blanket statements made in a certain context give rapists a huge opening to rape while not meeting your definition of rape.

I looked up Ohio's rape statute and it is worded differently but the rape law explicitly does NOT require resistance as you claim it does.

"A victim need not prove physical resistance to the offender in prosecutions under this section"

 
At January 08, 2009 12:14 AM, Blogger Sungold said...

Right! In my last comment, I said it need not be *physical* resistance. But it's clear from the statute that some form of resistance is required in order for an act to be classified as rape.

As for the idea that taking statements out of context is a good idea or a legitimate tactic ... Well, I'll let others be the judge. Myself, I'm trained in history as well as women's studies, and in both disciplines context is pretty crucial.

Thanks for posting my response. I appreciate it.

Best regards,
Sungold

 
At January 08, 2009 1:34 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Sungold,

By your acknowledged fundamental disagreement with me about the definition of rape I didn't actually change the meaning of your words when I highlighted them out of context and I didn't misrepresent what you believe about the definition of rape or about genuine legal consent.

I reread the Ohio rape statute and no resistance is required for someone to be guilty of rape.

"No person shall engage in sexual conduct with another when the offender purposely compels the other person to submit by force or threat of force."

Many people who are compelled by force (raped) don't get a chance to say no or to resist in any way that you require for you to acknowledge that was done was real rape.

You are denying many rapes including mine which clearly met the Ohio definition of rape.

Whenever I was asked I said no but that was before the day I was raped.

 
At January 08, 2009 5:10 AM, Blogger Alice said...

I recommend having a read of Deborah Cameron's The Myth of Mars and Venus which coves exactly this kind of so-called "communication problem" - there's an extract here. She rightly points out that in rape cases, all the responsibility for communication is placed on the woman ("why weren't you clear enough?"); the man is never asked to justify why he didn't understand an indirect refusal, even though that's a basic part of human conversation in all other areas. A quote:

"By suggesting that men have trouble understanding any refusal which is not maximally direct, the myth of Mars and Venus has added to the burden judicial proceedings place on women who claim to have been raped. They can now be challenged not only to prove that they did not consent to sex, but also that they refused in a manner sufficiently direct to preclude misunderstanding."

 
At January 08, 2009 9:30 AM, Blogger Sungold said...

Marcella, my comment was phrased as an *expansion* on the idea that force need not be present for an act to constitute rape. I said that when force is not in play, a lack of consent ought to be sufficient to classify the act as rape. In saying that, I actually go further than the Ohio standard, which requires at least the *threat* of force.

I'm not sure where you see an acknowledged fundamental disagreement. I said that rape is present when force is used *or* anytime there's a clear absence of consent. You said that consent had to be clearly present in order for an act to be legal. I said that when it's clearly absent, it's rape. These positions are very close together.

I think the difference here is that I'm saying women carry some responsibility for making their desires and limits clear in dating/flirting situations where there's space for *reasonable* people to misunderstand each other. You're saying that they have no such obligation (unless I'm misunderstanding you).

I also *really* don't want to get into judging your personal experience, and I won't go there. Instead I'll just say I'm very sorry that you've experienced the pain of rape, and I admire and respect you for finding the courage to fight back on behalf of other women as well as yourself.

Alice: I agree that ethically and politically, it's profoundly wrong that women bear such a disproportionate burden of responsibility for communication. Legally, I'm not sure how you handle indirect refusals; can you put a man in jail unless you're sure beyond a reasonable doubt that what happened was rape and not a misunderstanding? The presumption of innocence would mean that the indirect refusal needs to be reasonably clear, I should think - and I can imagine this can turn into a real rat's nest in court.

Of course, most date rape cases turn into he-said, she-said in court, and it's terribly hard to convict even when women have clearly and repeatedly said no. So the preceding paragraph deals with a pretty hypothetical dilemma. :-(

Thanks for the book recommendation. I will definitely check out Cameron's work.

 
At January 08, 2009 11:10 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Sungold,

In defining rape as when force is used or anytime there's a clear absence of consent your definition is very far away from mine (and MN's criminal statutes) on a practical level and it allows many rapes to be classified as not being rape.

Your definition allows an indirect refusal to be meaningless in proving rape. My definition recognizes the validity of indirect refusals.

You say that it is profoundly wrong that women bear a disproportionate burden of responsibility, but your definition of rape supports this unfair burden.

The differences between our definitions are in no way hypothetical. Your definition contributes to rapists who ignore a repeated no getting away with rape. The defense will claim that those no's were accompanied by body language which said "yes, yes, yes," so that this is really a case where there was at most a misunderstanding. The defense strategy is based on claiming that her lack of consent wasn't clear.

My boyfriend used force, but he wouldn't self-identify what he did as forcing me to have sex. He would identify what he did as merely having sex with me. He would read your definition for rape and see it as proof that he didn't rape me. If anybody erred it would be me for not clearly communicating my lack of consent.

You say you won't judge my experience, but your post which I originally quoted does just that to me and to many other rape victims simply because there wasn't a clear absence of consent (from my boyfriend's perspective).

Your definition is based on the perceptions (or rationalizations) of the alleged rapist not on the reality of whether both parties were consenting.

I believe that is a dangerous approach which provides practical help for rapists who are rightfully accused of rape. I also believe that it sets up people to rape by setting a legal standard that is lower than actual consent.

Your position that women carry some legal responsibility for making their limits clear is victim blaming. If my limits aren't clear that cannot be interpretted as meaning that I have no legal limits or that I lose the legal right to have those unstated limits respected.

The legal responsibility for clearing up any possible misunderstandings belongs solely to the person taking an action. If the contact is initiated by the woman then the legal responsibility for ensuring that the other person (male or female) is consenting belongs to her.

Whoever takes an action is the only one legally responsible for ensuring that this action does not violate the other person's limits or lack of consent. That means clearing up any possible misunderstandings before an action is taken.

 
At January 08, 2009 2:52 PM, Blogger Sungold said...

Again, I'm not going to enter into a discussion of your experience. You are the only authority on that.

As for the undue burden on women: If we presume a sex act was assault *unless proven otherwise* (as I understand you to be saying - am I correct?), don't we reverse the usual burden of proof in court? In other words, aren't we presuming the defendant guilty? I am *not* excusing rapists with this; I just don't see how you can reverse the burden of proof without upending a basic assumption of the criminal justice system. That's why I distinguished between the legal and the ethical levels - and *not* because I think it's fair for women to assume more than half the burden of communication.

You wrote:
Your definition contributes to rapists who ignore a repeated no getting away with rape. The defense will claim that those no's were accompanied by body language which said "yes, yes, yes," so that this is really a case where there was at most a misunderstanding.

I've been perfectly clear that I think a no given in any form - also nonverbally - at any time is binding. Period. I have never endorsed the sort of tactics you describe, nor will I ever. They're abhorrent.

You wrote:

Whoever takes an action is the only one legally responsible for ensuring that this action does not violate the other person's limits or lack of consent. That means clearing up any possible misunderstandings before an action is taken.

How do you achieve this without encoding the Antioch standard in law? Or would that be your preferred solution? Do you think the Minnesota law does this? Does it provide any discussion of how to determine when consent has occurred (which is one virtue of the Antioch policy)?

I am honestly interested in your response. Thanks.

 
At January 08, 2009 4:57 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Sungold,

My definition of rape does not change the legal presumption of innocence.

We can have a legal presumption of innocence and have a standard where the positive presence of freely given consent (words or actions) is required for sex to not be rape. These are not mutually exclusive.

The burden of proof in a rape case can remain on the state while the burden of ensuring sexual consent from another person is on the person taking the sexual actions.

In many current cases the prosecutors have shown that the alleged victim did not consent (said no, tried to push rapist's hands away, said, "take me home please," was semi-conscious, etc.). Yet the defense can acknowledge this testimony and still claim "it was consensual" because the defendant wasn't clear about the alleged victims lack of consent.

I'm not saying that you endorse these tactics, only that your definition of rape opens the door to these tactics being used successfully.

We don't need the Antioch standard to be enshrined into law. I view that standard as being like training wheels for those just learning how to have fully consensual sexual relationships (short term or long).

What we need is a firm emphasis on who has the legal responsibility to prevent non-consensual sexual contact. That cannot be potential victims.

When the legal burden is placed on the person taking a sexual action that crosses gender lines because at different times a different person is taking an action. I can't just assume that a man will be up for sex because a particular man hasn't communicated that he isn't up for sex. It is my legal responsiblity to ensure that my sexual actions are consented to.

Under Minnesota's system, which I believe gets it right, there will be plenty of times where a real rape happened but the prosecutor doesn't believe the state can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This definition in no way leaves rape defendants in a state of guilty until proven innocent.

This law provides plenty of opportunity for the defense to claim that consent occurred, they just can't make this claim without something overt which indicates consent from the alleged rape victim.

"She stopped saying no," would not be evidence of consent under Minnesota law. Of course jurors can still ignore the legal definition of consent and decide that the charge is false or was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

 
At January 10, 2009 5:58 PM, Blogger Llencelyn said...

Just popping in from Shakesville's blogaround to say that I thought this was a really great post - the car analogy was very clear.

I hope you don't mind, but I submitted this to StumbleUpon.

 
At January 11, 2009 8:39 PM, Anonymous hysperia said...

Hi Marcella:

In your post, you say this:
"This is a very dangerous position which I see most often from those claiming most of those who disclose having been raped are liars. This view sets up people (mostly boys and men) to commit rape which if it is rightfully reported will be claimed to have been a false report."

If I was told that my position was "dangerous" and likely to be used to "exuse" men who claim that they believed they had consent for sexual relations when in fact they did not, I would take that very personally indeed and would perceive it as an attack. All I really wnat to say here is that I don't think that's a good way to have an important discussion among feminists of good will.

 
At January 11, 2009 10:53 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Hysperia,

I can't control your feelings or what you take personally when I point out the real harm that comes from any definition of rape which requires any alleged rape victim to clearly communicate lack of consent rather than being based on whether or not the alleged rape victim actually consented.

My writing about how Sungold's definition is misused wasn't speculation on my part. I've seen rape denialists repeatedly define rape in the same way as Sungold did when they cannot deny that an alleged rape victim did not consent.

I've seen them use this definition to call real rape victims false accusers. I've followed cases where defense attorneys successfully used Sungold's definition. I've had other rape survivors talk to me about having this definition successfully used against them in court.

I don't believe Sungold ever meant to support the unavoidable fallout of her definition and she tried to reduce that fallout by including the many conditions she put around that definition in her post and in her comments on this post. Yet that fallout is real and no condition can eliminate that fallout in real rape trials.

If I have to make a choice between telling practical truths about something written without malice which I know unintentionally contributes to the long history rape victims regularly being denied justice and risking hurting someone's feelings, I'm going to risk hurt someone's feelings. This is true even if that other person is a feminist.

This is not merely an academic issue or theoretical debate and because of that my first loyalty must be to to the welfare of past, current and potential rape victims.

 
At January 12, 2009 8:56 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Hysperia,

I have a question for you. Why don't you view a post title: Dispatch From the Universe Where All Men are Rapists as something that would be perceived as a personal attack and misrepresentation of the person being criticized?

You claim to want to enourage important discussions among feminists of good will, but this title and similar labeling of other feminists doesn't further that in any way.

Or do you assume that the feminists Sungold labels are not feminists of good will?

 
At February 01, 2009 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole problem of rape victims gaining justice and perpetrators being convicted, stems in people's inability to understand rape. Rape has nothing to do with sex. It is NOT unwanted sex. Sexual acts are used by the rapist as a means to defile, humiliate , gain power over and totally degrade their victim. It is a way of showing intense rage and hatred to the chosen victim - male or female. It is sexual abuse. I am sick to death of hearing about women who are unsure whether they have been raped or not. If one has been raped one certainly knows about it !!! If a man wants genuine sexual relations with a woman, does not wish to harm her but wants passionate sex with her but has misread signals or both parties are drunk and the man believes the woman 'wants it' - this is NOT rape - the man is not a rapist !! The problem arises because rapists take full advantage of this situation and will prey on vulnerable women who are drunk and make it look like the former case however they have already planned to rape the woman and don't give a damn whether she consents or not. Their main aim is to defile the woman and they are motivated out of deep seated hatred rather than lust. People must start to understand this difference otherwise innocent men are going to be convicted of rape and rapists ( who are usually very skilled in what they do and plan their attacks) will continue to destroy victims and get away with their offences.

 
At February 01, 2009 10:45 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Anonymous,

You are wrongfully excluding many real rapes since you require hatred of the chosen victim.

This is not a requirement in physical assaults and it isn't a requirement in sexual assaults.

If a woman doesn't want it and the man proceeds anyway he's a rapist no matter what he tells himself about her wanting it. He needs to have her actual consent to avoid being a rapist.

You may be sick of hearing about women who are unsure whether they were raped but that unsureness is caused by the number of rapes different people wrongfully exclude.

Those you are labeling as innocent men are no such thing. Their motives aren't what separate the innocent from the guilty, their actions are what separate them.

 

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