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Fri Nov 30, 2012, 04:37 PM

All this talk about rape is making me... [View all]

… think about our society’s take on rape and sex generally. And I have some thoughts to share and questions to pose. I'm a man who came of age in the mid seventies, for what that's worth.

Rape is rape. Right? And sex with anyone who has not consented is rape. Always. Or is it? My wife and I, in our younger years when we drank more often to excess, had sex on more occasions than I can count when neither of us were in any condition to voluntarily consent. It never occurred to us that we were raping each other. Now, you can say there was implied consent, but if we start recognizing the defense of implied consent, where will that take us? Would it be enough that I thought she consented? If she had called the cops the next morning, would I have been charged?

Let’s get a little more into left field. What if a man visits a prostitute, and pays her for sex. Unknown to him, she is being forced to trick by her employer, and it is against her will. Is the John guilty of more than solicitation? Has he raped her? Has the pimp raped her?

I have seen animals have sex, live and on the screen. It does not appear to be, at least most of the time, consensual. Especially tigers – holy shit, that looks like rape. But it is instinctual, right, to preserve and extend the species? Homo Sapiens have evolved from animals. We are animals. We have some of those same instinctive impulses, as I seem to recall from human sexuality and sociology courses years ago. I read “The Naked Ape”. True, we have evolved the ability to reason and have become civilized, but does that completely suppress the physical instinct to have sex with any female we can have sex with? Completely?

And, if there is an ongoing battle between our reason and our instinctive urges, what do alcohol and/or drugs do to influence the outcome of that internal conflict? How many of us have done things while drunk that we never would have done sober? Should “I was drunk” be a defense? Should it be taken into consideration at all?

Our society is inundated with violent, forceful, aggressive sex every day, and in every conceivable form. Movies, video games, TV. Watch the Lifetime channel on a Saturday afternoon if you doubt me. How about humor - Headley Lamar: “You said ‘rape’ twice”. Thug: “I like rape”. Headley: “Ooooh. Kinky”. I laughed my ass off at that one, but now I can see an argument that it was promoting rape. I hate to say it, but rape is everywhere these days.

Is it any wonder that our 14, 15, 16 and 17 year old children are confused as Hell about where the damn line is? Especially when their bodies have been ravaged by hormones? We all understand the scenario in a post I saw earlier in one of the threads that if "..she takes off her own clothes, helps you take off yours, and then says 'let’s do it now' ”, we have consent. And we all understand that forcing yourself on someone who is resisting in any way is rape.

So, what is resisting?
“No”.
“I said NO!”
“I’m not in the mood”
“We shouldn't do this”
“I want to, but we can’t”
“You’ll tell your friends”
“Not if you don’t have a condom”
“Don’t. Stop. No. Stop. Don’t. No. Stop. Don’t. Stop. Don’t stop. Don’t stop, oh God, don’t stop”.

Guys ARE taught - by peers, media, whatever – that turning a “NO” into a “YES” is the art of seduction. So where does the seduction end and the rape begin? If you persuade her to consent, is that okay? What if you lie to her to get the consent? “I’ll love you to the end of time”? “The doctor says when they turn blue, it can do irreparable damage and I might not be able to have children later”. What if you just wear her down and she gives in out of exhaustion?

Is the line different if you’re the father of the teenage girl versus the father of the teenage boy? Why?

Some women do like to “be taken”. I have known a few, and one of them told me once that it made her feel less guilty about liking the sex. I remember thinking about how messed up that was, but I blamed the double standards of our society, not myself for participating in the “sex game” she openly desired. I suppose if you had been watching us from the closet, you may well have thought I was forcing myself on her. But I didn't rape her. At least I don’t believe I did.

I also understand that some women, as screwed up as it sounds, do have stranger-rape fantasies. Haven’t known any of those. But I guess it takes all kinds.

Is there a difference, in any way or to any degree, between (a) the stranger who jumps out of an alley or crawls in through a locked window and forces himself on a woman sexually, and (b) the date who accompanies a woman who drinks enough such that she is not sufficiently in possession of her mental faculties and cannot form the requisite intent to voluntarily consent, and then he has sex with her as she remains conscious but doesn't physically resist? Should the punishment be different for those two men? How so? How many different shades of grey exist between those two scenarios? 50, maybe?

Forcing yourself on a woman against her will is rape. Having sex with an unconscious woman is rape. Drugging a woman to exploit her sexually is rape. But biology and the complications of human relationships can make things a little murky beyond those absolutes. I have never done either of those things. But I have begged, cajoled, pleaded, tried reverse psychology, teased, begged some more, acted distant, told jokes, dared, double-dared, even triple-dog-dared (that last one works great for getting a woman to skinny dip) ..… all in the name of changing the NO into a YES. And I am certain that some girls had regrets the next day – and no, not always because I was less than stellar in my performance. That’s a topic for a whole ‘nuther thread.

At the end of the day, as several posters have suggested, is it more about respecting other people generally, rather than trying to list rules for what is and what isn't a sexual assault? I know that would not work in court (I'm a lawyer, we have to have our rules), but when it comes to real life, wouldn't that fundamental principle get us to the right conclusion most of the time?

Just my 2 cents.




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