Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What makes it rape?

Here's a great post by Amanda Marcotte at TPM:
Having a glass of wine (or three) on a date and then retiring to the bedroom for some consensual sexing is not unknown in the liberal, feminist circles long-derided by the conservative media. So imagine my confusion when I read National Review writer and self-appointed expert on what “feminists” think, A.J. Delgado, argue that feminists “define rape as including any sexual activity in which the woman is not sober, claiming that consent is never truly given if one has had a few drinks.”

So sure is she of this assertion that she fails to cite any of the “prominent scholars and activists” that have offered this definition. I want to know who they are, so I can avoid drinking with them.

Nice start, huh? But she continues:
It is true that “radical feminists” such as the Department of Justice have argued that rapists often use drugs and alcohol to facilitate rape. Partially, they believe this because rapists themselves admit to it. Delgado seems to assume that there’s a lot of drunken sex that the man believes was consensual, but is later told that he’s being charged with rape. But researcher David Lisak found the opposite was true: Rapists deliberately seek out very drunk women or deliberately get women very drunk in order to rape them.

Surveying over 2,000 men on college campuses about their sexual history, Lisak found that about 1 in 16 of them admitted to raping someone (so long as you didn’t call it rape). Most of the admitted rapists said yes to this question: “Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated [on alcohol or drugs] to resist your sexual advances?” (Emphasis mine.)

In other words, it’s not the drugs or alcohol that made it rape. It’s the lack of consent. Women aren’t being brainwashed into thinking they were raped. They are being educated about the fact that the guy who forced himself on them while they were too drunk to fight back really meant it.

Delgado proudly explains that she is not an outsider to the world of either sex or alcohol, smugly writing, “I am fairly certain that a statistically significant amount of sex — including very enjoyable sex — happens under the influence of alcohol.” As a hands-on expert, then, she should know that there’s a big difference between having had a few and being too wasted to express yourself, fight back, or even understand what’s going on. (It’s not just rapists either. Other criminals, such as muggers, know drunk people make easy marks because they can’t fight back.)

Yes, it's not drugs or alcohol - or even violence - that makes it rape. It's the lack of consent. Furthermore, the woman doesn't have to say no. It's the not-saying-yes part that makes it rape.

Not long ago, I read about a teacher who discovered, to her astonishment, that her high school students didn't understand that. It wasn't just the boys, but the girls, too, who thought that it couldn't be rape if the woman was unconscious, because she couldn't say no.

Is that "No is No" campaign really so confusing? No is no, but no isn't required. It's yes that's required. It's the lack of consent which makes it rape, and you can't give your consent if you're unconscious or otherwise incapacitated.

That doesn't mean you have to be stone cold sober. Of course not! But you don't have to fight off an attacker. The onus isn't on you to stop someone else's advances. That's blaming the victim, and it's turning the whole thing around. It's the lack of consent that makes it rape.

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