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Rape: Is It Really All That Bad?

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But don’t get Royse wrong. This isn’t the woman’s fault.

This is not a “some girls, they rape so easy”¯ story. I promise. This is a “some signals, they read so wrong”¯ story.

Well, that makes it better. If the lady hadn’t protested too much, I might have thought that previous paragraph, in which the writer lovingly described how this harlot had been leading her innocent rapist friend on, was classic and obvious victim blaming. But there’s a two-sentence disclaimer here, so it’s all better.

Besides, it’s not like the guy rape-raped this former sex worker and slut, right?

On the night in question, there was drinking. A lot of it. I wasn’t there, but there was probably some drugging. There was music and dancing. At some point, people started clustering off into smaller groups, some of which turned sexual. My friend and this woman fell asleep together. And by all accounts, when she woke up, he was penetrating her.

Oh.

Well. To hell with that guy.

Even if Royse’s friend got a clear go sign, and even if he and his victim went back to bed willingly and happily, at some point he crossed the line, clearly and unquestionably: when he decided to have sex with her while she was unconscious.

Incidentally, this is where I stop believing that this rapist was ever in doubt that he was a rapist. Most people who want to have sex want their partner to be responsive. A big part of sex is that it involves more than just you, after all; it’s really better if all parties are enjoying themselves.

That doesn’t mean you can’t wake up your partner for sex. It happens all the time. But waking your partner up for sex requires waking your partner up.

There are only two reasons to have sex with someone who is asleep. The first is that your partner has told you that he or she would like to be woken up that way, and gives you free consent to do so. The second is that you want to get sex going before your partner can stop you. In other words, you want to rape them.

To Royse’s credit, she acknowledges that yes, this was rape. But then she spends the rest of the column wringing her hands about mixed messages, and how it’s just so hard for men to know if they’re raping their unconscious partners.

To a large degree, my friend thought he was doing what was expected. And while he was wrong, weeks of flirting, provocative dancing and intimate innuendo led him to believe that sex was the logical conclusion of their social intercourse. Many people watching it unfold would have thought that, too.

Of course they would all be wrong. But if something walks like a fuck and talks like fuck, at what point are we supposed to understand that it’s not a fuck? Our binary language of “yes means yes” and “no means no”¯ doesn’t address the entire spectrum of both spoken language and body language, which mean different things to different people.

I would love for “no means no”¯ to work, but it doesn’t.

How do I know it doesn’t work? I know because my friend raped someone and didn’t even know it.

First off, I doubt that he didn’t know it. I think he knew damn well what he was doing.

But let’s say he didn’t, for argument’s sake. Whose fault is that? Yes, society is very good at sending mixed messages about sex. Men are pushed to be aggressive in wooing a mate. This is an unquestionably bad thing.

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545 comments

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11:24AM PST on Dec 7, 2014

Get positive consent. It is easy as that. Like the article says.

1:38PM PDT on Aug 18, 2014

I can't believe I just read this article. I couldn't finish it. I feel bad for anyone unconscious that is getting raped. Yes, raped since the woman having sex with your friend in the morning did not have a choice or voice to even say "no".

6:45AM PDT on Aug 13, 2014

What a f$&ked up world we live in.

6:10PM PDT on Aug 4, 2014

Maybe once men realize they are not superior to women, there won't be as many rapes.

3:04PM PDT on Aug 3, 2014

I understand this whole article BUT I REALLY RESENT THE TITLE & think it was used just to get attention. This rape culture is just another manifestation of the general deterioration of civility in our society : road rage, air rage, athletes fighting on the fields & courts, brawls in schools, parents & students who disrespect & assault teachers & school staff, youtube videos showing parents encouraging kids to fight, glorification of bad behavior in the media & a general "If I want it I'll take it" " If I want to do it, I will" mentality. Then there are the people who commit crimes & get off because of money to get lawyers who'd sell their own mothers, celebs who get away with bad behavior,pop music with nasty lyrics that glorify women's body parts & raunchy sex, & the subliminal messages to boys that they aren't real men unless they can have sex with or without consent. Then there are the suggestive clothes aimed at little girls & women with racy words on the bottom of their shorts & pants, & bikinis for preteen girls who don't even have a figure. I've even seen young teens & tweens running around amusement parks ( with waterparks) in tiny bikinis with no cover ups & seen grown men staring at them ! I see how girls are subliminally taught to be overtly sexy...even some dance recital routines are too racy for little girls to be doing....but people find excuses to do it anyway. Many women..including myself...do not like

7:44AM PDT on Jul 27, 2014

As Jeff states,"nice people don't hurt others". True, but I wish he had dealt with the "nice guy's finish last" saying that recognizes that some women prefer "bad boys" [including criminals] and find "nice guys" boring. @ Nikiritha M. "means that we have sadly failed to explore the other magnificent dimensions" Not necessarily. Like all other animals, [yes, we are] the major motivators are food and sex for most of us. A smaller number add "the other magnificent dimensions".

7:53PM PDT on Jul 26, 2014

Excuse me, I have to go throw up.

9:44AM PDT on Jul 22, 2014

Really if a person does not know the difference. I can't even read this it makes me sick

5:48PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

OKAY. I don't even need to read the second page of this article. There are two things– rape, and sex. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CONSENSUAL SEX AND NON-CONSENSUAL SEX. THERE IS SEX AND RAPE. You cannot have "non-consensual" sex with someone. It doesn't exist. They are either consenting and agreeing and WANTING to have sex with you, or it's rape. Period.

6:53AM PDT on Jul 9, 2014

The title is misleading but if you continue to read the article to the end, you'll realize that the author is not in any way excusing rape, in fact he says that there is no excuse for it. The last page pretty much sums it up. Judging this article in particular by its title gives the wrong impression so please read the whole thing.

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