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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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540 comments

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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.

10:23PM PDT on Jun 26, 2014

If someone is unconscious, of course that is rape.

4:33PM PDT on Jun 26, 2014

The last comment is so right! What has happened to our society,that sex has become a form of entertainment and not for its obvious purpose-to include creating a loving relationship?!
Instead of forward progress,men especially,have become arrested in their development due the false notion of porn and become addicted to masturbation or accelerated mixing of power,control,etc-that causes rape. Increasingly,men turn to more and more debauchery,in order to chase the "high" of their sexual self gratification. That is what rape is-SELF GRATIFICATION at its worse.
Rape is out of control (one every 16 seconds in the USA-the military rapes prove this percentage)and should be declared a national emergency. As long as men remain the majority of politicians,law enforcement and other "power positions",it appears that NO ONE is standing up for us women and children. That's why,I believe that all women should own and learn how to use,their "equalizer" ie; a gun. It is the ONLY way that we can be physically equal to men!

12:37PM PDT on Jun 26, 2014

Human beings need to evolve at the voluntary level now. There is so much more to life than Sex.
Sex is still reigning most of our heads most of the time, means that we have sadly failed to explore the other magnificent dimensions of life.

We need to "grow up" (before we die ) !!

12:23PM PDT on Jun 26, 2014

Human beings need to evolve at the voluntary level now. There is so much more to life than Sex.
Sex is still reigning most of our heads most of the time, means that we have sadly failed to explore the other magnificent dimensions of life.

We need to "grow up" (before we die ) !!

10:58PM PDT on Jun 25, 2014

For those that don't get it, he's not excusing it in any way, he's saying his friend can't excuse it even if he wants to. Read the article all the way through.

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