Posts Tagged ‘sexual assault’

On Retroactive Rape

July 8, 2008

The implications of redefining rape are broad. It means that all sex has the potential to retroactively become rape. Obviously this is a scary thought for a lot of men. Some would argue that it is criminalizing all sex, though it isn’t. It is merely adding the potentiality for criminality to all sex.

In some ways this is similar to financial fraud (bear with me here, this works I promise). Fraud occurs when there is a knowledge deficit that allows one party to take advantage of another. When someone defrauds me, I do not think they have committed a crime at the time when the crime actually happens. It is only later, when the financial impropriety has been revealed that I actual realize that I was a victim of a crime. Having sex is a judgment made based upon a fairly complex metric of knowledge and assumption. If at a later date, some of that knowledge is proven to be false, it essentially invalidates the original decision. As male tactics go, the concept of convincing a woman that you’re interested in a relationship merely to sleep with her and then abandon her is fairly common. However dishonesty in the acquisition of sex never enters into the current definition of rape. And without that there is no moral hazard created to force honesty and trustworthiness in sexual dealings. Men can continue to use dishonesty as a way of acquiring sex from women.

If the playing field is changed, so that women can retroactively define such dishonest dealing as rape (which it is), without having to suffer through the rigmarole of the current ‘consent’ bullshit, then the entire male approach is forced to change. The often-practiced and admired art of treating women as objects to be manipulated into having sex with you (see “The Game”, et al) will end. Casual sex will not be eliminated, but it will end up being between two people who are fully invested in the idea of casual sex. More importantly the idea that consensual sex can ever happen without full disclosure (again, similar to financial regulations requiring quarter reports to allow investors to make informed decisions) can be put to bed (pun intended).

By denying women volition over defining what happens to their body, we are essentially denying them the ability to control what happens to their body.

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On Rape

July 4, 2008

Twisty’s original post on rape said the following:

Well, what if lack of consent were the default? What if all prospective objects of dudely predation — by whom I mean all women — are a priori considered to have said “no”? What if women, in other words, were seen by the courts to abide in a persistent legal condition of keep-the-fuck-off-me?

Nine Deuce recently followed up with her own take on it, which kept the same basic premise but made the penalties more cruel and explicit:

Any defendant convicted of rape will be assumed to have proven he is incapable of responsibly exercising his sexuality in society. As such, the penalty for rape will be immediate and irreversible castration. If a weapon is used in the commission of the crime, or if the victim at any time during the crime feels that her/his life was in danger, the added penalty of life in prison without parole will attach.

While neither of them are wrong in essence, I do think that all the talk about consent (in Twisty’s case) as well as crime and punishment obscures the crucial central tenant of their arguments. Personally, I spent so much time caught up in the arguments over the legal part of Twisty’s proposal that I nearly missed the point. By the time Nine Deuce published her extension, I had figured it out, which made her post frustrating to me. The inevitable effect of mixing a theory of personal empowerment with legal codification is that people will argue to death the legal side of things and will miss the theory part completely. That behavior is rampant in the comment threads on both posts, mostly from men but also from women.

How we punish rapists is irrelevant (not in general, but to the point that Twisty was trying to make). Defining a rapist is the crux of the matter. I think that what Twisty and Nine were saying can be simply codified as:

A woman has been raped when sexual activity has occurred and she thinks she has been raped.

That’s it. That is all that needs to be said.