Posts Tagged ‘simplicity’

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.