Let me add my more than two cents to this not particularly nuanced, nor complicated dynamic. It’s really not rocket science. All the more reason, I find it ironic that most of what I am including below are things I first began to write about in various forms and various venues over ten years ago.
Yet, here we are. Again.
So, let’s start with the did-she-say-no question. Because frankly, it is the wrong question to be asking. Some men may find this to be a particularly painful kick in the nuts, but we are in serious need of some re-framing here. Two words.
Affirmative consent challenges the default assumption that women and men are in a persistent state of being available for sex. Because, we are not. “Proving” you didn’t want it, is predicated on the idea that you did want it. Functionally, what the concept of affirmative consent does, is suggest that women and men would abide in a persistent legal condition of not having given consent to sex, until they do. Thus, respecting and upholding the idea that women and men have domain over their bodily autonomy and individual agency.
A word about the phrasing above. When I say women and men, yes, I am acknowledging that men are raped too. Though the relevant point being that in the vast majority of cases, those men are raped by other men. Therefore the focus is still solidly on men to not rape.
How is that complicated? It’s not.
So, if my argument brings up any number of supposed “what if” scenarios, might I suggest that those responses are simply grasping at anything to avoid what should be patently clear. Guys, sorry for the buzz kill, but if someone wants to have sex with you, you will know it. Why? Because they have told you. Clearly and directly, they have given you consent. If you have any doubt, you shouldn’t be having sex with that person. Having to convince someone along the way, talking them into the idea they really do want it, is not hot! Because it’s an example of being self absorbed to a seriously problematic level, as well as completely tone deaf. It screams of desperation.
Can you really, seriously argue with that? Silly question, I know, as many men argue it all the time. Call me sarcastic, but I’ve long been a fan of the sadly uncommon, but factually accurate phrase that says, “sometimes bullshit is bullshit, not thesis potential.”
One would think that the way discussions over rape, fundamental agency, and bodily autonomy play out, that it is some abstract, mystical concept where everyone has a different and acceptable “truth”. Sorry, this is not Jungian dream theory.
Let’s cut to the chase. A lot has been said about how to prevent rape.
“Women should learn self-defense.”
“Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark.”
“Women shouldn’t have long hair .“
“Women shouldn’t wear short skirts.”
“Women shouldn’t send mixed signals.”
“Women shouldn’t leave drinks unattended.”
They shouldn’t dare to even drink at all, I suppose.
Well, I say enough with the silly deconstructions around issues that don’t require complicated and theory laden narratives. Instead, an appropriate option demonstrative of critical thinking might be to suggest we take the direct approach.
That men not rape. Period.
If that is in any way unclear, please allow me to demonstrate, in several simplistic sentences, how to permanently end rape once and for all. To those proponents of silly, circuitous debate around this “complicated dynamic”, yeah, I’m talking to you skippy.
- If a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.
- If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.
- If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don’t rape her.
- If you think a woman deserves to be “hate fucked”, don’t rape her.
- If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don’t rape her.
- If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don’t rape her.
- If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don’t rape her.
- If your step-daughter is watching TV, don’t rape her.
- If you break into a house and find a woman there, don’t rape her.
- If your friend thinks it’s okay to rape someone, tell him it’s not, and that he’s not your friend.
- If your friend tells you he raped someone, report his ass to the police.
- If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there’s an unconscious woman upstairs and it’s your turn, don’t rape her, call the police and tell the guy he’s a rapist.
- Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it’s not okay to rape women, ever. Period.
- Don’t tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
- Don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x.
- Don’t imply that it’s in any way her fault.
- Don’t let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he “got some” with the drunk girl.
- Don’t perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over, or responsibility for, your actions. Yes, you can help yourself.
- If the above is not clear, read it until it is.