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neither of us had words for what really happened
November 20, 2003 6:11 AM   Subscribe

What part of no do ya still not understand? Date rape in the time of Kobe, roofies and Girls Gone Wild. By Judith Lewis, with bonus 'toon by Ellen Forney.
posted by xowie (85 comments total)

 
Before others start to pile on by saying this girl was an incredible dumbass, I would like to say that it was the guy's fault. Why? Here is the blunt synopsis:

The very first time she said "No" to ANY sexual overture, he should have said, "Fine. Bye."

No second chances. No platonic relationship. If she acts all confused with what he's about, he should say:

"I was interested in you, sexually and in other ways. I thought we might be compatible. But we aren't, so I'm not going to waste both of our times trying to have a relationship with someone who has screwed up ideas about relationships.

"No" isn't negotiation. Negotiation is a good thing, it lets your partner know where you stand, where you're willing to go and what you're willing to do.

"No" means you have control issues, that you don't understand equality in relationships.

For me, it also means "No" for good. But I will advise you that in the future, with other men, "No" had better mean "No", because if it means "Yes" or "Maybe" or "I don't know" or "I'm drunk", ANY sex you have will be rape."

"You have permanently missed a chance to have a relationship with someone who would have respected you."

And all he should tell his friends, is that he and her are "not compatible." Nothing more. And while she might be pissed at him at first, she will probably not dis' him to her friends. There are worse reputations for a male then to be a feminist.

Otherwise, you're just part of the "Dope Opera" of men who sort-of-rape and women who are sort-of-raped.

It's either that or fill out "Consent to Have Sex" forms.
posted by kablam at 6:53 AM on November 20, 2003


"No" isn't negotiation.

Isn't that kind of the point? If you definitely don't want to have sex with someone and they won't leave you alone. It's good to be definitive. Any reasonable person with a conscience will understand "no."

I remember entering college in 1989 and feeling that sexually speaking, it was a jungle. Hearing about date rape and AIDS from authority figures in one ear, Catholic dogma from parents, and a philosophy which presented promiscuity as "liberated" and thus better in the other ear from fellow students, and the tug of hormones and all the attendant insecurities of adolescence from within. For someone who's experience to that point was one traditional date, and a couple desultory "encounters" that ultimately went nowhere, it was all very confusing and frightening. I'm kind of amazed that I wasn't put off sexuality forever.
posted by jonmc at 7:18 AM on November 20, 2003


Hey, excellent article. I expected some "I said NO and the bastard continued to smile and chat--string him up!" kind of article that I used to find so common on this subject. This article, though, actually goes to some length to explain and dicuss the gray areas, and why this can be such a frustrating issue.

I think the lesson is similar to what I tell my friends who wish to be faithful with their partners: Cheating is 90% allowing yourself to get into a situation where it can happen.

And, although this doesn't absolve the man of responsibility, getting "passed out" drunk at a party full of men is a disaster waiting to happen, unfortunately. When we live in an age where people, men and women both, knowingly use alcohol to lower their own sexual inhibitions, people who don't want sex but get "passed out" drunk in such a situation anyway find themselves surrounded by horny folk and often in no position to rationally defend themselves against the advances.

Is it still date rape? Absolutely. But it's also a crying shame that people aren't more responsible with themselves.
posted by Swifty at 7:20 AM on November 20, 2003


"No" means you have control issues, that you don't understand equality in relationships.

Jesus. Actually, "No" means no. Like when you ask somebody if they need a lift, or if you can bum a cigarette off them, and they say "No," it doesn't mean they have control issues, it means no. Your attitude is very fucked up... but not as fucked up as the attitude of the no-means-yes crowd, so congrats for that.

Also, in hopes of preempting the pile-on, can we take it as given that the girl probably shouldn't have been in the guy's bedroom (even though she'd slept over twice before with no problem)? She knows that, we all know that, let's move on to more interesting topics.
posted by languagehat at 7:25 AM on November 20, 2003


My point is that "No" does not mean "not right now", or "maybe once I get to know you", or "maybe if you buy me stuff", or "only if I'm drunk", or "only if you keep asking, or begging, really", or "unless you browbeat me", or "only if we're married", or "unless you force me, so I don't have to make a decision", or "so it doesn't look like I'm a slut", or "so if I want to, later, I can say I was raped", or "Yes", or "Maybe".

So the only option left to the male is "No, not ever", unless she literally signs a consent form to have sex. Otherwise, he lives under the threat of a rape accusation.
posted by kablam at 7:30 AM on November 20, 2003


Good luck with that "consent form" business, kablam.

And, ew, HPV--the gift that keeps on giving.

The kid in the article who said "why don't these women carry Mace?" has an, er, unusual point of view on social interaction.

What surprised me was that the author of the article didn't talk with or about any men who were coerced into sex, pressured into sex, or date-raped by other men. That's the second most common instance.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:36 AM on November 20, 2003


Like when you ask somebody if they need a lift, or if you can bum a cigarette off them

Well, I disagree. Whenever someone asks to bum a cigarette from me, and I say "No", it usually IS the start of negotation from their perspective. :) It's as though they think I'm actually saying an entirely different word--spelled, I think, "Gno"--that actually means, "Sure, let's discuss that possibility."
posted by Swifty at 7:37 AM on November 20, 2003


Sidhedevil: the Sexual Consent Form is not my idea.

Which is why I proposed a legal alternative. Some degree of honesty, as antiethical as it is to sex.
posted by kablam at 7:50 AM on November 20, 2003


the girl probably shouldn't have been in the guy's bedroom

Is it "don't trust your friends" or "don't make friends with people who date rape"?
posted by magullo at 7:59 AM on November 20, 2003


I also found the article to be much better than the black-and-white 'she said no, fuckwit' treatment date rape usually gets. There is an awful lot of gray in this area.

I was in a similar situation when I was at college (also UCLA, actually). I went to a party where I knew quite a few people, including Keith, a guy I was attracted to. The punch was spiked with Everclear (as I found out later) and I got quite drunk for probably the first time in my life. My last memory from the party is of sitting around and flirting with Keith. My next memory after that is waking up in the living room of my apartment with Keith's face coming in and out of focus as he was having sex with me. I passed out again. In the morning I woke up with him sleeping next to me in the middle of our living room. I was sore and chafed. I had 3 roommates and was quite embarrassed that one of them could have walked in on us at any time.

I would not have had sex with Keith had I been sober. However, I also know that I get quite horny when I've had a few drinks, and I was very attracted to him. So I don't know what happened as the evening progressed - I might have been willing, or at least not objected very much, and we'd ended up at my house, not his. So while I felt that I'd been violated, I didn't feel like I'd been maliciously raped. Obviously Keith's behavior was less than gentlemanly in that he was having sex with a woman who was passing in and out of consciousness. But I didn't feel like I wanted to press charges because I just didn't know what had happened. I also have to say that I don't feel traumatized by the event - more that it was a hard lesson experienced and learned from.
posted by widdershins at 8:05 AM on November 20, 2003


"The very first time she said "No" to ANY sexual overture, he should have said, "Fine. Bye.""

When a mother says to her daughter, "No, you cannot have Vegas Hotel Hooker Barbie, (or substitute alternative here)" it's final, end of story, end of discussion.

When a husband says to his wife, "No, I'm not going to redecorate the bathroom," it's over, she's going to have to hire a decorator.

Human relationships are not like that. It's naive to think they ever will be.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:06 AM on November 20, 2003


> "No" means no.

Bring drunk to the point of passing out in some guy's bed says "I don't care what happens to me" loud and clear.

Whatever the facts and circumstances of this particular case, it remains true that there are degrees of heinousness in not-entirely-consensual sex just as there are (well recognized) degrees of heinousness in killing. In the end these degrees will have to be recognized in law.

As it is now there's only the two alternatives, what you might call "rape 1," (unconsensual sex, by force or fear, with an utterly unwilling victim) and "nothing punishable happened, go on home." If that were the case with homicide law you would have many people who have actually committed second-degree murder or manslaughter going free because a jury refuses to convict them of first-degree murder, and the only alternative is to turn them loose.

Likewise in the case of sexual conduct we see people who actually did something bad, but not bad enough to get a conviction on Rape 1, going unpunished because there's no charge and punishment that fits the crime.
posted by jfuller at 8:31 AM on November 20, 2003


It would be hard for me to believe the majority of women have not at one time or another been or will be involved in some kind of questionable sexual situation. Other than cases of violent stranger rape or when a narcotic is unknowingly slipped in a drink you can bet a woman has in some way caused her own situation. Most of the time it boils down to a natural and naive female instinct that men, especially those we know, are there to protect us and would certainly never take advantage of us in ANY situation. That has to be the biggest downer of all when you start dwelling on what happened the morning after. But hopefully you learn from it, get over it , and try not to get cynical about men because there really are men out there who will cherish and protect you no matter how drunk you get on a date.
posted by oh posey at 8:46 AM on November 20, 2003


> Bring drunk to the point of passing out in some guy's bed
> says "I don't care what happens to me" loud and clear.

Uhm, no, what it says loud and clear is "I am not even capable of giving consent therefore you shouldn't even try".
posted by cmonkey at 8:50 AM on November 20, 2003


I'll agree that there's a lot of grey areas in all this (and the article does a pretty good job of touching on them), but this whole this whole dimension of people who get extremely drunk has me puzzled.

Isn't one of the main reasons for drinking to lose your normal inhibitions? (Disclaimer: I grew up in an alcoholic household, and while I do drink one or two drinks, I despise the 'out of control' feeling of being drunk, though I did get extremely drunk a few times when I was young).

So, if a woman is saying, "If I hadn't been passing out drunk, I would have opposed the advances", what does that say about her getting so drunk in the first place (assuming the drinking is voluntary)?

I'm not in any way tryhing to absolve her male partner of any responsibility, but why don't we focus on their (both of them) getting that drunk in the first place?
posted by tippiedog at 8:55 AM on November 20, 2003


> Uhm, no, what it says loud and clear is "I am not even
> capable of giving consent therefore you shouldn't even try".

I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. The situation as described is a nasty and contradictory mess, and just saying "no means no" doesn't clean it up.

I would not make any sort of pass at a drunk woman. On the other hand, if some babe pulled this I'm-so-drunk-let-me-sleep-over stunt on me I would call her roommate to come collect her; and if no roommates then her parents; and if no parents then the police, and she can sleep it off in the drunk tank. If men are expected to be perfectly cleanhanded in their sexual behavior let women be perfectly cleanhanded also.


> Is it "don't trust your friends" or "don't make friends with people who date rape"?

It's "Friends don't put friends in that kind of position." And it works both ways.
posted by jfuller at 9:15 AM on November 20, 2003


The grey area issue I have with the situation as described is that in most of these cases, both people are drunk. There are, obviously, clear cut cases in which sober (or relatively sober) men have deliberately debilitated their dates with drugs or alcohol in order to have sex with them. That, in my mind, is not date rape, but flat out, old fashion, violent rape. But when both halves of the scenario are heavily drunk, why does the woman's drunkenness give her a free pass for stupid behaviour and acting outside her normal boundaries and the man's drunkenness not do the same for him? Just as the woman would be more clear and set better boundaries if she were sober, the man would probably be less aggressive and make better decisions if he was.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:19 AM on November 20, 2003


Quite an interesting subject and a good article. My 2 cents worth of recommendations on the subject : to women, don't be afraid of saying a clear NO and becoming furious if NO is taken as "not now maybe later" and on a side note, do not provoke boys expecially by "showing" too much nakedness and sexually playful behavior , once we're started we assume consent naturally (and what the hell are we supposed to assume in such situation ? that we really appreciate your acting talent maybe ? ). To men I say do not take a woman smile as an _always_ good sign or sexual invitation ; sometimes it's defensive.
posted by elpapacito at 9:40 AM on November 20, 2003


Thanks for your honesty, widdershins. I'm genuinely impressed by people who are able to have a nuanced discussion about such an inflammatory and personal subject.
posted by fuzz at 9:41 AM on November 20, 2003


jacquilynne: "why does the woman's drunkenness give her a free pass for stupid behaviour and acting outside her normal boundaries and the man's drunkenness not do the same for him?"

I had the same question earlier, but after thinking about it, I think it prolly comes down to this: there is no language in the criminal code (at least here in Virginia, and I suspect in other places, too) that talks about rape in terms of intent. In other words, the state doesn't care why or how it happened, only that it did. Drunk, stoned, both or cold sober - the law doesn't care.
posted by Irontom at 9:49 AM on November 20, 2003


Blue Stone- none of the people in your examples face any real consequences for treating that no as a maybe. Any man doing so in a sexual situation could face jail time. It's a major difference.
posted by InfidelZombie at 10:11 AM on November 20, 2003


> In other words, the state doesn't care why or how it
> happened, only that it did. Drunk, stoned, both or cold sober
> - the law doesn't care.

Which is precisely why all the "nuances" both the fpp and the commenters have mentioned all come up for consideration before deciding whether a given incident is a case for the law, or isn't. Bear in mind there are plenty of places in the world where the law doesn't bother with nuances in other areas also. He took something that wasn't his, he's a thief, chop off his hand.

If we're not able to deal with greyscale questions and quibbles about sexual conduct in the privacy of our own consciences then they'll all have to be written into the law, because as you point out, the law as it stands isn't remotely nuanced enough.

"Nuances." What a dignified word for such smarmy behavior.
posted by jfuller at 10:13 AM on November 20, 2003


To throw another curve into this issue, who are we to really believe in any date rape case, given that you have only two people involved, and two conflicting opinions? The problem with date rape is that it doesn't take into account the very real human nature of lying; nor is anyone truly innocent before guilty. When two strangers get together for some action, or carnality shifts the nature of acquaintanceship, sometimes strange shifts in temperament go down.

Either side is capable of being devious or making up some kind of charge or libelious smear to get revenge. Of course, since emphasis is placed upon the woman, if the woman lies, and the man tells the truth, our society believes the woman.

But what of the woman who consents the night before and claims later that she said no? Or the man equally coerced into sex, boozed up in much the same manner and, despite repeated requests, then told the next morning that it was "a mistake," looking into the crosshairs of a sexual assault charge?

The answer doesn't involve throwing this issue back into the atavistic "Shut up bitch!" closet of the early 20th century. (And even so, most sexual assault charges and rapes still remain underreported.) But with the current approach, accusations stigmatize a person in a campus or a community before any burden of proof can be laid down. And that, to my mind, is just as bad as a vigilance committee lynching someone because of the color of their skin.

"No" may mean no, but is there any way to prove that someone said it?
posted by ed at 10:14 AM on November 20, 2003


I'm with jacquilynne on this one. Both people are falling down drunk. Neither one can control themselves. Seems like the problem here is binge drinking, and it seems like it would be unfair to call the man in that situation a rapist.

What makes this analysis tricky, though, is that it only works if you know and trust the guy involved, the way Serena K knew and basically trusted her friend B. If it's just some random guy from a frat trying to get himself and everyone else stone drunk so he can get laid, then clearly he is responsible for the situation.
posted by alms at 10:16 AM on November 20, 2003


How is that? Maybe I just hang around in good neighbourhoods but I've never been acosted on the street and then dragged to a party, frat or otherwise, and had alcohol forced into me until I'm falling down drunk.

I'm with ed and jacquilynne, how the heck do juries ever return a guilty charge when both parties were falling down / passing out drunk and there are no other witnesses?
posted by Mitheral at 10:53 AM on November 20, 2003


I'm also interested by what jacquilynne said. If both parties are drunk, then clearly neither can give consent. This seems to become the same gray-area as two mentally retarded individuals having sex, or two children under the mininum age of consent.
posted by Ptrin at 11:00 AM on November 20, 2003


Does nobody think that there's something weird about someone who wants to have sex with someone else who's passing-out drunk?

I've certainly had my share of drunken sexual encounters that I later regretted in my life, but I was awake for all of them--that's why I don't think they were "date rape".

Juries return guilty charges in matters involving only two parties and no other witnesses when one party sounds more believable then the other.

Another factor in date-rape cases is forensic evidence--in many cases of forced intercourse, doctors can observe and document a pattern of vaginal tearing and bruising.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:44 AM on November 20, 2003


when both halves of the scenario are heavily drunk, why does the woman's drunkenness give her a free pass for stupid behaviour and acting outside her normal boundaries and the man's drunkenness not do the same for him?

because what B. did--sexually interacting with someone who didn't consent--is illegal, and what Serena did--getting wasted and falling asleep in someone's bed--isn't.

a "free pass" for stupid behavior is completely different from free absolution for criminal behavior.

if Serena was so "wasted" that she shot him with a gun after he assaulted her, i don't think anyone would give her a "free pass" for her behavior.

On the other hand, if some babe pulled this I'm-so-drunk-let-me-sleep-over stunt on me I would call her roommate to come collect her; and if no roommates then her parents; and if no parents then the police, and she can sleep it off in the drunk tank.

remind me not to visit jfuller. a few too many whiskies, and i'd end up in jail ... come on, people. i would hope that 99.9% of the men here would have either: a) slept on the couch; b) moved Serena to the couch and slept in the bed; c) or slept in the bed with Serena, without fucking with her.

i can see how this "I'm-so-drunk-let-me-sleep-over stunt" might pose behavior problems for teenagers, but adults? some people just wanna get wasted, you know? life is hard enough without having to worry about being penetrated when you pass out.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:54 AM on November 20, 2003


As it is now there's only the two alternatives, what you might call "rape 1," (unconsensual sex, by force or fear, with an utterly unwilling victim) and "nothing punishable happened, go on home."
In most states having sex with someone who is unconscious is statutorily defined as rape. A person who is passed out can not give consent and it is just wrong to attempt sex with them.
posted by caddis at 11:56 AM on November 20, 2003


This is an issue which touches home for me, and I don't want to gloss over what I know to be my own culpability in my own bad experience. What happened to me affected me negatively for years, and I think in many respects, changed my view of sex forever; but I was drunk beyond belief, and had made myself vulnerable to situations like this because of it.

However, the man who assaulted me (a good friend of a friend--apparently above reproach in the eyes of all who knew him) was not apparently "just drunk" too. I found this out when I fled from New Orleans, came home, told my story to a few stunned friends, one of whom said, "That sounds exactly like ________." It was the same person, working a similar modus operandi in both cases: girl trusts him because all their mutual acquaintances laud him, he hangs out with girl's friends, girl (any girl, really) gets too drunk, _____ offers to see her home safely, and then becomes the thing against which he was supposed to be protecting her.

This isn't merely a drunken miscommunication--this is predatory behavior, not only preying on someone's drunkeness in a "well, here we both are" kind of way. This was operating from an understanding that a woman, vulnerable to him because she trusted her friends to know a good egg would in turn trust him and leave themselves in his "capable" hands where he could take advantage of the situation. This is creepy, disturbed behavior--why should someone who is so clearly well-liked and trusted need, or want, to take sexual advantage of people in no condition to give consent? The repetition of his behavior leads me to wonder if there aren't a number of other operators who work with similar methods.

So while I agree that I am responsible for my own behavior, good and bad, and agree that I left myself more vulnerable than I should have, I will never take responsibility for what to me seems the actions of a fairly poisoned mind. I did that when it happened, and went pretty insane for a long time. Now I just hope that someone else had the balls to call the cops on this bastard, because it wasn't me.
posted by readymade at 12:03 PM on November 20, 2003


I was also wondering why the hell a guy would want sex with a woman who's unconscious. Like, wouldn't a solo with a copy of Playboy be better? You'd basically still be just as alone.
posted by alumshubby at 12:05 PM on November 20, 2003


Both people are falling down drunk. Neither one can control themselves. Seems like the problem here is binge drinking, and it seems like it would be unfair to call the man in that situation a rapist.

OK, let's change the situation. Instead of raping her, the guy goes through her pocketbook and takes all her money. Both people are falling down drunk. Neither one can control themselves. Seems like the problem here is binge drinking, and it seems like it would be unfair to call the man in that situation a thief. Dumb, huh? How come it's so hard for people to see that rape is a crime just like theft or assault, and the victim is just as much a victim whether they were drunk or not?
posted by languagehat at 12:14 PM on November 20, 2003


How come it's so hard for people to see that rape is a crime just like theft or assault, and the victim is just as much a victim whether they were drunk or not?

True enough, languagehat, but let's be honest, if you saw a guy passed out drunk with a lot of flashy jewelry and a wallet fulla cash on a subway platform late at night, you'd probably think to yourself "stupid fuck." I'd still say you should arrest whoever steals off him. But there's something to be said for keeping your wits about you.
posted by jonmc at 12:19 PM on November 20, 2003


i would hope that 99.9% of the men here would have either: a) slept on the couch; b) moved Serena to the couch and slept in the bed; c) or slept in the bed with Serena, without fucking with her

Why leave yourself open to allegations of rape later? Imagine she gets drunk and, while blotto, sneaks off to another room to make the beast with two backs with someone else. Then comes the I'm-so-drunk-lemme-sleep-here thing, and she wakes up the next morning knowing she's been fucked by can't remember by whom and assumes it was you. Two weeks later she decides to report it, and off you go to the police station, where nice men in blue will likely browbeat and threaten a confession out of you.

When you and someone else are alone in your home, it's your word against theirs as to what happened -- and if they're wasted, their beliefs about what happened can easily have only a tangential relationship to the actual state of affairs. I could imagine wanting to avoid that possibility, if one were rather more paranoid than I.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:19 PM on November 20, 2003


The article made one point which I hadn't considered, and which I'd bounce off this forum's female readers to see if they agree with the assertion:

The woman who accuses him belongs to a generation so confident in its sexual safety that college-age women display themselves proudly at Daytona Beach orgies and Lake Havasu exhibition fests, keep detailed online journals about their sex lives and even post suggestive pictures of themselves on SuicideGirls and Friendster.

Is this perceived "sexual safety" indeed a factor in this sort of casual exhibitionism/licentiousness? And utlimately, does this confidence in sexual safety - and the behavior that Lewis asserts it prompts - constitute a good thing?
posted by kgasmart at 12:29 PM on November 20, 2003


Count me as fully disagreeing with Blue Stone.

I think saying "No" when you mean "Yes," or "Maybe," or "We can talk about it," is just plain immature and stupid, in any context.

It is saying you want to be manipulated. Yuck.

If I say 'no,' then I damned well mean it. If I hear it, I take it at face value, regardless of what the speaker might have meant.

I think it is mature and responsible to always take verbal behavior at face value. To do otherwise, you have to try and read the mind of the speaker, which is demeaning.

Example: my brother-in-law was angry about something while we were in the car. He said, "stop the car, let me out, I'll walk home." I did. I drove home without him. Home was 25 miles away. Now, he may well have meant his message to mean, "I want to express my anger and I want you to entreat me to stay in the car and I want you to insist that I ride home with you." But that's not what he said. So it is his fault for not being plain-spoken.

And I want to be treated that way. I'm not going to ask to be let out of the car unless I really want out of the car.

Grow the fuck up. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Take others words at face value. Don't be such a manipulative immature shit.
posted by yesster at 12:39 PM on November 20, 2003


For what it's worth, kgasmart, I think the statement you quote is a gross generalization.
posted by tippiedog at 12:44 PM on November 20, 2003


From reading metafilter the past few days, I can see that drunk driving = bad, but drunken raping = hazy?

It seems to me that having sex with a girl who is passed out or well on her way is pretty clear cut. Are there so many falsely report rapes that it is a common occurrance nowadays?
posted by armacy at 12:53 PM on November 20, 2003


For what it's worth, kgasmart, I think the statement you quote is a gross generalization.

I think that's probably true, but I detect a grain of truth here: Specifically, that as we as a society have come to recognize date rape and similar things that at one time would not have been recognized or acknowledged as a legitimate threat to a woman's safety. And that because we do not recognize these threats, it has led to a corresponding increase in behavior that might once have been considered imprudent.

I mean, the whole Havasu type of behavior has me stumped, because it seems that a few decades ago, you didn't see that sort of thing, at least not in so public a fashion. And I wonder if that is because there was, at that time, a legimate threat or at least the pereception of a threat amongst those who might have engaged in such behavior that it might have sent the wrong message, resulted in assault, that sort of thing.

Whereas now we have the whole "no means no" debate and rape has been defined more broadly than ever before - appropriately so, I believe - and women, at least in theory, now have more of a recourse than ever before. And this in fact may serve as a deterrent to some who, in the past, might have assaulted them.

And I wonder if this in fact has created the expectation among some that women do not have to be as careful as they had to before?
posted by kgasmart at 1:02 PM on November 20, 2003


I'd still say you should arrest whoever steals off him. But there's something to be said for keeping your wits about you.

Absolutely, to both parts. But many people here only seem to be able to see the second half when it comes to rape. Rape is a crime, not something that magically happens when you get drunk. I've been drunk with women many times and managed not to rape them, I've even had a drunk woman stay over at my drunk apartment without ensuing rapacity. And I don't think I'm a supernaturally virtuous male. I just don't rape women, even in a drunkitudinous state.

I am aware that there is no such word as drunkitudinous, that "rapacity" has only an etymological relation to rape, and that "drunk apartment" is a catachresis—more specifically, a transferred epithet or (if you will) hypallage. These errors were made for humorous effect and should not be attempted while driving heavy machinery.
posted by languagehat at 1:07 PM on November 20, 2003


yesstr: You left him on the road 25 miles from home? That is cold. Words and feelings do not always match, and people sometime change their minds.
posted by caddis at 1:10 PM on November 20, 2003


He asked for it, he got it. It's what he said he wanted. I don't read minds, and I don't ask for mine to be read.
posted by yesster at 1:35 PM on November 20, 2003


kgasmart No. It was the same way in the 70's way before it was called date rape and long before Girls Gone Wild. Every generation has it's own provocative behaviors to put the blame on for one thing or another. The only differences between then and now is a progressive little thing called women's liberation and a big disease called AIDS. It just wasn't as big a deal, more accepted for some fucked up reason, and we just kept our mouths shut about it for the most part. As for the perception of sexual safety (which I assume can be defined as a woman's belief that a man will not sexually or otherwise assault her whatever the situation might be) it would first come to us from our fathers for the majority of us.
posted by oh posey at 2:05 PM on November 20, 2003


I don't know about you, but I have certainly seen the situation where at a party drunkguy is flirting with drunkgirl. Drunkguy is getting positive signals throughout the evening. Drunkgirl starts to think (rightfully so) that drunkguy is obnoxious. Drunkguy is now too drunk to read the fairly obvious body-language that usually gives us so much information about how the other person feels about us or our advances.

On more than one occasion I have had to bundle buddies into the back of a car and drive them home with them *fully* convinced that I was totally ruining their evening. Now I'm 6'4", 270 and I have had a hard time getting some of those fellows out the door, I can't imagine a smaller person convincing them that they mean NO.

I will teach my son, that you never, ever try to have sex with someone when you're drunk, and I will be teaching my daughters (if I ever have any) that they are never, ever to get drunk around men who even *might* be interested in them sexually. It's not a black and white issue when both parties are impaired, it is grayscale. The law however cannot reflect that without opening the floodgates of abuse and essentially licensing sexual assault in some situations.

It really is time that we stop focusing on the woman's behaviour in these situations, and start telling men to take responsiblity for their own actions. If they cannot handle being drunk around women, they shouldn't get that way. If we can expect men to be aware enough not to drive when drunk we can expect men to be aware enough to keep it zipped when drunk. And if they do, and they lose control and commit a crime, then they should pay for that crime the same way they should pay if they got drunk and ran over a kid.

(But I'm a conservative, so what do I know?)
posted by tcskeptic at 2:19 PM on November 20, 2003


kgasmart, I've worked as a counselor and encountered young women who had no compunction about baring their breasts for Mardi Gras beads or on Splash Mountain or for "Girls Gone Wild" or the like.

In my experience, they are not the same young women who are bringing accusations of date rape; they are young women with so little awareness of their own right to bodily integrity that they blame themselves when men assault them.

Apparently, they've got a lot of company.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:36 PM on November 20, 2003


(But I'm a conservative, so what do I know?)

Hecka lame.
posted by cortex at 4:10 PM on November 20, 2003


> drunk driving = bad, but drunken raping = hazy?

Nothing hazy about drunken rape, it's bad bad bad. So's DUI. But please consider the consequences for, oh, a first offence DUI. $500 fine, license lifted six months, "defensive driving school," insurance rates go up. I sure do think any kind of rape deserves worse than this (oh yeah, I think DUI does too) but does it always, in any circumstances no matter how ambiguous, deserve twenty-to life? (death of course in Texas.)

point 1: when it comes to killing, the law takes circumstances into account and recognizes several different degrees of wickedness, not all of them deserving twenty-to-life (death in Texas.) There's Murder 1, Murder 2, manslaughter, justifiable homicide, etc. Sexual assault law needs at least that much discrimination. (Before some eedjit asks, no there's no such thing as justifiable rape.)

point 2: apart from legal questions I ABSOLUTELY AGREE that no gentleman will do any of the things that earn even a semi-semi-justified accusation of date rape, though anybody might accidentaly date the rare lying psychopath who makes the charge up out of whole cloth. I also believe no lady will put herself in the position of needing to make such an accusation, except in the case of accidentally dating an actual psychopath who slips a mickey into her drink.
posted by jfuller at 4:19 PM on November 20, 2003


> I will teach my son, that you never, ever try to have sex with someone
> when you're drunk, and I will be teaching my daughters (if I ever have any)
> that they are never, ever to get drunk around men who even *might*
> be interested in them sexually.

Bullseye.
posted by jfuller at 4:28 PM on November 20, 2003


they are never, ever to get drunk around men who even *might*
be interested in them sexually.


Isn't this pretty much the same thing as the "never leave your kids with a man" thing from the Jackson thread? There, the implication that men tend to be child molesters angered a lot of people - is the implication that men tend to be rapists considered to be even close to as serious a charge?

Interesting thread. A woman who says no has "control issues" - a woman who makes an accusation of acquaintance rape is no lady.
posted by transona5 at 4:35 PM on November 20, 2003


> a woman who makes an accusation of acquaintance rape is no lady.

Generalizations, generalizations. Obviously every single case of everything should be considered on its own particular merits. But then we couldn't discuss anything in advance, ever.
posted by jfuller at 4:42 PM on November 20, 2003


You left him on the road 25 miles from home? That is cold. Words and feelings do not always match, and people sometime change their minds.

caddis - that'd be problem in a nutshell right there wouldn't it. People don't always say that they mean or mean what they say. Of course in most other fields of human relationship the price of miscommunication is ussually just hurt feelings but with sex you can go to jail. I'm not saying it makes it right, just more complex than 'no means no'.

Although I'm with yesster - always take peoples words at face value. You don't escape the hurt feelings but I don't feel that guilty about the pain people bring apon themselves by not speaking plainly.
posted by adamt at 4:43 PM on November 20, 2003


kablam: So the only option left to the male is "No, not ever", unless she literally signs a consent form to have sex. Otherwise, he lives under the threat of a rape accusation.

Oh, what a bunch of twaddle. As someone in a very long term relationship, "no" is not that uncommon and is not misunderstood to mean that the relationship is over. I also don't see "no" as such a slamming door to a relationship having gotten everything from "no, I'm too tired to even think about it" to "no, I think it would destroy our beautiful friendship."

I also can't say that I find the "put out or get out" style of laying down a sexual ultimatum to be particularly feminist. At some point in a relationship your partner will say "no" (unless the relationship is a one-night stand.) At some point, you will probably say "no" to your partner. Get over it, learning to handle "no" with grace in a relationship is just as important as enjoying the "yes".

But something really bugs me about the "put out or get out" ultimatum the attitude of entitlement to sex in relationships. One of the reasons I'm glad to not be dating is the horrid three date rule that requires that hot mind-blowing sex take place somewhere around the third date for the relationship to be considered something other than a dead-end.

As a general rule, the same people who harp at length about how women should practice cautious behavior in order to avoid being raped, wail in offense when someone proposes that men should exercise caution in order to avoid being accused of sexual misconduct. I would not go so far as ROU_Xenophobe. There is a level of paranoia that is reasonable, and a level that is not reasonable, the houseguest who wanders the halls looking to score is IMO only slighly more plausible than being accused of rape because a houseguest was abducted by aliens.

But to pick off on the Kobe Bryant thing. One of the things that frustrates me about that case is overall lack of reaction beyond shock that a star has been accused. I don't think I could stomache being on the same floor with him without violating my pacifist principles (even giving him the benefit of the doubt that what he did was legal, what all parties agree happen point to an astonishing absence of moral character on his part). You can't have it both ways in selling professional players as heros and role models, and at the some time, stick to business as usuall when a player is accused of a crime.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:02 PM on November 20, 2003


Bring drunk to the point of passing out in some guy's bed says "I don't care what happens to me" loud and clear.

Good to know. So, when a 18 year old boy is passed out in my hallway, he's basically telling me it's okay to get my nailclippers and snip off his balls. I mean, it's not nice, but he sure was asking for it.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:37 PM on November 20, 2003


But please consider the consequences for, oh, a first offence DUI. $500 fine, license lifted six months, "defensive driving school," insurance rates go up.

But how about if you actually injure or kill someone while driving drunk?
posted by transona5 at 7:11 PM on November 20, 2003


cortex:
>(But I'm a conservative, so what do I know?)
>>Hecka lame.
Possibly. (maybe I shoulda put a winky) But I've been getting a little annoyed with some of the more vocal fellow conservatives in the place whining about being picked on. My point (sarcastically) was "it don't make a whit of difference." /end-derail

transona5: If it offends sensibilities, apologies. But I would rather have a savvy daughter aware of the risks. And w/r/t men and kids I am a grown person able to make risk assesments on my children's behalf, when my (theoretical) daughter goes off to college she needs to be able to make those assesments for herself, and I will teach her to err on the side of caution when doing so.

sidhedevil: I agree. The GGW types strike me as the group of women that my mother means when she says "The sexual revolution is over, and women lost." It seems to me that in the old world women's sexual status(?) could generally be plotted along an axis that ran from empowered < --> unempowered that measured how much they understood and weilded the amount of power they have in a relationship. Now we have that axis plus the liberal< -->conservative (liberal and conservative here meaning their level of sexual license and nothing else) axis to plot against, leaving four crudely generalized groups. empowered-liberal empowered-conservative (yes, they do exist) unempowered-liberal(the GGWs) unempowered-conservative. The ELs might put themselves in more dangerous situations, but come out swinging if taken advantage of. The ECs would tend not take as many risks but also come out swinging when necessary. The ULs wind up on GGW, and have mistaken sexual license for sexual liberation, and if raped would probably blame themselves. And the UCs are generally truly sad women and often wind up in abusive relationships.
posted by tcskeptic at 7:54 PM on November 20, 2003


Bring drunk to the point of passing out in some guy's bed says "I don't care what happens to me" loud and clear.


Maybe I'm wrong, but the message I'm getting from this is"never let your guard down around a man, even one you know enough to think is trustworthy, because he might rape you ". I also know that many of the people saying are themselves men. Now if I say that, I'm a man-hating feminazi. How is it that it's wise advice when it comes from a guy?

I'm emphatically not "anti-male" here. I think 90% of men, even the ones who I find boorish, are trustworthy, decent human beings. I don't think that rape is the default behavior of men in the absence of a governing authority. I think the "you better not get drunk with a guy because well, you know how guys ARE" is a fucking copout, and it's a one that is as much embedded in traditional western culture as it is in much of contemporary feminism.

I don't think men are simpletons ruled by the "dumb stick" and I think taking it as a given that a drunk guy will try to have sex with a similarly drunk, but unwilling, woman because can't control his sex drive while intoxicated is bullshit. Most men know the difference between a woman who doesn't want to have sex with them and one who does. Most guys I know would bow out of a situation, irregardless of how drunk they were, if they weren't sure that the woman was 100% on board and definitely "into it". These aren't fuzzy sweater-wearing , herbal tea-drinking, sensitive, "new man" guys, either. These are porn-watching, serreptitious-breast ogling, average joes.

A guy who is having intercourse with a passed out woman who wakes up from time to time and sluggishly says "No, stop it" is a guy who is hoping that the woman in question is so intoxicated that she won't remember it in the morning and he can get away with having sex with her against their will. In other words, a rapist.
posted by echolalia67 at 8:18 PM on November 20, 2003


I think 90% of men, even the ones who I find boorish, are trustworthy, decent human beings.

Most guys I know would bow out of a situation, irregardless of how drunk they were,

Thanks for emphasizing my point most guys I know would too. Does that not clearly imply some level of risk in need of mitigation? What guidebook do you give the young freshman to help her identify assohlus-reptilicus from a crowd of decent guys?
posted by tcskeptic at 8:58 PM on November 20, 2003


The metaphor I can see for a drunk man date-raping a drunk woman is this:

A drunk person stumbles out into the road (jaywalking or crosswalk...doesn't matter) and is hit by a drunk driver. Was the drunk pedestrian foolish for drunkenly jaywalking? Of course. (Or) Was the drunk pedestrian foolish for trying to cross the street, even at a crosswalk, when they weren't alert enough to watch for/dodge oncoming traffic? Sure. Is the drunk driver still responsible for hitting the pedestrain? Hell yes.
posted by kayjay at 9:12 PM on November 20, 2003


Does that not clearly imply some level of risk in need of mitigation? What guidebook do you give the young freshman to help her identify assohlus-reptilicus from a crowd of decent guys?

I'm not implying that we shouldn't advise young women that there are guys out there that are sexual predators. I just have a problem with the subtle message that men are reasonable and responsible only up to the point where they are in the presence of a sexually attractive woman.

It's the global nature of some of these warnings - instead of emphasizing that psychopatic predators are pretty good at passing for "normal", the message that is often given is that dressing or acting in a provocactive way will cause an otherwise decent guy to become a rapist. I think that's insulting to the character of most men and gives bad men a warped sort of justification for their behavior.
posted by echolalia67 at 10:17 PM on November 20, 2003


*makes out with echolalia67*
posted by Hildegarde at 10:46 PM on November 20, 2003


*pulls chair closer*
posted by quonsar at 10:54 PM on November 20, 2003


tcskeptic - Interesting theory. I wasn't offended by your warning, by the way - I just question whether never getting at all drunk in the presence of men is a realistic expectation.
posted by transona5 at 11:01 PM on November 20, 2003


In a drunken situation, would anyone agree that it's possible for a woman to feel regret at what happened the night before (consensual sex), and therefore use a rape allegation as an "alibi" for her actions?
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:06 AM on November 21, 2003


i've known it to happen, spacecadet, although it wasn't in a drunken situation. a good friend of mine in high school slept with a girl that had been flirting with him for weeks. a couple of weeks later my friend discovered that she was an annoying twit so he dumped her. she was bitter, so she then accused him of raping her. luckily enough, he never got convicted (who would go around hanging on their rapist's arm and telling everyone what a great guy he is for two weeks after being raped?) but he did get kicked out of school.

that had be biased for a while. i was inclined to call bullshit on any girl who cried rape. then, after discovering that a close female friend of mine had been raped at a younger age and seeing firsthand the psychological damage it caused her, i changed my tune.

its true that there is a lot of gray area, but the way i see it if you are sober enough to get your dick out of your pants and into a passed out girl you are sober enough to know its not a good idea.
posted by joedan at 4:23 AM on November 21, 2003


SpaceCadet: the scenario you describe is the biggest reason why I am glad I'm not currently involved in the dating scene. Drunken hookups were not my style when I was, but the possibility (however slight) of retroactive revocation of consent is just horrifying.
posted by Irontom at 5:07 AM on November 21, 2003


> So, when a 18 year old boy is passed out in my hallway,
> he's basically telling me it's okay to get my nailclippers and
> snip off his balls.

Assuming that consensual ball-clipping is common in your area, and is a standard part of mating in the .ca domain, and has been so for umpty million years, you might well be justified in wondering if you haven't received an invitation. Most especially so if the two of you had already been making out, and he "passed out" in your bed rather than the hall.

Of course, as I explicitly stated above, I wouldn't. But I could understand your being tempted, and would also hold the guy's behavior in the lowest possible esteem, and consider him significantly responsible for contributing to whatever happens to him.
posted by jfuller at 5:21 AM on November 21, 2003


So, sex with unconscious people is a standard part of 'mating' in Georgia? See, here we like it when people, you know, move. Possibly it's got something to do with the mean temperature, I dunno.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:30 AM on November 21, 2003


> how about if you actually injure or kill someone while driving drunk?

Much worse, of course. And one of the things that's taken into consideration as a matter of course, both in charging and in sentencing.



> So, sex with unconscious people is a standard part of 'mating' in Georgia?

*makes out with Hildegarde*
posted by jfuller at 5:47 AM on November 21, 2003


It's the global nature of some of these warnings - instead of emphasizing that psychopathic predators are pretty good at passing for "normal", the message that is often given is that dressing or acting in a provocative way will cause an otherwise decent guy to become a rapist.

I understand your concern, but I don't really know how you can be cautious without always being cautious. We have read above that 57% or so of acquaintance rapes are committed by what the victim describes as "good friends" (again) how do we tell psychopathic predators from the rest? If one is viewing it from a pragmatic view point as a question of risk-mitigation, then there are clearly steps one can take to reduce your exposure.

There are two de-coupled issues here, the man's responsibility for the act of rape (which is total) , And the woman's responsibility as a human being to take steps to stay safe.

My question to you is: Given that predators prey on the weak and vulnerable, and given that we are less able to defend ourselves when we are drunk, and given that we cannot tell which guys are good and which ones a not, does getting drunk around men make you more likely to be targeted by one of the aforementioned predators? If that is true why do we not advise women to avoid that situation? Am I missing something here?
posted by tcskeptic at 6:04 AM on November 21, 2003


KirkJobSluder: far from "Put out or get out", what we have here is a failure to communicate.

In other words, you just misinterpreted what I wrote in a very similar way to the male, in the case presented above, misinterpreted the situation. As far as he was concerned, the period of sexual negotiation was already over, right then, when, all of a sudden, she changes her mind, and definitively, by saying "No."

She had not lost the ability to mitigate their sexual behavior, or limit it, and *he believed* that she wished to be *intimate* to some degree. A "No" at that point is not negotiation, it is a *legal* statement. (And not by *my* definition.)

This may seem like a finesse point, but it's a critical one, legally. It ceases to be a Yes/No situation and becomes a situation of "What percent of you wanted to have sex?"

"Well, I *mostly* want to have sex with you, but I have reservations." (Legally could amount to rape.)

"I have gone too far and want to stop you cold." (This is your interpretation. However, from that point on in their relationship, she can legally say "I said 'No'", and again, legally, he is almost forced to have a "Yes" in writing to have sex the next time with her.)

"I don't know what I want." (Most often seen in the emotionally immature. It can often become ex post facto rape. It should still stop the male cold.)

And chemically unstable agreement. As someone cannot be bound to a contract if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, "Yes" may not mean "Yes" as far as the law is concerned. But a "No" is often taken as a final stand, before the intoxicated person completely loses their faculties. (And, I might note, that because of DUI laws, "legally drunk" is not a heck of a lot of alcohol.)

In other words, in an established relationship, the assumption is that the couple have a greater understanding of each other, and so the standards for rape become more difficult. "No" *can be* "Not right now", and no offense taken. But in a first time sexual situation between two people, "No" really does mean "No."
posted by kablam at 8:39 AM on November 21, 2003


I think in today's climate of casual sex/anything goes coupled with rape hysteria/retroactive accusation, it's just as prudent for a man to view every woman as a potential false accuser as it is for a woman to view every man as a potential rapist.
posted by SpaceCadet at 8:45 AM on November 21, 2003


So, when a 18 year old boy is passed out in my hallway, he's basically telling me it's okay to get my nailclippers and snip off his balls

No, he's telling you to shave off his eyebrows and write

POOR IMPULSE CONTROL

on his forehead in green magic marker.

I mean, duh.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:12 AM on November 21, 2003


Drunkeness is not an excuse for raping a girl, I'm sorry. Just like you don't get off the hook for crashing into a parked car full of drunks while drunk or drunkenly punching a drunken asshole, you don't get off for drunkenly raping a drunk girl. The initiator of the action is the one with the culpability.

It's obviously less black and white than "no means no," but too many people in this thread talk about women getting drunk as if they are consciously assuming responsibility for anything that happens *to* them from there on out. Like getting drunk automatically renders one's control over one's body moot. Like if I get drunk and insult someone I can have no objection to them breaking my nose.

And quite frankly, any woman should be safe sleeping on the couch of any friend's house (male or female). To portray drunken men as incapable of anything but predation (so.... drunk.... must.... rape....) is insulting to drunk men like myself. I was friends with my last girlfriend long before we started dating, and after long nights of drinking she would come back and sleep in the same bed as me. Why was that OK? Because I'm not an asshole, and I'll leave it at a friendly snuggle until further notice. Why wasn't I bitter about her sleeping in the same bed as me but not having sex with me ['pulling a stunt']? Because she was my friend, not a means to my sexual satisfaction.

No means no, and passed-out drunk means no. I've been shit-faced drunk with girls who I've been insanely attracted to and never "lost control." Keeping one's dick in one's pants is really not that heroic an effort. It's pretty much the default position.
posted by Coda at 12:39 PM on November 21, 2003


In other words, you just misinterpreted what I wrote in a very similar way to the male, in the case presented above, misinterpreted the situation. As far as he was concerned, the period of sexual negotiation was already over, right then, when, all of a sudden, she changes her mind, and definitively, by saying "No."

Oh, I read you loud and clear. I just don't agree with you (and your misinterpretations don't help much.) I'm just wondering if you have even read the article. None of the actions before the rape (going out to a bar for a birthday party, taking the party to his house as part of a group, asking to crash on the bed until the couch becomes available) says to me "hey baby, I wanna jump your bones tonight." She seems insistent in her refusal. She said no when he tried to kiss her. Said no when he put her hand on his dick, and said no when he had sex with her. I'm just wondering, at what point did she lead him on?

You cant negotiate by making ultimatums. Nor can you infer that because a person does not want to have sex with you tonight, that they will never want to have sex with you in the future, that declining your generous offer is a control issue, that they don't understand equity in relationships, or negotiations. (How can you have a "negotiation" without the ability to say no to terms that are unreasonable?) In addition almost all of the reasons you give for saying "no" sound perfectly reasonable, mature and responsible.

I guess I don't understand why someone who says no to "ANY sexual overture" must be excised out of your life if they are not being an arsehole about saying it. Many of my most satisfying friendships have involved almost-lovers. (Sometimes I said no, sometimes they did.) What you do is grin, laugh about it. Go home, and talk about it later.

I don't see where established relationships are all that much different from beginning relationships on this. Even in my beginning relationships, no has been invoked for a variety of reasons, exaustion, having a bad day, an early appointment the next morning, a lack of condoms, a lack of attraction. In some cases this ended the relationship then and there, in most cases not.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:54 PM on November 21, 2003


Not being nit-picky on purpose KirkJobSluder, but could you make your point using plain English? I simply couldn't understand your post. I like plain English, to the point, easy-to-understand.
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:33 PM on November 21, 2003


KirkJobSluder: I'm just wondering, at what point did she lead him on?

She didn't, but he *thought* she did, or he *thought* he could persuade her (or, he was a forceful idiot who doesn't take "No" for an answer, or he believes in begging)--a lack of communication.

So she said "No!" a bunch of times and he still kept coming. Legally, if they have sex after, he can be considered a rapist. The law assumes "No", and even more so with multiple "No's", that they are real declarations.

Now (to your credit), a reasonable person could see "No" as "Not now"; but to THE LAW, it doesn't have that standing. But to make sense of this peculiarity, you would have to look at it from a legal sense:

1) Physical evidence. Penetration occurred. Damage?
2) Testimony. (This is where it gets flaky. A judge or jury may decide rape occurred even if she says it didn't.)
a. Did she say "No"?
b. Did she physically resist?
c. Have *other* women been offended by his actions?
d. What did she do after? (This has been critical in several recent trials, esp. Kobe Bryant.)

Arguing "reasonableness" only goes so far. THE LAW can only guess at 'state of mind' before, during and after an event. Testimony may or may not be believed. Even the previously mentioned "Consent to Have Sex" form is of limited value in court.

My point is that He does not present She with an ultimatum. When She says "No", it's over. He may have never mentioned his "No" rule, it's just something she may have blurted out. At which point he goes into his "blunt" speak I wrote above. From that point on, he will not have sex with her. Ever. No take-backs.

No coercion is involved. He has just scratched her off the list of people he might have sex with. Of course, She may tell her friends about His "No" rule, so they will be careful not to be so LEGALLY absolute with him in the future.

But unless she fills out a "Consent to Have Sex" form, there really is no legal way he can have sex with her without legal risk.
posted by kablam at 4:39 PM on November 21, 2003


SpaceCadet Not being nit-picky on purpose KirkJobSluder, but could you make your point using plain English? I simply couldn't understand your post. I like plain English, to the point, easy-to-understand.

Saying "put out or get out" as kablam suggests should be done is being almost as bad of an arsehole as raping a person.

kablam She didn't, but he *thought* she did, or he *thought* he could persuade her (or, he was a forceful idiot who doesn't take "No" for an answer, or he believes in begging)--a lack of communication.

I don't see how a lack of communication applies here. If the article was to be believed, she stated her intentions multiple times throughout the night.

So she said "No!" a bunch of times and he still kept coming. Legally, if they have sex after, he can be considered a rapist. The law assumes "No", and even more so with multiple "No's", that they are real declarations.

Now (to your credit), a reasonable person could see "No" as "Not now"; but to THE LAW, it doesn't have that standing. But to make sense of this peculiarity, you would have to look at it from a legal sense:


I don't know of any law that treats "no" as "no not ever." (Indiana is a fairly typical one.) In addition the "reasonable person" standard is a part of defining consent in New York. Could you please point to a law which defines "no" as legally binding for the rest of eternity, or until revoked by an alternative document? So far, I have yet to find an example of a state law in which rape is defined by prior statements of consent. (12 states and counting.)

Legally, "no" does mean, "not now" (or if you want to be safe, "not tonight.") Otherwise, practically everyone in a long-term relationship should be in jail for rape. (In fact, there is nothing special about the word "no" in the legal codes I've read.

No coercion is involved. He has just scratched her off the list of people he might have sex with. Of course, She may tell her friends about His "No" rule, so they will be careful not to be so LEGALLY absolute with him in the future.

So if your partner says, "not tonight dear, I have a headache, do you kick her out? I think that if you pulled that kind of control BS on any of my friends, I'd be working pretty hard to make certain that you never get the opportunity to pull it again.

"You have permanently missed a chance to have a relationship with someone who would have respected you."

Which of course, is complete bullshit. How can you claim to be capable of respect if the word "no" inspires what I would argue to be the most hateful bit of offensive, backbiting misogyny I've ever read on metafilter?

But unless she fills out a "Consent to Have Sex" form, there really is no legal way he can have sex with her without legal risk.

Nonsense. If she wakes up on Saturday morning, jumps into the shower with him, and says "Hey big boy, up for a little fun," then there is no legal risk, even in New York which, from what I can tell, has the strongest definition of consent of the legal codes I've sampled.

In addition, a large chunk of your advice goes beyond just legal protection and on to just being a complete wanker. Even if "no" was "absolute" one does not place one's self at legal risk for platonic friendships. Ruining a good friendship because you can't take rejection strikes me as being a bit vindictive.

No simply means, "I do not consent to this act." In does not mean that the person who says no has control issues, can't handle equity in relationships.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:16 PM on November 21, 2003


If one is viewing it from a pragmatic view point as a question of risk-mitigation, then there are clearly steps one can take to reduce your exposure.

Agreed, my problem is with the way that message is delivered. The overwhelming majority of men aren't rapists and would be devastated if the response from a woman to their sexual overtures was one of fear and physicial resistance. The overwhelming majority of women dread the idea of pursuing criminal charges of rape as being almost as traumatizing as the act itself, and find the idea of bringing false charges of rape against an innocent man morally repugnant in the extreme. The characterization of every man as a rapist waiting to happen makes women feel like men are the enemy and makes men feel like that they are the object of women's unreasonable distrust and hostility. The only one who wins here is the predator.

I think overall awareness that there are predatory people who will prey on individuals who they perceive as vulnerable, that you need to protect yourself by being aware of your surroundings, that there are some subtle warning signs that you can sometimes pick up on if you know what to look for, and that you shouldn't get really drunk/high around people you don't know very well is a far better approach to the problem than labeling all men as potential rapists and all women as potential bunny-boiling psychos who will cry rape if you don't call her the next day.

As I said before and many men in this thread have pointed out, the default behavior of most men in that circumstance is to err on the side of caution and keep their hands to themselves. I understand the fear that I'm hearing, that a friendly, intoxicated encounter with a consenting woman will be used at a later point to make false accusations of rape. It's similar to the fear that women who have been raped have, that they won't be believed if it's established that she had a friendly, even flirtatious relationship with the rapist prior to the assault.

*resumes completely consentual make-out session with Hildegarde*
posted by echolalia67 at 7:32 PM on November 21, 2003


One of the reasons why I see through kablam's bit of bullshit is I've been in a situation in which I got shit for saying "no" to sex. I showed up for a long planned weekend date so stressed out over a bunch of other stuff happening in my life that my skin was crawling. In spite of the phantom ants (not a hallucination but a metaphor), and a pre-migraine halo building up, I was looking forward to spending a nice afternoon just relaxing with my partner. Instead, what I got was an afternoon of melodramatic "but I had such *sigh*, wonderful plans for the afternoon, I guess I'll just have to deal." (There probably should be a few more wistful sighs of dissapointment inserted in there but that would make it as annoying to read as it was to listen to.)

The lesson learned, never, ever, EVER give someone shit just for saying "no." Don't whine, don't complain, don't lecture about control or equality in relationships, don't drop an otherwise promising relationship because you didn't get your libido stroked for the day, just shrug your shoulders and say "ok, so what do you want to do?"
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:37 PM on November 21, 2003


The other thought I'm having here is that a "no" or a "yes" shouldn't be the end of a dialogue between two individuals who find themselves in a me-yes, you-no situation. It seems like discussing it would result in fewer hard feelings and, possibly, more future opportunities to have sex if people were a little clearer about why they do or do not want to have sex.

Why is it so hard to ask if it's a:

- "not tonight" no
- "not right now" no
- "never under any circumstances" no
- "I really want to jump your bones but I'm afraid you'll think I'm a slut and never call me again" no
- "I'm not sure, I feel a little overwhelmed, can we please slow down" no?

For a culture that on the surface seems so libidinous, we're awfully squeamish when it comes to talking about sex like rational adults.

On preview: However, as KirkJobSluder pointed out, this does not mean you should confuse communication with whining, complaining, begging and bitching.
posted by echolalia67 at 8:04 PM on November 21, 2003


KirkJobSluder's complaints are so vehement, that it *must* be legal, it almost makes me suspect that in past KirkJobSluder may have been more than a little aggressive or coercive about sex, and perhaps now feels a little guilty.

For example, I said what are not unreasonable things to happen in a court trial; KJS rebutted with assertions about the written law. But the two are not the same, which is why they call the adjudacators judges.
Isn't it logical that courts would find that actions speak louder than words, and words speak louder then 'state of mind'? In a rape trial this would translate to first, violent or damaging acts (or possibly legal rough sex); then "No" as a statement (either "No" or "Not right now"); and *then* a 'state of mind' *not the same* as actions or words.

The reason for this precedence is clarity. Physical evidence is the most straightforward, the most "black and white"; statements made by the victim or the defendant are the next most certain; but 'state of mind' is a jumble of mixed thoughts and emotions. Possible extenuating circumstances, but nothing really definitive.

So, my hypothetical He, or perhaps KJS, *are* at risk from their behavior, that "No" cannot be legally mitigated even the next day by "How about a quickie?", in first sexual encounters; though possibly in long-term relationships.

But once again, in first time relationships, there is NO "put out or get out", despite KJS's insistence to the contrary. "Put out or get out" implies that He uses coercion on She. He DOES NOT. He puts His foot down and says to her "No Means No!", so that's it. I WILL MAKE NO FURTHER SEXUAL ADVANCES TOWARDS YOU.

He gets NOTHING out of the deal. It is NOT a sneaky way of getting her to "put out". It means it is over.

The bottom line is that court trials are NOT an exact science, and judges and juries are very fickle. ANY accusation of past behavior is difficult to prove, but far more difficult to disprove. So when I say He had better be extreme if he wants to not risk a rape accusation, it is one thing, but if He wants to be in the "at risk" grey area of the law, it is something else indeed.

Feeling guilty?
posted by kablam at 9:10 AM on November 22, 2003


KirkJobSluder's complaints are so vehement, that it *must* be legal, it almost makes me suspect that in past KirkJobSluder may have been more than a little aggressive or coercive about sex, and perhaps now feels a little guilty.


WTF!!

He disagrees with you, so that means he coerced someone into having sex with him? That's so uncalled for, Kablam.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:14 AM on November 23, 2003


KirkJobSluder's complaints are so vehement, that it *must* be legal, it almost makes me suspect that in past KirkJobSluder may have been more than a little aggressive or coercive about sex, and perhaps now feels a little guilty.

Absolutely repugnant. You should be ashamed, kablam.
posted by Swifty at 3:28 AM on November 23, 2003


It is NOT a sneaky way of getting her to "put out". It means it is over.-kablam

Actually it is. That's a very black and white way of viewing a grey issue. You're requiring her to choose completely between whether she wants to ever see you again, and exactly how repugnant the idea of sex is for her.

This is rape coercion. Most people who discuss rape will cover 'put out or get out,' type statements. So if you've used this in real life, you may have raped someone.
posted by stoneegg21 at 5:27 PM on November 24, 2003


Call for rape law review

"The shocking truth is that the conviction rate for rape has sunk to new depths in the last decade with just 1.8 per cent of reported rapes and attempted rapes resulting in convictions"

What is happening with the other 98.2% of allegations? Either the courts are useless and fail a huge number of genuine rape victims, or there is a huge number of false rape allegations, or a combination of false allegations/wrong verdicts given in court.
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:09 AM on November 27, 2003


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