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Nocturnal omissions
December 2, 2005 9:34 PM   Subscribe

Acquitted of rape on basis of "sexsomnia" defense. Ontario resident Jan Luedecke said his unbidden penetration wasn't rape because he was asleep at the time. A judge agreed that "sexsomnia" is an illness. The websites which purport it to be a legitimate illness don't necessarily inspire confidence, and, unsurprisingly, some people are less than inspired. Meanwhile, the victim is appealing the ruling.
posted by poweredbybeard (106 comments total)

 
I was telling someone about this earlier today (damn oddly enough news by Reuters.) they didn't believe it, even after reading the story. I find it a little hard to excuse myself. If you know you have this 'condition', doesn't that place an onus on you to avoid potential situations like this?
posted by Busithoth at 9:37 PM on December 2, 2005


Luedecke confessed to police after he discovered was still wearing a condom and realized he had had sex.

Put on a condom in his sleep, eh? Hrm.
posted by Gator at 9:39 PM on December 2, 2005


It's good to finally see the scourge of sexomnia get the long overdue media & courtroom attention it so richly deserves, but how long must we sufferers of teabagomnia be doubted & called perverts?
posted by jonson at 9:40 PM on December 2, 2005


I just got a great idea for the legal defense for robbing a bank. I'll be back in a bit.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:46 PM on December 2, 2005


I have omniomnia. When I'm asleep I'm liable to do anything and everything.
posted by soyjoy at 9:50 PM on December 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


Ask Metafilter thread on this very topic. Judging from the thread this is a very common phenomenon, and I've experienced it personally a few times. It's very disturbing to be told by someone (even your wife) that you had sex with them and have zero - I repeat zero - memory of the event whatsoever.
posted by Ryvar at 9:52 PM on December 2, 2005


How in the hell could you put a rubber on without conscious thought? This sounds really unlikely.
posted by login at 9:53 PM on December 2, 2005


Here's the comment in said thread from our resident M.D., so yeah this is real.
posted by Ryvar at 9:55 PM on December 2, 2005


I wonder if there is such a thing as sleep working?
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:58 PM on December 2, 2005


Ryvar, have you ever gone so far as to dig out a condom from wherever you stash them, open the wrapper, and successfully put it on before proceeding with the sex, while asleep? Because, while I don't disbelieve that sex can happen during sleep, donning a condom while unconscious seems a little too complex to be believed.
posted by Gator at 9:59 PM on December 2, 2005


I suffer from onomatopoeiaomnia. The words I say in my sleep represent sawing logs.

Semi-offtopic: Reading the title to the thread makes me wonder if we should have annual awards for the cleverest ones. Anybody seconding the notion probably ought to take it to metatalk, though.
posted by kimota at 10:02 PM on December 2, 2005


This case is outrageous and I can't help but wonder how many other rapists are going to be using this line? I can see it now, "I'm sorry judge but see, I have a disorder I couldn't stop myself from raping her!"

So I guess the blogger's story is that they have a disorder which makes them feel fit to make legal decisions while not knowing the intimate particulars of a case?

Patriarchy in action, I'm sure.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 10:03 PM on December 2, 2005


I've had a past lover have sex with me while he was asleep, but there was never any mussing with condoms. I don't know if he could have managed that and still been asleep, but he didn't admit to remembering it at all the next day, I wasn't sure if he was telling the truth or just embarrassed, I half thought he was making it up, the whole 'I was asleep' thing.
posted by nile_red at 10:04 PM on December 2, 2005


Here's the comment in said thread from our resident M.D., so yeah this is real.

ikkyu2 said nothing at all about the possibility of putting on a condom during a sleepwalking incident. Are there documented cases of said behavior published in medical journals anywhere?
posted by Rothko at 10:05 PM on December 2, 2005


Busithoth: If you know you have this 'condition', doesn't that place an onus on you to avoid potential situations like this?

Probably, but by my meager understanding of law that wouldn't effect guilt in a criminal trial. Maybe the victim can sue for civil damages...
posted by Chuckles at 10:06 PM on December 2, 2005


Hmmm.

On reading the "ask Mefi" thread, I'm amazed at how often this happens, but the condom use still has me wondering. - It takes near-zero brain activity to hump, but at least some thought and dexterity to find, open and deploy a condom...
posted by login at 10:08 PM on December 2, 2005


Gator: I haven't personally (it didn't start happening to me until after I was having sex regularly for years so there was no opportunity) but you'll notice that in that thread both zerokey and wallaby mention doing so.

I still do this and it freaks me the fuck out when my wife asks me if I remember the next morning, because there's not even the faintest hint in my mind - like whatever part of my brain is responsible for recording memory just never engaged at all. It's completely fucked, so to speak.

ikkyu2 said nothing at all about the possibility of putting on a condom during a sleepwalking incident. Are there documented cases of said behavior published in medical journals anywhere?

I don't know any more about this than what I read in that thread and my own experiences. ikkyu2 did suggest some keywords to feed Google - you might try following up on those.
posted by Ryvar at 10:09 PM on December 2, 2005


If you know you have this 'condition', doesn't that place an onus on you to avoid potential situations like this?

This is key. He laid claim to having done it four times already and had known about it. At the very least, this should be gross negligence on his part.
posted by Imperfect at 10:11 PM on December 2, 2005


Initiating sex while asleep is a very real thing but that doesn't mean this guy might not be a rapist using that as cover. Having vivid hallucinations of sexual activity while under certain anesthetics is also very common and there have been instances of doctors/dentists molesting patients and then if they remember anything pointing them at literature talking about false sexual hallucinations brought on by anesthetics.

But that "Biting Beaver" blog link would be hysterical if there wasn't such a serious topic under discussion.

Help! Help! I'm being oppressed by the patriarchy!
posted by Justinian at 10:11 PM on December 2, 2005


Rothco: Are there documented cases of said behavior published in medical journals anywhere?

I have no idea, but most stories are leaving out some of the key evidence, and no stories that I have seen do an adequate job of exploring the facts of the case.

From the cbc.ca story:
Luedecke previously had sex with four girlfriends while asleep.
posted by Chuckles at 10:14 PM on December 2, 2005


I have no idea, but most stories are leaving out some of the key evidence, and no stories that I have seen do an adequate job of exploring the facts of the case.

Yeah, I think this is one where it would be good to hear from actual experts on the subject.
posted by Rothko at 10:16 PM on December 2, 2005


even if this guy does have "sexsomnia" - i'm sorry, i just can't type it without the apostrophes - why didn't he take some basic precautions, like not falling asleep on a couch with a strange woman? or at least telling her of his supposed condition? i could totally conceive of someone with such a problem taking advantage of it as an excuse to rape people. even if not, gross negligence indeed.

and all i see in that thread is people getting down with their SOs, which isn't the same thing by a long shot.

yeah, i'm skeptical.

and Justinian, people are "being oppressed by the patriarchy" yknow. not that i'd necessarily put it so glibly, but...
posted by poweredbybeard at 10:16 PM on December 2, 2005


I'm asleep right now, and I don't think it makes any kind of good excuse for violent crime.
posted by sfenders at 10:17 PM on December 2, 2005


Yeah, I think this is one where it would be good to hear from actual experts on the subject.

It would be at that. While it seems like putting on a condom could be a routine enough act that it becomes like tying your shoes, it certainly doesn't bear that hallmark of instinctive behavior that mere humping does.
posted by Ryvar at 10:18 PM on December 2, 2005


It's certainly a legitimate disorder. People make themselves sandwiches in their sleep, even commit acts of homicidal somnambulism. I couldn't tell if he actually suffered from this without looking at this EEG.

The actus reus may be there, but the mens rea is absent. At least he used a condom.
posted by Eideteker at 10:41 PM on December 2, 2005


Wikipedia's entry on Sleepwalking. One of the articles wikipedia links is on crescentlife:
he sleep walking activity may include simply sitting up and appearing awake while actually asleep, getting up and walking around, or complex activities such as moving furniture, going to the bathroom, dressing and undressing, and similar activities. Some people even drive a car while actually asleep. The episode can be very brief (a few seconds or minutes) or can last for 30 minutes or longer.
For the record, I am very skeptical too, but the ramblings on that linked blog are quite vile...
And here's another kick in the ass, he admits to having done this to 4 other victims. Only in a patriarchy can a man claim his past rapes as a defense for his current rape.
Well, what do you think of that interpretation Ryvar? Pretty distasteful hate speech kind of crap, I think...
Funny how this disorder only cropped up when men began needing another excuse to rape us. Funny how men aren't raping other men when they're under the influence of 'sexsomnia'. Funny how the family pet isn't being raped. Funny how this same defense has been attempted when a man claimed he murdered his wife in his sleep but it was denied as being unreasonable. Apparently men are just so ingrained to rape that they do so in their sleep now.
Okay, I'm not going to read any more of it.
posted by Chuckles at 10:42 PM on December 2, 2005


pbb: Often, people with parasomnias only manifest them through sleepwalking. Once in a rare while, it will manifest as a criminal act. You can sleepwalk all your life and not know you will one day murder a loved one. Most sleepwalkers don't.
posted by Eideteker at 10:43 PM on December 2, 2005


This comment is truly not my fault, because I suffer from snarkomnia.
posted by soyjoy at 10:44 PM on December 2, 2005


kimota, that was hilarious.
posted by squirrel at 10:47 PM on December 2, 2005


"he admits to having done this to 4 other victims."

Didn't see that. Still, what do you do? Go to sleep only in locked rooms by yourself? It sounds like he was passed out at a party.

"Luedecke previously had sleep sex with four girlfriends [note: not stranger-rape], court heard."

That paints a different story.

It's fine to speculate, but unless you've got your Ph.D in sleep psychology and access to this gentleman(?)'s sleep EEG, you can only conjecture impotently. One hopes that the hypothetical copycats will be tested scientifically and thereby debunked. You can't fake a parasomnia.
posted by Eideteker at 10:52 PM on December 2, 2005


Umm... I've done it. But it was consentual, as far as the other party was concerned.
posted by knave at 10:59 PM on December 2, 2005


I can't get the sexsomnia website to work, so this may be redundant, but here is link to research on the topic: (PDF file).
posted by Doug at 11:02 PM on December 2, 2005


I have, numerous times, engaged in sexual activities, or at least sexual advances, while asleep. Lucky for me, they've all been with women I've been in relationships with, and reactions ranged from mildly annoyed and pushing me away so they could get back to sleep to totally turned on and engaging full on.

Never put on condoms though, nor do I think that I would have been able to engage in the physical activity required to forcibly restrain someone without waking up. I suppose that it is possible that someone could be engaged in a very vivid dream and not realize that they were actually raping someone, but I think such a person would have to provide some very serious medical backup in court.

And yeah, for those guys who've found themselves in this situation, it is really weird to hear the next day that you got jiggy and didn't even remember it (kinda takes the fun out of the whole experience). What's even weirder, though, is when you wake up in the middle of it. My thoughts are usually "whoa, what the hell?! is it christmas already?"

Once I even woke myself up by saying, pardon the crudity, "I'm going to come all over your tits!" She was half asleep too, and there was a bit of an awkward moment before... well, I did.
posted by papakwanz at 11:07 PM on December 2, 2005


The actus reus may be there, but the mens rea is absent.

Well, maybe. The condom thing does seem fishy. The other consideration is the impact on the victim. Even if the mens rea is absent, that doesn't change her subjective experience, and therein we have the negligence angle. Killing your children by leaving them in your car is not the same as strangling them. I'm no lawyer but I'm given to understand that, in the States at least, we have seperate laws dealing with these seperate situations that likewise have the same result.

It seems like the best solution and perhaps the ultimate justice for the victim would be to establish some sort of sexual negligence legislation for future cases of this. I'd be interested in the specifics of the US version because being flagged as a sex offender in the US is an - often deserved - one-way ticket to a lifetime of unmitigated hell.

Well, what do you think of that interpretation Ryvar? Pretty distasteful hate speech kind of crap, I think...

I think it's probably born out of frustration with a very dubious situation, the lack of any information about sleep sex out there in the world (I honestly had no idea other people had it happen to them until that thread, which is why it so immediately came to mind and why I'm posting so much here), and empathy for the emotional trauma the victim endured regardless of fault.

On the flip side of the coin, I have in the past been quite callous on the subject of rape humor as a result of my constant lobbying for acceptance of all forms of offensive humor over in MetaTalk, so I'm far from the best person to be throwing stones here. The only dog that I therefore can have in this race is that, yeah, this is a real thing, and it can be nearly as frightening to the person doing it.

Okay, I'm not going to read any more of it.

Yeah that part got a little nuts. Heterosexual sex is probably the most basic human instinct because failing to have it is automatically very heavily naturally selected against, so asking why there aren't homosexual or bestiality counterparts is a little disingenuous.
posted by Ryvar at 11:16 PM on December 2, 2005


Kenneth Parks got out of bed, drove across town, killed his mother-in-law and tried killing his father-in-law, all while sleeping (IIRC it gets even better, he walked into the police station while still asleep to turn himself in). So putting on a condom doesn't seem too far out of the range of possibilities of things to do while sleepwalking.
posted by squeak at 11:23 PM on December 2, 2005


"whoa, what the hell?! is it christmas already?"

My sentiments exactly.
posted by knave at 11:27 PM on December 2, 2005


If he didn't consent either, does that mean his body raped him?

I buy the condom defense. I've gone through a whole morning routine on autopilot (before realizing that it was 2am); I can't imagine sleepwalking (sleepfucking?) is much different.
posted by hopeless romantique at 11:41 PM on December 2, 2005


Er...is he in therapy? Getting treatment? The pills thing ok, but why isn't he in a hospital for the criminally insane? Or at least committed for a bit for observation? I mean...it's rape we're talking here.
/I have defenestrationomnia. Probably because I was delivered by caesarian.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:46 PM on December 2, 2005


Putting a condom on while sleepwalking is not at all difficult to imagine, given the wide array of behaviors sleepwalkers perform (driving, cooking, murder).

As far as the negligence angle goes, how do you quantify this as negligence? Should he be banned from drinking alcohol? Should he only be allowed to fall asleep in a room with a lock on the outside? Is he not allowed at parties? Was the girl negligent for getting drunk and passing out on a couch, rather than calling a cab to take her home? How could this situation have been foreseen and reasonably avoided?

This FPP is hopelessly biased, as well. You might as well have titled it "Guilty man set free." At least add "parasomnia" and "sleepdisorder" tags.
posted by Eideteker at 11:50 PM on December 2, 2005


I don't think you can really claim it's a sleep-related "condition" and then say it was brought on by alcohol. You're supposed to be liable for your actions while drunk.

But I have certainly woken up to find myself having sex or playing around. If it's just a matter of rolling over in a warm bed and letting instinct take over, sure. It helps if one party is awake and assisting. It's harder to imagine BOTH parties asleep and still imagine that a condom was applied somewhere in there and nobody remembers it.

I don't think it's that controversial that there's some amount of autonomic sex response built into our muscles and gonads, though.
posted by scarabic at 11:52 PM on December 2, 2005


From the headnote of the Supreme Court of Canada report of R. v. Parks:
Respondent attacked his parents-in-law, killing one and seriously injuring the other. The incident occurred at their home, some 23 km. from respondent's residence, during the night while they were both asleep in bed. Respondent had driven there by car. Immediately after the incident, the respondent went to a nearby police station, again driving his own car, and told them what he had done.

Respondent claimed to have been sleepwalking throughout the incident. He had always been a deep sleeper and had a great deal of trouble waking up. The year prior to the incident was particularly stressful for the respondent and his personal life suffered. His parents-in-law were aware of his problems, supported him and had excellent relations with him. Additionally, several members of his family suffer or have suffered from sleep problems such as sleepwalking, adult enuresis, nightmares and sleeptalking.

The respondent was charged with first degree murder and attempted murder. At the trial respondent presented a defence of automatism. The testimony of five expert witnesses called by the defence was not contradicted by the Crown. This evidence was that respondent was sleepwalking and that sleepwalking is not a neurological, psychiatric or other illness. The trial judge put only the defence of automatism to the jury, which acquitted respondent of first degree murder and then of second degree murder. The judge then acquitted the respondent of the charge of attempted murder. The Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the acquittal. At issue here is whether sleepwalking should be classified as non-insane automatism resulting in an acquittal or as a "disease of the mind" (insane automatism), giving rise to the special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

The Supreme Court dismissed the Crown's appeal, and so the acquittal was upheld. It doesn't appear, as per squeak above, that he was still sleepwalking when he went to the police.
posted by birdsquared at 11:58 PM on December 2, 2005


ikkyu2 said nothing at all about the possibility of putting on a condom during a sleepwalking incident. Are there documented cases of said behavior published in medical journals anywhere?

Interestingly, someone else in that AskMe thread reported that condom use WAS part of the experience:

My ex and I used to do this. It was funniest when we would both wake up in the morning and be completely clueless as to why the sheets were torn off the bed and find a condom on the floor.

The next comment (same poster) is also interesting in this context:

Apparently, I had fallen asleep while on top and still inside. I remember waking up to punches and screams in the morning: "get the fuck off of me..get the fuck out of me!"

Sounds like exactly the same ingredients as this case. Except instead of it taking place at home, between partners, it was on a couch at a party.

I find it a lot more plausible when it's at home, frankly. With a partner you've done it with before. In a place you are used to sleeping in. Couch at a party? Still pretty unlikely.
posted by scarabic at 12:04 AM on December 3, 2005


"I wonder if there is such a thing as sleep working?"

I've done that. Part of my job is solving design problems, so in my case it's not all that big a leap from dreaming.
Anyway, I butted heads against a series of problems for hours, came up with some really great solutions, then woke up. Unfortunately, the problems I had solved had been sourced from dreams earlier in the night, rather than anything I was actually working on, so the brilliant solutions were of no consequence, and when I woke up, I felt tired, like I'd been working all night. So it really wasn't a good thing.

Could be worse though - it's not a good thing when a nightshift nurse injecting mediction is sleep-working :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:42 AM on December 3, 2005


The pills thing ok, but why isn't he in a hospital for the criminally insane?

Hmm. I do this regularly as well. Of course, because I don't usually find myself sleeping with people who wouldn't generally consent to sex, it's never been a problem -- aside from the usual 'fuck off and let me go back to sleep' thing.

I'm surprised that nobody seems to think that the woman bears any responsibility in this situation. It seems to me that if you go around sleeping on sofas with strange men, sooner or later one of them will try and have sex with you, sleepfucker or not.

If you're really opposed to such a thing happening, it might be a good idea to insist on sleeping on your own bed.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:45 AM on December 3, 2005


Heh.

That should, of course, be 'wouldn't generally refuse to consent to sex'.

Also, when this does happen to me, I generally wake up during the sex. I tend to be dreaming that I'm having sex with someone that I shouldn't be having sex with, and when I wake up, I realize that I'm having sex with my wife, as usual, which is either a disappointment or a relief, depending on who I'm dreaming about.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:49 AM on December 3, 2005


Whoo! I'm nobody!
posted by Eideteker at 12:49 AM on December 3, 2005


As far as the negligence angle goes, how do you quantify this as negligence? Should he be banned from drinking alcohol? Should he only be allowed to fall asleep in a room with a lock on the outside? Is he not allowed at parties? Was the girl negligent for getting drunk and passing out on a couch, rather than calling a cab to take her home? How could this situation have been foreseen and reasonably avoided?

I guess what I'm saying is that given his established prior history, it seems like it may have been criminally negligent on his part to put himself in this kind of position (drunkenly asleep on a couch with a girl). Your overall objection, though, of where one draws the line is completely valid and I don't have a good answer for you. It just seems like he could've/should've done more. There were definitely some poor decisions being made on both sides of the aisle, though.
posted by Ryvar at 1:04 AM on December 3, 2005


If his story is true, he doesn't sound negligent to me - I don't imagine it ever occurred to him (or any average person) that there was a risk it could happen with someone he wasn't in a relationship with.

Looking at quite a decent sample of "reasonable people" who have been in this situation (those in the AskMefi thread), it seems the idea that they could end up having non-consentual sex with a stranger did not occur to a single one of them. The only mention of it was someone who discovered the possibility the hard way - it hadn't occurred to him either.

Since the evidence suggests that it is a possibility that a person with the condition could not reasonably be expected to foresee, his actions cannot be considered negligent, that's just the hindsight talking.

Of course, now that it's made headlines, the next person to do it can probably be booked for negligence if it can be shown they were aware of this case and their condition :)

The law may say different, but the law is an ass :)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:09 AM on December 3, 2005


Objection withdrawn, your honor.
posted by Ryvar at 1:15 AM on December 3, 2005


login writes "How in the hell could you put a rubber on without conscious thought? This sounds really unlikely."

Practice makes perfect?

Gator writes "Because, while I don't disbelieve that sex can happen during sleep, donning a condom while unconscious seems a little too complex to be believed."

Didn't have a member strip naked, lock them selves out of their house and proceed down the street?

Obviously all the facts aren't in the article, however considering the wide spreadness of the condition as attested to in the AskMe, how do we know the victum isn't also a sexsomniaist?

I tend to agree with Peter, if you dull your mind your not in control and stuff you can't control may happen to you. It's like when two people get falling down drunk, copulate, then when they sober up one party claims rape because they were to drunk to consent. Yet the other party can't claim drunkness as a defense.

And I'm not blaming the victim; it just seems weird that when you have two sleeping people having sex one can be called a rapist and the other is a victim.
posted by Mitheral at 1:16 AM on December 3, 2005


Given that people have trouble defining rape even when both parties are awake, this case seems ripe for even more confusion. I think it's probably best not to try to assign blame in this thread. Seems like flamebait. Though the phenomenon and mechanics of it are interesting. I was also incredulous about the condom thing at first. On second thought, I realize it is something I could definitely do in complete darkness, by touch. Somehow, that budges it a little further toward plausibility for me. What I probably couldn't do while asleep is exercise good enough judgment to wear one. Ironic that this is the point which seems to nail the guy in many of our minds.
posted by scarabic at 1:36 AM on December 3, 2005


I'm surprised that nobody seems to think that the woman bears any responsibility in this situation. It seems to me that if you go around sleeping on sofas with strange men, sooner or later one of them will try and have sex with you, sleepfucker or not.

Ooh, that's a little bit paranoid maybe?

She went to a party. Same as he. She got drunk. Same as he. She passed out on the sofa. Same as he did. They couldn't decide to go home in their own beds because they'd passed out, duh. So far, nothing too weird, right? nothing that doesn't happen every day somewhere or other. Nothing that a lot of people haven't experienced at some point in their lives.

Things get weird after that. So, it's hard to talk of responsibility, unless you start with the notion no one should ever get drunk at parties ever in their life. Or, only women should never get drunk at parties ever in their life. Well. Sure, you could make that argument. But then you could also make the argument that someone knowing they're prone to get sexually active in their sleep should perhaps avoid getting so drunk they pass out around strangers. At least he knew that he had this tendency, she didn't.

But when people get drunk, they're not thinking about all the possible bad things that could happen while they're drunk. They just want to have fun. So it's no use pointing the finger at that.

And you can't really blame people for having a first reaction of skepticism about the sexomnia defense. I'd never heard of this before either.

I think scarabic is right, it is a case ripe for confusion. I don't know, either we posit that the medical data is all fake, the doctor was a fraud, the jury was easily fooled, there is no such thing as sex during sleep and this guy was just a clever bastard making up a story, or we have to accept that's how it went. And I don't think it will stand a chance of becoming the most popular defense ploy by actual conscious rapists, unless any standard for legal and medical proof goes out the window completely. But I can see where that reaction comes from, over the top as it may be. Seen as, even in ordinary clearcut rape cases with no sleep weirdness, when the victim got drunk it usually gets taken a lot less seriously.
posted by funambulist at 5:54 AM on December 3, 2005


At least he knew that he had this tendency, she didn't.

It hasn't occured to anyone else that maybe she does have the same tendency and just didn't know it?
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:19 AM on December 3, 2005


The other consideration is the impact on the victim. Even if the mens rea is absent, that doesn't change her subjective experience, and therein we have the negligence angle.

I think this is a good point, though the "killing your children" analogy is a little harsh. It could be much like being involved in a car accident: You didn't intend to run that red light and ram that other person, you didn't mean to hurt anyone, but...someone got hurt, and you're responsible.
posted by Gator at 6:30 AM on December 3, 2005


Or maybe the jury deliberated in their sleep and they just didn't know about it?

It's weird enough as is...
posted by funambulist at 6:36 AM on December 3, 2005


Sorry, judge, not jury...
posted by funambulist at 6:37 AM on December 3, 2005


It sounds like the victim was the first one awake, she reported the incident accurately to a medical expert, who identified it as sleep sex.. pretty open & shut really. I don't think you'd be convicted of arson if you were sleep-baking and burnned down a house either.

The judge needs to force him to seek therapy to minimize rick of future incidents, at his own expense (unless its covered under Canada's heathcare). The court should also ban him from taking sleep medications which are linked to sleep sex. Maybe civil damages too?
posted by jeffburdges at 6:48 AM on December 3, 2005


It's very disturbing to be told by someone (even your wife) that you had sex with them and have zero - I repeat zero - memory of the event whatsoever.

that is called ejaculatio praecox, not "sleepsomnia"
posted by matteo at 7:29 AM on December 3, 2005


"The judge needs to force him to seek therapy to minimize rick of future incidents, at his own expense (unless its covered under Canada's heathcare)"

What an odd sentence. I don't intend to be the superior Canadian or anything, but living under Medicare that sentence (the first part) just seems uncanny.
posted by maledictory at 7:44 AM on December 3, 2005


Usually all I can manage in my sleep is snoring, stealing the covers and occasionally muttering, and I'm glad that's the case, but I'll believe that very rarely people some can do complex things while asleep. If I were on the jury I'd want to see a parade of neurologists taking both sides though.

As far as I know the closest come is I've been told (I'd say maybe half a dozen times in my four decades) that I've gotten up out of bed and gone to the bathroom, and I didn't remember doing it. I think I woke up enough to walk across the hall to accomplish a simple thing and then went right back to bed and fell right back to sleep; I was told I looked groggy but my eyes were open and that I looked like I knew what I was doing (i.e. not "like a robot under remote control"). It doesn't surprise me that I'd forget going to take a leak given that I do it a dozen times a day anyway.

What I'm wondering is how this "doing things in their sleep" thing differs from an alcohol/drug-induced blackout. And if it's possible to have both conditions, alternating or (worse) at once.
posted by davy at 8:20 AM on December 3, 2005


i can remember many instances of waking up in the middle of the night to (consciously) have sex...and i imight believe a little affectional behavior while sleeping, but i could never imagine putting on a condom while alseep. i'm just wondering whther he blacked out from drinking. i think that's far more likely if he's gonna claim anything at all. but the whole situation seems odd to me though.
posted by Doorstop at 9:13 AM on December 3, 2005


It is the assumption of victimhood that really bothers me here. Two people fell asleep. They woke up having sex. (Because an expert and a judge and a jury agree on this, I will assume it is true, even in the face of random people on the internet who just can't imagine putting on a condom in their sleep.) Why is one a victim? Why is one made to feel violated? The assumption that women are inherently victims in sex is tremendously sexist, and very harmful.
posted by Nothing at 9:38 AM on December 3, 2005


From her point of view, she woke up and some guy she didn't know was having sex with her. I don't blame her for not pausing to determine whether or not he was awake before freaking out and thinking that someone was taking advantage of her in a drunken state. THAT sad practice happens often enough, and is the "why" you seem to be searching for.
posted by scarabic at 10:51 AM on December 3, 2005


Exactly... there is no "assumption women are inherently victims in sex", there is this woman who woke up to find a guy was having sex with her and the fact she took it to court might be a hint it wasn't something she had wanted, no? That apparently he didn't consciously want it either is what makes it all so weird. Not a clearcut rape case, but not a case of two people having consensual sex either.

I'd be wary of making generalisations from this story, either way. Men aren't learning to rape in their sleep, and women aren't so dumb they can't tell the difference between rape and having sex. Usually.
posted by funambulist at 11:01 AM on December 3, 2005


It doesn't appear, as per squeak above, that he was still sleepwalking when he went to the police.

Found one reference to Kenneth Parks being asleep when he arrived at the police station, here. The general consensus I've found on the dear ol' www is he walked into the police station saying, "I think I killed two people ... my hands" (only then realizing he had injuries to his hands which had to be treated at the hospital). Does it matter? Prolly not, I just found it interesting when I first heard about the case many moons ago.
posted by squeak at 11:18 AM on December 3, 2005


I've gotten ready for work completely asleep, only to wake up in my hallway at 3 am completely dressed with my packed bag and a CD player- I'm willing to believe that he could put a condom on. Also, if he really does have this condition (and it appears that he does), I don't think he can be charged with negligence, simply because, as stated above, he never thought that he'd end up doing it with a total stranger. Poor girl, poor guy- nobody won here. Even if he wasn't charged, I'm sure he lost a lot of friends and a lot of respect when he, you know, got charged with rape, and besides the obvious scars that the girl will have, I'm sure some are now going to speculate that she was just a willing participant as he. It's a sad case.
posted by 235w103 at 11:35 AM on December 3, 2005


"You didn't intend to run that red light and ram that other person, you didn't mean to hurt anyone, but...someone got hurt, and you're responsible."

Not to mince words or anything, but bullshit, Gator. If you ran the light because your brakes failed, the manufacturer is responsible. This is automatism precisely because it is something you cannot control.
posted by Eideteker at 12:22 PM on December 3, 2005


Except, maybe, if you know your brakes tend to be faulty (because they've crapped out on you several times before), but you don't make any effort to have them fixed or at least secured a little better...
posted by Gator at 12:38 PM on December 3, 2005


But see, we don't know that. We know this is the first time he's done it to a stranger. We don't know if his previous girlfriends minded. If they didn't mind, then he probably didn't see it as a problem. I'm sorry the girl feels violated. Thank goodness she was able to push him off right away. Like I said initially, at least he used a condom. I imagine her horror would be tenfold if he hadn't. Maybe she'll stop one drink short, next time. I doubt it if she doesn't see any negligence on her own part. But being a victim is a very powerful opiate, because it means things aren't your fault. You can reduce your own cognitive dissonance because you did nothing wrong; you remain a fundamentally good person in your own mind and sound of judgement.

Now if this guy does it again, I say nail him to the wall by his balls.
posted by Eideteker at 1:10 PM on December 3, 2005


Don't look at me, 'cause I was sleeping.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:12 PM on December 3, 2005


I am not saying that the woman should feel differently. She woke up and someone who she did not know was trying to have sex with her. This is clearly not a good thing, and all of society is rushing to back up and reinforce her trauma. All I am saying is that, based on what we know, two people were in that position, of waking up involved in a situation they did not want, but it's still assumed that the woman is the primary victim. Look at 235w103's comment. He assumes the man may have lost friends, but that she will have emotional scars. Why? Why must this scar her? Because gender relations is so fucked up, that's why.
posted by Nothing at 1:43 PM on December 3, 2005


But being a victim is a very powerful opiate, because it means things aren't your fault.

What does that mean?

Look, if the fault here is getting drunk, they both got drunk.

So if we want to point out it's better to avoid getting so drunk you pass out on a couch with a stranger (nevermind that we cannot know that it wouldn't have happened even if they'd known each other for a while), then that's something they both did. And let's not try and pretend this is the first ever recorded case of people passing out at a party.

Or are we saying that it's up to women to always keep an eye out for potential rapists at all times? You can't live your life that paranoid. Yes, she got wasted. So did he, and the sex in his sleep thing had already happened to him. Maybe he just never thought it'd happen with a girl he just met rather than with a girlfriend. Fine. But she had no clue of any of that. And she's the one who got fucked in her sleep. Not him.

Even with all the understanding that the guy didn't do it on purpose, if there's any responsibility for negligence to be assigned here, it's with both for drinking so much (oh how shocking and unusual), and with him for not checking his weird sleep activities earlier. Did he have to wait til he was brought to court to go see a doctor and get medication?
posted by funambulist at 2:10 PM on December 3, 2005


He assumes the man may have lost friends, but that she will have emotional scars. Why? Why must this scar her?

Oh I have no idea either. Getting fucked in your sleep by some guy at a party? surely getting your iPod stolen must be more disturbing.

Because gender relations is so fucked up, that's why.

Hmm, I'm seeing something else that's a little fucked up here.
posted by funambulist at 2:19 PM on December 3, 2005


All I am saying is that, based on what we know, two people were in that position, of waking up involved in a situation they did not want, but it's still assumed that the woman is the primary victim.

yeah, it's almost as if they're assuming (gasp) that waking up with your cock in a stranger's orifice would generally be LESS disturbing or invasive than waking up with a stranger's cock in your vagina (or your butthole or mouth, if you don't have a vag). /sarcasm/
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:39 PM on December 3, 2005


If she passed out on the couch at a party, presumably he would also have had to remove at least some of her clothes in order to do this deed. And his own. And he'd have to find the condom, which I presume was his own, out of his pocket or his wallet or wherever he was keeping it before he could put it on. It's not like he just rolled over and there she was, in her nightie and familiar, like everyone on the askmeta thread.

And I'm completely appalled that anyone thinks the woman is to blame in any way. If one of you guys goes camping with your friends and you wake up with your buddy's cock in your ass, you'd better accept that you asked for it if you think she should bear any responsibility here.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:34 PM on December 3, 2005


Given how common sleep fucking seems to be (based on comments here) it dosn't seem like he was 'neglegent' How was he supposed to know that he would do this?
posted by delmoi at 3:37 PM on December 3, 2005


yeah, it's almost as if they're assuming (gasp) that waking up with your cock in a stranger's orifice would generally be LESS disturbing or invasive than waking up with a stranger's cock in your vagina (or your butthole or mouth, if you don't have a vag). /sarcasm/

Serious question: Why wouldn't they?
posted by delmoi at 3:39 PM on December 3, 2005


Guess who's not being invided to any sleep-over parties anymore? (sorry, needed saying & thread is too serious)
posted by jeffburdges at 3:49 PM on December 3, 2005


So if he had woken up first, would that make him the victim?

It seems like it's definitely a bit more believable to claim to be the victim if one is female. I'm not trolling; just imagining a scenario in which they had awoken at the same time.

(Oh, and it should be omniosomnia/onomatopoeiasomnia.)
posted by oneirodynia at 4:35 PM on December 3, 2005


Funny how the discussion is getting even more surreal than the actual story...

What's it got to do with waking up first, oneirodynia? If the fact the one getting penetrated in her sleep is female bothers you, let's imagine it was a guy who got sodomized in his sleep. Wakes up to find some other guy's dick in his ass and that guy actively engaged in the business of sodomizing him, which normally people don't do while asleep. What's the first thing that comes to his mind, do you think? "oh well, this guy who mistook me for a sex toy must really be suffering from this rare and curious but very real medical condition called 'sexsomnia', so I'm really not that bothered! in fact, I'll let him finish, otherwise fuck knows what trauma he could go through if I woke him up, he may even take me to court for damages!". Not likely, is it?

And I don't know how anyone could have told that he was asleep at all, obviously that only came out later. Given what he was doing, I'm betting he did not look asleep.



Look, I don't want to go on about this, I'm of the opinion that, if we accept the courts did examine medical data and it was a serious deliberation and it's true he was not conscious at all of what was going on (and despite my skepticism on this sexomnia thing, I have to accept that, as I just cannot think that the standards there could be so low that anyone can make up their own fancy disorder to suit the situation and get away with it in a court), then legally it's right that he should be acquitted of rape. But for the woman who found herself in that situation it's not a laugh and a good story to tell at future parties.

Generalising about the behaviour of men or women from this story is ridiculous, it's such a freak case. But some of the comments and reactions, well, they're not that atypical.
A new ICM opinion poll commissioned by Amnesty International indicates that ... more than a quarter of people (30%) said that a woman was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was drunk
posted by funambulist at 5:09 PM on December 3, 2005


I don't believe rape is ever the victim's fault. Not if they are drunk, not if they are in a bad neighborhood and dressed up, not for any reason. And I do not think the sexual encounter is in any way the assumed victim's fault in this specific case. But I don't see why having a penis in you has to be, by definition, so much worse than having your penis in someone. I understand why it is, just not why it has to be. It's a side point, but it seemed relevant because in this case we have a situation where, if we can believe the experts and the Canadian legal system, neither party was an aggressor. It seems to me that this assumption of victimhood that most people make is pandering to the stereotype of the violent, aggressive man and the delicate woman who must be protected at all times. It's a sexist idea that does no favors for those working for equality.
posted by Nothing at 6:10 PM on December 3, 2005


I don't know why R. v. Daviault doesn't apply here. The guy drank to excess, then sexually assaulted a woman.

Again, according to the CBC article Chuckles quoted:

The court also heard Luedecke had cut down on his drinking and is taking medication to stop his sexsomnia.


Should everyone who blacks out after drinking get off scot free from their crimes?
posted by v-tach at 6:38 PM on December 3, 2005


Funamblist:

Are you saying that rape is more serious if your bits are being poked, than if they're being manipulated some other way? I may be misunderstanding, but it sounds like if the sexsomniast happened to be a woman, and victim a man, that would make a difference to you. (?)
posted by -harlequin- at 7:25 PM on December 3, 2005


v-tach:
I don't know why R. v. Daviault doesn't apply here. The guy drank to excess, then sexually assaulted a woman.

Why do you think it wasn't applied? This wasn't a case of drinking to excess then sexual assualt. The judge presumably applied the principles of R. v Daviault to the extent that they applied (which is "not much"), thus considered the drinking to be insufficient grounds, but other factors leading to the acquittal.

Not also that the judge in R. v. Daviault did acquit the defendant, just like in this case, and that that ruling was appealed, just like in this case. I don't understand your confusion. Everything seems to be exactly how it should be. The consistancy is perfect.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:33 PM on December 3, 2005


Oh dear, sorry about that lack of proofreading.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:36 PM on December 3, 2005


Sorry, I should have said the legislative response to the Daviault case, Criminal Code Section 33.1:

For the purposes of this section, a person departs markedly from the standard of reasonable care generally recognized in Canadian society and is thereby criminally at fault where the person, while in a state of self-induced intoxication that renders the person unaware of, or incapable of consciously controlling, their behaviour, voluntarily or involuntarily interferes or threatens to interfere with the bodily integrity of another person.

...And his sleep doctor said his behaviour was brought on by the consumption of alcohol.
posted by v-tach at 8:57 PM on December 3, 2005


Well, once as a teen, I navigated a small hallway (partial wall in an a-frame - distinct head injury risk), went down a flight of stairs, handled two locked doors, walked outside in 50 degree weather (in nothing more than a long t-shirt, basically), crossed a gravel driveway barefoot, and started rummaging around underneath my deck when I lived at home. The only thing that woke me was my parents yelling at me asking me what the hell was I doing making that noise outside their bedroom window at 4:00 a.m.

(My dream states tend to interlace with reality a good bit, although almost not at all as I age...)

A condom doesn't seem all that difficult in retrospect, especially if the user is very sexually active and has condom use down to a habit.

Also, I am an ex-polysomnographic technologist, and I could certainly tell some stories from the nights at the lab, let me tell you...
posted by Samizdata at 9:01 PM on December 3, 2005


Serious question: Why wouldn't they?

I don't see why having a penis in you has to be, by definition, so much worse than having your penis in someone.

Having stranger's penis in you = obvious interference with your bodily integrity. I'm not clear on how your having your penis in a stranger would interfere with YOUR bodily integrity.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:00 PM on December 3, 2005


Because it can be unwanted sexual contact regardless of who's in who?
posted by Ryvar at 10:09 PM on December 3, 2005


Yeah that part got a little nuts. Heterosexual sex is probably the most basic human instinct because failing to have it is automatically very heavily naturally selected against, so asking why there aren't homosexual or bestiality counterparts is a little disingenuous.

Um... so then certainly the number of men being raped by women must be more or less equal to the inverse statistic, right?

Pat. Ri. Archy.

The only other alternative seems to be to take the position that men are just naturally going to rape women because they're men. Of course, that argument makes no sense (though, incidentally, it's implict in the antiquated but all-too-common "Well what did she expect going to a lewd gathering" victim-blaming nonsense).

A socialization process that insinuates men - as a gender - in to a position of power and privilege does, then, make a whole hell of a lot of sense.
posted by poweredbybeard at 12:05 AM on December 4, 2005


Um... so then certainly the number of men being raped by women must be more or less equal to the inverse statistic, right?

You're burning a strawman, there. All I was doing was explaining why men might be more likely to have sleep sex with a woman than, say, a man or a dog. I don't claim to have anything new, useful, or especially insightful to add on the entirely seperate topic of men vs. women as it applies to issues like libido, instinctual drives, gender-specific rape statistics or anything of that nature.

It's just that the bit where the linked rant asks why we don't see homosexual or bestial sleep sex would seem to have a very obvious answer - and that's the only part I refuted.
posted by Ryvar at 1:24 AM on December 4, 2005


it's still assumed that the woman is the primary victim.

Yeah... sigh. Haven't you had all the debates about men/womens differnent physiological roles during sex, the fact that it takes place in her body, that arousal is required for him to perform but not necessarily for her, that it is inherently violent to her in that it involved entering her body with a foreign object? No? Go have them.

He was, by the report, on top of her. And WHAT? She's automatically the VICTIM? Yes. Don't freak, man. Remember that he was acquitted. But it's not so ridiculous that she felt violated and decided to charge him.
posted by scarabic at 2:37 AM on December 4, 2005


Nothing, Ryvar - please point us to the part where it's the sexomniac guy who felt violated and took the cause to court?

Again, even accepting he did it completely unconsciously in a state of drunken sleepwalking, what happened is this woman who'd passed out woke to find a guy who'd taken off his pants, taken off her pants, and was fucking her while she'd been asleep.

What do you think it was/looked like/felt like, other than rape? She called the police, reported being raped and took the matter to court. After which, it emerges this guy was not conscious of what he was doing. Let's all accept that, and accept the court had valid reasons to accept that. It still doesn't change that the woman got raped. Not because she "had a penis in her" - because she "had a penis in her" that she did not open the door to and said hello, come in.

That distinction between consent or not, wanted or unwanted sexual contact - yeah, with the freaky sleep disorder thing, you could say and indeed it was accepted in court that it was something not consciously wanted for him either, but he still was the one who did it, it wasn't her.

At some level in the guy's state of sleep he undressed, put on a condom, undressed this woman and fucked her. Why wasn't he the one to report being raped? Did he say in his defense that he had been traumatised too? Did he sue the woman for lying asleep on the same couch?

if we can believe the experts and the Canadian legal system, neither party was an aggressor.

Not consciously, but technically, physically, sure you have an "aggressor". The intent may have not been there consciously because of the disorder, but the act still was.

Silly non-comparison. Say I have a habit of greeting my best mate by slurping his earlobe, and he finds it funny and nice (just making this up), and I have a sleep disorder by which I don't realise I'm going around doing that to people I don't even know, do you think they'd find it as funny and nice, or do you think for them it'd still be getting slurped by a complete stranger? I could go on and on saying hey dude sorry I didn't even know what I was doing, but I still did it... I'd say getting fucked by a stranger in your sleep is perhaps a little more annoying than that.

It seems to me that this assumption of victimhood that most people make is pandering to the stereotype of the violent, aggressive man and the delicate woman who must be protected at all times.

You have no such "assumption" here, you do have a literal case of unwanted sexual act, ie. rape, she didn't decide she was a victim of rape because she was a woman, and no one put it in her head that she was a victim because of being a woman, it would have been the very same thing and same situation if it had been a man waking up to find another man screwing him, wouldn't it? Do you agree it would be the very same thing? Then there is no sexist bollocks assumption going on here.
posted by funambulist at 4:54 AM on December 4, 2005


v-tach, Its pretty clear that he didn't depart from the "standards of reasonable care". The best analogy is still to "not guilty by reason of insanity", i.e. the court should mandate therapy. Its really quite simple, prisons are how you rehabilitate criminals, mental hospitals are how you rehabilitate other mental problems.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:55 AM on December 4, 2005


Metafilter: it certainly doesn't bear that hallmark of instinctive behavior that mere humping does.
posted by mecran01 at 7:11 AM on December 4, 2005


I am sorry, I seem to be making this point in a very clumsy way. All I am saying is that the social conditions that are sexist, the patriarchy, creates both an environment in which people excuse rape or don't take it seriously (which has been discussed a lot) and makes rape even more traumatic for the victim because of the social stigma, outdated ideas of sexual purity, and an assumption of weakness and victimhood (which does not seem to get discussed so much, and which this case is a good illustration of in some ways). I understand she felt traumatized. And I do not think she should have felt otherwise, or that she should get over it, or anything like that. I just think it says something about the social environment when, of two people involved, the woman has to bear the more harmful emotional burden. My comments are about us here in this thread, not her.

Scarabic, I have had some of those discussions, yes, and I think it is ridiculous to say that sex is inherently violent to the woman. I think the attitude is harmful and sexist.
posted by Nothing at 7:48 AM on December 4, 2005


Nothing, she bears that burden because she is the one the act was being performed on, not because she's a woman. If the roles were reversed and she were the one (consciously or otherwise) performing a sex act on an unwilling person, that other person would bear the victim tag, not her.
posted by Gator at 7:54 AM on December 4, 2005


it is ridiculous to say that sex is inherently violent to the woman

Nothing: yes of course it would be ridiculous to say that, but no one is saying that here...

the social stigma, outdated ideas of sexual purity, and an assumption of weakness and victimhood (which does not seem to get discussed so much, and which this case is a good illustration of in some ways)

How? how exactly does this case illustrate outdated ideas of sexual purity and assumptions of female weakness? who's even talking about that? where do you see it?

You don't seem to grasp the point, it's what Gator just said, so simple. Imagine yourself as the one waking up to a guy fucking you. Would it not bother you just a little? Or would you try and convince yourself, no it must not bother me, otherwise I'm seeing myself as weak... wtf?

And, you know, sometimes things just happen. There isn't always a grand sociological lesson to be learnt or conclusion to be taken. Especially with a case that's so peculiarly odd.
posted by funambulist at 8:23 AM on December 4, 2005


Sorry, my original comment wasn't general enough.
I'm wondering about a scenario where two people wake up, one is being penetrated by another, and neither one is obviously on top.
(I know, it's far-fetched, but if you ask me, so is putting on a condom in one's sleep.) Who is the victim here? From comments on this thread, I think most people are inclined to believe the penetrator is raping the penetratee. I'm not saying there aren't good reasons for that assumption, but it is an assumption nonetheless. If I am going to believe that a male can initiate a sex act in his sleep, I see no reason why a female couldn't do the same thing. It interests me to ruminate on how the genral response on this list might be different in that case...

If I was in a similar situation as a female, would I be thankful for the aforementioned general assumption? Probably yes. Am I comfortable with that? I'm not sure. There's a tiny blinky light going off in my head; I'm not sure if there's some tenuous link for me to explore between Assumtion of Victimhood and Susceptibility to Being Victimized, or what...

Haven't you had all the debates about men/womens differnent physiological roles during sex, the fact that it takes place in her body, that arousal is required for him to perform but not necessarily for her, that it is inherently violent to her in that it involved entering her body with a foreign object?

Er... so sex involving penetration is inherently violent to me (as A female)? Pardon me if I'm misunderstanding, but that is a creepy statement. I've known a couple men who have woken up to persons of various genders fellating them. That's not entering anybody with a foreign object, is it more or less violent in that case?
posted by oneirodynia at 11:19 AM on December 4, 2005


oneirodynia: If I am going to believe that a male can initiate a sex act in his sleep, I see no reason why a female couldn't do the same thing

But that's not what happened here.

quoting Gator again: If the roles were reversed and she were the one (consciously or otherwise) performing a sex act on an unwilling person, that other person would bear the victim tag, not her.

So, I'm really not getting what you're arguing about. This specific case went like this, that's what's being commented on. Not all the possible cases where it could be different...
posted by funambulist at 11:47 AM on December 4, 2005


As I pointed out, I'm commenting on thoughts provoked by other people's responses to the post, not the specific case. Feel free not to respond if it's too off topic for you.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:14 PM on December 4, 2005


Because it can be unwanted sexual contact regardless of who's in who?

Unwanted sexual contact, agreed. But it doesn't breach your bodily integrity. So to my mind, uninvited vagina around penis is bad. Uninvited penis in vagina (or other orifice) is worse.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:24 PM on December 4, 2005


I think I'll stop now. We're missing each other on some level. I would be disturbed, yes. I do not think she is wrong to be disturbed. It is a bad, strange situation that everyone involved with have to deal with in whatever way they deal with things. I would not have deep emotional scars, though. And she might. (We really don't know, but several people in the thread assumed it.) All I was trying to say was that it seems to me that there are some deeper attitudes about gender roles that were being expressed in that assumption, and that these were not good.

The second part of my last somment, about sex not being inherently violent, was a direct response to scarabic, and an aside. (he said: Haven't you had all the debates about men/womens differnent physiological roles during sex, the fact that it takes place in her body, that arousal is required for him to perform but not necessarily for her, that it is inherently violent to her in that it involved entering her body with a foreign object?")
posted by Nothing at 12:27 PM on December 4, 2005


Again, because it really seems to be the sticking point: I am not saying her reaction is wrong in this case. I do not think she should "get over it" or not be disturbed. I was talking about the assumptions made by the people in this thread about her, not about her responses or emotional state. I was saying that perhaps these assumptions and attitudes contribute to making it an even more traumatic experience, insofar as they are held by society at large.
posted by Nothing at 12:33 PM on December 4, 2005


oneirodynia: sorry, I didn't mean you were "off topic", of course you aren't, and didn't mean to come off as a pompous prick. I just meant the "what if the roles were reversed" question had already been answered, that's all.

Nothing: ok I get your point now, thanks for explaining. I just don't really agree with you (or oneirodynia) that there are gender assumptions involved in reactions to this one case (well at least the common reactions of assuming it must have been disturbing for her, not the "men are learning to rape us in their sleep" over the top reactions...).

I myself cannot make any assumption about the actual emotional scarring involved, depends what we mean by it, depends on the person, depends on how people around her react, a lot of things.

If you're saying we shouldn't take for granted her life will be compeletey ruined then yeah, absolutely, I agree there can be an ambiguity in thinking rape will totally destroy the victim emotionally, and it can border on reinforcing a social stigma of being "dishonoured" or "unclean" or "damaged" or something, but on the other hand, there's the opposite risk of being dismissive about it, more so here beacuse of how oddly it happened.

I think scarabic was being slightly sarcastic with that comment, he did write "it's not so ridiculous that she felt violated and decided to charge him". That much should be obvious even in such an odd case, is all...
posted by funambulist at 2:13 PM on December 4, 2005


This isn't even a question in the literature and case studies -- people do all sorts of things while asleep, so it's not unfathomable that this guy's condition is real.

What is unfathomable is this guy knows he has this problem and (a) has not sought any kind of treatment for it and (b) continues to lead his life as though there's nothing wrong with this behavior.

Suppose I walk around knowing that I have a communicable disease spread via airborne transmission, yet continue to be around people. I'm choosing to make my problem other peoples' problem, without their knowledge or consent.

This guy chose to get drunk with a woman knowing he's got this problem with having sex with people when he's asleep. His choice, his responsibility, wrong decision.
posted by docjohn at 4:47 PM on December 4, 2005


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