And This Is Yet Another Example of Feminist Writing That Annoys Me

Imagine if I told you the following: “At my university, Jews are expected to fill out endless paperwork proving that they do their job right. They have to narrate in painstaking detail exactly how they implement the strategic goals of our institution in every aspect of their teaching. Every Jew has to calculate the number of hours he or she spends on each job-related assignment and submit the paperwork. Then, the Chair meets with every single Jew and discusses his or her progress. Jews are also required to take long ethics training because it is assumed that Jews don’t know how to behave ethically without such training. During college events, Jews have to wear a sign on their chests identifying them.”

Pretty offensive, eh? When I imagine that sort of a work environment, I want to go and destroy such a university immediately.

Everything I have written about the treatment of Jews at my university is absolutely true. I just forgot to mention that everybody else is treated exactly the same way. And that changes the picture somewhat, doesn’t it? We might be an overly bureaucratized place but we are not anti-Semitic.

Would you know that from my story, though?

Now, read the following excerpt from a feminist article:

Women exist in a legal state of permanent consent.  Consent is an automatic defense to a charge of rape and unless there is sound evidence that consent was withdrawn, it is frequently assumed that it was not.  If a woman did not actively withdraw her consent, there is no case to answer – the legal status of a woman is that of consent to sexual intercourse.  Furthermore, the presumption of innocence over guilt in effect means that it is insufficient for a conviction to be upheld purely on the basis that a woman asserts that she withdrew her consent in the absence of such evidence.

For some women, the withdrawal of consent becomes in effect a legal non-option.  Crimes of sexual violence against sex-workers are notoriously difficult to prosecute, as the assumption is that they payment has brought the agreement not to withdraw consent.  Any evidence that a woman may not have withdrawn consent, is evidence of the innocence of the accused. Such evidence may include payment; sexually arousing dress; prior sexual activity; drug or alcohol use; being asleep; being sexually unattractive, or being insufficiently aware of danger.  Up until 1991 the majority of women lived within a formal legal state which denied her the right to remove her consent: a woman could not withdraw consent to sexual intercourse from her husband; marriage was an automatic defense.*

This is all pretty incendiary. And it’s completely true, too. Except for one small detail. All of the above is just as true for a man as it is for a woman.

When we pretend that implied consent only has to do with women, we cannot even begin to address the real issue. This is not about women being singled out by unjust legislation and an anti-feminist culture. This is a problem that we all face. Men and women alike exist in a state of implied consent. Can anybody really claim that a male sex worker will find it easier than a female sex worker to bring a charge of rape in court? Does anybody really think that being sexually unpopular, having a rich sexual past, being inebriated, etc. do not make it as hard for men as it is for women to prove they have been raped? Really?

I think it would be a great idea to discuss the concept of implied consent because it’s a very complicated issue that needs to be explored. But we will never get to explore it if we get stuck on this one-sided approach to the subject.

* The rest of the article is even more egregiously stupid than this, if you can imagine that.

81 thoughts on “And This Is Yet Another Example of Feminist Writing That Annoys Me”

    1. All men in gay relationships are “honorary women”? Have you shared that insight with any gay men? Because I’m wondering what their response might be.

      Are there any data on the ease of bringing rape charges for men as opposed to the ease of bringing rape charges for women? Have many men successfully sued their wives for marital rape as opposed to women who have successfully sued their husbands?

      Or is this all based on the idea that women don;t want or need sex at all?

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    2. Please see my post later on sexual assault in Scotland which rather queers the pitch for Mhairis doctrinaire argument.

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  1. In practice and in relation to consent, yes.

    I suspect it is much more difficult for men to bring rape charges than women, but then most male rape is done by men. I cant think of any cases of prosecution of wives for marital rape of their husbands, I am sure it has happened, but penetration of a husband by their wife/male sexual partner by their female sexual partner is a far less common sexual practise then the opposite and as such is not considered what men are “for” in the same way that women are considered to be “for” penetration.

    As such I would suspect that while prosecution may be difficult that difficulty is supported by different narratives (men are stronger and more dominant than women, and there for it must have been consensual). A study of marital rape in 1990 in the UK just prior to the law change found that 25% of married women had been raped (either by their husbands or by someone else), the stats for male rape are nowhere near that, and I suspect that incidences of marital rape by women could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

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    1. Any reported incidents could be counted on one hand. However, a low reported statistic does not indicate a lack of women raping men. Such incidents have gone unreported for centuries–how can you ever infer that reported statistics are the be-all end-all?

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        1. Who cares if there is “an epidemic” or not? The point is that implied consent is present in interactions between people whether they are male or female. If a person is being forced to have sex, how much can they be expected to care whether there is “an epidemic”? They will still end up being hurt by implied consent.

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      1. @mhairi

        Ok, and this is the reason why people should not/will not listen to individuals such as yourself. If a woman gets a man drunk and then mounts him(envelop) against his will(he is drunk, so no consent is possible), that is called RAPE. You can go away now, please.

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    2. but penetration of a husband by their wife/male sexual partner by their female sexual partner is a far less common sexual practise then the opposite and as such is not considered what men are “for” in the same way that women are considered to be “for” penetration.(mhairi)

      Interesting, considering a woman wouldnt typical penetrate a man to rape him. She would envelop him.

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        1. I had no idea anybody was still so unenlightened as to propose the “no penetration – no rape” definition.

          Tell me, if a small child has been forced to give oral sex to a pedophile, has that child been raped?

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    3. This is a very narrow definition of rape. How is forcible oral copulation not rape? Or coercing a person to service one orally and – or manually?

      I really don’t see how it is appropriate to dismiss all those women and men who have been raped with no penetration involved. I wouldn’t dare to offer a judgment whose suffering is worse based on the method of their rape.

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      1. I’m not entirely sure I’m getting you here…

        “forcible oral copulation”
        A forcing A’s penis into B’s mouth = rape of B by A
        B forcing A’s penis into B’s mouth = sexual assault of A by B
        A forcing A’s mouth onto B’s genitals = sexual assault of B by A
        B forcing A’s mouth onto B’s genitals = sexual assault of A by B

        “or manually”
        A forcing A’s fingers into B’s anus/vagina = rape of B by A
        B forcing A’s fingers into B’s anus/vagina = sexual assault of A by B
        A forcing A’s anus/vagina onto B’s fingers = sexual assault of B by A
        B forcing A’s anus/vagina onto B’s fingers = sexual assault of A by B

        Sexual assault and rape are fundamentally different things. Thats why we have the term “rape” and dont just call all non-consensual sexual contact “sexual assault”

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  2. If anything, I should think that “assumed consent” is more of a problem for men in rape cases; alot of people seem to operate under the misapprehension that the (involuntary) erection of a penis counts as an enthusiastic agreement to the sex act.

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    1. There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding here of what rape is…

      World Health Organisation (2002)
      “physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration – even if slight – of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object”

      FBI (2012)
      “”The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

      Scottish legislation

      “Rape

      (1) If a person (“A”), with A’s penis—
      (a) without another person (“B”) consenting, and
      (b) without any reasonable belief that B consents,
      penetrates to any extent, either intending to do so or reckless as to whether there is penetration, the vagina, anus or mouth of B then A commits an offence, to be known as the offence of rape.”

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        1. More than stupidity, what shocks me is the callousness. How can anybody think it is OK to dismiss the suffering of people who have been forced into unwanted sexual activity as not rape?

          If, say, a rapist drags me into a corner and at gunpoint forces me to give him a handjob, that will not be rape?? That makes no sense to me.

          Or let’s take disabled men. It must definitely be OK, then, to have sex with mentally disabled men who can’t give consent by definition and that will not be considered rape?

          This rape equals penetration mantra is shocking to me.

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      1. Envelopment is a form of rape. There’s no penetration involved, but it is still rape, it’s sexual contact without consent. Arousal/an erection doesn’t equal consent. The “dictionary” argument never works out when defining anything, whether it’s feminism, rape, or just about any word.
        Some day, organizations like the WHO and the FBI will learn to recognize this, but they’re slow on the uptake.

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      2. With all due respect, thisdefinition seems like it has been calibrated to define-away any act of rape not committed by a man. The salient point of rape is not that it is penetrative, but that it is non-consensual.

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      3. Yes, because those definitions are infallible. Did you know the FBI changed their definition of rape to include men in the LAST MONTH? Ugh people like you make us all look bad. Do you really believe someone mounting a man against his will is less traumatic to the victim than being vaginally raped?

        Try not to be so sexist.

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      4. @Mhairi please don’t try to fall back on laws to define a morality based situation. Let’s take Scots law since you spelled it out – a man (since only men can rape under Scots law) can ‘rape’ (penetrate vagina, anus, or mouth) with impunity if he believes reasonably that he has consent. Now according to Feminists(TM) society believes women always consent as the sex class, or if they are intoxicated, or wearing a short skirt… wait second… you just successfully proved that there should be no female rape victims! Your own argument reasonably undermines itself except in rare cases where we could prove the defendant didn’t believe any of those things.

        Let’s step back from flame wars now and realise how stupid that is. Rape is composed of two aspects – the ‘victim’s’ feelings about the event and the legal culpability of the ‘accused’. So a sensible moral definition of rape would be based around unwanted sexual genital, oral, or anal violation based purely on the victims view point. From a legal perspective the situation is amended to require the victim to be in a situation unlikely to lead to consent by two reasonable people from the population and /or knowledge of this lack of consent by the rapist (withdrawing consent mid sex in your mind while screaming ‘oh god fuck me’ is not an acceptable legal defence for throwing your ‘rapist’ in jail).

        Also good job explaining that men can never be raped – logic fail on the marital rape idea there. The law at the time made it clear that marriage means irrevocable consent the same way it means envelopment isn’t rape. You shouldn’t go against the law when it’s useful and stick rigidly to it when others attack your view point, it’s just dishonest. Also there isn’t strictly any penetration involved in sex – we define sexual penetration to be the insertion of the penis into a vagina or anus, as such it is reasonable to conclude the reverse also counts – a man has been involved in the act of penetration when his penis is put into a vagina or anus against his will. Saying that envelopment shouldn’t count is simply defining away a problem to create a false dichotomy.

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      5. Titfortat, Who are you talking to?

        Clarissa no. 16, no it’s not rape because the law recognizes gradations of sexual assaults. and no it’s not callousness. If you’re being forced to give a hj at gunpoint you’ve been sexually assaulted, and the perp can be convicted of sexual assault and can go to prison for a long time (the gun use can make it ife in some states), but you haven’t been raped and if you claim you have, the defense attorney is going to have a field day with you.
        Maybe the reason is that the violation of body integrity is less, or there’s no chance of pregnancy or STD if you’re forced to give a hj, or maybe the purpose of the law is so that the guy doesn’t think that if he’s going to get a hj he might as well commit the rape, but the law recognizes the difference between penetrative and non-penetrative sexual assaults.

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        1. I’m now remembering that Clinton used this idea that oral sex is not sex as an excuse. In my country, everybody was in stitches we laughed so hard.

          Now I see how seriously some people take this weird belief.

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      6. 2dnin
        “Rape is composed of two aspects – the ‘victim’s’ feelings about the event and the legal culpability of the ‘accused’. So a sensible moral definition of rape would be based around unwanted sexual genital, oral, or anal violation based purely on the victims view point. ”

        No it wouldn’t. That’s the difference between rape and assault. Besides the victim’s feelings aren’t a basis to hold someone guilty of rape. Because then a person can say, well I told him it was okay, but now that I think about it I’m not so sure, so it was rape.

        “Also good job explaining that men can never be raped – logic fail on the marital rape idea there. The law at the time made it clear that marriage means irrevocable consent the same way it means envelopment isn’t rape. You shouldn’t go against the law when it’s useful and stick rigidly to it when others attack your view point, it’s just dishonest.”

        But mhairi didn’t do that. She’s sticking to the legal definition of rape. You are accusing her of being dishonest when she isn’t. It’s that some people are saying that if there’s sexual contact that I don’t agree to it’s rape. Well under the law it isn’t. It’s sexual assault and it’s punishable under the law, and if it’s done at gunpoint it can punished as harshly as rape. But it isn’t rape and the people who equate the two are cheapening the harm that’s done to rape victims.

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      7. AYY, you seem to be missing my point. The victim can define themselves to have ‘have felt raped’ based on a very wide set of criteria because only they can tell you how violated they feel by the act. Legally however we must stick to a higher standard than what might be classed as moral because we operate in an environment with imperfect information. Therefore the second person must either be aware that the first didn’t consent or that they were in a situation where consent was societally unlikely requiring an affirmative defence. In the legal version the victims feelings are largely irrelevant as you again state because every complainant already feels something whether rightly or wrongly. There is a massive difference between what we consider moral and what we consider legal.

        Whether its sexual assault or rape is merely a difference in terms – some places have no rape at all because they define it as sexual assault. Unwanted sexual contact might be sexual assault however we give special meaning to unwanted sexual intercourse / oral sex / anal sex (depending on legal system). Saying that these acts shouldn’t use the same name based on the gender of the perpetrator just feels like we are trying to define away a problem rather than deal with it – why is a woman having sex with a man different to a man having sex with a woman?

        She did make that point though – she defined non-consensual sex within marriage before 1990 to be marital rape. Either it’s marital rape and the exact wording we use to define our non-consensual sexual violation duck is flexible in which case envelopnent rape is rape; or it’s legally acceptable sex within marriage and envelopnent rape is sexual harassment / assault. Again this brings in the legal and moral definitions, morally (by 2012 standards) a pre -1990 ‘marital rape’ was a rape, legally it wasn’t. We should not confuse the two. I would prefer we got rid of the term rape altogether and applied levels of sexual assault because it seems that the word rape is too highly charged to be used effectively in discussion as we see with the different moral / legal standards most people hold.

        Your final point gets interesting. ‘Cheapening the harm done to rape victins’ – how does that work if the boundary line is fluid and flexible as can be seen by the three definitions posted? If it’s sexual assault in one location and rape in another what do we call it to not cheapen the harm since one set of people believes the harm is the same (erape = prape) however another belives there is less harm (erape < prape) since erape is 'merely' sexual assault.

        We just need to be consistant in the way we handle this, using words for effect and applying our current morality to older situations is just bad form in an argument.

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  3. You’re absolutely right. Think about the constant rape that exists in jails. But it is almost impossible for inmates to bring charges against one another because to many they ‘deserve it’ by being in jail. They have consented to rape by committing a crime.

    I know a couple of guy ‘friends’ who seem to think its charming to grab the balls or slap the asses of their amigos from time to time. It is 100% assumed not only that his friends have given consent to this but also that they enjoy it or find it funny.

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  4. mhairi :
    Are you seriously suggesting that there is an epidemic of women raping men which is just completely unreported?!

    No I think Pen is suggesting that we really don’t know how prevailent female against male rape is. And considering that rape is pretty much framed from get go as “something men do to women and a few men to do men” I think that’s a fair statement.

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  5. EH??

    Rape is the unwanted penetration of someone’s body for sexual gratification, I cannot think of any jurisdiction or theory which suggests otherwise. While unwanted sexual contact, such as “envelopment” is undesirable its hardly of the same order.

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      1. As a child I was made to kiss relatives that I *really* didnt want to kiss. It was sexual assault – very minor sexual assault, I grant you, but sexual assult none the less.

        Suggesting that I was publically raped by a relative in front of friends and family is absolutely bonkers.

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  6. thevenerablecorvex :
    With all due respect, thisdefinition seems like it has been calibrated to define-away any act of rape not committed by a man. The salient point of rape is not that it is penetrative, but that it is non-consensual.

    In Scottish Law, rape can only be committed by a man (or a transwoman who has not had sex-reassignment surgery), Personally I think that is a serious flaw in Scottish legislation. Most statutes recognise rape as unwanted sexual penetration.

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  7. mhairi :
    EH??
    Rape is the unwanted penetration of someone’s body for sexual gratification, I cannot think of any jurisdiction or theory which suggests otherwise.

    You might have noticed that several commenters on this very board have been taking issue with this the sociological implications of this definition.

    While unwanted sexual contact, such as “envelopment” is undesirable its hardly of the same order.

    So you’re claiming that it’s not an unjustifiably evil act which results in trauma, shame, and humiliation for its victims? Thanks for clearing that up for me.

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  8. It is nowhere *near* of the same order.

    Penetration involves the violation of bodily boundaries – there is no such violation with envelopment. I don’t know your gender, but are you telling me that you would have more/as much issue with being enveloped without your consent than penetrated?

    Your definition of rape would suggest that anyone who gave someone an unwanted hug should be considered a rapist.

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    1. You’re seriously comparing being forcibly enveloped to being given an “unwanted hug?” Good lord, how disrespectful can you get?
      I’d go on, but you know what? I have more productive things to do than waste time arguing with a craven rape apologist such as yourself.

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    2. I think you are absolutely wrong and I am a female. I think it may be difficult to imagine enveloping as being as serious as penetration because anywhere a female would be enveloped would likely not be a part of her genitals. For example I’m thinking about someone forcing me to put my finger inside them which doesn’t seem *as* bad as rape to me – but still a horrible experience.
      But imagine someone putting part of your genitals inside them and pleasuring themselves. I think that is 100% as bad as a penetrative rape. I think you may be assuming that enveloping would not be as painful as rape, or that it is less humiliating because of ‘boundaries’ as you said – both of which are not true.

      By your strict definition sticking my finger in someone’s ear is rape. That is exactly why it is silly to cling to a definition so desperately.

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    3. “are you telling me that you would have more/as much issue with being enveloped without your consent than penetrated?”

      Uh yeah that would really suck. Because the person being enveloped doesn’t want to be enveloped and the other person is essentially forcing them to be enveloped and oh my fucking god are you seriously saying that forcible unwanted sexual contact is not rape.

      Yknow when I was a younger, stupider persion, I hung out with a bunch of other young, stupid queers. I recall there being much, much non-consensual touching. Like, a lot. Like, a woman or man, straight or gay, could corner me at any time and squeeze my boobs or grab my ass and it was all teehee we’re all queer and allies here it’s okay! I wasn’t penetrated in the sense you seem to be insisting on, unless you count fingers pressing through my clothes, but wow, I sure felt like my boundaries were being pretty seriously violated.

      I was lucky Worse stuff happened to other people. I knew one girl who maneuvered another girl, who was falling down drunk, into a closet and took off said drunk girl’s bra and jeans and kissed her breasts and felt her up. The general notion was that lesbians can’t rape other lesbians so that wasn’t rape but that sounds pretty rapey to me. That’s not even beginning to get into all the partner abuse, and woah nellie there was a lot of that going on, physical, emotional, and sexual.

      I’m perfectly aware of the effect mass media and traditional social structures have on public consciousness, and that if you check out television or movies or the internet for five minutes you can find hordes of people and images that seem to cast women as objects to be acquired and used by men. That shit is hurtful, and unfair, and it’s got to stop. But by trying to argue from dictionaries and legal terms that we should restrict the definition of rape to a man penetrating someone against their will, you’re really kind of contributing to this exact kind of culture, since you’re suggesting that men exist to acquire and use women.

      So, maybe think it through a little more next time, and quit effacing other people’s experiences in order to cling to your untenable point.

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      1. And please, please quit with McKinnon’s “all heterosexual sex is rape” idea. It’s offensive and demeaning to women and men who do in fact engage in mutually satisfying sexual activity. Because, you know, that actually happens. Not all mean are rapists. Not all women are raped. Just stop it.

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      2. Thank you for sharing, P.rhoeas. Dismissing the experiences of people who have suffered sexual violation is so obviously no the way to fight against rape that it boggles my mind that anybody could fail to see that.

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      3. You’re right – its “rapey”, its unacceptable and its sexual assault – but its not rape. We have a specific name for rape for a reasons, because it is the violation of bodily integrity.

        To take (primarily) non sexual example. Someone forcing their fingers into your mouth is much more violating than someone forcing your fingers into their mouth – the first is a violation of your body, the second is a violation of the space around your body – they are *fundamentally* different.

        I’m not defending Scots Law, I do agree that it is wrong and should be brought into line with international definitions which recognise rape with impliments (which means that lesbians can rape women, and women can rape men).

        Neither am I arguing that sexual assault is OK, or untraumatic, or non abusive – what I am stating is that it is not rape – which is specific and involves penetration.

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        1. “Neither am I arguing that sexual assault is OK, or untraumatic, or non abusive – what I am stating is that it is not rape – which is specific and involves penetration.”

          – mhairi: I have no doubt that you sincerely want to combat rape and raise awareness about this horrible violation that many people experience. What I don’t understand, though, is why you think that narrowing the definition of rape to include only penetration will be helpful to that goal. There has to be some purpose to advancing this narrow definition of rape. And this purpose should be great enough to justify alienating from the cause all those people who were sexually violated without penetration. So I’m wondering what that purpose is.

          I’d also still like to hear whether you consider having sex with a mentally disabled man who is by nature incapable of giving consent to be rape.

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        2. Oh man with where I am now in my life feeling mostly safe and stable and everything, I would be so creeped and uncomfortable and probably cry a lot and have a couple really sleepless nights if somebody just grabbed my hand and started sucking on my fingers. It might just be me but that really sounds like a violation of my bodily integrity. My skin is not the space around my body. My skin is a part of my body.

          I think I get what you’re going for here with the wanting to make a distinction between rapey-ness and rape-rape, but I just don’t see how it’s very helpful. If a person is sexually assaulted, it’s not a matter of type, but degree. There is still violation of boundaries. It is still symptomatic of lack of consent and assertion of power. And making rape solely about phallic penetration seems like just serves the purpose of making it seem like rape is only something men can do, not to mention shoring up that social / legal attitude where “welp s/he wasn’t penetrated so it’s not really rape so it’s just not that bad”.

          I don’t know. Now I feel like I’ve dragged this whole thing into a semantic argument and I’m getting really tired of it. I can’t even tell if I’m getting all slippery-slope now. Rape is bad. Sexual assault is bad, “even” when it’s “only” rapey and not rape-rape. Not all men rape/assault, and not all rapists/assaulters are men. There. I’m done.

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      4. There. I’m done.

        Except re: NancyP’s point:

        I have to say that there is no physical (medical) evidence for widespread female forcible rape of men, whereas there is abundant evidence for male forcible rape of women.

        I accept that. I just don’t think that this means that women cannot consent to hetero sex, even in a society where patriarchy remains a pernicious influence, nor that rape is always something that requires penetration, both of which are argued in mhairi’s post. That post seems to have taken data like NancyP describes to construct a reductive worldview in which all men are potential or actual rapists. I believe that the irrational fear that one might be raped by any man – a fear with which I myself still struggle – is itself a symptom of patriarchy, due to the fact that, statistically, far more women are raped by men than vice-versa, and that men in patriarchy are cast as always “on” sexually.

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        1. “I have to say that there is no physical (medical) evidence for widespread female forcible rape of men, whereas there is abundant evidence for male forcible rape of women.

          I accept that. I just don’t think that this means that women cannot consent to hetero sex, even in a society where patriarchy remains a pernicious influence, nor that rape is always something that requires penetration, both of which are argued in mhairi’s post. ”

          – I agree with everything here. It’s like P. rhoeas and I are the same person. Uncanny.

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  9. bloggerclarissa :
    I had no idea anybody was still so unenlightened as to propose the “no penetration – no rape” definition.
    Tell me, if a small child has been forced to give oral sex to a pedophile, has that child been raped?

    No – as with an adult in the same circumstances they have been sexually assaulted. Statutory rape which *does* distinguish between those below and above the age of consent still involves penetration.

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    1. I don’t know about the law in the United States, or Scotland, but in Canada, since 1983, there is no longer a crime of “rape”. There is only a crime of sexual assault, which has three levels, none of which have to do with penetration. I expect if you looked at other enlightened countries, you might find the same. I do know a man who was “enveloped” against his will as a teenager, which he confessed to me only after I had known him for more than 20 years. He still felt very ashamed about it.

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      1. I don’t like this “envelopment” terminology at all. I understand that people have created it in response to people like mhairi but, to me, having sex with people against their will is rape. And judging one kind of rape as more or less traumatic as another is an exercise in mind-blowing cynicism and cruelty.

        I’m not venting at you, twicerandomly. I’m venting at the world that uses semantics to dismiss victims.

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  10. I think something that could be clarifying would be to define rape as whenever a forced penetration is achieved regardless of if the victim is penetrated or made to penetrate someone. I think the term ‘enveloped’ is a bit too vague.

    I don’t believe definitions of the act are that important because as theneverablecorvex pointed out the salient point is the lack of consent, not the specific act. But our legal system requires them, and as we have seen many seem to love the simplicity of being able to clearly categorize acts.

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    1. “I don’t believe definitions of the act are that important because as theneverablecorvex pointed out the salient point is the lack of consent, not the specific act”

      – I think that’s the best definition of rape, too.

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  11. mhairi :

    As a child I was made to kiss relatives that I *really* didnt want to kiss. It was sexual assault – very minor sexual assault, I grant you, but sexual assult none the less.

    Suggesting that I was publically raped by a relative in front of friends and family is absolutely bonkers.

    Who suggested anything of the kind?

    How about having sex with mentally disabled men who are incapable of giving consent? That isn’t rape either?

    “Penetration involves the violation of bodily boundaries – there is no such violation with envelopment.”

    – Says who, exactly? It is very condescending to judge what constitutes violation and bodily boundaries for other people simply because they have a different physiology.

    I’m sorry but I have to say that you sound awfully like all those men who say, “Oh, what’s the big deal? Isn’t having sex what a vagina is for? I’m sure she enjoyed it, anyways. And if she didn’t, that’s a minor discomfort that she’ll get over eventually.”

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    1. “Who suggested anything of the kind? ”

      You just did:

      ““I don’t believe definitions of the act are that important because as theneverablecorvex pointed out the salient point is the lack of consent, not the specific act”

      – I think that’s the best definition of rape, too.

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  12. The last sentence in the article makes no sense. There’s a difference between being forcibly raped and being in a relationship where you’ve both agreed that there’s a sexual component to it and where you’ve had sex with your partner in the past, and plan to have sex in the future, but you’re just not in the mood one night, so you just go along with it instead of actively consenting because you have affection for your partner and know that maybe tomorrow you’re going to want it and your partner won’t be in the mood.

    There’s a huge difference between the situations, but the feminist sees them as the same.

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      1. “My stories are no different than the average woman. Every woman I know has experienced these things. Every girl I’ve spoken to is wearing thin from the men in her life who have taken and not given.”

        – No. Only the ones who have suffered abuse at the hands of their parents. This is a story of child abuse and its consequences and it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with gender.

        Thank you for the enlightening link, GudEnuf.

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    1. No – thats not rape, because there is consent. THe consent is there for reasons other than sexual desire (which those who promote the concept of “enthusiastic consent” would dismiss) but I consider that valid consent.

      The problem arises because you have patriarchial norms which swirl around us all the time instructing our behaviour from a gendered perspective. One of those is that a woman consents to her long term sexual partner. Where there is not sexual desire, the genuine consent (affection, mutual give and take, aggreableness etc) gets filtered through those instructions, so women consent feeling obligated as well as consent through desire whether that be sexual or non-sexual desire.

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  13. Words have meaning in the law. The same words may be used with greater or lesser precision in non-legal settings, and may have additional or different meanings.

    As an example of how consent is gendered, consider the priest pedophile scandals. What sorts of acts were the target of outrage ? Sexual assault of male minors by male adults (priests). What sorts of acts were ignored despite ample evidence of their existence? Sexual assault of female minors by male adults (priests). The boys were victims, the girls were temptresses/sluts/Lolitas.

    I have to say that there is no physical (medical) evidence for widespread female forcible rape of men, whereas there is abundant evidence for male forcible rape of women. To claim otherwise will get you laughed out of any gathering of emergency room personnel.

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  14. Claims of marital rape have generally involved married but separated spouses, or have involved violent sex, forced penetration of heavily pregnant wife, or other setting in which non-sexual violence is also often present.Yes, it is certainly possible that marital rape could include forced anal penetration of the husband by the wife, using finger or foreign object. The gender average difference in size and strength pretty much makes completed penetration of man by woman rare, assuming that the man is not disabled.

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    1. “The gender average difference in size and strength pretty much makes completed penetration of man by woman rare, assuming that the man is not disabled.”

      – Do you consider non-penetrative sexual acts with mentally or physically disabled men to be rape? I keep asking this question and nobody answers.

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      1. “Do you consider non-penetrative sexual acts with mentally or physically disabled men to be rape? I keep asking this question and nobody answers. I keep asking this question and nobody answers.”
        I’ll answer, Clarissa. I was going to do it in a comment, but it became too long, and I think I can address it better in a post.

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  15. From mhairi’s most recent post: “The reason that there is a specific word for sexual assault which involves penetration is because this form of sexual assault is more invasive, more likely to lead to injury, may lead to unwanted pregancy and can cause death.” Not to get too psychoanalytical but the text speaks for itself. It’s sad when people mistake their psychological issues for political activism. 😦

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        1. The obsession with penetration as the baddest form of the baddest act and the conclusion that “penetration kills” tell me that the author of the statement could care less about any political activism (which she confirmed by studiously avoiding questions about the activist value of her position) and is only engaged in a painful dialogue with herself about her issues with penetration. Simply put, penetration takes on hugely significant and completely overblown proportions in such a person’s mind.

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  16. If a man penetrates another man without consent in Scotland what is the charge if a complaint is made? Serious assault is the answer.

    Why does Mhairi not enlighten anyone of this legal conundrum. Honest folks, rape of males in Scotland is simply assault with no sexual component. In fact, male on male rape was only recognised as a crime different from common assault in England 7 or 8 years ago.

    What does Mhairi think of this?

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  17. The law changed in 2009 in Scotland so that if a man penetrates another man without consent they would face a charge of rape. Prior to 2009, they would have faced a seperate charge of sodomy.

    I think the major issue with Scots law in its definition of rape is that it does not recognise rape by implement.

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