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The Forum > Article Comments > The gap between rape and consent > Comments

The gap between rape and consent : Comments

By Monika Kruesmann, published 9/3/2006

Just saying 'no', just doesnít cut it.

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We have already had part of this debate recently on this site. I think the article gets into deep water when trying to look for answers in society as a whole for the problem of sexual violence. "sex must not be used to sell everything from cars to toothpaste to chocolate to magazines" says the author. While I might agree, I would not do so on the ground sthat using sex in advertising promotes attitudes that lead to sexual violence. I am not aware of any proof that this is so.

"But where popular culture is so imbued with (idealised) sexual imagery that many men and women conceive of their sum personal value in direct relation to their sexual attractiveness, thereís a problem.'

Again, while I might agree that there may be a problem with such a self image, I am not sure about the link with sexual violence. I thought that research shows that the essence of sexual violence is just violence. It is a sadistic desire for the perpetrator to dominate, humiliate and hurt the victim, rather than to violently seek sexual release. The means to prevent or reduce sexual violence are therefore much more complex than the article would have us believe.
Posted by PK, Thursday, 9 March 2006 9:54:47 AM
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Thought provoking article. The author raised a point I would like to elaborate on. Sexual violence in a committed relationship. She referred to a hand pushed away, man being persistent, woman giving in. Then woman allows herself to be used to satisfy the man. While this may not be a violent act physically it is an emotionally damaging one. Guilt is often the precursor emotion.

Conclusion, not enough good communication between the couple, and the expectation that the woman is there to serve the man. Ironically this expectation may not come from the man.

So in conclusion, women still need to work on themselves. Men will rise to the level of expectation. If a woman has self respect she will not be manipulated by guilt and will have the strength to say no and mean it. If women have self respect they will be able to recognise when they are in danger of assault before it happens in casual dating encounters. A woman who has self respect can recognize a creep because her radar is working properly.

On another front, men have a responsibility too. They know other men who do not respect women. They have a responsibility to pull their misogynistic buddy aside and educate him.
Posted by Patty Jr. Satanic Feminist, Thursday, 9 March 2006 1:58:23 PM
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There is a danger here, I believe, of continuing to travel down a path as objectionable as the hypothesis of the article. That of regulated and mechanical humanism.

There was an issue in an American school, the details of which are sketchy to me at the moment, where all relationships were set out in detail complete with contractual understandings as to their responsibilities. The understanding was that with the acceptance of a date proposal the participants signed a charter of understanding about each other's responsibilities etc. Hopefully that has gone the way of the dodo but not before, I am sure, damage was done to the relationship skills of those that went through it.

The thought of a compulsory subject on sexual etiquette complete with bedside text references brings to mind a numbing blandness in place of the spontaneity in the exploration of intimacy. However, it would stop the problems associated with a post-coital emotional error of judgment, as you would never reach that point in the first place.

Sex sells many things in our society because it is a defining part of what we are regardless of the "Itís what sets humans apart" mantra that is a compulsory addendum to any discussion that argues a case for a mechanical and defined humanity. Sex even sells articles.

There is no doubt that respect is in dire need of revitalisation in contemporary society. We have long since done away with even the most basic of common courtesies in our everyday life because it has become dog-eat-dog and who gives a crap. From the courtroom to the shopping mall queue, we exist in, perpetuate and accept an adversarial lifestyle because the winner takes all.

There is no 'adversarial propensity off button' that allows us to isolate areas of our life because life is holistic. It is just one of the things that doesn't set humans apart.
Posted by Craig Blanch, Thursday, 9 March 2006 3:50:14 PM
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I liked the fact that the author understands just how muddy some of the issues within a relationship are. In part some of the issues seem to be about power rather than respect in relationships.

When I read the example of the guy with the wandering hand I thought of another example of sexual violence which does not seem to get addressed. The story goes something like

"Imagine a couple in a long-term, committed relationship. He might start to touch her, she moves his hand away. He puts it back. She moves it, he won't agree to buying that new house with the big mortgage which she wants and she is unhappy so there is no way he is getting what he wants. She says no and will keep saying no and keep badgering him about the house until she gets it. He's angry that what should be a healthy part of the relationship can be used so wrongly but what can he do. He's not going to start cheating but sex and intimacy are very important to him."

How do we deal with consent in committed relationships when differences occur? When the decisions and choices of one so strongly impact on the freedoms of the other.

Is the hand that keeps going back any better or worse than the tongue that keeps nagging or the intimacy that is withheld as strategy? Its an issue that we need to be aware of and think about as we find ways to make healthy relationships. Not many answers here but hopefully some food for thought.

R0bert
Posted by R0bert, Thursday, 9 March 2006 8:27:56 PM
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Well there are some interesting issues here, perhaps not entirely viewed from an objective viewpoint. Sex sells things and there is no problem with that at all, a chicko roll wouldnt be as much fun without at least considering the fine work that the girls on the old nortons and triumphs do.
Yes, even motor oil can be brightened up in ther same manner.
Mysoginistic...I dont reckon, if so what about the "keep your knickers nice" campaign which is clearly aimed at the female market. Lets not get too uptight about things, Respect and decency would be far more important surely. As a male I've experienced intimacy that I wasnt fussed either way about, and my partner would've too. Sometimes people dont feel like cooking either, but do it for their partner.
There is no room for any grey areas with such a serious subject, its rape or it is not.
Consider that if theres grey areas of what IS rape there are also grey areas of what ISNT rape, in my opinion it would be a retrograde step for civilised society.
Posted by The all seeing omnipotent voice of reason, Thursday, 9 March 2006 8:51:36 PM
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This is indeed a grey area.
She may say "Don't. Stop". He may hear "Don't stop".

Is mise.
Posted by Is Mise, Thursday, 9 March 2006 9:13:58 PM
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