Every predatory event (including rape) is a contest of power.
Every predatory event (including rape) is a contest of power.
Have you ever heard of what was once called courtship??
the Predator and the prey was (and still is) an erotic game we play.
Depending on the genuineness of consent, it can be rape, the same as elsewhere.
Ideally, the laws should not exist just to punish rapes after the fact. They should help to prevent the rapes in the first place, and that's not happening, particularly with date and acquaintance rapes, particularly when alcohol or drug use is involved. The female may be too intoxicated to give fully aware and conscious consent, and the male just disregards the need to even have consent
It is rape under the law, and he's the one committing a rape, and he is the only one responsible for the act of rape.
Time for men to end rape
By: Roy Ribitzky
March 02, 2010
The Dean of Students’ office has failed us.
When presented an easy opportunity to expel an allegedly rapist who reportedly admitted his crime, the University of Massachusetts buckled under what interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life, Jean Kim called a “really unfortunate” situation, according to last week’s shocking – but not surprising – Boston Globe article “No crackdown on assaults at colleges”.
I can be kicked out of housing for having too much alcohol in my fridge, but I apparently will be allowed to graduate if I rape a friend. Do we have to wonder why women rarely report being raped? Either no one believes them or nothing happens to the assailant.
This is not just at the UMass Amherst. College campuses are infected with an unhealthy, oppressive and violent hegemonic masculinity. Men are raised in an invisible cage of what it means to be a man: to never cry, to own at Halo, to drink more than anyone else, to have sex with more women and to view women as ends to our sexual desires. And because we cannot talk about our feelings – God forbid a man actually feels something – we are pressurized to conform to this impossible image of manhood. By not talking about ourselves, we become trapped.
When an insecure, unsympathetic and immoral man encounters a situation where he wants sex, but the woman he’s with does not, he rapes her. There is a difference from having sex and rape. Rape is about taking out men’s anger over the feminist movement for challenging us to actually think; it is about ripping away the pride and soul of a woman from beneath her; it is about showing women that men are superior; it’s about power. Rape is a choice – always – that someone thinks about, commits to and executes.
Whenever stories are reported on this subject, such as the sexual assault in the library last fall or the Boston Globe article, we wonder why this happens. But I will not talk about the victims. Our schools, disciplinary boards (clearly an oxymoron) and our justice departments need to stop asking if the victim’s skirt was too short, if the victim was flirting with him, or if the victim was drinking. We need to start talking to men. We need to talk about the men who rape women and find a safe haven in the Dean of Students’ office. Instead to telling women to not walk alone at night, instead of telling women to dress more “appropriately,” instead of telling women to use their rape whistles in case of emergencies, we need to tell men to stop raping women. We need to tell men to stop raping our mothers, our sisters, our girlfriends, our aunts and all the women in our lives.
I’m not sure what scares me more: the fact that the vice chancellor failed to hold her staff accountable, that the assistant dean who reviewed the case, Christina Willenbrock, did not expel the victimizer, or the fact that the vice chancellor, the assistant dean and the head dean of students, Jo-Anne Vanin are all women of power who let an inferior man get away with rape. There is no way that in all their respective lives, that they were never once harassed because of their gender or ethnicities, yet all three passed on rape as though he failed an exam.
Kim wants to continue as vice chancellor. Her resume is filled with student affairs experience. Too bad she forgot the most important thing about student affairs: caring for them. Her interests lie in throwing the blame to someone else and “making adjustments.” The only adjustment she needs to make is getting out of Amherst, because I do not want to send my future daughter to a school where not even women with power give a damn about rape.
You’ll notice in our Student Code of Conduct – if you’ve ever read it – that the “Appliance Guidelines” are about half a page. You know, stuff like unplugging your refrigerators over break. Sexual assault? One sentence. Rape? Nothing. It seems like UMass cares more about its furniture policy than about educating men and women about rape. The very day the Boston Globe article and subsequent Collegian coverage came out, UMass students got an e-mail from Housing and Residence Life reminding us about the “Fire safety Policy Compliance Advisory.” Seriously? How about e-mail reminders to all the men on campus that rape is illegal? Plagiarism is not illegal in American law, but I can get expelled for that. Rape is illegal, but I can still graduate with honors.
Now, we need a solution, but where begin? UMass can start expelling rapists. That would be nice. UMass should also be allowed to press charges against the accused if they see fit, even if the victim chooses not to. What was it that I read in the sexual harassment policy written by UMass? “In most instances, complaints will be initiated by the target of the alleged harassment. However, the University reserves the right to initiate a formal grievance (or to continue processing a complaint even after a request to withdraw has been submitted by the Complainant in accordance with Section IV) when, in the opinion of the Chair of the Sexual Harassment Board, it is appropriate to do so. In such instances the Chair of the Sexual Harassment Board, in consultation with the Chancellor, will designate who will present the University’s case.”
It looks like the Dean of Students’ office had the full power and authority to charge that man with rape, chose not to, and not is saying “reversing a decision is not an option,” according to Kim.
But ultimately, the power is not in the hands of administrators. The power and choice to acknowledge women as human beings starts with men. Men are the ones who commit the most rapes in relation to females, but it is true most men in general do not commit rape. It is those men, the ones who do not commit rape, who need to speak up.
In the book by Robin Warshaw, “I Never Called it Rape”, it reports that one in four college women will get sexually assaulted, raped, or harassed. Men, how many women do you know? More than four I bet, so you better think twice before you say another rape joke. In the same book, surveys showed that one in 12 college men committed acts legally definable as rape. Men, how many men do you know? Odds are that you might be friends with a repeat rapist and not even know it.
UMass has some misplaced notion that by keeping these issues secret they won’t happen anymore. The UMass Police Department should post the picture of every rapist on its website so we know exactly who did what and who is getting away with it. But why would the school do that? UMass cares more about planting trees and prettying up Southwest to attract prospective students instead of caring about their current students, the ones that pay thousands and thousands of dollars to funds that ultimately help rapists succeed. You don’t need to be a woman to be outraged by this crisis, you just need a heart, a mind and no mind for rape.
So men, the next time you and I go to the bathroom, remember that we hold in our hands the ability to end rape.
Roy Ribitzky is a Collegian columnist
How You Guys -- that's right, you GUYS -- Can Prevent Rape
What is rape?
Rape is when one person wants and pursues a sexual act on, to or inside another person who does not want to participate, and who does not fully and freely consent to take part in that act.
Someone giving consent to sex is someone giving a clear, active and enthusiastic yes, and who is clearly, actively and enthusiastically participating throughout (we’ll talk in more depth about consent in a bit). Partnered sex is about two people equally sharing something sexually, but rape, while it involves and effects both people, is only really about what one person, the rapist, desires and chooses to do to that other person against their will.
Unwanted sexual touch or sexual use of someone through force or coercion is rape. To coerce someone sexually is to get them to engage in a sexual activity they do not want through guilt-trips or nagging, threats, bribes, intimidation or some other kind of emotional pressure or force. Where on the body is unwanted touch rape? Touching someone’s vulva or vagina, breasts, buttocks, anus, penis, testicles, mouth, or other parts of the body without permission, when that touch is intentional and sexual on your part, or is considered sexual by most people, are all rape or sexual assault (in some areas, those terms mean the same thing, but in others, they differ based on the activity or situation). It is also rape to make someone else touch YOU when they don’t want to, or to force or coerce someone into doing something sexual with someone else.
It is rape when one person does something sexual on, to or inside a person who is unable to give informed consent to sex because they’re asleep or otherwise incapacitated, like via drugs or alcohol (even if they drank or drugged of their own accord), because they're ill, injured, or emotionally bereft, or due to lack of physical, intellectual or emotional maturity, developmental disability, mental illness or because the person assaulting them is in a position of power over them, like a teacher, clergyperson or police officer.
(If you're wondering why I don’t say rape can be, say, vaginal intercourse or oral sex, rather than unwanted touch, that's because words like sex or intercourse imply that both parties are mutually engaged and involved. Because rape isn't sex for the person being raped, calling it sex not only enables rape, it also is a terribly hurtful thing to hear as a survivor, and one that can have a harsh impact on your sexuality: if rape was sex, then the victim was somehow complicit, and it also doesn’t differentiate rape from the wanted, consensual sex we have and enjoy.)
It’s also wise to think of attempted rape as very real sexual violence and violation, too. Someone trying to rape you, but either failing to or deciding not to at some point, tends to leave the person almost raped with nearly as much emotional trauma as if they had been “fully” raped. In other words, almost victimizing someone is still victimizing someone. While sure, it’s “better” to not-quite be raped than to be raped, I’m sure you can imagine that it would be very traumatic to have your male best friend force you on the bed and rip at your clothes with the clear intent of raping you, even if he didn’t succeed in, or finish, doing so.
If some of this still seems unclear, that’s understandable. Not only is it often hard for people who haven’t been raped to figure out when rape has happened or what it is, it’s sometimes hard even for people who HAVE been raped to figure it out. Our culture has some seriously messed up ideas about sex, gender and sexuality which obfuscate the issue. For instance, ideas that it’s normal for women not to enjoy or initiate sex (and abnormal for men to dislike any kind of sex with women at any time, including even when their partner is NOT enjoying it, or abnormal for men not to initiate), normal for women to not want sex as much as men (and normal for male sexual needs to be more urgent than women’s needs or for male sexual desire to be everpresent), or normal for women to want their sexual partners to dominate them (and for male sexual partners to want to dominate) are often stated and taken as absolute facts, even though those things are rarely normal, when we mean healthy, or biological in origin. In the cases where they are common, these things often have more to do with how men and women are taught to enact or think about their sexuality than it does with our sex or gender, and with a sexual ethos that was designed to perpetuate a power hierarchy for men. There are prevalent ideas that gay men or boys are fair game for anyone, that the first time a woman has sex she should feel devoured or violated and be in great pain, and that sexual violence isn’t a choice for men, but a biological imperative, but if we just do our homework and think about these things, it’s pretty obvious to a smart person that they are not truths, but ideas which often excuse or deny sexual violence.
How You Guys -- that's right, you GUYS -- Can Prevent Rape
How can men know if someone is giving consent or not?
Sometimes, someone being raped will clearly say no and will NOT clearly say yes. They might say no verbally, with words, they might say no by crying, they might say no by physically trying to push away the other person or get away from them. They might try and change the subject from sex to something else, and some might try and make a deal with a rapist agreeing to a kind of sex they still don't want, but feel might be less traumatic, in the hopes that if they provide that, they won't be forced to do other things they want to do even less, or are afraid of more. They may also be saying no by nonparticipating in sex, by being passive or dissociating (mentally going somewhere else in their heads so they don’t have to be fully present during their rape). In fact, when a person you or someone else is going to have sex with is physically unresponsive, not reacting to sex with some clear expression of enjoyment or is very nonverbal, the chance that pursuing sex with them is, instead, pursuing rape, are high.
There's a weird idea that's been out and about for hundreds and hundreds of years that it's normal for a female partner to "just lay there," -- and disturbingly, this has been a common complaint from heterosexual male partners about women -- or to be totally unengaged in sex. The thing is, while that may be common, it's anything but normal. Someone who wants to be having sex with someone else -- who really wants to, which is the only time anyone should be having sex -- isn't just lying there, silent and prone. They're clearly engaged, and clearly and actively participating in the sex they’re having.
Yes is yes. No is not yes. And neither is maybe. When it comes to sex, "maybe" isn't yes. At best, it’s “Not now, but perhaps another time” -- and so in a scenario where the answer to “Do you wanna?” is maybe, maybe is no. Consent to sex isn’t an “Ugh, okay,” or an “Ummm… I guess.” It’s only an enthusiastic yes.
A lot of people have been (and are still) reared to think that sex with someone is something you "get," and if someone will LET you get it – rather than really sharing it with you -- it's all okay. Those same folks have often also been reared with the idea that while no is no, maybe is yes (and that even when someone says no, if they’ll let you get away with ignoring their no, it’s still okay to ignore their dissent). We have a tragically long culture history of men being told then when women say "maybe" it’s a cute way of saying yes, so it can be hard to recognize that under all the bizarre coyness usually affixed to that, being told a woman’s maybe is yes is being told that sex is only about what men want, and that rape is okay, so long as you can get away with it or excuse rape in a way that the victim or others accept.
Let's think about all that for a minute, and play nonconsent out in some other contexts.
• You're making dinner for someone, your favorite spaghetti sauce, which you’re intensely proud of. But as it turns out, they are allergic to tomatoes. You ask them if they’re sure, and they assure you they are. You suggest maybe it’s different with your sauce somehow. They say, again, that they’re pretty sure they’re still going to be allergic. But you worked al day on the sauce, feel like they at least owe you one spoonful to see how great it is, so you ladle it unto their plate anyway, and in time, your nagging gets to tiresome that they go ahead and take a spoonful, even knowing they’re likely to feel sick very shortly.
• Your friend's Dad is huge with football: he’s the football coach for the high school. He will not leave his son alone about joining the team, and belittles him constantly for not having interest. Your friend not only can't stand sports, but joining the football team would take away from the time he wants to put into the debate team to prepare for a career in law, where his heart is really at, and where his life goals lie. As well, he knows that he's going to have to put up with a lot of abuse from other fellows on the team because his dad is the coach, and because he’s just not very athletic. Your friend's Dad is not leaving him alone about this, to the point that it's clear his love is pretty conditional: if your friend gives up his own dreams and joins the team, his Dad is going to be a lot nicer to him. Too, he's just starting to feel really unloved because he's not doing what his Dad wants him to do. So, he joins the team, but only because he wants to escape his father’s insults and pressure, and it costs him the pursuit of his own goals.
• Your best friend has been enjoying boxing a lot, so much that he's started training to compete in pro fights. Not only are you not excited about boxing, even watching is tough for you because you had a bad experience being beaten up when you were a kid. But he wants you to try it with him – even though you know he’s going to be rough with you and will probably hurt you: he’s a lot bigger than you are, and you don’t know how to box -- saying even when he gets hit, HE likes it, and he's also been saying some pretty crummy stuff to try and get you to do it, calling you a girl (including to other people), saying you’re a pussy, saying you aren’t really his friend if you don’t support him by getting into the ring with him. Wanting him to just stop verbally abusing you and maligning you to other people, you finally step in, only to get your nose broken, which he later will tell you and everyone else was your fault for not blocking your face from his punch.
• You and a friend are in an airplane, considering skydiving. You only have some of the equipment you need, and might know some of how to do it, but you really aren't prepared or in a position to be safe, and just haven't made up your mind yet, and are only on the plane so you can get a better sense of what you want. But he really wants you to do it, too, to give him the courage to do it. You’re explaining you’re not sure at the same time he’s just grabbing you with him as he jumps, pushing you out of the plane.
Do any of those scenarios seem like maybe is really yes, or that taking those actions after that maybe is anything but an abuse? Can you see how one party in those scenarios is coercing the other through verbal, emotional or physical force?
The same goes with sex. We can easily suss out that if your pal didn't even ASK you if you wanted to skydive, and just pushed you off a plane with no warning, that'd be a clear assault and abuse. If your friend had the conversation with you above, and still pushed you out of that plane – or even if he just got you to dive by nagging you -- would it be about him wanting to share something with you, and you with him, or would it be about bullying, about forcing you to do something for THEM, without respect for your wishes? In other words, it's still an abuse; it's still an assault.
But what if my partner is quiet or shy?
Establish a solid foundation for communicating together in a way in which they can comfortably communicate, even if it isn't always verbal, and take baby steps with until they can do that. You might -- silly as it sounds, but sex is often silly -- devise hand signals, or think of some other creative, clear approach to communicate with. You might also make a deal that you take turns initiating sex, so that one person isn't the only one in the driver's seat. Too, shy people often have a harder time when they feel put on the spot, so talking about and negotiating sex more outside of the bedroom, in advance, can be very helpful.
If they're not yet able or ready to communicate about sex in any way, then tell them – kindly and with care, not as an ultimatum -- that you’d prefer to wait for sex with them until they are more comfortable. With shy people, they often just need more time to feel safe being open. And with young women, given the world we live in and the way many are raised in terms of sex, it can take longer to get to a point where we do feel able to clearly communicate, to initiate sex, to voice our desires. If you’ve a female partner who isn’t there yet, then wait until she is, or choose partners more on your same level.
But prone, stiff or vacant during sex isn't usually about shy: it’s usually about feeling very scared, not feeling at all ready, not knowing how to say no or feeling like your no matters. Someone saying nothing, or really just laying there (and without some form of disability that limits their voice or mobility) isn't usually being shy: they are, for whatever reason, finding it difficult or impossible to voice nonconsent.
When someone wants to, really wants to, have sex with us, we'll know because that person will be taking a very active role, will be saying -- if not yelling! -- "Yes!" or "Please!” or "Do me NOW!" We may know because that person is the one initiating sex, at least as often as we are. (If you’re going to say that younger women just aren’t like that yet, know that isn’t always true. Some are, but those who aren’t likely aren’t because things are either moving too fast, or they really just aren’t ready for or that interested in sex with you yet.) We'll know because it will feel like something we are absolutely doing together, that couldn't happen if the other person wasn't just as engaged as we are (imagine trying to dance with someone else when they’re just standing there or not really paying attention: same goes with sex). We'll know because our partners will absolutely not "just be lying there."
We can easily be sure never to rape someone by making a choice to ONLY have sex with someone else when we are certain we have not only their full consent, but their full interest and attention, and they ours; when they’re clearly as enthusiastic about sex as we are, and we’re just as excited about their enjoyment as we are our own. If we're having sex with a partner and they start to space or zone out, or stop participating physically or verbally, if we stop what we’re doing and say, "Hey, you still into this? It's okay if you're not, we can do something else or just go snuggle," and mean it – rather than saying it to imply they need to get into it, or else -- we can be sure not to rape. If we are interested in sex with someone who seems they will allow us to have sex with them, but who is not taking equal part or deeply desiring and mutually initiating sex with us, we can and should step back and wait for them to take a lead.
Consent to sex isn’t an “Ugh, okay,” or an “Ummm… I guess.” It’s only an enthusiastic yes.
Quote:Ideally, the laws should not exist just to punish rapes after the fact. They should help to prevent the rapes in the first place, and that's not happening, particularly with date and acquaintance rapes, particularly when alcohol or drug use is involved. The female may be too intoxicated to give fully aware and conscious consent, and the male just disregards the need to even have consent
Once more down that road where you wish to lockup the male of a dating drinking couple for rape.
In addition, the male you are always picturing Firefly is an evil predator instead of the far more likely guy who had just gone out drinking with his date.
If an adult woman find that she does not care for the results of her judgment or lack of same under the influence of either alcohol or drugs then she should cut back on them for her next date.
She have zero right to try to place a man in prison because she regret after the fact that she had have sex with him.