The rape of life
It seems like every time I bring up the Guardian website this week, everyone is talking about rape.
Whether it's rape jokes at the Edinburgh festival, the medieval concept of "legitimate rape", the Julian Assange case or Todd Akin and George Galloway sharing their opinion of what constitutes rape... it's the most hotly debated topic on my Twitter feed right now.
I'm going to preface this entry by confirming that I have no personal experience of rape and I'm pro-choice, so I would hope that I am as open minded as a person could hope to be.
I am going to quote President Obama here and say that "rape is rape".
There are no "types" of rape, no degrees of what act is more "rapey" than another act.
If a man or woman says no to a sex act, then it is not consensual sex, ergo rape.
If a man or woman is unconscious and has never professed a desire to be woken with a sex act, then having sex with their unconscious body is rape.
If a man or woman says "not without a condom" and you bully them into continuing, then that is rape.
If at any point during the sex act the man or woman changes their mind and says stop, but you ignore them and continue then that is rape.
Rape is rape. No means no. Whether you're merely making an overture to someone and they make it clear your advances are unwelcome, or whether you are in a relationship or on a date and they make it clear that your advances are unwelcome - no means no.
If the person you are making advances to is drunk or drugged or otherwise mentally incapable of making a sound judgement and giving consent, then one would hope that you have enough sensitivity and morals to not take advantage of that situation, just in case.
Making justifications about the situation leading up to an accusation of rape, does not excuse the act.
A woman may dress and behave in a certain way to gain attention, but unless she consents to sex then she is not "asking for it" - it's never OK to assume consent.
I am not denying that there may exist people who attempt to "trap" someone by accusing them of rape as part of some sort of agenda, or revenge, that they may perhaps have cheated on a partner and became pregnant and fabricated a rape story... I'm not going to get into the concept of "statutory" rape either, because I do believe that people can sexually mature before the age of consent... and in the case of BDSM or acting out rape fantasies where saying "no" may be part of the fantasy - each to their own, I'm not here to judge but even then, in that situation if a person uses the safe word to say no, to revoke consent then continuing is also rape.
BUT. In a position where someone does not consent to sex, they should be afforded the respect and compassion of having their choice respected.
Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.
Title: Get Real by David Bowie