Friday, June 24, 2005

Late to the party (again)

I'm way late to the discussion, but in case nobody noticed there's been a lot of posting about rape lately. This is a subject where I usually feel as though my limited capacity to express myself has been exceeded; for a fantastic treatment concerning thepoint of view of the rational male read Ross's essay "I am not my cock." For the record, I'm not Ross's cock either. Read the follow up, too.

Quite a long time ago I dated a woman who had lost her virginity to rape. She was sixteen and had gone to a party at the house of a friend whose parents were out of town, gotten drunk, and passed out in a bedroom. She woke in pain, with some guy she'd never seen before (or since) on top of her. I'd like to say that the fact of her rape didn't affect our relationship, but it did. Not because I felt she bore some sort of taint due to being raped, but because I was hyper aware that she had; for the first few weeks I behaved as though she were made of glass whenever things became sexual. Feel free to discuss in comments how taboos concerning public discussion of sex in general, and rape in particular, create a culture of ignorance which further vicitimizes women who have been raped (please refrain from commenting that rape is a violent act rather than sex, the head-in-ass taboo embraces both as similar).

What got me going on this story was reading Ross's second essay, wherein he describes several incidents of unwelcome sexual advances. While I was reading this (or any discussion of rape) I naturally thought of my ex-girlfriend and how "no means no" doesn't quite cut it in terms of framing issues of consent. The ongoing discussion has very thoroughly introduced and discussed male sexual entitlement in our society, in that context it is criminal that we do not rather say "anything other than an unqualified 'yes' means no," although that wouldn't really fit on a bumper sticker. "No means no" opens the door to animalistic little fucks viewing an unconscious teenage girl as a legitimate sexual opportunity because hey, she didn't struggle or say no. Yeah I'm still pissed, you have a fucking problem with that?