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Proceed with Caution
June 5, 2003
We're sick and tired of hearing about your sick fascination with Ashton Kutcher. Whatever happened to breast-milk cheese, ejaculating into women's shoes, or screwing your sister?
Hot Old Twosome Bored of Dan
My thing for Ashton is sweet and wholesome--and it's annoying the shit out of my boyfriend, so I will drop it. (Nevertheless my boyfriend came up with a much better name for the next show I want Ashton to star in. Hey, MTV, how's this sound: Instead of Ashton Kutcher starring in Fagged, Ashton Kutcher stars in Spunked. Could be big.) Still, HOTBOD, I'm afraid I'm not going to get to the cheese-makers, shoe-spunkers, and sister-screwers this week. I recently attempted to define rape--I went out on a limb and said "rape" meant "forced sex"--and furious e-mail poured in. Let me wade through a few rape responses this week, and, with God as my witness, I swear we'll get back to the kinky freaks next week.
You should be careful when you tell people that consenting to sex when you are drunk or high is not rape, as you told DIDHE recently. Technically you are right; if you give consent, it is not rape. The problem is that it is legally impossible for someone under the influence to grant consent in many states. It doesn't matter if she was screaming, "Take me! I want to have consensual sex with you!" If she was drunk and you fucked her, you can go to jail. Sounds tough, but it is the law in a lot of places.
Ramifications Are Pretty Extreme
If the law supposes that drunk and/or high people can't consent to sex, RAPE, then the law is an ass, an idiot. People have sex under the influence ALL THE TIME. To say that drunk people can't consent to sex is as good as saying that virtually everyone on Earth is a serial rapist and a serial rape victim.
Let me cut to the chase here--any sex a woman doesn't want to be having is rape. As a rape victim, I know what I'm talking about. The time a friend pushed me to the ground and forced himself on me (despite my screams and attempts to fight him off) was rape. And so were all the times a boyfriend pressured me into sex by convincing me he was "owed" a blowjob.
Rape Is Outside the General Rules Regarding Real Life
I'm sorry, RIOTGRRRL, but you don't know what you're talking about. We can't go tossing men into prison for the sin of not being able to read minds. If a woman is having sex she doesn't want to be having, she has to say so. That guy who pushed you to the ground? Rapist, for sure. The boyfriends who guilt-tripped you into blowing them? Not rapists.
As a licensed clinical social worker and certified rape crisis counselor, I must tell you that in most states, pressuring someone to have sex is legally considered rape. Furthermore, when someone is incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol, he or she cannot give legal consent to sex.
While it is fucked up when the person who was enthusiastically fucking you the night before wakes up the next day and calls you a rapist, the gray-and-fuzzy zone we're arguing is relatively narrow. I'm talking about your typical random hookup at a bar, party, or dorm room. Yes, someone may appear willing, but YOU ARE TAKING A RISK if you regard a slurry "Yesh I like yoooo" as consent. I'm not for championing those who regret their choices and cry wolf, but they just may be the inevitable crappy side effect of a system that protects people who, while intoxicated, cannot protest advances with the same zest and vigor as a sober person.
Instead of advising your readership that there's a clear line between what is and isn't rape, you should use your power more wisely. Hey, we all like to get a little tee-rashed. But if you're engaging with someone (a) you just met and (b) you and/or they are ass-stinking drunk, then your respective views on consent may not align.
Proceed with Caution
I get letters every day from people pressuring strangers, personal trainers, boyfriends, girlfriends, and yappy little dogs for sex. Shall we lock them all up? No, of course not. Because what determines whether or not a person who is pressuring someone for sex is "moral," much less a rapist, is how they react when they hear "No." Do they take "No" for an answer and drop it? Then they're moral, pressure or no pressure. Do they sulk and pout and resort to emotional blackmail? Then they're jerks. Do they fuck the person they were pressuring for sex anyway? Then they're rapists.
And YES, if a person is incapacitated by drugs and/or alcohol and someone fucks him or her, then it's rape. But that person's got to be incapacitated, not merely drunk or high. And if you're the type of person who when drunk or high consents to things--sexual or otherwise--that you wouldn't consent to sober, well, then it's your responsibility to NOT GET DRUNK OR HIGH. But if you do get drunk or high and say "Yesh, yesh, yesh" to someone who may or may not be drunker than you are, someone who may not have had sinister motives when he or she ordered that third round, then you're not anyone's victim but your own.
Finally, PWC, I agree that people should proceed with caution. And I'm not an advocate for the return of "Hey, she passed out! She's fair game!" But I don't think some poor college kid should be hauled off to jail--where he's likely to be raped--because he, in his diminished state, fucked someone who, in her diminished state, screamed, "YESH, YESH, DO ME!" It seems extremely unfair that a drunk woman can't be held accountable for her actions--giving her consent--but a drunk man can be held strictly accountable for his actions, however impaired he may have been at the time, and sent off to prison. That's not just a "crappy side effect," PWC, that's an appalling injustice.
You're probably still smarting from having your dick ripped off by the "It-is-SO-rape" crowd. The problem is there's only one term--"rape"--to describe a broad spectrum of sexual boundary-crossing. May I suggest the following terms: grape--when someone inappropriately GRabs tit or ass or cock, but backs off when told to do so; drape--when a DRunk or high person gets fucked and later regrets it but nevertheless consented; cape--when in the middle of sex one partner Changes his or her mind and the other takes a few seconds to switch gears and stop; gape--using Guilt or pressure or lies to get someone to put out. Then we can save "rape" for the biggie--i.e., for using violence (or threats of violence) or fucking someone who isn't able to consent.
Really Angry, Pretty Exasperated
Thanks for sharing, RAPE.