Saturday, August 17, 2013

The first rule of Consent Club...

Mix Sweet Shop
8oz Soy Mocha
(Huge!) Croissant

Trigger Warning.

Have you seen that phrase popping up more and more?  I have.  I think it's a great thing, but it's such a tragic thing, too.  It's a sad commentary about the presence and pervasiveness of today's topic.  If you are sensitive to this topic - and if you are then you know the topic to which I am referring - you may want to go look at pictures of kitties opening doors and peeing in toilets and then (most importantly) flushing.  Or pour yourself a shot and soldier on...  This is your trigger warning.

Someone posted this article to me about Yale's response to an investigation into on-campus rapes.  They retermed it "Nonconsensual Sex" and "disciplined" the offenders with probation or suspension.  Not even expulsion - suspension.  That's it.  My comment when I reposted the article onto my Wall was:

To be clear... there is no such thing as "Nonconsensual Sex" because Sex is something you do WITH someone not TO someone. You can call it "Nonconsensual Penetration," because if I were to, say, take a pencil and Penetrate the eye socket of one of these college administrators they would in no way confuse that with making sweet, sweet love with a Number 2.

I have been seeing more and more conversations about rape and rape culture.  My first reaction to the term was that it probably went a little too far, because no one is really for rape.  Right?  Then I read more and more and, once my eyes were opened to it, I realized it is everywhere.  These are a couple of articles I reposted recently about what rape culture is and about the objectification of women beyond just the obvious over-sexed advertisements.  To sum up, objectification is more about the way that men are overwhelmingly the subject of the story, the action, and women are the mostly passive object of the story or action.  Even strong female characters tend to be somebody's love interest/trophy/partner on the job, etc.  

And rape culture?  The best explanation of rape culture that I've heard is that is the normalization of rape to the point the people don't recognize it as rape.  Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Steubenville rape case, beyond the rapes, was the audience.  Numerous witnesses said they didn't stop or report the incident because they didn't think it was rape.  An unconscious person - a kid - being dragged from party to party and repeatedly penetrated by multiple people... not rape?  Apparently, these guys thought this was some kind of a party prank.  Like drawing a penis on someone's face is on the same level as forcing one inside them without their consent.

There are too many examples of horrible things.  Too many statistics that will break your heart.  I've heard different figures but most often I hear these: 1 in 4 women will be raped in her lifetime... 1 in 6 men... and most victims before they reach the age of 18.  So about 1 in 5 Americans overall.  The figure that hit me hardest, though, was among black women: 3 out of 5 will be raped in their lifetime.  Sixty percent.  That's "most."

Three-fifths of black women treated like they're not quite human.

I don't know the numbers among black men, but that number - three-fifths - that alone is enough call for black men to be at the vanguard of the feminist movement.

My hope is that we are finally beginning to wake up to this silent epidemic.  We clearly need to do some educating and re-educating across the population.  Apparently, we need to teach people things like, the legal definition of "rape" (despite some politicians' efforts to distinguish between "legitimate" and, what?, "not legitimate" rape) is any penetration of any orifice by any object, animate or inanimate.  We need PSAs.  We need Consent Education as a fundamental part of Sex Education.  We need to cultivate a culture of respect for every person's right to their own body.  

Even the guy(s) who grabbed my ass in the lunch line in junior high was(/were) guilty of sexual assault.  And in hindsight (no pun intended), I should have just picked one of the guys standing behind me and punched him, because if he wasn't the guy who did it - twice - he was the one who allowed it.  And even those seemingly harmless drunk pranks, like dragging someone into some other position/place or drawing a penis on their face when they're passed out, is a form of assault.  I have a right to my body under any circumstance, but especially when I am most vulnerable.

We need a culture that collectively shames those who would violate others, not a society that protects them from consequence and even cheers them on.  We need a culture of consent, not the conflation of rape with seduction or conquest.  We need a culture that treats the non-consensual publication of pictures of nip slips or other nudity as a form of rape.  It doesn't matter if it was during a consensual act or if the person is a natural exhibitionist.  That does not imply that they consent to the perpetual exhibition of their body via whatever kind of visual recording.  Publications that exhibit non-censensual nudity should not be fined - people should go to jail.

In short, we need to bust some memes, people.

So, for the sake of those who need a little clarification, here are the rules for the Culture - the Club, if you will - of Consensual Sex... 

1.  The first rule of Consent Club is... if it's not consensual, it's not sex.
2.  The second rule of Consent Club is... if it's not consensual, IT'S NOT SEX.
3.  If your partner tells you to stop, taps out, or loses consciousness, the sex is over.
4.  Only approved participants can participate, no matter the number of previous partners.
5.  Consent is valid only for the time it is enthusiastically being given, and does not entitle you to Consent at any other time (nor the replaying of recordings of the Consensual Act).
6.  No style, length, or lack of clothing implies Consent.
7.  Sex goes on as long as ALL parties want it to, and not a stroke longer.
8.  You do not HAVE TO have sex with anyone, ever.

Maybe it's not as snappy as Fight Club's list, but it get's the point across...  Even if you're two strokes from glory and she really is "just being a bitch" - you're done.  No excuses, twisted logic, or justifications...  Only Consent equals Consent.  End of story.

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