Category Archives: Rape

Rape Culture and the Concept of Affirmative Consent

March against rape culture

March against rape culture

Throughout most of our history, rape was a property crime.

Today we do not, in the modern United States at least, think of a woman’s sexuality as a financial asset. But that is a recent phenomenon. For most of our history, rape was not treated the same way as other violent assaults because it wasn’t just a violent assault, it was also a crime against property.

You can see this view–of a woman’s sexuality belonging to her father and later her husband–in laws concerning rape and sexual assault. It was even possible for a father to sue a man who had consensual sex with his daughter because he had lost the value of his daughter. Based on this view, value is lost in terms of her work if she became pregnant and was no longer able to earn wages, or in terms of a future wife for someone else because of this stain on her character. Men could not be held accountable for raping their wives because a wife was a man’s property and consent to sex–at any time of his choosing–was part of the arrangement.

Lest you think that these laws are ancient examples of a culture that no longer bears relation to our current policies on rape, spousal rape was not made illegal in all fifty states until 1993, where it still may carry a less severe sentence than other rape offenses. The tort of seduction was technically on the books in North Carolina in 2003.

This context is important given our current cultural attitudes toward sexual assault. To understand this culture and how it can be amended, we need to look more deeply at the historical understandings of rape and consent.


Force Means No

The framework for defining rape underpins our understanding of who is required to prove consent or non-consent. The Hebrew Scriptures, which established longstanding cultural norms that helped form a basis for what was morally and legally acceptable in early America, make a distinction between a woman who was raped within a city and one who was raped outside of the city limits. The first woman was stoned to death and the second considered blameless (assuming she was a virgin). This distinction is based on the idea that it was the woman’s responsibility to cry out for help and show that she was non-consenting. A woman who was raped in the city obviously had not screamed because if she had someone would have come to her rescue and stopped the rape. The woman outside the city had no one to rescue her so she could not be blamed for being victimized.

This brutal logic, which is completely inconsistent with how we know some victims of rape react to an attack, was continued in the American legal system when our laws on rape were formulated. Rape was defined as a having a male perpetrator and a female victim and involving sexual penetration and a lack of consent. But it was again the woman’s responsibility to prove that she had not consented and the way that this was demonstrated was through her resistance. She was only actually raped if she had attempted to fight off her attacker. Different jurisdictions required different levels of force to show a true lack of consent. For example, fighting off an assailant to your utmost ability or even up to the point where the choice was either to submit to being raped or to being killed. Indeed, the cultural significance of chastity as a virtue that the female was expected to guard was so profound that many female Christian saints are saints at least in part because they chose to die rather than be raped or be a bride to anyone but Christ.

Potential canonization aside, it was consistently the responsibility of the woman alleging that she was the victim of a rape to prove that she had fought off her attacker in order to show that she had not consented. If she could not show that she had sufficiently resisted, she was deemed to not have been raped. Her chastity was someone else’s property, either her father’s or her husband’s/future husband’s, so it was always understood that someone, other than her, had the right to her sexuality. The assailant had assumed that he had the right to use her sexually and was only a rapist if she acted in such a way that a reasonable man would have known that she did not belong to him. Her failure to communicate that fact, that she was the property of some other man, was a sign that she had in fact consented. Therefore the rape was not his moral failing in stealing another man’s property but her moral failing in not protecting that property from being stolen.


Culture Wars

We can see the effects of this ideology in how we treat rape victims today. Although we don’t necessarily require evidence of forceful resistance, it is considered helpful in prosecuting a rape case. Rape shield laws may have eliminated the most egregious examples of slut-shaming victims, but an innocent or even virginal victim is certainly what the prosecution could hope for if they were trying to design their most favorable case. One of the first questions that will be asked of the victim is “did you say no?” In other words “what did YOU do to prevent this from happening to you?” The burden is still often legally and almost always culturally on the victim to show that they did not consent.

There is an alternative approach that has been gaining traction on college campuses and elsewhere known as the concept of “affirmative consent.” Take a look at the video below, which elucidates the differences between the “no versus no” approach compared to affirmative consent, which is often described as “yes means yes.”

In this video, Susan Patton and Rush Limbaugh both represent examples of rape culture. The contrast between the views of Savannah Badlich, the advocate of affirmative consent, and Patton, who is against the idea, could not be starker. To Badlich, consent is an integral part of what makes sex, sex. If there isn’t consent then whatever happened to you, whether most people would have enjoyed it or indeed whether or not you orgasmed, was rape. It is your consent that is the foundation of a healthy sexual experience, not the types of physical actions involved. In contrast, Patton expressed the view that good sex is good sex and consent seems to not play a role in whether it was good sex, or even whether it should be defined as sex at all. The only thing that could indicate if something is an assault versus a sexual encounter is whatever physical evidence exists, because otherwise, the distinction is based only on the assertions of each individual. Again we are back to evidence of force.


What is “Rape Culture”?

Rape culture refers to a culture in which sexuality and violence are linked together and normalized. It perpetuates the idea that male sexuality is based on the use of violence against women to subdue them to take a sexual experience, as well as the idea that female sexuality is the effort to resist or invite male sexuality under certain circumstances. It overgeneralizes gender roles in sexuality, demeans men by promoting their only healthy sexuality as predatory, and also demeans women by considering them objects without any positive sexuality at all.

According to this school of thought, the “no means no” paradigm fits in perfectly with rape culture because it paints men as being predators who are constantly looking for a weak member of the herd to take advantage of sexually, while also teaching women that they need to be better than the rest of the herd at fending off attacks, by clearly saying no, to survive. If they can’t do that, because they were drinking or not wearing proper clothing, then the attack was their fault.


“Yes Means Yes”

Affirmative consent works differently. Instead of assuming that you can touch someone until they prove otherwise, an affirmative consent culture assumes that you may not touch someone until you are invited to do so. This would be a shocking idea to some who assume that gamesmanship and predation are the cornerstones of male sexuality and the perks of power, but it works out better for the majority of men and women, who would prefer and who should demand equality in sex.

This video gives a brief highlight of some of the issues that are brought up when affirmative consent is discussed and the difficulties that can still arise even with affirmative consent as a model.


Evaluating Criticism of Affirmative Consent

The arguments are important so let’s unpack some of the key ones in more detail. The first objection, expressed in both videos, is how exactly do you show consent? Whenever the affirmative consent approach comes up, one of the first arguments is that it is unenforceable because no one is going to stop sexual activity to get written consent, which is the only way to really prove that a person consented. We still end up in a “he said, she said” situation, which is exactly where we are now, or a world where the government is printing out sex contracts.

The idea that affirmative consent will by necessity lead to written contracts for sex is a logical fallacy that opponents to affirmative consent use to make the proposition seem ridiculous. Currently, we require the victim to prove non-consent. Often the victim is asked if they gave a verbal no or if they said they did not want the contact. The victim is never asked: did you put the fact that you didn’t want to be touched in writing and have your assailant read it? The idea that a written explanation of non-consent would be the only way we would take it seriously is absurd, so it would be equally absurd to assume that requiring proof of consent would necessitate written documentation. Advocates for affirmative consent don’t want sex contracts.

In addition, even under our current framework we accept a variety of pieces of evidence from the prosecution to show that the victim did not consent. A clear “no” is obviously the strongest kind of evidence, just as under an affirmative consent framework an enthusiastic verbal “yes” would be the best evidence, but that is just what the best evidence is. That is certainly not the only kind of evidence available. Courts already look at the entire context surrounding the incident to try to determine consent. The process would be virtually the same under an affirmative consent model. The only difference would be that the burden would be on the defendant to show that they believed they had obtained consent based on the context of the encounter instead of placing the burden on the victim to show that, although they didn’t say “no,” they had expressed non-verbally that they were unwilling to participate.

The shift in the burden of proof is sometimes cited as a reason not to adopt an affirmative consent model. Critics argue that this affects the presumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Which is, rightly, a cornerstone of our judicial system. If this model did, in fact, change that presumption then it wouldn’t be an appropriate answer to this problem. But it does not.

Take another crime as an example. A woman’s car is stolen. The police issue a BOLO on the car, find it, and bring the suspect in and sit him down. They ask him “did you have permission to take that car?” and he replies “Yes, officer, she gave me the keys!”

He is still presumed innocent and, as far as this brief hypothetical tells us, hasn’t had his rights violated. It looks as though he is going to get a fair trial at this point. That trial may still devolve into another he said, she said situation. She may allege that she didn’t give him the keys but merely left them on the kitchen table. At that point, it will be up to the jury to decide who they believe, but that would have been the case in any event. He is presenting her giving the keys to him as one of the facts to show his innocence.

If a woman’s car is stolen we don’t question her about how many miles are on the odometer. We don’t ask if she wore a seatbelt the last time she drove it. We don’t care if she had been drinking because her alcohol consumption doesn’t negate the fact that she was a victim of a crime. We certainly wouldn’t force her to prove that she didn’t give the thief the keys. That burden would rightly be on him and we would be able to both place that burden on him and at the same time presume him to be innocent until he failed to meet that burden.

Adopting an affirmative consent model changes how consent is perceived. It is primarily a cultural change in understanding who is responsible for consent. Rather than making the non-initiating party responsible for communicating a lack of consent, affirmative consent requires that the initiating party obtains obvious consent.

That is how affirmative consent works. It wouldn’t require a written contract or even necessarily a verbal assertion. Context would always matter and the cases would still often become two competing stories about what the context meant. And it doesn’t mean that we are assuming that person is guilty before they have the chance to show that they did, in fact, get that consent. It just means that we are placing the burden of proving that consent was obtained on the party claiming that consent had been obtained.


Conclusion

There is no other category of crime where we ask the victim to show that they didn’t want to be the victim of that crime. A man who is stabbed in a bar fight, regardless of whether he was drunk or belligerent, isn’t asked to prove that he didn’t want a knife wound.

We need to change our cultural framework of rape and consent. When we are working under an affirmative consent framework what we are doing is changing the first question. Currently, our first question is for the victim: did you say no? Under an affirmative consent model our first question is for the suspect: did you get a yes?

Complete Article HERE!

Are We Wrong About Male Sexuality?

Is male sexuality inherently predatory and threatening? Are Donald Trump’s comments and Brock Turner’s behavior typical?

Is male sexuality inherently predatory and threatening? Do all guys just want to grab women’s private parts, as Donald Trump suggested? Was Brock Turner’s jail sentence of six months and registering as a sex offender too harsh for “20 minutes of action”, as his father complained?

Many people believe rape is an inevitable by-product of male sexuality because the male sex drive is impossible to control. They may even believe that sexual desire causes guys to make bad decisions. They are dangerously incorrect and we all pay the price.

The reality is that most men are quite capable of controlling their sexual urges, which is why the vast 001majority of men are not rapists. In fact, most men are not particularly interested in having many partners. Researchers consistently find approximately 15% of men in their 20s have three or more partners per year, and only about 5% of all guys have three or more partners for three straight years. On college campuses, surrounded by thousands of other unmarried people their same age with a minimal level of adult supervision, only 25% of undergraduate men say they want two or more partners in the next thirty days. Yes, males have greater desire for and greater experience with promiscuity than women, but it’s a minority of guys who are driving the differences: three-fourths of male college students aren’t interested in having multiple short-term partners and more than four-fifths of guys in their 20s aren’t being promiscuous. So much for “hookup culture.” Most men don’t desire a promiscuous sex life. If you can get a man to talk about a sexual experience he regrets, you’ll probably hear a story about a drunken hookup.

Instead of recognizing and acting on the reality, we continue to minimize guys’ ability to control their sexual desires and instead give responsibility to others. Because we think guys can’t control themselves, we give girls and women responsibility for not dressing provocatively, not “leading him on,” and proving they gave a clear – and clearly understood – no. Guys seem to have little responsibility for knowing their own limits or being decent listeners. (Not good listeners; “no” is about as simple as it gets.) “Bathroom bills” in North Carolina make transgender individuals responsible for preventing the rape of women in restrooms; why not make it illegal to falsely claim a Trans identity?

Female victims clearly pay the price, as the letter from Brock Turner’s victim demonstrates. The experience and its associated trauma are awful. Not being listened to, as in the Bill Cosby case, just makes it worse.

Victims of male-on-male sexual assault suffer many of the same outcomes, with an additional dose of shame for not being able to defend themselves. Mental health problems may be compounded by the lack of public and professional knowledge regarding male sexual assault victims, leading to less effective treatment.

002Some institutions have also paid the price of male sexual predation. They assumed rape was inevitable and then tried to act like it never happened. The Catholic Church has paid tens of millions in settlements. Football programs from Penn State to Baylor to Sayreville, NJ have paid, with reputations tarnished and jobs lost. At this level, the cost is paid not just by the perpetrators and those who covered for them, but many others who genuinely didn’t know. Some of those innocents, continuing to trust the organizations and relying on their faulty knowledge of male sexuality, lash out at the victims.

Although the cost is much smaller at the individual level, all men suffer from the notion that “men are dogs,” because any misbehavior of his reinforces that notion. Further, he is incapable of refuting the global charge because the group “men” is more likely than the group “women” to be lewd or commit any type of sexual assault. Most women date men, and when they spend time and energy trying to figure out if he’s a dog or a good guy, they’re paying the price of our misunderstanding.

We can and must do better. We can learn the facts about men’s ability and willingness to control themselves, and give credit to the majority of men for being responsible adults. We can also put responsibility on the minority of men who disgrace the whole group, and teach them how to do better.

 

Teenage Sexual Assault

Name: TC
Gender: Female
Age: 13
Location: indiana
I really dont know that much about sex, so i let my boyfriend do it all. He keeps calling me a scardy cat cuz i wont touch his dick or give him any pleasure, and he is getting really bored with me

I am so sorry to hear of the trouble you are having with your boyfriend. Actually, he’s no friend at all. Real friends honor their friend’s limits and boundaries, and he’s not doing that.

You can’t be expected, at your tender age, to know much about sex. Hell, you don’t even sound like you are particularly interested in the topic. You don’t mention your boyfriend’s age, but it sure sounds like he is way more advanced than you, at least when it comes to his interest in sex. Unfortunately, he’s not so advanced that he’s man enough to leave you alone when you ask him to. And that really makes me angry. Bullying, belittling or harassing someone for sex, particularly when it’s clear that person is not ready or not interested is abuse. And that is never a good thing.

I hasten to add that in the eyes of the law he is a criminal. He is taking advantage of an underage person for his own sexual gratification and that’s against the law. If you guys get busted, there will be hell to pay.

I know the kind of pressures you are experiencing. You want a BF and you want your BF to like you. But if you let him take advantage of you, it’s not the same thing as him liking you. It’s more an indication that he’s focused on his needs and desires, not yours. I don’t think his behavior indicates he cares for you, but he is showing you that he has power over you and is able to manipulate you into doing what he wants. And what kind of relationship is that?

Listen, TC, you don’t have to submit to him. You can stand tall and tell him NO. He will, in the end, respect you more for your courage to defy and deny him than if you just cave in to his will.

I’m not sure I know what you mean when you say that you “let your boyfriend do it all.” But it sure doesn’t sound like a good thing to me. If he’s having his way with you, even though you are being very passive about it, doesn’t make it right. I hope this isn’t how you intend to interact with other males who will come into your life in the future. And there will be plenty of them. If they sense that you are weak and vulnerable, you will be a goner for sure. You could easily wind up being a victim for the rest of your life. Please, TC, don’t let that happen to you.

I know you’d probably rather be thinking about a lot of other stuff at this time in your life, but the situation with your BF demands that you grow up fast and get savvy about the fundamentals sex right away. I’ll have a number of resources for you in a second, but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to wise up about pregnancy protection. I wish I didn’t have to say that to you, but I must. If you are being sexually active, even if you are just letting your BF do everything, you absolutely must protect yourself from an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy. If you don’t you will find that you will be the one having to deal with the consequences. If your BF is not considerate enough to respect your wishes when it comes to sex in general, you know for sure that he’ll not be around to look after you and your unborn child.

Ok, here are those resources I mentioned. Planned Parenthood, SCARLETEEN, Sex Ed 101 and Midwest Teen Sex Show.

Promise me that you will take this seriously. That you’ll not just roll over (literally or figuratively). Promise me that you will respect yourself and take a stand and not allow your BF to manipulate you into anything you don’t want to do. More hangs in the balance than you can comprehend. You’ll have to trust me on this.

One last thing, if you were wise enough to find my sex advice website and you were mature enough to write to me, then I believe you are strong and resourceful enough, despite your tender age, to stand up to your BF. Do it now. Demand that he respect you, your body and your wishes.

Good luck

Come With Me

Name: Julie
Gender: Female
Age: 38
Location: Boston
I went to Vegas with my best friend and she wanted to be laid in the worst way. Our first night in sin city I told her that prostitution is legal here and we “let our fingers do the walkin'”. Soon a gigolo was at the door. He was not six feet with blue eyes as promised, but he was an aspiring chiropractor and seemed like a nice lad so we let him in. The agency had said that they were registered with the State of Nevada and that they need payment upfront including the tip. Being novices to this we ponied up. I left my friend with the guy for her birthday shag and went for a walk around Vegas. I almost called you, Dr. Dick, so excited was I to be sophisticated. I had employed your advice and hired a pro and all! 20 minutes later I was staring at the Lions in the MGM Grand my cell rings. It’s her. The gigolo had a story about not being able to use her condoms due to a latex allergy and that the “other kind” which he had in his pocket must have dropped out in the lobby. This was a total bummer and the gigolo made off with almost $600 bucks! Can you publish “An idiot’s guide to hiring sex work”? We felt like total rubes and were sorely disappointed. The remainder of the celebrations were fantastic. We saw “The Thunder From Downunder” an all-male revue that was just wonderful. We also met many nice tourists and things looked up.

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Thanks for the Vegas travelogue. Sorry to hear you got ripped off by the “pro” you tried to hire for a little pleasure. That bums me out. I’m of the mind that freelance providers are generally a better bet than going through a agency. I know it’s too late now, but a consumer should never pay anything in advance. Ya always want to check out the goods first, don’t cha know! And if someone balks at that, you don’t want to do business with that person.

Not to make light of your situation, but I have a friend who was having trouble with his plumbing. No not that kind of plumbing! He tired to fix it himself, but to no avail. He was frustrated as all get-out. Finally I talked him into calling a “pro”. I don’t know where he found the plumber he called, but like you he got ripped off big time! There are dishonest people in every profession.

I applaud your moxie, girl. Don’t let this one bad apple scare you away from trying again another time. I stand by the Rent-A-Boy concept. Keep me posted on your future efforts.

Name: alex smith
Gender: Male
Age: 22
Location: California
I have had this litlle lump in my balls sac since i was a kid it doesnt hurt when i squeeze it and its inside i cant get it off because its attached to theno-freaking-out.jpg skin and im afraid to ask my doctor what do i do?

You’re 22 and you’re afraid to ask your doc about a bump on your nuts? What kind of pussy are you? Come on, grow a pair already, why don’t ‘cha?

This may come as somewhat of a surprise to you, but this is precisely what doctors are for. They look at the things that cause us concern, they tell us what it is, and by doing so, they put our minds to rest. Listen; if you’ve had this bump since you were a kid, the likelihood that it’s anything of consequence is pretty minimal. But go get it checked out so you can stop freakin’ out!

Name: Warwick
Gender: Male
Age: 22
Location: Wyoming
Dear Mr. Dr. Dick, my fiancee was raped by her step brother when she 13. she put up with it and has since repressed it continuing a “normal” relationship with him. how do i deal with this? how can i stand the thought of him or bear seeing him knowing what he has done?

Holy cow! That’s a bummer. But tell me this, if your fiancée repressed this memory (and that’s what repressed means) how did you find out about the incident?

If in fact your fiancée hasn’t repressed the memory, but is trying to get beyond it by not letting it rule her life, then I think you need to do the same. Shit happens! And sometimes the shit is ugly shit, like rape. But if we allow the shit to contaminate our life, crippling our relationships, and us; then the shit wins. Don’t let this happen to you…or your fiancée.

If you guys need help getting past this, seek a sex-positive therapist. A good therapist will not let you sabotage the rest of your life with fear, anger, hatred or revenge.

You can’t do anything about the past, but you do have some control over how you will react in the future. Rise above this! It’s the only way to go, my friend.

Name: Rob
Gender: Male
Age: 20
Location: New Orleans
doc. im starting to get into stimulating my prostate. i heard it will give you ground breaking orgasms but i just cant seem to do it correctly. could you please give me some tips about this.. cheers

You betcha! I’m a big fan of prostate massage — as a solitary pleasure or as part ofc771-1.jpg partnered sex play. Because it is something every guy can practice and enjoy. I recommend all us men folk be prostate aware. You probably also know I’m a big advocate of frequent prostate self-exams, right? And I figure while you’re down there rootin’ around in your butt hole checkin’ thing out, spend a little more time and give yourself a nice little massage why don’t ‘cha? Fingers work just fine for this, but an insertable vibrator is…well…out of this world. Prostate massage is a wonderful way to expand your self-pleasuring repertoire, especially for all you guys out there who only know how to yank on your dick for joy. Check out: The “Progasm” Prostate Massager in My Stockroom.

And ladies, prostate massage is a great way to please and pleasure your male partners. Perhaps if your let your guy know that a little butt play can be real fun and it ain’t queer, more straight guys would be less ass-phobic. And I can guarantee that the world would be a much better place.

You can feel your prostate gland by inserting a finger a couple of inches or so into your bum. If you are the least bit aroused your prostate will feel like a smooth rounded flat lump about the size of a large almond. Just in back of and up from your prostate is a smaller triangular wedge shaped nodule that is the bottom portion of your somewhat larger seminal vesicles. This, by the way, is where most of your jizz is produced and stored. Underneath the seminal vesicles are the ampullae, which are tiny reservoirs for your sperm that will mix with all the other fluids produced by the vesicles and your prostate when you cum.

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As you become aroused, ejaculatory fluid and sperm accumulate in these glands backing up behind valves in the ejaculatory ducts. When the fluid pressure reaches a high enough threshold, the valves open and the urethral bulb fills, triggering the muscular contractions of your ejaculation. This empties the glands and you, my friend, have just shot your wad. Naturally, if one abstains from ejaculating for a while and prolongs his arousal stage, say like through edging, more fluids will build up, making for a larger load and a more explosive orgasm.

So with that little anatomy lesson behind us, so to speak, we can get back to prostate massage. Ya don’t need nothin’ fancy, simply insert your well-lubricated middle finger or middle finger and index finger into your butt hole and apply a little pressure. Slowly massage your prostate. Try a nice circular motion. Doesn’t that feel yummy? Some men can cum by prostate massage alone. Hell, you may find that you don’t even need a stiff dick to enjoy an orgasm and/or an ejaculation.

Looking for something more advanced? Male Erotic Massage.

Name: matt
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Location: Seattle
I can’t stop going to massage parlors. I go all the time. HJ only there but lots of touching and kissing. I am married and can’t help the need for the excitement. If my wife found out I think she would divorce me. Is this healthy?

Hand jobs, kissing and touching are all very healthy.

But the guilt and shame aren’t healthy, that’s for sure. If you can’t stop a going to the massage parlors, you’re being obsessive; and that’s not healthy. Living a lie and hiding this from your wife isn’t particularly healthy either.

Name: jon251328494_14815fb5a2.jpg
Gender: Male
Age: 18
Location: ca
hi im 18 and i like to finger my ass and use wieners is that good?

Are these cocktail wieners? Hot dogs? Dinner franks? Polish sausage?

Is it good? Gee, I don’t know. I never stuck any kind of wiener up my poop-chute. Why don’t you tell me?

Oh wait; you want to know if it’s ok for you, or anyone, to do this, right? Yeah, I think it’s ok. Just don’t ever invite me to your place for a weenie roast!
Good luck ya’ll