Apologies that it’s been a while since my last post, and that this interrupts my promised series on gay marriage – which I promise I do want to continue!
I just wanted to write about something that I’ve been thinking about off and on for ages and have never actually written down. I don’t think anyone will be surprised to hear that I don’t think there are different degrees of rape – I think a trusted friend raping you ‘non-violently’ (sure… because that’s how it feels) is any better than a stranger attacking you with a knife. It also shouldn’t be a surprise that I don’t think there’s any excuse for someone who has raped. These people have done something horrific.
But one of the rape scenarios that people so delicately want to term ‘grey areas’ is where a man and woman have been getting together, enjoying some sexy time, and then she changes her mind. In this situation, we are told, it’s really difficult for a man to control his natural sexual urges. Now, whilst I personally think all that is nonsense, and that both men and women have big sexual urges, and that both sexes are highly-evolved enough to be able to control them, let us pretend for a moment that I buy it.
Let’s imagine the situation that is most generous to our would-be rapist: heavy petting has reached a high point, clothes have been stripped off, both have been writhing away with pleasure up until now, and the basilisk is about to enter the Chamber of Secrets, as it were. Then, right at the last second, the woman changes her mind and squeals “No!”. I can just about, conceivably, forgive a man for one quick poke where something hasn’t registered, followed by effusive apology and immediate backing off. If you sell that to me as a man being unable to control his sexual urges, I will listen. But here’s why I don’t buy the rest of it…
If the guy has been really turned on, the girl then changes her mind, and he then proceeds to rape her in a way that lasts any longer than what I described above, the problem is that he has carried on. These ‘grey areas’ of rape are occurring over a period of minutes – as few as two, as many as thirty or more. And what is the woman doing whilst all this is going on?
It might be that she’s screaming and clawing at him. It might be that she’s just sobbing and turning her head, refusing to look at him. It might just be that she’s lying there mute, unresponsive and incredibly uncomfortable. But what she is definitely not doing is encouraging him or responding to him in a normal, healthy, fun or romantic sexual way. Any guy that continues sex under those circumstances has not been temporarily blinded by a sexual urge – he is wilfully ignoring another human being’s distress for seconds, minutes or hours at a time, whilst she is lying 10 centimetres away from his face.
Grey area? Don’t be stupid. This is obvious.