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Feb 20 2009

Two posts, two posts, two posts in one

What happened to yesterday’s post? It was an elegant elucidation of the manner in which the point of view, language, and tone of tabloid reportage supports rape culture. My glittering example of the sanitizing powers of the English language was an article in the Daily Mail reporting on the trial of 39-year-old flight instructor Paul Nicholls, who is accused of “sexual activity” with teenage female students; one of the girls, 13-year-old Cherrell Evans, hung herself last year after Nicholls tried to talk her into a three-way with her 15-year-old friend. Nice.

Unfortunately, as will befall the sluggish Internet Feminist who takes too many coffee breaks, between my having written my essay and publishing it, the tabloid article in question disappeared into the aether. In its place materialized a different article on the same subject, completely rewritten such that my post didn’t make any sense anymore. So I had to junk it. A pity. It was a real beaut. Fortunately, my argument remains unassailable, so you are stuck with the awkward re-write. You’ll just have to take my word for the erstwhile existence of the non-existent version.

The first article was pretty much an advertisement for the remarkable idea that pedophilia can be consensual. The gist of my original post was the startling paucity of the word “rape” in an article purporting to report on a middle-aged predator exploiting the power differential in his “father-figure” relationship with a 13-year-old student. “Rape” was used only twice and in such a manner as to suggest that the kid was just making it up. In its place were a string of euphemisms, incidences of which broke down thusly:

Encounter 1
Affair 1
Secret affair 1
Wanted them sexually 1
Have sex 2
Slept with 2
Sexual activity 2
Sexual relationship 6

The new improved article is a bit harder on Nicholls, depicting him as a predator and a “horrible person,” but the second piece retains the original lurid headline and opener:

Schoolgirl air cadet killed herself after being ‘raped’ by instructor

And:

A schoolgirl who killed herself after having sex with her 39-year-old flying instructor saw the encounter as rape, a court heard.

It wasn’t a rape, it was a ‘rape’. No wait, it was an “encounter,” editorially downgraded to “having sex,” because one mustn’t discount the likelihood that the kid made up the rape part just before offing herself because she was a tarty bitch and all sexy little girls are lying suicidal sluts.

With your keen eye you will perceive that the sentence in the second quotation is structured to ascribe the agency to young Cherrell; the 39-year-old rapist is just her sex partner, a passive bystander.

Both versions of the article undeniably use the trial as an excuse to pander to reader prurience with a lurid teen sex scandal and its sensationally tragic consequences. It’s not just the Daily Mail, either. WalesOnline is happy to accommodate Dude Nation by consulting Cherrell’s 18-year-old ex-boyfriend (one begins to grasp that this poor kid never had a chance), who also romanticizes the rape as an “an affair.” The boyfriend (who wasn’t there, but he’s a dude, so he’s completely authorized to make this call) also refers to it “sexual intercourse” and “a fling.”

Tell me. How the hell can a 13-year-old kid have an affair? If there exists a more disenfranchised group of human beings than teenage girls I’d like to know about it.

The absurd and dangerous conflation of rape and sex and children and affairs reflected by these news stories would all be completely unnecessary if female persons enjoyed anything remotely resembling the agency men wield all day long.

Fortunately I have the solution.

As longtime readers know, the Twist-Solution proposes the unthinkable: the legalization of women’s humanity, otherwise known as my Wacky Consent Scheme. Because I love this scheme, I’ll haul it out of mothballs and give it an airing:

The Problem with consent

Although this condition does not obtain with regard to any other crime you can think of, when it comes to rape, women are currently considered to exist in a state of perpetual “yes!”. This is because “yes!” is consistent with global accords governing fair use of women. Victims of robbery or attempted murder don’t have to prove that they said no to being robbed or murdered; the presumption is that not even women would consent to being killed. But because penetration by males is what women are for, if we are raped we have to prove not just that we didn’t say yes, which is impossible to prove, but that we specifically and emphatically said no, which is also impossible to prove.

There are rules about what sort of woman can even attempt to make the “I said no” argument in court. Women who typically are not eligible to opt out of consent include: women who drink in bars, women who walk alone, women who walk at night, women who use drugs, women belonging to certain castes, women who dress a certain way, women who don’t dress a certain way, women who are married to men, women who have had multiple sex partners, women who may have said yes last month, women who may have said yes at the beginning but who, three minutes in, found it disagreeable and changed to “no,” women who didn’t fight back hard enough, women who didn’t tell anyone or report it right away, women whose physical similarity to pornulated women aroused the defendant, women whose behavior at the party aroused the defendant, teens with a “reputation,” and prostituted women.

Prostituted women are indistinguishable from sex itself. This is true to varying degrees of all women, but prostituted women particularly are imagined to manifest so cavalier an attitude toward being used at any and all times by any and all comers that it is considered impossible to rape them. Prostituted women can never say no to sex because they are sex.

The Twist-Solution

My wacky consent scheme flips it around. According to my scheme, women would abide in a persistent legal condition of not having given consent to sex. Conversely, men, who after all are constantly declaiming that their lack of impulse control is a product of evolution and there’s not a thing they can do about it, would abide in a persistent legal state of pre-rape.

Women can still have all the sex they want; if they adjudge that their dude hasn’t raped them, all they have to do is not call the cops.

But if, at any time during the course of the proceedings, up to and including the storied infinitesimal microsecond preceding the sacred spilling of dudely seed, the woman elects to biff off to the nearest taco stand; and if her egress from the sweaty tableau is in any way impeded by the pronger (such an impediment would include everything from “traditional” brute force, to that insistently whispered declamation “just a couple more minutes, I’m almost there” the dread seriousness of which the fervid oaf dramatizes by that ever-so-slight tightening of his grip on her wrist); or if, in three hours or three days or, perhaps in the case of childhood abuse, in 13 years it begins to dawn on her that she has been badly used by an opportunistic predator, she has simply to make a call.

Presto! The dude is already a rapist, because, legally, consent never existed.

The cessation of rape would be immediate. Men would begin aligning their boinking protocols along non-barbaric lines in a hurry. It would suddenly be in their best interest to make damn sure that nothing in their behavior, either prior or subsequent to hiding the salami, would cause their partner to believe she has been abused.

I have an idea for a great new product, too. SmartCervix. An undetectable microchip records pertinent information regarding any “encounter” — DNA typing, location via GPS, audio, video, date, time, etc — and sends it (encrypted, of course) to a remote third-party database where it can be retrieved by the client (you) whenever some dickwad goes all 2009 on your ass.

I revisit my wacky consent scheme annually whether it needs it or not.

[Thanks, Cindy B, for sending the original link]

131 comments

5 pings

  1. liberality

    It makes me very sad at heart that my entire life has been defined by the broader culture concerning my status as a sex object. It started at birth when I was dressed in pink and declared pretty. It continued at six when a male relative in his 30s who lived nearby decided I was his fuck buddy for a year. Ten years later it continued when a dude in his 20s decided I should be his fuck buddy and who wouldn’t take no for an answer and who stalked/terrorized/raped me for a period of two years until I hid underground to get away from him (yet I had his daughter I should add). I found my “Nigel” as you put it, who decided I was a human being in addition to being a fuck buddy and I’ve been with him ever since. Who would I have been as a human being if I could have been seen by society as more than a fuck buddy? I struggle in my life to figure that out. Seeing that men used women at a very young age, I decided I never wanted to be married or have children. However, it didn’t work out that way. Maybe I sold out by getting married but safety is not to be sneezed at. IBTP of course. Thank you Twisty for this blog.

  2. Emily

    This reminds me of a story I heard years ago. A woman (in an African country, I think) invented a sort of woman’s condom device that remained inside her perpetually. If she was raped, the device would chomp down on the doodle with metal teeth, and it would remain that way until the man went to a doctor to get it removed (the device, not the doodle). Apparently there was some controversy because the device was “inhumane”. I wish I knew if the thing was actually manufactured or only dreamed up.

  3. Hollywood Marie

    Quoth Twisty, “If there exists a more disenfranchised group of human beings than teenage girls I’d like to know about it.”

    Amen.

  4. Astro

    Emily, it’s a real product called Rapex, from South Africa.

  5. Twisty

    Emily, you allude to FemDefense, which wasn’t a hoax so much as it was an art project, and to Rapex, which I think is/was real.

  6. Virginia S. Wood, Psy.D.

    Your proposal is one of the best things I’ve ever read.

  7. lotesse

    “Prostituted women can never say no to sex because they are sex.”

    Twisty, thank you so much. This is it, this is patriarchy ground zero. This is the problem with objectification and empornulation and all the other “happy feminist” bull that so many of my Women’s Studies 101 students cling to so fervently – if we are sex, sex personified, then we are unrapeable. Consent, if by consent we mean not saying no, is a red herring. Consent is the given. argh! Stupid dicking patriarchy.

  8. TP

    Until the Twisty Consent Law is written into the universal Bill of Human Rights, liberation will be unthinkable. It’s the first step. Women will remain the sex class until this is the default assumption in every court in the world. They may well remain the sex class afterward, but this is really a bottom line.

    Much like Catherine MacKinnon’s “Only Words”, the logic is so unassailable that you can’t find the slightest reason why this shouldn’t be the natural assumption of the legal system. It is certainly the natural assumption of every human being until indoctrinated otherwise.

  9. estraven

    The cherry on top of the cake: the next title on the Daily Mail was “Pictured: Rihanna’s horrific injuries after alleged bust-up with Chris Brown”. The keyword here is of course alleged. Makes me want to puke.

    The question now is: how do I educate my 9-year-old daughter so that once she’s 13, if someone rapes her she goes to the police instead of killing herself? Also: should I instruct her to go tell mommy before the police, so that mommy can remove the offending salami and balls before the police arrests him?

  10. TheLady

    Have you guys been exposed to the Meredith Kercher story at all?

    Executive summary: British student studying in Italy gets raped and murdered, the police decide there’s no way can this actually be what it looks like (dude raped and killed her, duh) and decide the person who planned the crime must have been a *woman*. Dude who actually raped and murdered Meredith goes to jail for it, but police still not happy; a year on, they’re still trying to pin the crime on the victim’s female housemate.

    UK media have a field day (well, couple of years really) luridly describing everything from the victim’s provicative clothing at the party she went to the night before her murder, to the vibrator glimpsed by the victim in her alleged female murderer’s bag. Because women who have sex deserve death or jail, or both. And the language they’ve been using to describe the whole setup – victim, crime, suspect – is just appaling.

    I’d be interested to hear the blametariat tear that one into a few steaming pieces, cause it’s been pissing me the hell off.

    As for the consent scheme: let’s start a campaign to pass it into law. It’ll never work, but imagine the headlines!

  11. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I think you forgot one class of woman ineligible to opt out of consent – those who are married to their rapist. Because marriage confers perpetual consent.

  12. Emily

    So good to know the device is real. I don’t have enough events in my day to snicker evilly at.

  13. Twisty

    I covered married women, Antoinette.

  14. yttik

    Excellent Twisty.

    Since we live within a rape culture the responsibility must be placed totally on men. They should be required to prove not just consent, but female enthusiasm. Sex should always involve a running ticker in your mind checking off each indication of enthusiasm during the whole process. And this enthusiasm should last well beyond the event.

    It seems completely rational to me. Sex should never be like trying to give a cat a bath. That’s no fun at all for anybody involved. The cat might consent having no real choice, but there’s no doubt in my mind I’m torturing the poor thing no matter how much it cooperates.

    As to those who rape children, I’d like to see them held financially responsible for the rest of their life. Child rape victims can require expensive counseling, suicide prevention, sometimes drug and alcohol treatment, they might need help paying for schooling. The damage child rape does is like ripples in a pond throughout their lives and the one who does this damage should be turned into a financial slave whose sole purpose in life now is to pay for the damage they caused to another human being.

  15. kate

    i think this blog is saving my life

  16. Marilyn

    Another great article, Twisty.

    I wonder if you or anyone else has seen a recent film called “Teeth”? Here’s a description:

    Dawn (Sundance award winner Jess Weixler) is a pretty but prim high school virgin who unknowingly has a set of mutant teeth between her legs. When a supposedly likeminded boyfriend forces himself upon her, Dawn’s vagina dentata start chomping — which is just the beginning of “the most twisted story of female empowerment ever told.”

    I blog film criticism. I’m thinking of starting a new film blog called The Feminazi Film Critic and review films from a feminist point of view. Whaddya think?

  17. Twisty

    I endorse the plan, Marilyn, but you could probably come up with a nicer blog title. Since you asked.

  18. Marilyn

    Thanks, Twisty. I thought it might be a bit much and might attract a bad element. Other suggestions by all blamers are invited.

  19. MLH

    I have a 16-year old son. I have told him about rape. I have told him that just because a woman is dressed in a “particular way” (whatever that means) does not mean that she wants to have sex with him. Or because she looks at him in a particular way, or anything she says, or because she is a woman. If she says no, to not insist. She won’t change her mind. Why would he want to have sex with a person that does not want to do it with him, anyway? And that includes his future wife, if he marries. The underlying issue here is that a woman’s body is her own and she chooses whom she is going to have intercourse with. She does not belong to him.
    I have told him that if she says “yes” and then she changes her mind, to not insist. No matter how bad he wants it; no, nothing bad will happen to his reproductive organs, the won’t fall off.

    Anyway, fellow blamers, anything else I should be saying to him? I want to make sure he really understands.

  20. Level Best

    Marilyn, I would love to read The Feminazi Film Critic. Actually, I love reading your current film-review blog; thank you for the consistently feminist focus! You write and think very well.

  21. Claire

    While it would be far more satisfying to me personally, and hundreds of millions of other women personally, as rape/incest survivors, to simply kill men on the spot when they hurt women in any way shape or form, I second the financial obligation plan.

    Hit ‘em where it hurts, and since money and status are all these twisted fucks give a shit about, take both away and force them to grovel. Like the women they hate and love to hurt so much, who’ve been kissing their fucking asses and sucking their fucking dicks whether they want to or not for hundreds of years. Force them to spend the rest of *their* fucking lives justifying/paying through the nose for every breath they take.

    I take it back. That’s very satisfying indeed. Let’s totally do that.

  22. Lexie

    I remember the first time I read this Twisty Consent Scheme. It was like I had been hit over the head with a clue stick. And it was so obvious that I couldn’t believe it was so obvious, if that makes any sense.

    I was sexually abused at nine, and then like many other kids, I grew up to be sexually abused again. (In my case, I call it the TCGRS, Typical College Girl Rape Scenario.) I think that rape victims (especially child rape victims) often have repeat victimization not so much because of the initial abuse (although obviously that certainly doesn’t help) but because of what they face afterwards. Either they are too afraid to tell anyone, because they aren’t given the tools, words, opportunity and self-worth to be able to tell anyone, or they tell people and they have to deal with this type of shit. They had an “encounter” and they are calling it “rape.” If the actual abuse didn’t wipe out any thought that they ever had that they were entitled to nonconsent, the treatment they get afterwards nails it right into their brains. Thus, repeat performances when they are older.

    I went something like 15 years without having sex after my TCGRS. It was kind of like, okay, if I live in a state of perpetual consent, I’ll stay away from any situation that even brings me remotely close to someone who could take advantage of my state of “consent.”

    And then I read this whole deal about default non-consent. And I took it to my-pre-Nigel, who was one of my closest friends and who I had been dating off and on for 16 years, and never had sex with. And I announced to him that I was in a default state of non-consent. All women were. And he needed to get consent before he ever laid a finger on any woman. And he was like, “well, yeah. That’s obvious, isn’t it? Isn’t that a known fact?”

    Ha ha ha ha ha! Then I showed him all the comments from men on that post and others like it. All the men who protested adamantly against it. They all started out something like, “I’m not a rapist, but…” and continued with something along the lines of how impossibly unfair it is for men to actually have to make sure their partners consent to having their own personal body touched by someone else.

    Anyway, my big revelation for myself here was, once I realized that I should be entitled to be assumed to be non-consenting until proven otherwise, and I had a Nigel that adamantly supported that…I finally figured out that sometimes I even liked to say yes. And sometimes I do.

    The thing is, if you are NEVER afforded the right to consent because it is just assumed, you never truly can consent. How would you ever even know when you do or don’t want to without the option not to? I don’t think men get this (and women too sometimes) because in the patriarchy, we never get to see what true consent actually looks like.

  23. Linda Atkins

    MLH, it sounds to me, anyway, like you are doing a great job. I also really like that you don’t assume your son will choose to marry.

  24. Marilyn

    Thanks, Level Best. Feminism is so important to me, and there aren’t many female critics out there to combat this pervasive tool of patriarchy with consistent reality checks.

  25. TP

    MLH – for your teen son, try to draw the parallel between lack of consent between himself and a girl, and lack of consent between him and a male rapist. Ask him to imagine how he would feel if a man tried to seduce him and wouldn’t take no for an answer, and everyone around him just laughed it off. Tell him that, despite his cultural conditioning otherwise, that girls might not imagine sex with him the way he imagines sex with them, unless they explicitly tell him so.

    Men do walk around in a world completely different from women. They imagine and are told to believe, that women like being sex objects, that they long for it by participating as females in our culture. Men don’t easily empathize with the fear and victimization that women think is obvious. You can be the sweetest, nicest boy in the world, and be even more likely to be ignorant of the threat a boy just like you can pose to women. Me, a threat? they think.

    So I feel it’s best to explain that girls feel more like straight boys threatened by gay men than he might think. Since mostly boys (and certain girls who have learned to act out the masculine role somewhere) are sexual aggressors in normal life, he might not get that coercion isn’t cool. Most boys never feel aggressively courted by girls, but if he has, that’s another tack toward understanding what constitutes rape.

    On a related subject, I have to say that women who complain that men react poorly to female sexual aggression might want to rethink their annoyance. Aggression is always perceived as aggression, even if the aggressor is a member of the oppressed class.

  26. eb

    MLH -

    I told my son that rape is violence. Sexual force is violence. It is violent behavior in the same way pointing a gun in someone’s face is violent. If he is ‘doing it’ and his girlfriend wants to stop, it is violent behavior for him to continue. If he must rape his partner in order continue with the act of sex, it is no longer sex.

    In the same vein, if someone is tickling you and you tell them to stop, but they don’t, it is violence. It’s abusive. They can shrug it off by saying it was all in good fun – it’s just tickling, after all. But it’s not good fun. The minute you say ‘no’ but the tickling continues, it ceases to be tickling. It then becomes force. It becomes one person forcing themselves on another person. That is violence.

    Having said that, I think it’s fantastic that you are discussing this with your son.

  27. Kelsey

    Ugh. I hate the way that rape is typically talked about in conventional media.

    My city’s local free weekly paper fairly recently came out with a (supposedly) true story about a rape victim. Upon reading the article, it became painfully, blatantly apparent that it was meant to titillate male readers. It described in lurid detail how the rape victim had spent her life doing drugs, partying, and sleeping around until she got married to this guy that was a “steadying influence” on her. This description of the woman’s “checkered past” went on for several pages. Then, when the piece described the night she got raped (“Drinking at a bar without her husband, what did she expect?,” is pretty strongly implied), the article seriously uses the phrase, “____ was feeling sexy in her new tight jeans . . .” I read the sentence out loud to my dining companion, who then proceeded to grab the paper off the table and throw it on the floor. Good thing one of us has some sense.

    Anyway, the point is, when rape is mentioned in any capacity in a mainstream media outlet it’s done in such a lurid, sensationalistic manner that my brain just turns off. IBTP.

  28. Marilyn

    I just read a survey in my local paper titled “When teen dating turns violent.”

    Two questions stood out:

    Have you ever had a partner in a relationship who pressured you into having oral sex when you didn’t want to? …pressured you into having sex when you didn’t want to?

    Shouldn’t that just have been one question: Have you ever had a partner in a relationship who raped you?

    Although the survey didn’t specify whether the respondents were boys or girls, the entire article was about girls getting hurt and raped. Yet, the newspaper and the source, Teenage Reserach Unlimited, didn’t call that spade a spade.

  29. A Jennifer Original

    TP, I am very uncomfortable with using the “boys threatened by gay men” line. Why would we need to resort to the “gay menace” scare tactics to teach boys that violence, including sexual violence is wrong? I think we can come up with more sophisticated reasoning then the “othering” of another disenfranchised group and perpetuation the gay pedophile stereotype.

  30. Jane D.

    I googled Rapex and FemDefence. I can’t find ANY sources that will actually sell one of these products to me. IBTP!!! IBPT!!!!

  31. Shae

    Putting rape in quotes was an insane maneuver by the media. If she’s 13, it’s rape, no matter how she “sees it”.

    I have a question about the Consent Scheme, Twisty, and it’s a sincere question. Do you think that your scheme interferes with the “innocent until proven guilty” model of justice we currently have? I’m having trouble wrapping my head around comparing sex, which can be consensual or rape, to robbery or murder, which is always unconsensual. The closest comparison I can think of is someone trying to prove that someone stole something from them (a CD, a car) while the new owner claims that it was given as a gift. In this case, as well as in rape, it seems that usually nothing is done unless there were witnesses to whatever the agreement was. Of course it’s not a good comparison anyway, since the judge can always tell the defendant to give back the CD or car. Not true with rape.

    And the follow up of course, if it interferes with “innocent until proven guilty”, do you find that to be problematic?

  32. random_anomaly

    This consent scheme is the best idea ever. Is there a “Vote for Twisty” campaign yet?

  33. TP

    A Jennifer Original:

    Is it “gay menace” scare tactics that I suggested? I don’t think so, though it might seem that way because of our assumptions. My intention is to help a boy understand that male aggression can easily be understood by a boy – or any male-identified human with male parts – if you explain it as coming from a man.

    Men often imagine that rape is a sexy fantasy because they think they’d love it if some hot sexy bitch pushed them down and made them fuck them. Getting around that extremely wide held mental picture of the hotness of sexual coercion and rape was my real intention. Establishing a more comprehensible empathy is my only concern, not creating fear of gay rape.

  34. Donna

    Shouldn’t that just have been one question: Have you ever had a partner in a relationship who raped you?

    Yeah, but it might be better to go with “has he ever pressured you into ____” because too many girls are operating under the P’s (very narrow) definition of rape and may not realize what is happening to them is included in it.

  35. Donna

    By included in it, I mean the actual definition of rape, not the Patriarchy’s arbitrary bullshit one. Just thought I needed to clarify that.

  36. JP

    @eb: I understand what you’re saying about rape being violence. It is. But there’s a danger in saying that to a teenage boy. He may think that if he’s not punching the woman he’s having sex with, it’s not rape. Obviously problematic.

    I don’t know what to say to a teenaged boy. I just know that when I was sexually abused at 13, it was not an act of physical violence in the sense that I was not beaten or threatened with a weapon or any other Law and Order scenarios. It was an act of psychological coercion, terrorism and full-on lies. So effective was the abuser’s campaign against my mind, that I “entered” into an abusive relationship with him a few years later as a young, legally consenting adult. Mentally, though, I was still 13. When my mother initially found out about the abuse by reading my diary when I was 13, I was yelled at, not protected. And the therapist she took me to shrugged the matter off. I was precocious and eloquent so the adults thought I was fine. Inside, I unraveled for years. It was no wonder that it took 11 years later in therapy to actually have someone say, “No, dear. This wasn’t a dramatic relationship you had. You were abused.” Every sexual encounter I had with a man after I was 13 was rape. I was coerced and just dissociated in absolutely every single “encounter” (read: rape) and they fucking knew it too. I would say no and then just got tired of fighting and that was my sex life. Even with my boyfriend now, who is really amazing and sane, I’m not always there during intercourse. Sex with him is great and exciting and hornifying. Intercourse, however, is where I space out and pretend.

    I’m ashamed. I know it’s not my fault. I gotta deal. I have The Courage to Heal by my bed. But it’s hard and it’s back and forth.

    All of this is to say, yes, Twisty, I can’t think of a more disenfranchised group than 13 year old girls.

    I normally use my full name here but lest someone Google me when sussing out my resume or some shit, I’ve used my initials. And that fucking pisses me off because I don’t want to be ashamed but I just don’t want to deal.

    Twisty, I am all kinds of fucked in the head about sex. I read your blog faithfully but last night I read Happy Feminist erotica and it got me off. But I’m glad you exist. You really help me. The only thing about your consent scheme is that abusers are really corrosive and I don’t think yes or no or anything stops them.

  37. Hedgepig

    TP’s idea is a good one. The only trouble with it is that men will find it almost impossible to imagine that women may feel as ‘turned off’ by male interest in them as a het man would feel being approached by a gay man. I suspect most would think “only if she’s a dyke.” But it’s a start.

    Twisty’s cuntcam idea is almost as good as vagina dentata.
    Almost.

  38. Friction

    First, I would like to say that a good friend at work just turned me on to your blog, and I love it.

    Second, What is the deal with age of consent? So, as I understand it, the wording of the statute(s) implies that there is a point in which it is taken for granted that a woman is going to consent because she has reached a certain age? Are you kidding?

    So, lets say in my State the age of consent is 16. Following the logic that consent is bestowed upon every woman, whether they choose to consent or not, by the misstatement of the statute itself (whatever it’s intention is)…I am perpetually doomed to consent to anything and everything from that day forward.

    Fuck That.

    We have to change the way the law is worded in order to get the true point across, and it’s true intent: Don’t abuse children/teens.

    Also, lets amend it to also say what you have so eloquently stated above: “women would abide in a persistent legal condition of not having given consent to sex.”

    Amen, Twisty!

  39. Miriam

    Maybe then we should add “women should be assumed to be in a perpetual state of dyke-ness unless information to the contrary is obtained?”

    That would certainly make my life easier.

  40. lawbitch

    The most disenfranchised group is girls of any age. I was raped beginning at 5 YO. I’ve been in therapy groups with women raped as infants or toddlers. It’s not as uncommon as people think. Shame keeps the victims quiet.

    Pedophelia is rampant in our society. If you want to know how rampant in your neighborhood, look up registered sex offenders in your area on x ttp://www.familywatchdog.us/

    On a more a more optimistic note, my teenage son loves Twisty’s blog. He “gets it.”

  41. lawbitch

    One more point. Overwhelmingly most pedophiles are heterosexual men. I don’t mean to exclude boys who are abused. They are abused at a lower rate than girls. It’s no less traumatic to the boys who are sexually abused.

  42. Spiders

    Last year’s (Australian) report “An Assault On Our Future” commissioned by the White Ribbon Foundation, found that one in seven young boys think it’s ok to force sex if the girl has been flirting.

    Twisty’s Consent Scheme was the first post I ever read here, and the reason I kept coming back. So many pennies dropped for me that day.
    Twas a good good day.

  43. Spiders

    Btw Marilyn, I’d love to read your film critic blog. I do a lot of radfem critique of film, myself. Care to link me?

  44. Hellonhairylegs

    When talking to teenagers I find what turns on the most lightbulbs is pointing out that sex is something you do with people, not something you have done to you or you do to someone else. That doesn’t help the really deluded dudes, but it’s a start.

    Great post Twisty.

  45. yttik

    Child rape is one of the most powerful tools the patriarchy has. It is a disability put upon us before we’re old enough to fight back. Many people are incredible survivors, but the damage it does is like still sending you out into the world with your hands tied behind your back.

  46. janet

    According to Wikipedia “rapex” is now “rape-axe.” And, umm, I don’t know how to alter Wikipedia entries, but maybe someone here does, because under the article on “Anti-rape device” it also states that 15th century chastity belts were the first anti-rape devices. I’m a neophyte in this area, but I’m pretty sure that’s not accurate. Right?

  47. Hedgepig

    I firmly believe that a significant proportion of men target women who have been raped as children almost exclusively for sexual ‘relationships’. Just as paedophiles recognise children who have already been abused, these men recognise grown women who have been abused and predate on them. It’s terrifying and very common.

  48. Tam

    To answer your question Shae – does this scheme interfere with the notion of innocence until proven guilty?

    Not at all. Rape is sex without consent. Under our bullshit misogynistic law (at least in Australia), the law simply disregards women when they say they didn’t consent. Think about that – who better than the rapee (is that a word?) would know if she did or did not consent? Isn’t the rapee the ONLY one who knows what is in her OWN mind? Of course she knows – she knows what she thought and how she felt about having sex. If she says she didn’t consent, then she didn’t consent and it was rape. That’s how the law ought to be.

    But under patriarchy, all women are supposed to be lying sluts who just want it all the time every time. So the law says we can’t trust or believe women when they say they didn’t consent. The law turns around and says “what about the menz?” and asks instead “Did the DEWD know she wasn’t consenting?”.

    Cue details of what woman was wearing, her sex life, her level of intoxication etc. – “how could this poor dewd possibly know she didn’t consent if the little slut was out dancing in a club at night in pantyhose by herself drinking and not a virgin and no husband/bf around of course she wanted to have sex!”

    In a non-misogynistic scheme, when a rapee says “I didn’t consent” this is 100% PROOF that she did not consent, and it’s rape. That’s all the proof needed, because nobody besides the rapee knows how the rapee felt about the sex act. The dewd is innocent until proven guilty – proof of guilt being the rapee’s testimony that she did not consent.

    I work in criminal prosecutions, and if one more sentencing judge says the rape was at “the lower end of seriousness” because the victim was a prostitute who agreed to sex but only (only?!?!) changed her mind when the rapist refused to put on a condom – I will howl.

  49. Anna Belle

    MLH: Have you told him the truth about the patriarchy and how it works? I have a daughter and she knows, but boys need to know too. They need to think of it as something bad, something they want no part of, something they conscientiously avoid participating in. My daughter rolls her eyes a lot at me right now, but I don’t let that stop me. When she’s 19 and in college and is confronted with the truth, she’ll have a frame and language that makes sense.

    Rape culture pisses me the hell off more than anything. I am extremely alarmed by the pornification of rape and the web of misogyny that blankets the planet. Stuff is going down in places like California and China that are going to collide one day (soon) and I hate to think of what that even more super-masculine world will look like. That’s why I try to work so hard to build a better feminist movement; things will get much worse, I think, and it’s the only hope we’ve got.

  50. PhysioProf

    I thought it might be a bit much and might attract a bad element. Other suggestions by all blamers are invited.

    How about This Film Sucks?

  51. R.

    I was taught that people are hanged and paintings are hung. But recently I keep seeing more and more usage of “hung” to refer to people hanging. What’s the deal, yo?

  52. Ayla

    I remember a couple of years ago, that Rapex thing was getting some coverage on blogs and such. Some of the comments from men were absolutely chilling. Of course, most of the dudes’ concerns involved being “tricked” by a woman and getting the thing embedded in their weewee when they attempted to have consensual sex. (These are, presumably, the same men who think every woman wants nothing more than to steal the condom out of the trashcan and impregnate herself with a clump of cells which he will then avoid but nevertheless be forced to pay child support to for the next 18 years.)Some were willing to concede that the “Rapex as offensive weapon” thing is highly improbable compared to the probability of a woman being raped, but still felt that there had to be a “better way.”

    The simple fact these doods obviously fail to realize is that the “better way” would be for the men to just stop raping.

  53. Lara

    “I revisit my wacky consent scheme annually whether it needs it or not.”

    Twisty, this revisiting of your Wacky Consent Scheme will ALWAYS be needed. It cannot be stressed enough.

  54. Spiders

    Ayla, totally agree. It also again puts the responsibility on women to prevent their own rape, and really the possibility of getting their wanger bitten isn’t why men shouldn’t rape someone, anyway.
    Also, there are plenty of other ways to inflict sexual violence/violence without putting the precious doodle in harm’s way. The Rapex device can’t prevent anal rape or other forms of torture for example.
    The entitled dudebros who condemn it are also the same ones who think a feminist political platform would necessarily include involuntary castration for men generally.

  55. Jonathan

    @Jane D.

    I googled Rapex and FemDefence. I can’t find ANY sources that will actually sell one of these products to me. IBTP!!! IBPT!!!!

    The P does everything it can to keep the sex class unarmed, lest there be an uprising.

    Until our consent laws line up with Twisty’s sanity, our only hope is that the P screws up at some point and an entrepreneur somewhere ISN’T blocked from going into production and selling them through the internet. They’d easily make a fortune, which just goes to show you that making money was never the real goal of our capitalist society.

    Until Rapex is finally released, at least the gun-crazy USA allowed my S.O. to train on a SIG.

  56. sonia

    it’s so unfortunate that male perspective is taken into account. period. i love the points about us being seen as sex itself. i really believe the reason for that is that simple reversal so often alluded to by the likes of Daly, etc.

    we need to restructure life around women’s perspectives only. (female centered life works really well in the animal world.) or Twisty’s.

  57. XtinaS

    Hellonhairylegs:

    “When talking to teenagers I find what turns on the most lightbulbs is pointing out that sex is something you do with people, not something you have done to you or you do to someone else. That doesn’t help the really deluded dudes, but it’s a start.”

    I recall reading on Pandagon, ages and ages ago, this thing where the author (Amanda?) compared sex-as-it-is to basketball – scoring points, only one winner, &c – to sex-as-it-should-be to musical jam sessions – all must be involved and interested or it’s no good.

    Ah, found it!

    http://pandagon.blogsome.com/2007/06/21/on-pigs-basketball-frames-and-music/

    The liberal-feminist view of sex is that it’s not a war or a game, but more of a mutual collaboration, less like a battle and more like playing music. In this model, to be a sexual person is to be a musician and sex is playing your instrument. Sometimes you play by yourself, sometimes you get with others and jam, and sometimes you actually have a band that you have a long-term relationship with. There aren’t winners and losers, but there can be good and bad sex, just like there can be good and bad music.

  58. dawn coyote

    Welcome to the Aphrodesia Sexual Activity Consent Registry. At the tone, please say your name.

    [beeeeeep]

    Hello Cameron White. Please use the keypad to enter your personal ID number.

    Thank you. Please select one of the following menu options:

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    Please select one of the following menu options:

    For “Add new consents”, press 1.
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    Thank you. Please select one of the following menu options:

    To add new consents for sexual activities with Lee James, press 1. To add new consents for sexual activities with Hunter Collins, press 2. To add new consents for sexual activities with Kelly Singer, press 3.

    Thank you. You have chosen “Add new consents for sexual activities with Kelly Singer.”

    Is this correct? For “Yes”, press 1. For “No”, press 2.

    Thank you. Please select one of the following menu options:

    For “Schedule A activities”, press 1.
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    To hear a complete listing of Schedule B activities, please press 1 now. To add a new Schedule B activity to your consents, please speak the name of that activity now.

    You have chosen “Oral to genital contact, All”.

    Is this correct? For “Yes”, press 1. For “No”, press 2.

    Thank you. To add another Schedule B activity to your consents, please speak the name of that activity now, or press 1 to complete this session.

    You have chosen “Genital to genital contact, All”.

    Is this correct? For “Yes”, press 1. For “No”, press 2.

    Thank you. To add another Schedule B activity to your consents, please speak the name of that activity now, or press 1 to complete this session.

    Please wait while Aphrodesia completes your request.

    Please note that Kelly Singer must also register consent for each of the activities you have selected in order for those activities to be protected under Sexual Activity Consent Act regulations.

    Do you wish to continue? For “Yes”, press 1. For “No”, press 2.

    Thank you. Aphrodesia has located a Consent Record for Kelly Singer.

    Kelly Singer has selected one Schedule C item that is not on your Consent Record. The item is “Spanking”.

    To add this item to your Consent Record, press 1. To continue without adding the item, press 2.

    Thank you. The item, “Spanking”, has not been added.

    All sexual activities are undertaken at the sole risk of the individuals involved. By using this service, you agree that The Aphrodesia Sexual Activity Consent Registry is indemnified and saved harmless from any claims arising from sexual activities undertaken by you and Kelly Singer.

    Do you agree to these terms? For “Yes”, press 1. For “No”, press 2.

    Thank you. It is Aphrodesia’s duty to inform you that should you later wish to file a non-consensual sexual activity complaint with any law enforcement agency, your selections on this Consent Record will not be eligible for any investigation that might arise out of such a complaint.

    Do you wish to continue? For “Yes”, press 1. For “No”, press 2.

    Thank you. Are you intoxicated at this time? For “Yes”, press 1. For “No”, press 2.

    Thank you. Your Consent Record has been accepted by the system. Your account will be charged a $2.75 processing fee.

    The Aphrodesia Sexual Activity Consent Registry encourages its members to use condoms for all sexual activities.

    Thank you for using Aphrodesia.

  59. slythwolf

    Wait wait wait wait wait. 39-year-old man rapes 13-year-old girl, who kills herself because she is overwhelmed by, let’s be serious, what is in all honesty a ridiculously egregious level of oppression, which she has to deal with because she has the audacity to exist while female. Then an 18-year-old man declares that it somehow wasn’t rape, and is believed because he rapes her regularly himself? And–this is the kicker–there still exist people who don’t think this is a patriarchy.

  60. slythwolf

    Two questions stood out:

    Have you ever had a partner in a relationship who pressured you into having oral sex when you didn’t want to? …pressured you into having sex when you didn’t want to?

    Shouldn’t that just have been one question: Have you ever had a partner in a relationship who raped you?

    No.

    Since we live in a patriarchy, many respondents to the survey who would answer yes to one of the two “pressured” questions would have answered no to the question calling it rape. Until six months ago, I would have been one of them.

  61. PatriarchySlayer

    I don’t really care about the law as it stands now. I’ll say it. Because when it comes to the protection of women in this manner. I think that our system of let the woman prove that he DID rape her, isn’t working. Obviously. Yes, I realize there are women who cry rape. I don’t believe many, but I’m sure it can happen. I don’t know why though. The stigma of rape is such a slap in the face, I don’t know why any woman would willing call that upon herself. I never fully realized what views people held about it, until I was faced with my own experience. Sharing my story was like finding out who was trully my friends. Maybe that’s unfair to the poor idiots who have been raised in our P society and “don’t know any better”. But I can’t help feeling their blaming gaze upon me.
    And honestly, I’ve wondered many times. I think, was that thing actually rape? Did I say no? I thought I did. Maybe he didn’t hear me. Maybe he really thought I was into it, as I was screaming for him to get off me. I don’t know. Yes, I realize my brain is fucked up. And that’s what rape does to you, it fucks with your mind as well as your body. Until I read Twisty’s blog. And everything became very clear.

    Only yes means yes. A lack of yes means no. I wonder if all men’s brain were reprogrammed to believe that they needed to actually get consent every step along the way…if things would change. I love what Eve Ensler writes in Vagina Monologues, something about the thousands and millions of rapes that occur during war. And then she plainly gives very similar numbers of the amount of rapes in America, and says yet we’re not at war.

    Apparently, we are. Are we ready to fight back?

  62. Spiders

    “The liberal-feminist view of sex is that it’s not a war or a game”
    Hang on. Which strand of feminism DOES see it as a war or a game? It’s only the patriarchy that sees it as that, and that kind of statement pretty much represents everything I despise about liberal feminism’s capacity for missing the bloody point.

  63. Amy

    Thank you again, Dear Aunt Twisty, for making me feel a bit better that I am not, in fact, insane, and that other people in the world do think the same way I do about these things.

    As for the teaching-the-son question in the comments, the only way he’s ever going to really get it is if he has empathy with the victims. Drag his ass into a trauma centre and show him what rape really looks like. If there’s one thing 16 year old boys lack, it’s empathy with anyone or anything besides their fellow 16 year old masculinised peers.

  64. Silence

    Hmph. Here’s the one I love. Remember when you were a little girl and some little boy followed you around at school or in the playground jeering at you, pulling your hair, maybe stealing your belongings? And you complained to an adult and they told you ‘it’s only because he likes you’? Hands up if this sounds familiar.

    So, instead of getting a lecture on the rights of others and a time-out in a corner, another little boy learned that he could harass women with impunity. And another little girl learned that when men abuse her, ignore her protests, and mock her, she should be happy because they’re paying attention to her and obviously find her attractive.

    I have never, thank my lucky stars, been raped. But I have been the victim of the little-girl-teased-by-a-little-boy scenario, and even that fucked up my perspective at a very early age. I knew, dammit, that there was nothing well-intentioned or friendly about the boys’ attention, yet instead of sympathy or defense, I was told I should be flattered. Seriously, this kind of thinking is rape mentality, and it is ugly, and it is pervasive. In the eyes of society, men have to murder us before they’re seen as doing us any wrong, and even then we’d better not have been having an affair or even flirting with other men or we’re evil sluts who deserved death.

    Until everyone agrees naturally that our choices and opinions matter, we need the law to protect us. It doesn’t. Our choices and opinions don’t matter because our gender is seen an afterthought, a second sex whose purpose in life is to service the first, true gender. Twisty’s law would rectify the situation by removing the notion that it is our natural role to be fucked by men and any woman who objects is probably a lying bitch trying to suck a little money or attention out of the innocent pronger.

    I’m really too angry to say anything about this poor girl’s suicide. There’s no one society hates more than teenagers, especially teenage girls. The poor child is dead, the victim of a vicious, predatory asshat, and now the vultures are coming to pick over every sordid detail of her sexual behavior, as if that will provide some convenient excuse as to why this happened. All they want is to find a way to blame the victim, shrug, wash their hands of it, and pretend this was an aberration rather than face the fact that men are trained to rape virtually from the cradle. A deep thank you to all the mothers of here, as I know all of you are working hard to keep your children free of this horrible conditioning and thus improve life in the future. Perhaps the next generation will start the revolution, or at least put Twisty’s very sensible plan into effect.

  65. Marilyn

    One of the reasons that “no means yes” persists is that women are taught a variety of things about men’s attitudes that are designed to keep us from being straightforward about our wishes and desires. “Play hard to get. If you’re too forward, you’ll scare him off or he’ll think you’re a slut/bitch/ballbuster/etc.” “A woman catches more flies with honey than vinegar” (like I really want to catch flies!). We are TAUGHT this stuff, which only increases men’s distrust of us and our distrust of each other (divide and conquer). Being taught “feminine wiles” has its deadly consequences when it comes to sex: “no means yes.” What a Catch 22!

  66. Daisy P

    “The absurd and dangerous conflation of rape and sex and children and affairs reflected by these news stories would all be completely unnecessary if female persons enjoyed anything remotely resembling the agency men wield all day long.”

    What and how the Daily MALE this reported should have breached some kind of journalistic laws. Sex with underage girls is rape, it’s against the LAW and should not be tip-toed around, nor mis-described. No matter how the doods try to sanitise the description, you know, dumb it down, in order to let them off their guilt one more time, and give them even more entitlement, drip by drip, it’s still agains the LAW. Or are only humans, which females are not, only protected by laws? Oh wait a minute, animals are also protected by more laws than females too. Sheesh.

    Ten years ago, the onus would have been firmly on the dood. “You did it dood, it’s statutory rape, do not pass go, do not stop to have a jizzy, straight to jail to get a taste of your own abuse. Now, incidents like this, thanks to papers like the MALE, are seeding peeople’s minds and downgrading paedophilia. Wait for laws to follow “it’s all down to what the GIRLS want, girls are maturing so fast these days” blah blah bull fucking shit.

    No, it’s not what the girls want, it’s what the fucking smegwads want.

    (Btw, the jails are so crowded here now, that I could swear there is a conspiracy with the police, the lawmakers and the papers, to brainwash people, especially with the easy-targets such as females, to downgrade crimes -crimes agains doods will be upgraded of course.)

    This young girl committed suicide and they put quotes around the word rape, and they did not say it was rape, they made it clear that she said it. Don’t blame the menz cuz they have these uncontrollable dicks which they need to abuse females with. It’s not rape, cuz he said wasn’t??? It was all her fault for having a vagina, and a mind that had not fully developed in order to be able to assess that she could say no, not an option even for adult women these days.

    It’s hard enough these days in adult hetero relationshits, what with all the porn around, and the coercion which goes on by men to try to wear women down. Adult women can be worn down too, so what these girls (and many others) have to go through is beyond my comprehension.

    You know, in the olden days, doods would dupe women in all kinds of ways to get sex. Tell you they loved you, tell you that if you loved him you’d do it, tell you you’re beautiful etc.

    They still do all that shit, it’s just that now, their hard drives, excuse the description) ie, their brains, have all the porn files downloaded onto it, and although the woman may think she is having nice “equal” sex, in his head, she’s been groomed, coerced and the sex he’s having is porn sex.

    What has also changed for the worse, is the degree of coercion to do other things like anal sex, 3- somes, 4gies, “swinging” parties. Most times many women feel they need to go along with it or lose their man (abuser). If they don’t, but most times, even if they do agree, the man will still abuse elsewhere. It’s all rape. If the implication is a subtle threat that he will go elsewhere if she doesn’t do it, that’s rape.

    It’s all rape these days. The porn all around is the mass grooming, the pressure, and the coercion, and the threat.

    But the way this story was reported,the tone of it, the meanings by implication, the age of the girls, and the implications for the future are dismal.

    I feel a rant coming on to the Daily Male. Wankers. Fucking Wankers.

  67. Kit

    While I appreciate the sentiment of showing the true outcome of rape to boys, the last thing a person who is dealing with trauma needs is a kid on a ‘field trip’ gawking. The critical opportunity to teach empathy and compassion comes way before the teen years and I think it’s in place by the time kids are in elementary school. If the person is all ready ‘guilty’ of some of those thoughts or actions then the defense mechanisms kick in and it’s almost impossible to reach them.

  68. Daisy P

    ps – the point I was trying to make somewhere up there, was this:

    Rather than address the real problem, and get doods to stop raping little girls and women, just downgrade the crime, and hey magic, fewer wankersto put in the overcrowded jails.

    Kills 2 birds with one stone -they get to keep raping younger and younger females, PLUS the extra bonus of the courts having less to deal with.

    Don’t say that doods aren’t secretly organised around this either. There are men’s secret societies, such as the freemasons, which probably have a lot to answer for. Remember Belgium and Mark Dutroux (sp?). That was all covered up from bottom to the top of officialdom. There was another case in Russia I saw on tv too where a guy had kidnapped 2 girls, one when she was about 13, the other one about 16. He kept them in a dungeon for about 3 years or so.

    He had “instruction” manuals on the walls for them to study the sexual positions for when he visited.

    The younger one was so traumatised, that her reproductive system just “froze”. This was a blessing, as the older girl had 2 of his babies, and he kindly provided them with a midwife’s manual, to deliver these babies in the dungeon by themselves.

    They were eventually freed, but only by secreting a note into something that he had sent outside and then someone found it.

    When I saw this progamme a couple of months ago, (a la Josef Fritzl), I was stunned I had not heard of it. The girls were being interviewed, and I just thought “they do not know just how he fucked them up, it hasn’t yet sunk in”.

    Apparently more and more cases like this will be coming to light.

    Pray or whatever your belief system is, send a wish of hope thru the cosmos to any imprisoned girls out there who are suffering and have not been found. And when they get out, there will be further reminders all around them that women are not human, and that we are all just fucktoys in men’s eyes.

    That will be really hard for them.

    This is what victims of these crimes have to deal with every day.

    The reminders are all around, and if you have ever been raped, assaulted and traumatised, when you look at all the porn-tinged culture, you just keep on feeling raped and assaulted. There is nowhere safe.

  69. zooeyibz

    Jesus. This calls to mind a court case I read about where a man had been raping his step-daughter since she was 13. Eventually she got pregnant and she had the guts to take the case to court. He was convicted of… “fornication between persons forbidden to marry.”

    IBTP.

  70. delphyne

    I love your scheme too, Twisty.

    Please repeat it as often as needs be until it becomes law in every country.

  71. Mandy

    Twisty, please help us poor college students in Georgia. The representatives are trying to cut funding for gender, sexuality and queer theory classes. We are at a huge loss if they take these away from us. Dr. Mindy Stombler’s sexuality classes deal heavily with the social construction of rape and the gender classes deal with how patriarchal our society’s view of rape victims truly is. Please use your brilliant writing to help us defend our valuable classes. We need these forums for education and public debate to remain in place to educate our future leaders and policy makers. In the wake of Mr. Bush’s psuedo-presidency and all of the work he did to destroy any advancements the feminist movement has made, it is so important that we keep these environments of research and education in place for future students. I am so grateful for the knowledge gained in these classes and am so glad that I have already taken them. Those ass-backwards politicians and the Christian Coalition can’t take that away from me! Help us in our fight, please, I am begging you!

  72. Daisy P

    “One more point. Overwhelmingly most pedophiles are heterosexual men. I don’t mean to exclude boys who are abused. They are abused at a lower rate than girls. It’s no less traumatic to the boys who are sexually abused.”

    Sorry but females are re-traumatised every time they walk out the door, use the internet, buy a magazine, especially at the gas station where you have no choice but to face full on an onslaught, a wall, of visual representations and reminders of just what you are in society, where you place is, what your class is, and how you are valued. Not the same for boys. This space is for female trauma to be discussed in the context of the world-wide misogynistic space we have to live in, and the triggers that females face, even females who have never had a traumatic rape.

  73. Daisy P

    The Fritzl case:

    The Fritzl case emerged in late April 2008 when a 42-year-old Austrian woman, Elisabeth Fritzl, stated to police that she had been sexually abused, raped, and physically assaulted by her father, Josef Fritzl, since 1977 and had been imprisoned by him for 24 years, since 1984.

    Her father had held her captive in a small, soundproof and windowless cellar in the basement of the family home in the town of Amstetten in Lower Austria, claiming she had run away and joined a cult. During her captivity, she had given birth to a total of seven children, all of whom had been fathered by Josef. Three of them had been imprisoned along with their mother for the whole of their lives: daughter Kerstin, aged 19; and sons Stefan, 18; and Felix, 5. Of the other children, three had been raised by Josef and his wife Rosemarie in the upstairs home.

    He engineered the appearance of these children as foundlings discovered outside their house, giving the impression that their mother, Elisabeth, had abandoned them: Lisa at nine months in 1993, Monika at ten months in 1994, and Alexander at fifteen months in 1997. Alexander’s twin, Michael, died three days after birth. When the eldest daughter, Kerstin, became seriously ill in spring 2008, her father allowed her to be taken to a hospital, which triggered a series of events that eventually led to discovery. Fritzl will go on trial on 16 March, 2009.

    Expect more of these to come to light. The paedos, using one of their own children, probably to produce more children to abuse.

  74. Gwytherinn

    Oh goodness. After reading what feels like an avalanche of misogynist, horrible news this restored some of my sanity. Thank you.

  75. MLH

    Thanks for all your comments! As one blamer said, yes, I must emphasize to my son that rape has to do with violence, not even sex anymore. I do tell him about the patriarchy. There is a lot of eye rolling, it’s difficult to get through. We were discussing rape not long ago and he did not realize that it can exist within marriage too. It’s difficult to “undo” the messages that my son is bombarded with, every day in the media, society, etc.

  76. Jonathan

    @Daisy P:

    “Don’t say that doods aren’t secretly organised around this either. There are men’s secret societies, such as the freemasons, which probably have a lot to answer for.”

    Then there’s FLDS and all the other violent polygamist groups. They aren’t even a secret, and their continued violence against women and girls has been condoned by the courts (sure they’ll arrest a leader or two to allay public outrage, but they’ll purposely leave the cults alone otherwise). We desperately need Twisty’s scheme to be real, either codified by law or echoed through vigilante justice with devices like Rapex, etc.

  77. lawbitch

    Daisy P, I know men who have been sexually abused as boys (think cubscout leaders, priests, etc.). I have compassion for these people. As a survivor, I fear that my male children could be victimized. Nothing scares me more.

    I understand your frustration. I really do. I, however, refuse to let the patriarchy take my human compassion away.

  78. nobodyinparticular

    The picture of that poor child’s face tells so much. I weep for her.

  79. Katipo

    Dawn Coyote -

    Aphrodesia Sexual Activity Consent Registry: Love it!

  80. TheBellWitch

    “I knew, dammit, that there was nothing well-intentioned or friendly about the boys’ attention, yet instead of sympathy or defense, I was told I should be flattered.”

    Brilliant, Silence. My old high school yearbook is full of notes from male friends calling me a “prostitute” and a “whore.” They probably thought this was flirting, and the sad thing is, so did I. Being called a whore meant they saw me as a sexual being meant I was worthy of their attention. That logic just oozes patriarchy, but that’s what we’ve always been told, right? Being belittled* is flattering? God, to be a teenage girl is horrible.

    *Not belittling sex workers myself – just saying that in these dudes’ heads, whore = sex and sexual woman = whore and women’s sexuality = subservient, dirty and worthy of mockery.

    Twisty, I first read your Wacky Consent Scheme after a friend was raped. She went to police, but the asshole used a condom, so it was her word against his and guess whose word came out on top? The police told her there wasn’t enough evidence to press charges. I guess her PTSD and subsequent mental breakdown weren’t admissible.

    So when I found your blog last year and read that post? It was like a glimmer of sanity in a really sick world. Keep shouting it from the rooftops.

  81. felicity

    Anna Bell
    “Rape culture pisses me the hell off more than anything. I am extremely alarmed by the pornification of rape and the web of misogyny that blankets the planet. Stuff is going down in places like California and China that are going to collide one day (soon) and I hate to think of what that even more super-masculine world will look like. That’s why I try to work so hard to build a better feminist movement; things will get much worse, I think, and it’s the only hope we’ve got.”

    Same in the UK.. I sometimes think ‘why bother?’ Reading this blog is powerful because it’s the truth and what a lot of women feel underneath patriarchy cheerleading. Someone else told me every woman is a feminist. Every woman tries to fight the patriarchy, whether she lapdances and tries to get along, she’s against it. ‘Getting along’ is fighting in a way, because it’s doing something other than being the dust speckles i’m sure certain men want us to be. You see it in a woman’s eyes when she’s laughing along with sexist jokes. She laughs and tries to hate herself but can’t; she knows she is the butt of the joke. It hurts inside even the fiercest patriarchy supporters.

    It’s obvious both men and women are the problem – both sexes in general seem to dislike/ distrust women. There are so few women who are feminists, yet so many who struggle with the patriarchy. I give up hope because I could try and live for myself and forget about other women, even though they all fight living in this world. It would be easy to give up on feminism and ‘adapt’. Except it scares me too Anna!! If feminism went, things could get a lot worse. With feminism in existence things are getting bad.

    Even though feminists are spotted around the planet, scared to come out… There has to be a time when they will! I’m doing lecture shout outs at my university as womens’ officer – wish me luck!

  82. dawn coyote

    Thanks, Katipo.

    I wrote it a while ago, inspired by Twisty’s take on consent. My bureaucratic* oversight model has the small problem of not allowing for a change of heart in the throes. With Aphrodesia, once given, consent cannot be withdrawn.

    * I will never, it seems, be able to spell that word on the first try, and enough people misspell it with the same variations that I do to make googling it for the correct spelling utterly pointless.

  83. Daisy P

    Lawbitch – I was not saying (here we go now, turning this into a discussion about male’s experience but I will forge on) that males do not deserve compassion. I was merely stating the huge difference in the aftermath, the experience when they go out into the world and try to live.

    The experience, the dynamic, and the cultural context is totally different for males. They still belong to the privleged class, not the sex class.

    You are saying that knowing this means people do not have compassion? Again, it is not an either/or. I choose to focus on the completely different dynamic and experience of females.

    I was highlighting the difference in the experience afterwards. Culture is one big after-shock, re-trauma, day after day for females. Again, this space is for talking about the privilege of men, and how this relates to the experience of females in that context. If a gender issue did not exist, this blog would not be here.

    I have compassion for anyone who is raped/abuse, after all, I have been there myself. But I will not be side-tracked into an argument about how it’s all the same for boys too, it’s not, especially when they have to go off and live in the world, a world which re-traumatises women with the surround-sound of rape images everywhere you look (male-to-female). This is not saying I am uncompassionate to anyone who is raped, just saying it’s worse for females, long-term, than males.

    If you don’t understand what I am saying, sorry, but I can say no more about it, or make it any clearer.

    I am not uncompassionate.

  84. JenniferRuth

    There was also a report on the BBC about that 39 year old man raping those young girls. It used the words “had sex” in reference to their rape many times.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/7895891.stm?lss

    So, I wrote a complaint, which said:
    “I am writing to complain about the language used in this article. The article starts as “A 39-year-old air cadet instructor has been accused in court of having sex with two girls”
    A 39 year old man cannot “have sex” with a girl that is under the age of consent. By legal definition that is statutory rape.
    The words “had sex” instead of rape are used all the way through this article. There can be no argument that this man committed rape. To use the word sex throughout the article is very damaging – it normalises rape as a type of sex which it IS NOT. It is important for the media to make these distinctions and I expect the BBC to be a leader in this regard.
    Please, please stop using “had sex” when you are referring to rape.”

    What did I get as a reply? This bullshit:
    “Jennifer,
    Our understanding is that, legally, rape is still a specific offence, as outlined in the Sexual Offences Act 2003:
    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/Acts/acts2003/ukpga_20030042_en_2#pt1-pb1-l1g1
    This man has been charged with offences of having and attempting sexual activity. In all such cases, consent is not an issue, but it is still not for us to use language that refers to a specific criminal offence with which he has not been charged.

    Kind regards,

    Ian Jolly
    News website”

    Yeah, IBTP.

  85. Shae

    Thanks for the response, Tam.

    “Cue details of what woman was wearing, her sex life, her level of intoxication etc. – “how could this poor dewd possibly know she didn’t consent if the little slut was out dancing in a club at night in pantyhose by herself drinking and not a virgin and no husband/bf around of course she wanted to have sex!””

    I’d like to get this one out of the way right away, lest anyone misconstrue where I’m coming from. I agree 100% that what the woman was wearing, her sex life, her level of intoxication, whether she’s a polyamorous bisexual dominatrix stripper, so forth and so on are completely bullshit concerns that have no bearing whatsoever on anything; EVERY woman is allowed to not consent.

    Now on to the rest. You say that because the woman is the authority on whether or not she consented, that when she says she didn’t consent that that is proof that she didn’t consent.

    In no other crime do we have a parallel situation in which simply claiming the crime happened is proof that it did. What if, for example, no sexual act occurred, forced or otherwise? Though I am certainly loathe to point it out, and don’t suggest it’s common, people can claim that sex happened, that rape happened, that robbery happened, that breach of contract happened, and all sorts of other things when it didn’t happen, out of a variety of confused or immoral or inexplicable motivations.

    Allow a simple claim to constitute proof and you not only show no meaningful proof, but you make it possible for everyone to make a citizen’s arrest anytime they feel inclined, plus you open the door for other heinous I-claim-it-thus-its-true trials like the Salem witch ones (“Of course I was bewitched by her, who better knows than me?”).

    All that said, I know that the methods (or lack thereof) of prosecuting rape need serious reform. I just don’t agree that bestowing irreversible, unprovable guilt upon every suspect — by uttering a word — is the solution. This was a scary precedent in the Salem witch trials and it’s a scary precedent still.

  86. Shae

    A postscript, if I may.

    The problem with prosecuting rape comes not solely from society’s unwillingness to believe the story of a member of the oppressed class — though this is an element and one that should be removed — but from the fact that most of the time there are no witnesses to the crime and often there is no evidence (and yes, it is completely understandable why a woman might not have gone through the distress of producing semen and medical reports).

    Again I hold that similarly unwitnessed, unverifiable-by-physical-evidence crimes DO go similarly unpunished, for whatever it’s worth.

    Discussions of women’s clothing and sex lives DEFINITELY should NOT come up in court, but it seems to me that even without these discussions most rape cases would be unprosecutable under our current justice system, which holds innocence until evidence is produced.

    This justice system may well be flawed (as I implied in the last line of my first comment), but it isn’t clear that it holds rape cases to higher standards of proof than other crimes.

  87. Twisty

    Dawn Coyote: “With Aphrodesia, once given, consent cannot be withdrawn”

    Great Scott!

  88. Tierney

    dawn coyote: I will never, it seems, be able to spell that word on the first try, and enough people misspell it with the same variations that I do to make googling it for the correct spelling utterly pointless.

    Do you precede the word (however you spell it) with “define” when googling? I find that helps me whenever I search for commonly misspelled words.

    Shae: All that said, I know that the methods (or lack thereof) of prosecuting rape need serious reform. I just don’t agree that bestowing irreversible, unprovable guilt upon every suspect — by uttering a word — is the solution.

    Understandable. The issue of consent gets at the heart of our conception of sex, though. As it currently stands, a woman’s consent (“enthusiastic” or otherwise) has zero effect on most men’s experience of sex. They are living out their pornified fantasies where desire is all-consuming yet arousal is so fragile that a stray hair or a pesky conversation threaten to end it. Therefore it is not unreasonable to believe that very often people who are with each other physically are not with each other mentally, so, if two people are in agreement with each other about all the details of an event except consent, why should the man’s “Yes” take precedence over the woman’s “No” when chances are that he wasn’t paying much attention to her anyway?

  89. Hedgepig

    Shae elucidates some very important points about the difficulty of prosecuting rape under patriarchy. Unlike theft or murder or damage to property, sexual intercourse is something that it is assumed women actually want done to them, at least some of the time. So, proving that a incident of sexual insertion was not wanted is impossible without a witness who can say “I heard her say no, I saw her struggle” or whatever.
    The ONLY way out of this problem is for it to be assumed that women do NOT want anything inserted in them, so that insertion becomes an unambiguous crime like theft etc.
    Twisty’s Whacky Consent scheme is the only solution I’ve ever heard of that would work. Problem is it’s so darn radical.

  90. lawbitch

    Daisy, don’t lecture me about the purpose of this blog. If Twisty doesn’t want my post here, she’ll say so. The abuse of boys is not irrelevant to the women who rear boys in our society. That was my point.

  91. Jess

    The ONLY way out of this problem is for it to be assumed that women do NOT want anything inserted in them, so that insertion becomes an unambiguous crime like theft etc.

    Wouldn’t this make sex between any two people a crime, albeit one that is often not reported? Presumably the law would also apply to sex between two women or two men. Under this law, wouldn’t it even apply to certain sex acts done by women to men, so that a man (heaven forbid) could ask a woman to anally penetrate him and then turn around and say she raped him and that he didn’t really mean it when he asked her to do what she did?

  92. sevanetta

    Twisty, I love the no-consent Twist-o-lution.

    PatriarchySlayer: The only times I have ever come across a girl who ‘cried rape’, i.e. who apparently consented to sex at the time but sneakily later on claimed she didn’t consent, in some kind of evil hunting-men-down scenario – is, funnily enough, on tv and in movies. We all know that tv and movies show only the gospel truth, so I guess those women must be out there SOMEwhere.

    Or not. I tend to favour the ‘not’ option, myself.

  93. Unree

    Shae, I think you have it wrong. It’s not about the presumption of innocence; it’s a question of what the default is. Right now, as Tierney says, the default is Yes and the woman/victim has to prove No. Twisty proposes that the default be No; the man/accused has to prove Yes.

    Other blamers or Twisty can correct me here, but I don’t think the proposal would convict the rapist of the rape if there were no evidence of sexual contact. It’s just that when the dude says the sex was consensual, he has to prove it.

    You don’t need to desire to commit a crime to be convicted of it. Take child neglect, for instance–you can go to prison for it even if you had good intentions.

  94. Tam

    Thanks for your comments Shae.

    I perhaps didn’t make a few things clear in my original post.

    The prosecution needs to prove the elements of rape:
    1. That sex occurred between the accused and the victim and
    2. That the victim did not consent.

    If there is no evidence that sex occurred at all between the accused and victim, then the case will fail. For example, in cases of stranger rape (which comprise the minority of rapes- most rapes are perpetuated by men known to the victim), there may be a question of mistaken identity. If the accused has a watertight alibi and no DNA evidence links him to the crime, for example, then the case may fail.

    However, in many, many cases of rape, the accused does not dispute that he had sex with the victim. He only disagrees that she consented. It is these situations that I was addressing in my original post.

    So, to make it clear: I am not saying that a cry of rape should equal a rape conviction. However, I AM saying that in cases where the ONLY issue is consent (a fair percentage of rape cases), then a victim’s word that she did not consent should be 100% proof that she did not consent – because women KNOW what they do and do not consent to. It’s that simple – do you believe women or not?

    The problem is that our patriarchal law simply disbelieves women who say they didn’t consent, and treats it differently from every other crime (ie. the law doesn’t cross-examine a robbery victim on whether or not she wanted to GIVE her phone to the robber). But as Twisty says, women are in default “yes” when it comes to sex.

  95. Shae

    Tam, thanks for the clarification. Out of curiousity, what would constitute proof of consent? I’m having trouble thinking of anything.

    Dawn’s Consent Registry is quite interesting, but a man could hold a gun to a woman and get her password or force her to push the buttons he chooses. Should every couple walk before a court official or other witness before every encounter, solemnly swear to consent, and record their fingerprints? Couldn’t a man scare a woman into that too?

    I’m not trying to sound facetious here, I just can’t imagine what would constitute proof, especially if her word can trump it. No matter what safeguards a man might attempt to secure, she can always say she “consented” under duress.

    For the record, I’m fine with assuming all women are always nonconsenting — I DO assume that. I’m just not sure it would change anything under the current justice system.

  96. Shae

    sevanetta:

    I don’t think anyone (including me) is suggesting that women are loose cannons running around making false accusations left and right.

    However, our innocent-until-proven-guilty method of justice IS predicated upon the fact that people can lie (or even be confused) when making an accusation, and that accused people thus ought not be burned at the stake without a fair investigation into the accusation.

    So which of these do you hold?

    1) Women never lie
    2) Woman occassionally lie but the rare false accusation that convicts an innocent man is an acceptable casualty of improving women’s outcomes overall in these trials
    3) “Innocent until proven guilty” itself is flawed and needs changed.

    Throughout history people have decided that it’s highly unlikely or impossible for accusers of a given stripe to lie: about witchcraft, about communism, about terrorism, and so forth. None of these episodes turned out very well.

  97. Tigs

    I’d like to say that the abuse of children, male or female, is an important issue worthy of feminist analysis because it is rape culture that makes this abuse possible and likely.
    Children are identified with the household, with the sphere of woman, as the manifestation of commodity in such a way that makes their victimization a product of the exact patriarchal superstructure that makes women victims throughout their lives.
    Yes, women are victimized daily by rape culture. I don’t see anyone contesting that.
    But to say that this isn’t a space to ever discuss the abuse of boy children because they wield male privilege is absurd.
    It is tantamount to saying we don’t need to analyze the oppression that white women face because they wield racial privilege.
    I do not think it is equivalent to a ‘what about the menz’ concern.

    “This space is for female trauma to be discussed in the context of the world-wide misogynistic space we have to live in, and the triggers that females face, even females who have never had a traumatic rape.”
    “Again, this space is for talking about the privilege of men, and how this relates to the experience of females in that context.”

    This is not my space to determine what purpose it may or may not serve, but I suspect that it has something to do with overthrowing the patriarchy.

  98. Susan

    @yttik
    As to those who rape children, I’d like to see them held financially responsible for the rest of their life.

    Blamers are so ahead of the curve. I saw this in this morning news:

    Conn. child-porn convict ordered to pay victim

    http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/us/2009/02/23/D96HGHHO0_porn_restitution/index.html

  99. Hedgepig

    Tigs, I agree with you that boy children who are sexually abused are the victims of patriarchal privilege, however, boys grow up to inherit that privilege, girls don’t. It’s the difference between serving a 15 year prison sentence and serving a life sentence.
    It isn’t the same as “saying we don’t need to analyze the oppression that white women face because they wield racial privilege”, because all women begin life as the societally designated orifices and remain so throughout the term of their natural lives. Regardless of their class, women all belong to the same caste. Boys and girls belong to different castes.

  100. Tigs

    Hedgepig – So what are you saying? That we don’t need to analyze child abuse? Only girl child abuse? I wasn’t saying that boys and girls have the same experiences, rather that if we want to reject patriarchy we can’t ignore the abuse of children just because they have penises.

    And the oppression that all women face is not the same. Oppression is not just gender + whatever else.

  101. Caitlin

    Add a few more categories to the list of women considered ineligible to opt out of consent: any woman who has ever made an accusation of sexual misconduct (of any kind, whether harassment, assault or rape), especially one that has not subsequently been validated by the Patriarchy through trial, conviction, and a joke of a sentence (that would be most of them). Any woman who has received any psychiatric diagnosis at any time in her life. Any woman who has ever shown any sign, real or stereotypical, of PMS. Any woman who has been known to criticize or dislike any aspect of the Patriarchy (because, of course, we’re all man-haters who would do anything to bring a good man down).

    Miriam, assumed non-consent works better and is broader than assumed dyke-ness. There are a lot of men who would not equate “dyke” with “don’t touch” and find that a “challenge” or a turn-on, and protection from rape should be available for women who have outed themselves as, or are suspected of being, non-lesbian.

  102. denelian

    this has me in tears.
    my step father started beating me when i was nine, and started raping me when i was 12. the neighbors all saw him hitting me on multiple occasions (he backhanded me OVER the knee-high fence in the front yard one day); the teenage boy neighbors snuck up and watch the man raping me through the window.
    and then told everyone at our high school how i had sex with him. the implication was that i seduced him – me, at 13 (when they started spreading rumors about it), not the 55 year old fucktard who held me down and hurt and beat me when i resisted.

    no one would believe that i didn’t want to have sex with the bastard. i mean this – school officals, other students, EVERYONE thought i had *consented*, no that i STARTED it, even when i tried to report it to the school counselor. i COULD NOT GET HELP. the police, when i finally finally finally tried (i mean, why would i try? everyone knew it was going on and blamed me…), did nothing more than call my mother and ask her if my step-dad ever “did anything” to me.

    she was never home, how the fuck would she know?

    the result of this call? SHE grounded me for 3 months for lying, HE broke my nose, and my boyfriend broke up with me for “cheating on him”.

    it wasn’t until he died that i escaped *him*, and it wasn’t until a decade AFTER his death (and the intervention of his kids by his first marriage, who ironically were the only people who DID believe me) that my mother even granted it was a possibility that he had hurt me. i don’t think, to this day, that she believes he did anything more.

    so i read this and… i’m 32, but for a couple minutes there, i was 12 or 13 again, and no one would help, everyone blamed me, and suicide was looking REALLY damned good. the ONLY reason i didn’t is because i’m damned stubborn and didn’t want him to win.

    he hasn’t won yet, but there are days when it’s almost a tie.

    thing that bothers me? look, even if there was a scenario where a 12 year old girl seduces a 40 or 50 year old man, EVEN ASSUMING THAT THAT WOULD EVER HAPPEN, it IS ILLEGAL FOR AN ADULT TO HAVE SEX WITH ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF CONSENT, so why would they not prosecute AT LEAST THAT?

    and seriously, although no one here can actually answer this, why would people see this guy hit a 12 year old, listen to two teenage boys talk about how he forced that girl on to the bed, hit her repeatedly, and then had really really rough sex, and then NOT CALL IT RAPE and SAY SHE SEDUCED THE MAN???

    i’m sorry for ranting. this was just… it was just too close, you know? it was me, at least for a minute…

  103. SoJo

    Thats horrible denelian…this whole thing is horrible

  104. jael

    Tigs, I agree with you that boy children who are sexually abused are the victims of patriarchal privilege, however, boys grow up to inherit that privilege, girls don’t. It’s the difference between serving a 15 year prison sentence and serving a life sentence.

    hedgepig; i’m not sure i understand. are you suggesting that one day these abused boys wake up, and have privilege, and then poof! their sentence is done?

    while boys grow up to be men, as boys they are children. and, as children, subject to the patriarchy themselves. children are dependent beings; they’re subject to the whims of their carers; social conditioning; mental abuse; restrictions on their freedom and movement. boys and girls belong to the child caste, as it were. one day, these boys grow up one day to become men; sure. but the the fact that they grow up does not one iota diminish the enormity of abuse.

    denelian: sending you alot of good thoughts. that’s a horrific story; i’m so sorry it happened – to you, to this girl, to anyone.

  105. dawn coyote

    The Aphrodesia Sexual Activity Consent Registry is a flawed model, but I was trying to imagine a system that would be legally binding, and would defy tampering to some extent.

    The only other system which might be workable with women’s state of non-consent is one where all men must travel with chaperones.

  106. Kali

    what would constitute proof of consent? I’m having trouble thinking of anything.

    Let me turn around and ask you what would constitute proof of non-consent? The way it is now, where women/victims are required to prove non-consent, there is practically nothing that can prove non-consent, not even visible injury, because the rapist can always claim that she was into rough sex. Most juries buy this argument from the rapist, especially in non-stranger rape cases. So, you have the situation where rape is rarely prosecuted successfully, and very easy to get away with. This translates into a reality of rape as a constant threat under which women/girls live.

    Contrast this with how robbery cases are treated. We don’t tie ourselves into knots wondering how the robber would prove that it was a gift because we have not internalized the mistrust of robbery-accusers as we have the mistrust of rape-accusers. It is possible that someone might gift another person something (or plant it in the other person’s possession to frame that person) and then claim that it was stolen, but generally speaking, people who are accused of theft cannot simply get away with claiming that it was a gift, or that they were framed. They have to back up that statement with solid evidence (and no, showing that their victim is a known gift-giver doesn’t count as evidence). We don’t have a problem with that. So, why do we have a problem with the same rules in the case of rape?

  107. Shae

    Dawn, I thought your model was cool! Every model is flawed.

    Kali, the bottom line is this.

    If you assume all women are non-consenting ALL the time, then you assume that every man who has had sex is a rapist until proven otherwise. In other words, assume he is guilty until proven innocent.

    It is logically impossible to assume that all men are guilty until proven innocent while simultaneously assuming that all men are innocent until proven guilty.

  108. Kali

    If you assume all women are non-consenting ALL the time, then you assume that every man who has had sex is a rapist until proven otherwise. In other words, assume he is guilty until proven innocent.

    It is logically impossible to assume that all men are guilty until proven innocent while simultaneously assuming that all men are innocent until proven guilty.

    That is not true. For example, you can assume that all people are non-consenting to theft/trespasssing of their property all the time. That does not mean that the people who are their guests or gift receivers are automatically guilty of theft/trespassing. Firstly an accusation of theft/trespassing has to be made. Then, the accuser needs to show evidence of transfer/trespassing of property and the accused needs to show evidence of invitation/gift. The accused cannot simply claim it was an invitation/gift and expect the accuser to prove the negative of that statement. In rape cases, that is what is expected of the accuser. In fact, it is even worse. The rape victim not only has to prove that she did not consent, but also has to prove that the rapist *knew* she did not consent. That is practically impossible if the rapist claims that he did not know. Somehow this doesn’t seem to bother people as much as imagining how the alleged rapist would prove his innocence under a presumption of non-consent.

  109. thebewilderness

    Shae, I think you are mistaken about this.
    The place where a rape investigation breaks down is the assumption of consent. Not the assumption that men are not rapists.
    When someone declares themselves to have been a victim of a crime, the steps are to determine if a crime was committed, attempt to ascertain who committed the crime.
    When your neighbor takes your keys and drives off in your car you are not assumed to be in a state of consenting to your car being borrowed by your neighbor. You may not be able to prove, in a court of law, that you did not consent to the appropriation of your property, but the underlying assumption is that you did not. If you are a man.
    If you are a woman, in this society, you are assumed to have consented to nearly anything a man who is known to you does to you.
    Whether it is taking your car against your will, or rape.
    The inherent dishonesty of women is the default assumption in every case.

  110. thebewilderness

    denelian,
    I am bloody screaming outraged on your behalf, and on my own.
    I had the good fortune to be believed. But he was not prosecuted, supposedly to spare me the trauma. I don’t know.

  111. Hedgepig

    jael, I agree with you completely when you say “the fact that(boys) grow up does not one iota diminish the enormity of abuse.” The consequences of the sexual abuse of boys are devastating and far-reaching. Many (note: I do not say all, but many) boys who are abused grow up to repeat the abuse on their own children and others with impunity, because they inherit the privilege males have in our society: being believed while their victims (women and children) are not believed. Denelian’s devastating story is an example of this.
    The brutalization of boy children is indeed a feminist concern, I agree. Unless we go for separatism as the solution (which I suspect is part of the Twist-solution actually) we do have to pay close attention to what happens to males in childhood. I was wrong to suggest otherwise.

  112. BLGQT

    Shae, that is not the bottom line. The bottom line of Twisty’s consent scheme is that all women are non-consenting all the time unless they explicitly give consent. True, it would be hard to prove if she gave consent, and it may not be perfect, but it’s better than forcing the woman to prove that she didn’t consent, and believing the accused otherwise. I say this because it seems like a good way of protecting women’s rights, because the current state of things protects men too much, and people are too reluctant to accuse somebody of rape. If there is ever an epidemic of women who falsely accuse men of rape, then a scheme such as Twisty’s would be problematic.

  113. denelian

    thebewilderness ;

    i have heard that before. that a child-molester or child-rapist should not be prosecuted because somehow, punishing that person would traumatize the victim.

    What. The. Fuck!?

    all that really does is reafirm, for the victim, that the wrong done wasn’t that they were hurt or raped, but that the wrong was TELLING ABOUT IT.

    everytime i hear that someone got away with molestation or rape to “protect” the victim, i become instantly enraged. i just… where else, under what other circumstanses do we allow the perpetrator to walk away without even being TRIED? hell, half the time the perpetrator in these kinds of cases isn’t even CHARGED – after, why destroy a man’s life? it was only a child. i think i am frothing at the mouth.

    i am so sorry you had to go through that. i was very lucky that my step-father died, at least i know i never have to see him again, there is NO chance of his coming after me again(and that does happen. not often, but enough to make it a worry.) there is not further way he can harm me. i would still be a LOT happier if i had been believed, and being believed, he had been punished. if the attacker isn’t punished, isn’t even CHARGED, how is the victim ever supposed to believe that a crime was committed against them?

    sigh.

    there are days when i want to give up. i know that what happened to me is why i don’t even want to adopt children, i am too afraid that some little landmind, left over from those years, will blow up on a child. and i am terrified that i won’t be able to PROTECT a child. terrified that i will have to relive the whole thing, only worse.

    thank you, everyone, for the words of sympathy. most days i am fine; that story was just especially triggering (no one’s fault but my own – twisty posted about it, i didn’t have to go and read more). but i am glad twisty posted, and linked – i think everyone should hear about these cases, because too often they are swept under the rug, media-wise, and we never hear about any of them. if every case of child abuse (any flavor) were talked about in the MSM, i guarantee a lot more would be done about the situation, but for whatever dumb-ass reason, the media seems especially invested in NOT telling about these things, and then blaming the victims if the DO have to tell about them. IBTP!!

  114. HeroesGetMade

    The brilliance of the assumption of non-consent for female human beings lies in its shifting the burden of proof to where it belongs – the people who actually do have agency and who own the unfortunate propensity to rape. The legal concept of innocent until proven guilty is predicated upon avoiding the illogic of trying to prove a negative – it is much easier to prove a thing happened than that a thing didn’t happen. In fact, it’s not possible to prove a thing didn’t happen.

    The current legal system, just about everywhere the world over, requires women prove they didn’t consent to sex in order to prove they were raped; they are required to do the impossible – prove a negative. This is, in fact, a serious perversion of the whole innocent until proven guilty foundation of the legal system, the sole purpose of which, in this exceptional case, is to let men get away with rape. The assumption of non-consent places the burden of proof on the person who is claiming a thing happened, the thing in this case being consent. There is nothing illogical or unfair about requiring an accused rapist to prove there was consent – if there was any such thing, he ought to be able to prove it. Back in the real world, though, where men ‘have sex’ with women everyday without so much as asking before proceeding with the incontinence ritual, the poor things may be mystified as to how to describe how they knew ‘she wanted it’ with anything approaching objective evidence that would stand up in a court of law. It’s a terrible burden for them, but I can’t be bothered worrying about it considering the heroines among us who didn’t bail out for life after being dealt the hand of default consent way before the P’s legal system declared them fair game.

  115. Shae

    Kali:

    “Firstly an accusation of theft/trespassing has to be made. Then, the accuser needs to show evidence of transfer/trespassing of property and the accused needs to show evidence of invitation/gift.”

    If someone proves something, there is no problem, either in the current system or in the proposed one.

    The problem comes when nothing is proved. Right now, if EVERYONE fails to prove ANYTHING, the accused walks (in a rape trial or any other).

    Now either that stays the same or it changes. If it stays the same, that is incompatible with assuming all women are always consenting. If it changes, then we 1) allow a woman’s word to trump all other conceivable evidence and 2) we assume all men are guilty until proven innocent.

  116. Shae

    “Somehow this doesn’t seem to bother people as much as imagining how the alleged rapist would prove his innocence under a presumption of non-consent.”

    By the way, Kali, I don’t know who this was directed to, but men getting away with rape “bothers” everyone, certainly including me.

  117. Shae

    “The inherent dishonesty of women is the default assumption in every case.”

    No matter how honest we assume a defendent is, we still let the accused walk when there is a lack of physical evidence (under the current system).

    Robbery cases that parallel rape cases simply aren’t all that conceivable — it would be a robbery in which no one could tell whether or not the car was still in the defendent’s possession, no one could tell whether or not it had ever been in the accused’s possession, and no one could guess whether or not such a hypothetical transfer had been sanctioned even if it occurred. A robbery case that looked like this would also result in the defendent walking.

  118. Kali

    If someone proves something, there is no problem, either in the current system or in the proposed one.

    The whole question here is about what that “something” is. In the current situation, the victim has to prove not only that there was sexual contact but also that there was non-consent. Under Twisty’s solution, the victim would still have to prove that there was sexual contact, but the defendant would have to prove that there was consent, since “consent” is the defendant’s claim. Whoever is making the claim should have the burden of proof for that claim. The legal system should not require people to prove negatives (the non-existence of something), but it does so, and only in rape cases. With Twisty’s presumption of non-consent, this problem with the current legal system in rape cases will be removed.

    Robbery cases that parallel rape cases simply aren’t all that conceivable — it would be a robbery in which no one could tell whether or not the car was still in the defendent’s possession, no one could tell whether or not it had ever been in the accused’s possession, and no one could guess whether or not such a hypothetical transfer had been sanctioned even if it occurred. A robbery case that looked like this would also result in the defendent walking.

    Regarding the first two points, it is possible to show that sexual contact took place. So, your hypothetical robbery parallel is not accurate in those two respects. Regarding the third point, if the robbery victim reports a robbery, no guessing is involved because the presumption is of non-authorization of property transfer. The robbery victim simply needs to prove that the transfer took place and that the accused was in possession of the property (i.e. sexual contact took place, and with the accused, in the rape parallel). The robbery victim does not need to prove that a document authorizing the transfer does not exist. Instead, the defendant needs to prove that such a document (or witness to such authorization) exists. In the rape parallel, this would mean that the defendant proves there was consent, the victim does not prove there was non-consent.

  119. Kali

    but men getting away with rape “bothers” everyone

    Really? Seriously? Kobe Bryant openly, shamelessly took advantage of Mens Rea to get away with rape. As far as I can see he is still being idolized in the media. Far from being bothered, people seem to be very happy he got away with it.

  120. Shae

    “Regarding the first two points, it is possible to show that sexual contact took place.”

    Most rape cases don’t prove that sex took place.

    “Regarding the third point, if the robbery victim reports a robbery, no guessing is involved because the presumption is of non-authorization of property transfer.”

    If consentual car-sharing was as rampant as consentual sex, that wouldn’t be the presumption, ESPECIALLY if the first two points were in question as well.

    Question for all who favor Twisty’s consent scheme: If a rape case fails to prove anything one way or the other, does the defendent walk?

    If not, it’s a deviation from the current system.

  121. Shae

    “The legal system should not require people to prove negatives”

    Just for clarification, the legal system doesn’t do that, in rape cases or otherwise. Failing to prove a crime isn’t the same thing as proving a non-crime.

    That’s why the defendent is “presumed” innocent rather than “proven” innocent — the law recognizes the possible false-negative here, but decides that it is more humane than false positives.

  122. thebewilderness

    Shae: If consentual car-sharing was as rampant as consentual sex, that wouldn’t be the presumption, ESPECIALLY if the first two points were in question as well.

    ————-
    Bingo!

  123. HeroesGetMade

    Shae: That’s why the defendent is “presumed” innocent rather than “proven” innocent — the law recognizes the possible false-negative here, but decides that it is more humane than false positives.

    In actual practice, a rape victim is presumed to be lying unless she can prove she did not consent, which is about the only example in the legal system where anyone is required to prove a negative. The law recognizes the illogic in proving a negative, but decides rape itself is inconsequential compared to men being accused of rape, which is so cruel and inhuman, sometimes judges banish the word “rape” from the proceedings altogether.

    Shae: men getting away with rape “bothers” everyone

    Not everyone, no. Certainly not the people who designed the legal system to prosecute rape. Consider this – the system is designed, as Twisty alludes, to convict only stranger rapes, which by most data accounts for far less than 5% of all rapes. So the system, by design, lets at least 95% of rapists go on their merry. Also, do the math here – given that 95% of rapists know their victims, and given that rape itself is common as dirt – what, maybe 20% of women dodge the bullet of ‘having sex’ they didn’t want – that means there’s one helluva lot of rapists on the loose. You really think all those guys are bothered by getting off, legally and literally? If the dominant culture was so bothered by men getting away with rape, they would change the legal system to concentrate on the 95% instead of the 5%, and as Kali pointed out, a gleeful wankfest would not ensue every time a Kobe Bryant gets off. The inescapable conclusion is that the dominant culture is in reality a rape culture, and purposely designed a legal system that keeps women’s bodies public property instead of women’s own private property. Those who designed the rigged legal system can be safely presumed to be in a state of pre-rape.

  124. Kali

    If consentual car-sharing was as rampant as consentual sex, that wouldn’t be the presumption, ESPECIALLY if the first two points were in question as well.

    So, according to you it is OK that the law presumes women’s perpetual consent to sex because women sometimes consent? This is the kind of rape-supporting attitude that Twisty’s solution is required to deal with. I have lent my car to acquaintances and friends. If my car is stolen and I report it stolen, the legal system would still presume non-consent, regardless of whether I’ve lent it once or 20 times. I’ve had house-guests. If I report trespassing or home invasion, the legal system would still presume non-consent, regardless of how frequently I host parties or take in homeless people. Having shared my property with someone doesn’t give them the legal loophole to use it against my will. The very act of reporting the crime means a presumption of non-consent. The reason this doesn’t happen in rape cases is because women are presumed to be vengeful liars when the accused is male, and the crime is overwhelmingly male-on-female.

  125. Shae

    Bingo indeed, thebewilderness, consensual sex is rampant, unfortunately for the Scheme.

    I don’t feel that my points are being addressed here, and people are starting to repeat themselves, so I’ll lay off trying to squeeze the Consent Scheme into the justice system. We’ve all got lives (and even other reading) to attend to.

  126. thebewilderness

    Shae,
    I understand what you are saying.
    My argument is that the prejudice brought to any charge that any woman lays against anyone is that the woman is probably lying. Not that she might be lying, but that there is a high probability that she is.
    Having guests in your home is “rampant”. You are not presumed to be consenting to anything they do to you in your home. Unless you are a woman.
    It has been my observation, over the past forty years, that there has been an effort by defense attorneys to apply the presumption of consent to a wider range of crimes. You may recall that a man was recently acquitted of murdering his wife because she was argued to have consented.

  127. Kali

    It has been my observation, over the past forty years, that there has been an effort by defense attorneys to apply the presumption of consent to a wider range of crimes.

    It has also been my observation that since sexual contact has become easier to prove (through DNA tests), consent is becoming much more popular in the defense strategy for rape cases. Not only that, the bar for proving non-consent is being raised higher and higher through community standards set by violent BDSM porn. Even significant injury cannot prove non-consent because a porn-addled public believes that it is common for women to enjoy being injured.

    I think the statement “presumed innocent until proven guilty” is getting out of hand in rape cases. (It is somehow not applied so diligently and obsessively when women are the accused). The statement is vague and misleading enough to allow this abuse. I think it would do the justice system much good if it could be replaced with the following two statements:

    1) “Whoever makes the claim should have the burden of proof for that claim.” This is the point, expressed indirectly instead of directly, of the statement “innocent until proven guilty”. It also reflects the way the justice system works in practice, where claims and counter-claims are made one after the other as the case progresses. The prosecution is not the only party making claims and proving them.
    2) Positive claims (X happened, X existed) should require a higher standard of proof than negative statements (X did not happen, X did not exist). This is simply because negative statements are almost impossible, if not impossible, to prove. People should not be required to prove negatives in order to get justice.

  128. Megann

    “Now either that stays the same or it changes. If it stays the same, that is incompatible with assuming all women are always consenting. If it changes, then we 1) allow a woman’s word to trump all other conceivable evidence and 2) we assume all men are guilty until proven innocent.”

    Personally I think this is a fine solution. The amount of reports that are unsubstantiated is only 2 percent and those are not all false reports. I personally have seen more accusations of “crying rape”, than actually rape accusations pass by. So I wouldn’t give a shit if a few “innocent” men went to jail to make sure that the vast majority does not escape their punishment. Right now I believe that the average conviction rate for rape is less than 1 percent. Let men be afraid for a change and let their lives be as ruined as that of their victims.

    All men profit from this fucked up system called patriarchy and that almost always puts pressure on women to have sex with certain men when they’d really rather not. In a lot of cases a victim doesn’t even realize it’s rape or worse she blames herself.

  129. thebewilderness

    It is important to remember that the presumption of innocence applies to the defendant. They are presumed not to have committed the crime, until proof that they, that person specifically did, is provided.
    The presumption is not that no crime was committed. Unless you are a woman or a child.

  130. Hedgepig

    Megann said: So I wouldn’t give a shit if a few “innocent” men went to jail to make sure that the vast majority does not escape their punishment.

    It’s so ingrained in all of us brought up in liberal democracies that it is “better that countless guilty men(sic) go free than one innocent man(sic) is convicted” or words to that effect that this is a challenging concept indeed. However, considering the quote that seems to have struck a chord with many blamers “Men fear that women will laugh at them; women fear that men will kill them” I can’t help wondering if it would at least balance things up a bit if we could alter it to “Men fear that women will have them thrown in jail for rape; women fear that men will kill them”. Women’s fears would still be arguably greater, so the patriarchal status quo actually wouldn’t be completely skewed by this adjustment.

  131. Kali

    It’s so ingrained in all of us brought up in liberal democracies that it is “better that countless guilty men(sic) go free than one innocent man(sic) is convicted” or words to that effect that this is a challenging concept indeed.

    Also, what is ignored is that when countless guilty men go free, they don’t sit around and do nothing. They commit more crimes, rapes, assaults, murder. So, in effect, what that statement says is that it is better that countless women get raped and/or murdered rather than one innocent man get convicted.

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