About consent, or, the legalization of women’s humanity

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 hetero-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.

12 comments

10 pings

  1. veganrampage

    No Comments? This is absolute genius!
    This is a must read and re-read many times.
    I am printing this out to give to the budding young feminists at Starbucks. After all they told me I was their most interesting customer by far. I just bet I am.

  2. Shinila

    You’re back!! With brilliant, accurate writing!

    Gah this is so ironic, I was just explaining how prositution is pay per rape – your apt term, my favourite – because the feminist blog in question was allowing this asshole male liberal feminist to harp on about how we dare deny a woman to sell her body. He made a point about how working in Tesco is much worse than getting raped for a living. Calls himself an anarcho feminist and parades the feminist site guilt- tripping everyone for being racist/ transphobic/ diablist, while simultaneously always announcing his status as white male academic.

    I made fun of his stance because at the same time he was trying to make out feminists who fail to see the liberating aspect of pay per rape were ‘embarrassing’ the feminist cause. I mentioned the sisters will eventually come around to seeing rape as liberating, he just has to hold on in there.

    This blametariat sanctuary is so needed! Amen to sanity.

  3. Ames

    The thing that’s mind-blowing about this is that a woman never gives consent even if she has sex. For me, that’s the brilliance of your idea – the clarity of no consent, ever, period. There could be no argument to be made about what was happening at the time and how and why. The idea obviates the very concept of consent. Which has the additional benefit of laying to waste the primary underpinning of BDSM practices.

  4. Kathleen Nissman

    Smart Cervix, I hope you workin on that patent, sister, because that is HOT! I am just a lowly old doctor- But as a Blazing feminist and sister victim of a few forced entries ( 7 yrs old would be the first recording on the 1985 version, man that thing would be like as big as a VCR!!) But for real, one day that damn thing will be real. Just like the implantable retractable claws all young girls will be given level the playing field and for sampling the skin of their would be assailants. “Just make sure you leave scratch marks.” is what i plan to work on campaigning for, because a skin sample from under the nails is a good thing to work with. As good as semen. And scars on the face or arms help kids be believed.

    Love your work Twisty–Agree with yourGuidlines—gon be funky from now on

  5. veganrampage

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

    Apparently I migrate back every 20 days or so, a real re-read at beddy by time for dreams of P smashings.

  6. Comrade Svilova

    It drives me all kinds of rage-y to talk with dudely dudes who say things like “enthusiastic consent is not useful in a prescriptive sense” (meaning: it doesn’t get me laid!) and argue that, really, if feminists had their way no one would have sex, ever. Your concept goes beyond “enthusiastic consent” and it is so logical that it sparkles. It is analogous to the idea that, when hanging out with a friend, one should do nothing to make the friend feel threatened and in need of police protection. Why would one want to make a friend uncomfortable?

    I can hear the MRA objection that some women are just so crazy that they will interpret anything as rape, and What is a Poor Guy To Do? When told that they should wait to prong anyone until they have determined that they understand her perspective on what is enjoyable in sex, they will object that that is just too big of a responsibility and they, personally, Won’t Have as Much Fun. How can they not realize that the point of sex is to enjoy a mutual experience, and that making your partner feel uncomfortable and violated is not a desirable goal?

    Do they not realize that they sound, not like logical dudes trying to seek the embiggening of human experience, but rather like rapists?

  7. tofuforme

    Love it! Simple and elegant. I would add only two words: “But if, at any time during the course of the proceedings, up to and including *or after* the storied infinitesimal microsecond preceding the sacred spilling of dudely seed,”

  8. TNT666

    May I suggest an additional rape deterrent that I read a few years back in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Instead of a vaginally implanted multimedia location enabled recording device, which is admittedly a great idea, the female protagonist of the novel had an implanted anesthetising syringe which if not disarmed before penetration would inject a 24 hour anesthetic into the trespassing prick. I loved that idea when I read it back in the 96 and still do. Its most appealing feature seems to be that it gives the woman 2 options: deliver the rapist to the justice system, or finish him off then and there.

  9. minervaK

    TNT666 — Only 24 hours? If the book had been written by a woman, I posit that the syringe would induce life-long agonizing pain or death unless disarmed. Oh to be a scientist capable of inventing such a thing.

  10. Cassandra

    minervaK: Unfortunately, the book was written by a man, so the only time we see the anti-rape syringe in use is when the female protagonist is SO TURNED ON during consensual hetero sex that she forgets to deactivate it. And is guilt-stricken afterwards, but sufficiently concerned about violent retaliation when the anesthetized dude regains consciousness that she takes off and leaves his body in an alley.
    I like Neal Stephenson, but the guy is not good with strong female characters. Actually, he’s not good with female characters, period. Snow Crash is probably the high point.

  11. Choya

    Have you (all) seen the condoms with teeth that are being given out for free in South Africa during the World Cup? http://gizmodo.com/5569537/condoms-with-teeth-fight-rape-in-south-africa
    Fascinating addition to the anti rape collection, but I am worried the pain inflicted may not be sufficiently strong to discourage or protect against severe violent retaliation by the rapist to the woman.

  12. ethan

    this concept is called “affirmative consent,” right? i believe there are people pushing for policy reform in this manner.
    http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/affirmative-consent-as-legal-standard/

    the key shift in burden is from the question “how do we prove someone said, ‘no’?” to “how do we prove that someone said [and maintained!], ‘yes!’?”

    while it is nowhere near the violation of rape, consumer protection groups have been pushing for affirmative consent with regards to the problem of receiving junk mail and advertisements, and the underlying concept and benefit is the same:
    http://www.espcoalition.org/pledge.php

    I think this is a useful parallel — it demonstrates that affirmative consent is actually a very reasonable and popular idea, and that women deserve at least as much legal protection from rape as your garden-variety consumer deserves from junk mail. In addition, it serves as a starting point in the formation of actual policy: substitute key words in the policy boiler plate in the 2nd link above :P There are some significant differences we’d need to work out, but there’s no need to start from scratch and there already is some significant momentum on this topic.

    alright, i feel it’s appropriate for me to hit the BLAME button now :)

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