There Is No Such Thing as ‘Nonconsensual Sex.’ It’s Violence. – Kelly Oliver / The New York Times


Source: There Is No Such Thing as ‘Nonconsensual Sex.’ It’s Violence. – The New York Times

Troubling Op-Ed from Kelly Oliver for The Stone with these timely quotes about the ramifications of electing “an unrepentant misogynist to the nation’s highest office” :

Well before the election of Donald J. Trump, the mainstreaming of misogyny during his campaign caused justified outrage and fear. Now, with the alarming reality of his coming presidency and his choices for a number of cabinet posts, that fear has been multiplied among the nation’s vulnerable, and those who stand to defend their most basic rights.

Of course the problem of misogyny and violence against women existed long before this election cycle. But the immediate danger that comes with raising an unrepentant misogynist to the nation’s highest office is emboldenment; the implicit condoning of degrading or violent behavior against women, and the diminished fear of punishment from authorities.

and these concerning the abject absurdity of the statement “nonconsensual sex ” :

There are several problems with the notion of nonconsensual sex. First, sex implies consent. Without it, sexual activity is not sex but violence. Thus, the very term “nonconsensual sex” is an oxymoron. Second, nonconsensual sex suggests that one party engages in sexual activity while the other party gives or withholds consent. In most cases, this means that men engage in sexual activity while women merely consent, and not vice versa. Third, the notion of nonconsensual sex does not take into account power politics that continue to plague gender relations in a context where women are expected to please men. Fourth, the notion of nonconsensual sex simultaneously reveals and disavows that at least one strain of our culture actually values the lack of consent.

Earlier this summer in the wake of the Brock Turner rape case, I expressed similar sentiments in my piece Men, Rape Culture and Choice that I wrote for the website Feminine Collective.com . In that piece I said these words :

Turner is currently one of the most visible examples of the principle of when it comes to men and sexual violence, it always comes down to the individual man’s choice of whether to commit the crime or not. It was the scumbag Turner himself who chose to use his penis as a weapon against his defenseless victim, not a culture or a concept.

To be sure, the one thing that all acts of sexual assault and rape have in common is the fact that the man exercised free will and thereby deserves 100% of the blame for the crime. And while this sounds like a simplistic statement, when it comes to sexual violence in this country, it’s never that simple, and too often a good portion of and sometimes virtually all of the blame is foisted upon the victimized females, which in essence, constitutes a second crime against the victim.

I unequivocally say today, as a man, to every woman who has ever been sexually assaulted or raped, that I don’t care what you were wearing, what you were doing or not doing, where you were or weren’t, how much you were drinking or whether or not you were inebriated. If a man proceeded sexually against you after you told him to stop (at any point) or if you were in no condition to say no and he did the same, then everything that was done to you sexually after that point constitutes sexual assault and/or rape on his part, and he should be punished accordingly.The fact of whether he is or isn’t adequately punished by the justice system has no bearing on the fact that what was done to you was wrong or on the fact that as a victim you were blameless in the crime that was committed against you.

and also these :

I want every female who is reading this to know that if you have ever been sexually assaulted or raped , it was NOT your fault. Let me repeat that. If you, as a female, have ever been sexually assaulted or raped, it was NOT your fault. It was the fault of the person who committed the crime and human right violation against you. You did not ask for it, deserve it, secretly need it or wish for it, regardless of what our society communicates. Any shame or guilt that the same said society has made you feel about your attack is a further abominable offense by them against you.

Until we as a society recognize that this is a problem that tears at our very fabric and collectively take steps to correct it , I fear that the culture that produces individual males who feel they have free reign to do whatever they want sexually with women’s bodies, will unfortunately continue to thrive. Kelly Oliver is absolutely right when she suggests that the next four years threatens to be especially harrowing in this aspect.

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