Home Emotional aspects of sexuality Consensual sex Sex without consent is rape regardless of intent

Sex without consent is rape regardless of intent

It’s important to appreciate that the situation where a man rapes random strangers is rare. These men (called rapists) specifically enjoy the violence of the scenario and sometimes rape habitually. Rape relies on an inability to empathise with the victim. Most men’s ability to objectivise a lover is not this extreme. Sex education must explain these situations in black and white terms that everyone can understand. Many men have a strong biological drive to engage in intercourse (regardless of the other person’s feelings).

The vast majority of rape occurs when a woman knows a man, either casually or because she has or had a relationship with him. These situations are often not clear-cut. Women are often oblivious to the effect that their bodies and apparent sexual availability may have on a man. When a man is aroused, he is in a highly emotional state. He is not thinking logically. A woman’s behaviour may cause a man to think that she would welcome his sexual advances. Men say women are ‘asking for it’ as if men have no choice. A man may feel strong resentment towards a woman (her personally or women in general). He may justify punishing a woman to assert his sexual authority.

A man’s right to have intercourse with his wife, is enshrined in law and often makes it impossible for a woman to charge her husband with rape no matter how violent the act. Men may not understand the anger a woman feels at being penetrated against her will. There is physical damage: blood and pain. Women can be badly injured (rendered infertile) or even killed. More importantly there is the psychological violation of the victim’s ability to make their own choices. Rape is an act of violation by a man because he has taken something the victim did not want to give. Rape also potentially forces a woman to bear a man’s progeny. A victim of rape feels fear when they cannot defend themselves against a man’s unwanted assault. They also feel humiliation and anger towards a person who has brutally violated their body.

Most men, most of the time, respect the fact that they only obtain intercourse from a woman who is amenable to offering it. If a man is angry with a woman, he may disregard the usual custom of waiting for her implicit consent. We say that he forces himself upon her. When a man does this, he does it knowing that she doesn’t want intercourse. He does it as an act of aggression towards a woman who is refusing to make herself sexually available to him.

The fact that men drug women or get them drunk to have sex, does not lead an objective observer to conclude that enthusiasm for intercourse is shared equally between the sexes. When we are drunk, we are consciously taking a risk. We are still responsible for what goes wrong. A woman makes a conscious choice to risk being impregnated if a man takes advantage of her inebriated state. When our wallet is stolen, it is clear what we have lost. But what has a woman lost by having intercourse when she was so intoxicated that she does not remember what happened? It is rarely her virginity or her chastity. A man has taken his pleasure from her body without her permission. Many women claim rape after the event. They feel they were manoeuvred or pressured into having sex when they didn’t want it. Equally, a woman may change her mind half-way through. There is also sex without consent where a woman is silent or ineffective in making her objections. She is too embarrassed, intimidated or frightened to object. Everyone has the right to control what happens to their body. But the role of education is to make sure that women understand the need to respect men’s sexual urges. A woman should take the morning after pill after unprotected intercourse.

In many developing countries, the age of legal maturity is set lower for girls than for boys. Without the benefit of an education and a job, many women have little choice but to marry and have children. Girls as young as 10 or 12 are sold as wives to rich and older men. Young girls do not have the maturity to form an emotional attachment to a man. Even a mature woman wants a man to be affectionate and considerate during intercourse. When a child is crying, there can be no illusion that they are enjoying any form of pleasure.

A young man accused of rape suggested in his defence that he had assumed (from watching pornography) that women were supposed to scream. Most men recognise the signals that a woman gives out when she wants sex. She is smiling. The lead-in to sex is affectionate and mutual. During intercourse a woman cooperates. She is not resisting. Women are shown screaming in pornography as a turn-on. In real life women do not enjoy pain or violence.

Women are rarely convicted of sexual crimes. A man can subdue a woman but it is difficult (if not impossible) to force a man into intercourse against his will (when he is not erect). Except for the psychological reward of inflicting shame, a woman has nothing to gain by forcing herself on a man. One woman forced a chained-up man to have intercourse with her. Other cases involved statutory rape, underage sex between teachers and students. In such cases women are looking for a relationship and there is no violence.

It is relatively easy for a man to immobilise a woman and keep her controlled using his body weight. Rape is defined as forced intercourse (vaginal, oral or anal penetration) by an offender. Male rape involves a man receiving forced anal intercourse from another man. The receiver is homo- or heterosexual. Male rape (by other men) is not so common that men take precautions against it. Men are often raped within institutions such as prisons, boarding schools and the armed forces where men are incarcerated without women.

If she’s too drunk, she can’t give you consent. Also, silence is not consent. What kind of creep tries to have sex with a girl who is so drunk that she doesn’t know what’s going on? (Alice Carter)