you know what’s really misguided, harmful and “”unfeminist””? downplaying, questioning and denying coercion, including but not limited to financial, is rape. that not stopping upon learning the partner is unwilling or unwell is rape. that statutory rape, if the adult is more than 2-3 years older than the minor, is always rape. that abuse of a power imbalance is coercion, therefore rape. that abuse of a person incapable of real consent temporarily or constantly is rape. that rape by deception is, in fact, rape. that being subjected to sexual contact in absence of freely given, informed, enthusiastic consent, as long as the other party is old enough to know better, is rape.
ironically, voices such as “well he didn’t hold you at gunpoint so it was consensual!” or “just because you were on drugs and he wasn’t it doesn’t mean it was rape!” or “she was old enough to know what sex is and she said yes so it’s not rape!” are typically backed up with arguments about downplaying or diluting the “real” rape and disrespecting “real” rape victims. what is “real rape”?
“real rape” is something we see in media a lot. male, usually a stranger, brutally, painfully violating a woman who’s screaming and trying to fight. “real rape” of this sort makes up for minority of rape cases. in reality, a good part of sexual assault victims “freeze” during and are unresponsive rather than protesting verbally or fighting back. only about 20% of rape on adult women is committed by strangers. 33% is committed by a romantic partner. at that, for juvenile victims, 34% were family members, only 7% being strangers! how does that relate to the “evil stranger pedophile from the park that your family will save you from” stereotype? it doesn’t. “real pedophilia”, much like “real rape”, is an invention of culture. indeed, a malicious and insidious invention.
anyone would agree that there’s many kinds of murder. if you suffocate someone with your own bare hands, it’s murder. if you stab them to death while they scream and beg for their life, it’s murder. if you push them under the train or shoot them, it’s murder. if you illegally pull the plug on the machine that kept them alive, break the brakes in their car or purposefully hide their lifesaving drugs, it’s murder. if you purposefully change a number on the prescription so that they take too much of it or purposefully give them stronger heroine without telling them and they overdose, it’s murder. you can murder with a weapon or force. you can murder just with telling them a planned lie that you know will put them in danger. you can murder with changing a number with your pen, perhaps in some situations even by doing nothing when you could easily save someone. because all it takes to murder is to act on a planned intent to directly cause someone’s death and succeed. much like all it takes to rape is to perform sexual acts on a person who you know is unwilling or you can’t find out if they’re not unwilling, or have them perform those acts on you.
obviously, not all murders are the same, and someone who killed for money or sexual satisfaction, or someone who killed in a sadistic, painful way, may receive a higher sentence than someone who killed for revenge or someone who killed in a way that was painless, but at the core, murder is murder is murder and the victim is dead and won’t come back. would you argue that “my mom was stabbed to death and that guy just switched his meds so it’s not REAL murder”? or “well, he didn’t stab or suffocate anyone, he just turned off their respirators/broke their car and then they died on their own, so it wasn’t really murder”? would you say calling pulling a plug or witholding crucial information from someone “murder” is in fact offensive and disrespectful towards victims who were brutally murdered with a knife?
you wouldn’t. why? because we all know the definition of murder (which affects men far more often than sexual violence) doesn’t have to be hyperspecific. that there are thousands of ways to kill someone. that a painless death isn’t less of a murder than a cruel, painful death. consider: there are reasons why we all know it, but somehow in case of rape or pedophilia, we have those hyperspecific images in our heads. that rape must be done by a stranger or near-stranger, with brute force. that pedophilia only “counts” if the perpetrator is a middle aged male and not the victim’s closest family and the child is prepubescent. do you know who benefits on these hyperspecific definitions? rapists and pedophiles. mainly those in power. because as I said in this post before, a good part if not majority of cases don’t fit those frameworks! so all it does is have the society excuse, downplay, ignore or even not notice those cases, and doubt and blame the victim.
so the next time, before you jump to “well, he was her boyfriend/he just nagged her a lot/she was just drunk and made bad decisions/she agreed at first/she only decided it was rape later” etc etc consider: if she says she was unwilling and the other person could tell and yet continued, it was rape. don’t help rapists, don’t take their side, don’t help them use the cliches created by the patriarchy to push their agenda. side with the victim. side with your sisters instead.