Recently, a sandstorm has blown up surrounding a controversial article published on the Good Men Project. This article suggested that “nice guys” commit rape “too” – obviously there are the evil bad guys who lurk in dark alleyways, and then there are the author’s friends, who are granted the status of a “nice guy” since he ONLY penetrated a woman whilst she was a sleep, and anyway, the girl had TOTALLY been coming onto said rapist for weeks. Alyssa Royse, the author of this piece, said: “[S]he was asleep when he started to penetrate her. She did not consent prior.”  But somehow, her friend, though undeniably a rapist, is still a Nice Guy™. So, if the rape was not the fault of the girl herself, and Royse believes that the “problem isn’t even that he’s a rapist”, then what or who is truly at fault here? Like, duh, “mixed signals.”
How a sleeping woman manages to send anyone signals apart from dribbling on her pillow or the occasional foot twitch is beyond me. To suggest that anybody could think penetrating someone who is unconscious is okay-dokey is beyond the realm of belief.
The issue here isn’t a case of mixed signals. It’s a case of black and white: rape is non-consensual. Not enough education and sex guidance being given to teenagers as young as possible from school, from parents, from youth groups: sex without consent is always rape. It’s a case of not only does no mean no, but yes means yes. It is not enough for someone to reject consent. You must always check that you do in fact have consent. Your partner must say yes. If there is a chasm of communication, silence, unresponsive, avoidance, you do not have consent and if you continue to attempt to have sex with said person, you will be committing rape, and that is not the fault of mixed signals, but of yourself. This needs to be drilled into every single person from the day that they begin to learn anything about sex.
Though Royse doesn’t deny that the act was an act of rape, she softens the blow by listing off the girl’s credentials as a willing victim:
I had watched the woman in question flirt aggressively with my friend for weeks. I had watched her sit on his lap, dance with him, twirl his hair in her fingers. I had seen her at parties discussing the various kinds of sex work she had done, and the pleasure with which she explored her own very fluid sexuality, all while looking my friend straight in the eye.
Only she knows what signals she intended to send out. But many of us can guess the signals he received.
Royse states over and over again that she isn’t victim blaming or being a rape-apologist and then in the same breath goes on to say something that is problematic, but expects her credentials as a feminist to clear her of any suspicion.
This was an excerpt from my blog, click here to read the rest of this post.
In 2004, Britain updated its legal definition of rape in an attempt to modernise the law. It was extended to include the penetration of the mouth and the anus. This was a step in the right direction, but the law is still lacking and fails to protect rape victims, concerned more with protecting the rapist – this is troubling in an age when rape is so under reported and under convicted. Some sources even claim that Britain has the worst rape conviction rate in a study of 33 countries, citing lack of funding, failure to support victims and a lack of belief in victims of rape as reasons for this. But before we delve to deeply into the failures of the system and the challenges a victim finds themselves confronted with, let’s first consider the law itself.
Under section 1(1) SOA 2003 a defendant, A, is guilty of rape if:
_ A intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of B (the complainant) with his penis;
_ B does not consent to the penetration; and,
_ A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
We encounter our first problem in the first line. That this section is phallocentric is hardly surprising, but extremely troubling. It can only be called rape if penetrated with a penis. It can only be called rape if penetration itself occurs. This is completely ignoring girl-on-girl rape, rape that includes objects rather than a penis to humiliate the victim, and so on.
The most troubling issue and the one that I am going to focus on is the last line: “A does not reasonably believe that B consents.” This is putting the definition of rape itself into the hands of the rapist rather than the victim, which is hugely problematic and ignores the nature of rape itself.
Read the rest of this article here at my other blog, Sarah Gets Critical.
Anonymous asked: Did you even read Jessica Valenti's article? She says rape jokes can be funny. The rape jokes that attack rape culture and point out how horrifying it is. She's not defending Tosh at all. She's saying he is a main example of the stupid unfunny rape jokes. But comedians like George Carlin, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes joke about how horrific rape is and those can be funny because destroying and undermining rape culture IS funny.
TW: rape, victim blaming, rape culture, mention of sexism.
Hiya, I actually really appreciate you asking me this because since Valenti posted that article there have been several gifs from the comedians in question going around and it’s created a bit of a grey area - wrongly, I think.
The problem that I have with Valenti’s article you said yourself in your ask: “She says rape jokes can be funny." That is the issue at hand. That is what I disagree with, and being that I’ve read a large body of Valenti’s work, that is what I was shocked at what she was arguing too.
Let me say very clearly - I understand the point she was making and I can see even perhaps WHY she was arguing that. Sometimes people of oppressed minorities, whether that be rape victims or non-hets or PoC, can find release and, yes, humour from mocking the system that oppresses them - in this case rape culture. However…
Rape culture is not funny either.
It’s a way of life for women*, and that number shoots wildy up for non cis women and non-white women. It’s not a joke; it’s a threat. As with Tosh, it’s something that can even be actively used against women should they try to argue against it. Valenti wasn’t defending Tosh, of course, and I never claimed she was. But she’s defending part of the SCALE that his jokes originate from.
With something as delicate and triggering as rape, it has to be treated as such. And making light of the situation (be that the act of rape itself or the rape culture that perpetuates systematic rape of women*) is not helpful either.
ESPECIALLY, the joke about I-can’t-go-for-a-jog-without-being-raped-so-I’ll-leave-my-vagina-at-home. That made me feel really, really sick. Because it’s TRUE. It might be pointing towards rape culture, but I can’t see one way in which it is “undermining” it (as you put it). It’s merely pointing out that it’s there. Observational at best. At worst reinforcing rape culture at the rules that women have to live by in order not to be blamed for their rapes - ie., out late at night alone in the dark, got raped… well, she “asked for it.” There is nothing funny about the fact that women* feel threatened going about their day to day lives.
To joke about “how horrific rape is” is to miss the point entirely. You’re creating this whole grey area which says “rape jokes can be funny.” This is completely neglecting the feelings and individual traumas of rape victims and the mindset that it is perpetuating: that rape/rape culture is something light-hearted to have a good chuckle about. The same could be said of sexism - jokes about women in the kitchen are undermining the system of traditional gender roles and highlighting how ridiculous that mindset is… but in reality? It’s kind of leaning towards a get out of jail free card for comedians LIKE TOSH who when they make a gaff and get called out can fall back on “I was trying to subvert the nature of rape culture,” because from where I’m standing, I reacted equally badly to his joke AND to the jogging joke (although I can see which one is more harmful).
What it comes down to is that it seems to be that when so-called englightened feminists make joke about rape, it can be lols. But when a misogynistic pig like Tosh makes rape jokes, then suddenly we’re all up in arms. They’re both equally harmful.
Rape jokes are not funny.
Jokes about rape culture are not funny.
“I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I am over being told I don’t have a sense of humor, and women don’t have a sense of humor, when most women I know (and I know a lot) are really fucking funny. We just don’t think that uninvited penises up our anus, or our vagina is a laugh riot.”
SO MUCH LOVE FOR EVE ENSLER.
Deffo considering trynna get my uni to do a V-day. I reckon I could rock it.
Watching Jezza Kyyyle as per although I’m not sure why. A victim of domestic abuse is on there and he’s all OH WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST DUMP HIM WHY DIDN’T YOU GET RID OF HIM and I’m like do you not understand ANYTHING at all? If he’s hitting her then she’s probably too scared to leave.
Jezza (who was also nicknamed by someone else on the show as “JK”, which personally I thought was a stroke of genius) is so bad for shit like that.
I remember once he had a woman on as the feature because she “had too much sex.” And the whole segment was basically an homage to slut-shaming. OMG YOU HAVE SEX? SEX WITH LOTS OF PEOPLE? AND YOU HAVE A VAGINA? HOW DISGUSTING! HAVE SOME COUNSELLING. PER-LEASE.
And let’s not even get onto his blatant disgust for the working-class.