Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Acquaintance 'rape' double standards

An excerpt from a post on Cathy Young's blog:

Some years ago while researching an article on the date-rape controversy, I interviewed several people on various college campuses who had some connection to the handling of sexual assault policies and complaints — mostly university officials and counselors. As a litmus test of sorts, I showed them an article someone had sent to me from a campus newspaper in which the author recounted an experience of “rape” by a girlfriend, consisting of non-forcible but persistent advances to which the author finally gave in. (The girlfriend began to make sexual overtures after the author told her, while in bed together, that perhaps they should end the relationship.) Rather to my dismay, almost every person I interviewed agreed that this story was in fact a rape. (By contrast, every single person to whom I showed it outside academia thought it was ridiculous, and several thought it was a parody.) The exception was one Women’s Center counselor who looked quite annoyed at first when she was reading the article, and made a comment about how the author was obviously trying to make a point. Then, as she read on, her expression changed and she said, “Oh … it’s a woman.” The author was indeed a woman; the counselor had mistakenly thought it was a man, and assumed that this man was trying to make the point that, by some current definitions of rape, women routinely rape men too.

FRS COMMENT: First, to consider this incident "rape," based on these facts alone, is absurd regardless of the gender. Second, if it's not rape when women do it, it's not rape when men do it. Persons who assume it must be rape when males are the "aggressors" but not the other way around only serve to underscore how politicized the entire issue has become.