Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How it happens. Date rape is not what it sounds like, sometimes.

The moment of transition from consensual fun to non-consensual force can be breezed over mid-kiss.

It can happen when you are stone cold sober, or drunk and disoriented.

It can happen in the safety of your own home - your own bed, even - or it can happen in strange places far from familiar surroundings.

You can cry for help - but no one may hear the cries. You may be crying for different reasons - one or many, related or unrelated to what is transpiring right now in your head and your heart. You may be numb. You may not be able to cry out loud as your insides melt and evaporate under the guilt and shame and confusion.

And if the cries are heard, what then? There comes an almost immediate need to explain, defend, dissect and label what happened. Accusations and excuses from all sides. Was it rape? Assault? Statutory? Consensual? Did someone change their mind, or was it the act itself that changed? I want to ask only this: Does it matter?

In reading the coverage of the rape case in Steubenville OH, and the ever growing stories of rape flashing across my screen from around the country and around the world, it's the same old, same old version of he said/she said. Blame the victim, don't blame the victim, age of consent vs consensual - but the facts about date rape are indisputably filled with gray area.

And really, gray is okay. Do we need the sordid details to be able to have honest discussions about sex and consent?

To believe that sex is an act that is to bring pleasure to both, not power to one?

I am here to tell you: rape can happen amidst love. Rape can happen with the best of intentions. Rape is a violent act that can happen without violence.

I am here to tell you: having sex with someone to "help them feel better" is not necessarily going to do that - no matter how well-meaning. And while some people might find comfort in sex, it is definitely not a suggestion that should be made at a time of vulnerability.

Rather than debate the semantics of rape - whether we are talking about one specific case, or of the act of rape in general - I want to focus on the idea that sex is between two people. That if both parties are not wholly engaged in the process, from start to finish, are not feeling pleasure, are not laughing and smiling and communicating and encouraging each other throughout the entire act, then you need to reconsider what, exactly, is going on.
If someone is reluctant.
If someone needs to be coerced out of their clothes and into your arms.
If someone has to be forced by word or hand to do something, then it is no longer consensual.

Sex is our most primal instinct. But there is no need to behave like an animal.

This is my first submission to Yeah, Write. I am terrified and excited all at once. If you are a blogger who writes or a writer who blogs, I hope you'll come join me. Thanks to Peach for the introduction.

15 comments:

Stacie @ Snaps and Bits said...

Ack, I posted a comment and it disappeared! Welcome to yeah write! Any friend of Peach's is a friend of ours. This is a powerful post. Although we've come so far, it's not far enough.

FiftyShadesOf Peach said...

Hooray!!! Welcome to the fold, my dear. I could tell you how lovely joining Yeah Write will be for you, or I can just let you feel the warm fuzzies for yourself. Get ready. :) As for this post, thank you for voicing what so many do not. The gray areas are what makes rape such a divisional topic. I'm glad you put into words so eloquently what so many fail to say. xo

Robbie K said...

Qoohoo for linking up to Yeah Write for the first time! Such a supportive, talented community.

Bee said...

Very well stated. And welcome to yeah write!

cynk said...

Welcome to Yeah Write!

Larks said...

You make some very important points very well.

icescreammama said...

welcome to yeah write! such strong, good writing on a very important topic. great last line.

IASoupMama said...

Welcome to Yeah Write and wow, what a post. Love the line that you don't have to behave like an animal. So true.

Gina said...

Welcome to Yeah Write! Peach is awesome!!!

I have a 22 and 20 year old (girl, boy both away in college) and we talk about this kind of thing all the time.

Samantha Brinn Merel said...

Welcome to Yeah Write! This is a really great post about all those complex shades of gray between black and white.

Dawn Beronilla said...

Thank you for talking about something that most do not. We need to start talking more.

Also, welcome to Yeah Write!! I hope you love it as much as the rest of us do!

tuhina tomar said...

Your take on the whole event/act of 'rape' is a very mature and that of one who understands the human psychology and matters of sex well. Very impressive. Thanks. :)

Michelle Longo said...

Welcome to Yeah Write!!

This is a very though provoking piece. I think it's easy to think of rape as a stranger in an alley sort of event and miss many other aspects of this issue.

Anne said...

This is something most people would rather keep under wraps. I admire your courage and honesty for talking about this. And welcome to yeah write, it's my first time too :)

Ilene, The Fierce Diva Guide to Life said...

This was spot on. xo