Conversations About Consent with a Very Old Friend pt. 2

Posted: May 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Part 1 is here.




What you said.

I’m glad you’re getting what I’m saying. The thing that fucking bugs me is original “Schroedinger’s Rapist” isn’t really very “Schroedinger-y”, (see:Ironic,Alanis Morrisette) and then at the same time there’s this other interpretation that is both VERY Schroedingery and much more interesting and relevant.

I have more to say about this, but I’m concerned about crossing some line.

I am convinced that when SAFE GUY/NO POTENTIAL gets in over his depth, loses his head and ends up in court when some woman accuses him of rape, he will wave a printout of that article around and argue, “yer honor, I held her down and didn’t really listen when she told me to get off her, but it wasn’t rape because I’M NOT A RAPIST. Look at this thing I wrote! Would a rapist write that?” I’m also convinced that when that thing happens (all the fucking time) where some college dude drinks a bit too much and goes too far with some girl, in the moment he’s not even considering the fact that the thing he is doing is rape. Why? Because his whole life everyone around him has been telling him he’s a good, stand up guy, implicitly incapable of doing wrong. Sure, rapists are out there but there is NO WAY you could be one, my sweet innocent golden-child darling. Your role in the discussion around violence against women will be an ally, a protector. Because that’s who you are.

There’s a goofy comparison to be made here with writing in education: Kids take language arts and the curriculum is be creative! Write whatever you want! The sky is the limit! Then you start writing papers in middle school and they’re crap but don’t worry about it. We’re going to help you with the structure and the grammar and everything and we’re all such very good writers, and then composition comes along and all of a sudden IF YOU WRITE THE WRONG THING AND STEAL SOMEONE’S IDEA THAT IS PLAGIARISM AND WE WILL FAIL YOU AND RUIN YOUR LIFE. This was a very jarring moment for me, stepping from a space of nothing but positive, supportive messaging into a space of responsibility-or-die. I think this is the exact thing that happens to young men who go off to college, and it’s a huge part of why rape happens in that circumstance. I’m absolutely not trying to suggest that both rapists and plagiarists shouldn’t be held accountable. I’m saying they do those things because they aren’t induced into a culture of adult responsibility.

What does this have to do with Schroedinger? Realizing that I’m in that rapist/not rapist space is the ESSENTIAL first step to not actually raping anyone.

There is a way in which a lot of discourse actually contributes to this issue. That original Schroedinger’s Rapist article is a perfect example. In the first few paragraphs of that piece there is this embedded assumption that the men it is supposedly addressing are children: Uneducated juveniles who know not what they do but ALSO are implicitly incapable of committing actual violence. Don’t worry, we’re going to hold your hand through this whole “women-are-people” thing and spell everything out in 5th grade vocabulary so no one gets left behind.

It’s coddling, and It’s deadly.

I don’t think all sex is rape. But I do think all sexual activity is ethically bound to be aware of rape culture. Sort of like anyone takes friends to swim in the ocean has a responsibility to know what jellyfish and riptides are.

See you tomorrow?

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