Comment Rescue: Thinking Re-Aligned

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46 Responses

  1. Avatar Tod Kelly
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    says:

    I just want to say how much I loved this post. In an Internet full of people never budging (or for that matter listening), it’s refreshing and affirming to read something like this — especially that MRS would take the time to write about his shifting perspective up and submit it as a guest post. For me, it encapsulates the spirit of what Erik and Mark started years ago.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    Boys get a lot of inconsistent and mutually contradictory advice when it comes to romance. We hear that fortune favors the bold but also that we shouldn’t be creeps and approach women when they don’t want to be.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      The problem is that there should be two sets of advice: one set for attractive men and one set for unattractive men.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        Attractive men are capable of being really creepy to. I know lots of women that considered James Franco to be really handsome and a real big creep. Likewise, unattractive men can get away with the sort of behavior traditionally reserved for attractive men if they are charming enough.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        The standards are exactly the same: women are people, don’t be a creep.

        A number of studies have shown that women in general are less sensitive to appearance than men in general. I mean, not everyone all the time. Nothing is total. But for men to complain about the beauty standards they face is — well — rich.

        Of course, if you are ugly on the inside, then maybe that’s your problem.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        Attractive men can be creepy, but in my observation they’re generally less likely to be considered so. Women may be less fixated on looks than men, but I believe the difference is exaggerated. A lot of problems are created by people discounting the notion that women are visual creatures, too. Women tend not to talk about it because they are demonized when they do. The result is that a lot of guys get the impression that they can aim higher than they should because their relative appearance doesn’t matter as much as it actually does.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        says:

        @veronica-d, I believe that studies have also showed that women general consider a much smaller percentage of men attractive while men would refer to a higher percentage of women as attractive.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        says:

        @veronica-d

        Please watch this classic Saturday Night Live sketch starring Tom Brady entitled Sexual Harassment and You.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        @leeesq I remember that. Women tended to be very critical of male appearance, but also more responsive to men that they don’t consider (particularly) attractive. Whereas men gave higher marks, but this didn’t show up in terms of responsiveness along the gradiant.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        @scarletnumbers — I’ve seen it and it is gross and deeply misguided. If you think of women that way then you are part of the problem.

        You are a misogynist and a rape apologist and I hate you.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        says:

        veronica d: You are a misogynist and a rape apologist and I hate you.

        Paging a moderator for clean-up in the aisle.

        (Actually I don’t need a moderator. Veronica d can feel this way about me if [insert proper pronoun] likes. I just want to point out that since Veronica d is a member of a privileged minority around here, she can say what she likes with impunity.)Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        says:

        @scarletnumbers, you really shouldn’t extrapolate that much from an SNL sketch. Attractive people of all genders have the potential but not necessarily the ability to get away with a lot of stuff. That is until their antics are no longer funny or they try to do it to the wrong person. Than they get in trouble just like the rest of us.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        says:

        @leeesq — Can’t find the link now, but women found more men in the acceptable range, meaning they were willing to contact more men they rated in the 2-4 range, where men put their overwhelming attention on the 4’s and 5’s.

        Keep in mind there were two variables, the attractiveness rating (1-5) and the subject’s willingness to contact the other party. It is the latter difference I am discussing.

        Anyway, it was OkC data, and Googling for that stuff is a pain, since so much gets written about their stats. If someone feels like tracking down a link, please do.

        But the results were clear to me. Sure, men at the bottom (meaning a “1”) had a hard time. But then women at the bottom had it much worse. So if you are playing gender wars you won’t win. Men who lingered around in the general “below average” space did much better than similarly ranked women. Breaking it down by percentile did not change the results.

        Anyway, if you want anecdotes, I know my way around the Boston BDSM and poly communities, and I know a ton of guys who are not macho-sexy dude, but who do all right. (In fact, I know quite a few I’d rather like to get with, in spite of their ponytails and penchant to dress up in renaissance garb.) At the same time I see how women are treated in these same spaces. The differences are pretty stark, especially in the non-LGBT places.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        @leeesq — Let me add, and again I’m talking about my observations of the Boston queer, kinky, and poly scenes. Some guys, just, nope! But it is seldom really their appearance. I mean, I cannot think of any dudes that are just loathsome looking. (Each person of course gets to have their taste.) But I know a couple guys who are just have repulsive personalities, completely toxic. Like, these guys don’t get much action and they tend to end up pretty bitter. I avoid them. Most women I know do the same. Then I know a number of guys who just come across as weird and awkward, and not in a charming way. They do that lost puppy thing, and it does not work. But I dunno, they just get stuck. Gray clouds. Whinging. (I’ve been in that space. It’s hard.) And sure, appearance matters. If these same dudes were drop dead sexy, they’d have it easier.

        But come on, If I were drop dead sexy I’d have it easier. I’m a freaking six foot obvious transsexual. Cry me a river cis boys!

        But thing is, these dudes don’t look all that different from the dudes who do well. Really, they don’t. That’s not it.

        The difference is personality, attitude, promise. It’s a whole host of things having to do with being a fun, cool person women want to be with.

        It’s about liking them as three-dimensional as well as sexual people. Really, that’s it.

        Which, okay, if you find that hard I won’t lay into you about it. I find it hard.

        But it ain’t about appearance. That’s all I’m saying.

        And, yeah, there are always one or two utterly fucking sexy people, both guys and gals, who get all the luck. And yeah they are in demand. So, fuck, that’s life. We all get to hate them a little.

        (I don’t really hate them. But I get to be a little jealous.)

        But most of us meander around in the middle somewhere. Most of us figure it out.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        People who meet each other in bars deserve each other.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        says:

        @will-truman — I recently met a woman I rather like in a dance club, which I guess is bar-like, and things are early and I’m not sure if it will go anywhere, but here’s to hoping.

        So, anyway, I hope you’re right and we deserve each other. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        Friggin’ extroverts.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        I met Zazzy in a bar. She took me home. Interestingly, had I done to her what she did to me that night, I’d arguably be in jail. Then again, I never felt like the situation left my control even if she (drunkenly) wasn’t taking no for an answer (though she eventually did, albeit reluctantly). However, if I didn’t find her cute and funny and intriguing, she’d probably be known as “that crazy girl that tried to rape me” versus “my wife who I had an interesting fight night with”.

        I do think both men and women respond as much to the messenger as the message. This seems inherently human. It could be their attractiveness if they are an unknown quantity or how we feel about them if they are well-known, but we seem to rarely respond to an action based solely on its merits. That doesn’t mean that the acts themselves should actually be judged any differently — just that they tend to be.

        I mean, I’ve heard women say of highly attractive men, “I’d let him rape me.” And while I’m sure they don’t literally mean that, I think it points to what some are getting at here.Report

  3. Avatar zic
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    says:

    Nice, MRS.

    Sometimes, I think very good people often err in exactly this way; they know they don’t have bad intent, so they don’t question their actions from the perspective of impact on someone else. It’s a minor form of lack of empathy. When a generally good person slip on the slippery slope, that habit can become judgement that something wrong is okay because, hey, I’m a good person; and it becomes very easy to confuse lack of consent with consent.

    I think it’s also important to factor in all the social conditioning women face, particularly pleasing other people; this can make it very difficult to say ‘no,’ and women often replace it with wishy-washy language. Second is the physical differential; when you are being violated, mentally, you go somewhere else until the violation ends; the path of surviving the event.

    Thanks so much for writing this, for me, it’s a huge reward for my efforts here. I’m awed and very proud of you.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to zic
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      says:

      @zic

      Thanks.

      I agree with regard to girls conditioning, so that needs to change as well. We kinda need to do what @kazzy is doing and get kids to understand that the “No” is always implied, and unless there is an explicit yes, it’s hands off, that way it’s never a question of “Did you say No”.

      I mean, think about the grilling rape victims get from police & courts. Always questions of sexual history, what was worn, how they were acting, etc. If the No is always implied, the only questions that need be asked are, “Did you say yes?”, and possibly a follow-up of “At anytime did you express a no?”. Since the yes can never be implied, questions of wardrobe or history are moot.

      I mean, we can’t do too much for people who say yes, and then shut down instead of saying no, but we can make it a bit better by changing the base assumptions.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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        I just did CPR training and one of the things we discussed was implied consent. In that case, consent can be assumed if the person is unable to respond. Otherwise, if the person is capable of responding, you must still gain consent before touching them… even if you are doing so to save their life. The autonomy and integrity of the individual should be as strongly maintained as possible.

        Another thing I did when I worked at a school that gave me more latitude was to allow the kids to play the “Rough Game”. This was essentially sanctioned and minimally-structured rough-and-tumble play. The minimal-structure came in the form of a brief conversation before each game wherein each participant stated their ground rules. “I don’t want to be piled on.” “You can pull my arms, but not my legs.” “No rules for me.” (As teachers, we put in some basic rules that applied to everyone.) Again, the goal was to teach children empowerment over their own body and the need to follow the rules that others set for their own bodies.

        Can this go too far? Sure. As I said, I could run around with a whistle and blow it every time children get within 6 inches of one another. Ultimately, there should be some nuance involved. I don’t think it is improper to give someone a gentle pat on the back as you slide behind them without gaining explicit consent via a “Yes”. Of course, if they turn around and tell you not to do so, you should honor that request. But the category of intentional physical interactions (accidents are obviously a different case altogether) that does not require explicit consent will be much smaller than that which does.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy
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    With my students, I emphasize that they must always gain consent (I don’t use that word) before physically interacting with someone, regardless of their intention. “Even if you want to give a hug, you have to make sure the person wants the hug.” This often seems strange to them. “But it’s a hug!” “I know! And hugs can be great! But hugs should feel good. For both people. And some people don’t like hugs. Or don’t want a hug right then. The hug won’t feel good for them. So you always have to ask and wait for a, “Yes.””

    Now, I don’t steadfastly enforce it. If I see kids going in for a hug, I don’t blow a whistle and demand that they each gain explicit consent before proceeding. But if there is a complaint, than the first question I ask is, “Did you ask if you could do that to his/her body? No? Well, then it was absolutely not okay for you to do so.”

    I also try to balance this restriction/limitation with the empowerment on the other side. “You are in charge of your body. Don’t let anyone do anything to your body that you don’t like.* You can always say, “Stop,” “I don’t like that,” or “Don’t touch my body.””

    I hope I’m doing this right. I’m all ears if I’m not.

    * I usually also include comments that sometimes adults will need to do things to their bodies that they don’t like, but that it should only happen with adults whom they know love them and with the intention of helping them. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if a kid told his doctor, “Stop!” when he went to give him a shot (better than the alternative of not feeling empowered over his body), but I’d hope to set the stage for the necessary nuanced understanding that, as children, there is some agency over them retained by adults.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      @kazzy

      Some adults used to tickle me when I was a kid, and I hated it but felt really afraid to say “stop.” I’m not sure what would have happened if I had. It probably would have depended on the adult, but I certainly didn’t have confidence that, say, my parents would back me up.

      Even now, when I see an adult tickle a child, part of me cringes, even though I usually have no way of knowing if the child likes it or wants it.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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        And just like that, some folks turned what should be an enjoyable experience for all involved into something that makes you cringe. Had you been empowered to say no and had that request honored, than tickling would probably be something you opt not to engage in but which doesn’t become cringeworthy when you see it done to others.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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        Hah. I did tell people to stop. The sadists kept going.
        To this day, I loathe tickling, and may never do it if I am ever around children.

        It was child abuse, and even though I didn’t have the words then, I didn’t like the folks who did it.Report

  5. Avatar Brian Murphy
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    says:

    Is sex without explicit verbal consent rape?Report

    • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Brian Murphy
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      What are you trying to discover by asking this question?

      Let me ask you this, are your sexual encounters (assuming you have any) borderline? Like, do you often have sex in cases where you’re kinda not sure if the other person really wants to have sex? ’Cause if so, that’s kinda fucked up and maybe you should take some alone time.

      A suggestion: if you need the precise rules, then maybe you’re looking for a loophole.

      A second suggestion: most people don’t need to ask this question.Report

      • Avatar Brian Murphy in reply to veronica dire
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        says:

        That escalated quickly…
        I was asking a sincere question left ambiguous in the OP.
        You obviousky don’t feel comfortable with the question, but it seems unavoidable if one is trying to define rape.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to veronica dire
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        That would be all well and good if all we were doing was figuring out who we think is a better person and who we think is worse. We’re figuring out whom to imprison and whose reputation we permanently destroy (and wherever we set those boundaries, rightly so). There’s every reason to seek know exactly what the rules governing that are in addition to there being good reason to learn what are the rules-of-thumb for not just how to avoid all that but to in fact be a good person.

        It’s fair enough that the latter set of rules will always be good enough to avoid problems with breaching the former. But there’s still every good reason to want to know what the former actually are, even for people who aren’t looking for loopholes or engaging in behavior that skirts the line. (In my view there’s a conversation to be had about the extent to which any sex at all necessarily comes much closer to skirting the line than we’d like to allow, making the questions basically unavoidable for anyone who’s going to be sexually active. I’m not saying that’s the case, but it’s a question that’s not fully resolved in my mind.)Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica dire
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        says:

        @brian-murphy — This is part of a long conversation, and I am very hesitant to assume good faith. Furthermore, the “aw shucks I just wanna know” routine is played with equal panache by abusers, who would ask the exact question you asked. This perhaps is not your fault, but if you want to enter this discussion, you should be sensitive to its context.

        Some background: men (many of them, enough that it matters) treat women as puzzle boxes (http://faerye.net/post/the-puzzle-box). Part of the puzzle box mentality is rules-based thinking. This is very creepy. Your question was also an example of rules-based thinking, which only makes sense if you see gender relations as an adversarial activity. This is a model of romantic interaction that is totally broken and hurts both women and men.

        But it hurts women more. Much more. If we seem defensive, try to understand why.

        Thing is, men who operate in this context do not see themselves doing anything bad. They compare themselves to the obvious abusers, the guys giving date rape drugs or creeping in the bushes, and they say “I’m not like one of those guys, so I’m okay.” But they are not okay, and they are hurting women.

        Wanna rule to follow? It’s simple: enthusiastic consent. All parties in a sexual or romantic relationship should totally want to do this; in fact, they should be completely open, willing, and happy to enter the relationship and to continue the relationship from one moment to the next. Sex should totally be a “Yay! Yes! More!” for both parties, and nothing less.

        That is the full rule. Now, how can you be sure your partner feels this way?

        Well, how can you? Answer your own question.

        Men who want to be legalistic about this creep me the fuck out. Stay away from me. The people I want around me don’t treat sex like a chessboard.Report

      • Avatar Brian Murphy in reply to veronica dire
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        says:

        @veronica-dire
        I’m not looking for a legalistic loophole. I’m honestly interested in what you think should be the legal definition of rape. Sorry if you find that creepy… You’re projecting all manner of your own shit onto me; if you can’t handle this conversation, then say nothing rather than acting like a raging ****.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to veronica dire
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        @brian-murphy Morat’s point in the previous thread was that there should be affirmative consent. It need not be verbal in the sense of “I consent to sex with you” but absent that it needs to be something he can point to as having given consent. Active participation in the sex being probably the most common example. Simply not having said no, however, is insufficient. Vaguely seeming to be okay with would also be insufficient.

        If she prefers to experience sex more passively, then you probably do need verbal consent. Leaving the law aside, it’s something you should want.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica dire
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        I notice something funny whenever consent is discussed. There are two classes of response I see from men. The first is, “Hey, yeah, that makes total sense. Let’s do it that way.” The second is more like, “Oh but what about X? And Y? What are the boundaries? How far can I go?”

        If you are the second sort of guy, I don’t trust you.

        Thing is, yes, we need to talk about how the law treats rape. We need to talk about that a lot. But on any public forum there will be a collection of big-mouthed men who are rapists.

        Yes, I said that. Do any of you doubt it?

        Now, most of these guys don’t think of themselves as rapists. They think of themselves as “just dudes being dudes,” and darnit don’t the feminists ruin everything. But they are what they are, rapists according to the concept of enthusiastic consent, of yes means yes. They have pushed boundaries with women, waited until the women were drunk enough, unhappy enough, after they’ve worn them down. Sex with these men is a broken, selfish thing.

        Or, if they have not done this, they kinda want to. It’s how they think about women, their real desire. These latter men are the rape apologists and they wear the role of “devil’s advocate” in bad faith.

        There are a few of them here. We know who they are. This is true whether you like it or not.

        Yes, I want to discuss the boundaries of rape, and exactly how to craft just laws, as close to justice as we can humanly achieve.

        ’Cause what we have now is so fucked up I cannot stand it.

        But I want to discuss this with men and women who already get it, who are not on the side of rape. To start with, I want to discuss this with people who have already, in their lives, embraced enthusiastic consent and yes means yes. This is the baseline.

        You interested? Start with this: http://fugitivus.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/another-post-about-rape-3/

        Now, ask yourself, if you are a man in a world where women live as described in that blog post, and you want to have sex — and I don’t blame you, sex is great; indeed plenty of women want to have sex, but they are carrying all the shit that post talks about — how can you do it without being horrible?

        Too many people who have not figured out that question want to jump ahead to the 300-level course and discuss the law.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to veronica dire
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        veronica – good post, I agree (although I don’t live as described in the linked post, by now I’ve read enough accounts from other women online to realize that many do).Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica dire
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        @katherinemw — Well, myself, I get hit on by gay dudes way more than straight dudes, and there the dynamic is very different. There is less pestering, less bravado, and more willingness to move on. On the other hand, gay dudes will move fast from just-a-smile to intimate touch, way faster than (most) straight dudes, and while I do consent, I cannot say they really take enough time getting consent.

        But how this stuff works at a gay dance club is kind of its own little world.

        Most straight dudes who hit on me (save one) have been really gross creeps, either at the drag club or on the subway platform. It’s just a loathsome experience.

        (The one non-gross straight-ish dude who hit on me was the guitarist for a really cool band and he was a bit genderqueer-ish and sooooooo beautiful and I kinda got super shy and bashful and ended up not encouraging him enough — ’cause he was clearly interested and obviously looking for a sign. And I didn’t get with him and gosh I regret that.)

        (I’m serious. I’m gonna regret that my entire meager life.)

        (He was HAWT!)

        But I see the stuff I describe happen all the time, guys pushing themselves on women, who any fool can see are not interested. But that is how “the game” is played. It’s really fucking gross.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to veronica dire
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        We can prefer to discuss what the law is and should be with whomever we want to prefer to discuss it with. But given that the law in this area is properly harsh and will apply to everyone, the discussion will in fact include everyone, as it interests everyone. That’s just tough.

        And by my lights, it’s also good, because any accurate discussion of the law of rape will impress on people, including men who we might prefer not to be having the conversation with, how disconcertingly close many men come to crossing the legal line, to say nothing of the moral line, in the course of their normal, quite possibly often abusive sex lives. (This is an accurate charge that @veronica-dire makes about many men and sex.) You can tell them that they’re shitty and they’ll have one reaction. That’s also an approach we should take. But you can tell them that what they’re routinely doing right now that they genuinely don’t think is rape or assault could very easily, and very justly, land them in prison for years and unemployable in many professions for life, and you might end up getting them to think about their actions and attitudes in amore focused way. And it would be accurate information to boot.

        There’s no exclusivity here; both approaches can be taken. They should be. People should know and be helped to know what the laws of sexual assault say and mean for them.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica dire
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        says:

        @michael-drew — You can discuss whatever you want with whomever you want. Yes. Obviously.

        However, a forum is a culture, and speaking as a woman, discussing rape with rape apologists, some of whom are likely rapists, is tiresome. Few women will want to do it for very long. And then you can have a dudely little echo chamber.

        So if that is the culture you want, it is easy to achieve. In fact, it is most of the Internet. It is the default state.

        A culture where women will participate has to be nurtured. One way men can help produce this is to shut down and shout down men who want to pontificate about rape and abuse — you know, the devil’s advocate types. They are seldom as they try to seem.

        Remember when the Republicans got all those dudely doctor types to come testify on birth control? Remember how pathetic that was? Do you think another hundred men saying the same dumb shit would have improved that situation?

        How about if they invited a panel of smart women instead?Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Brian Murphy
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      Consent is required. Beyond any reasonable doubt that it wasn’t given, if the victim says it wasn’t given, required. This often conflicts with the presumed innocence, and we presume the rapist gained consent when he did not.

      It is a contradiction. To presume rapist gained consent, also presume, beyond, raped gave it.Report

      • Avatar Brian Murphy in reply to zic
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        says:

        So sex without explicit verbal affirmation of consent is rape?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to zic
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        I’m not so sure I see a difference between the legal presumption of innocence and the social/moral demand of consent. Under the presumption of innocence, a court does not presume that any of the factual elements of rape occurred — including the element of a sex act occurring in the first place, whether consensual or not.

        When the accused says “There was consent,” then the accused is by definition admitting that a sex act occurred, so the presumption as to that element shifts. From there, we have the question of whether the accused’s claim of consent is valid or not.

        Now, @brian-murphy continues to ask the same question — in the absence of an explicit affirmation of consent, is the sex act rape? No, because consent may be inferred from context. For instance, if we are dealing with a marital sex act, we would probably generally infer consent into the situation, although that presumption might be rebuttable given the right set of facts set forth by the accuser.

        The hard-and-fast, clear, bright-line rule that @brian-murphy ‘s question hungers for by way of an answer does not exist. Which is why @veronica-dire is correct to point out that this question is the start of a long conversation. For those looking for an easy answer to a difficult question, I say, sorry: the good faith observer must gather a critical mass of relevant facts and put each situation in its own context, on a case-by-case basis, before rendering judgment.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to zic
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        Thank you for saying that, @burt-likko .

        It’s something I notice in a part of my own social sphere, mostly techy, nerdy folks, who are used to lots of match and logic and computers who do exactly what you tell them to do.

        Folks like that want bright line, codes, simple rules to follow. Hit X-Y-C-C-Z and your life controller and good things happen. Enter the “boss level” too soon, and you pay.

        Real life ain’t like that.

        Laws have intents, and judges can be flexible, serve the needs of justice. Likewise juries don’t need to act like rigid little logic machines. They can consider a broad spectrum when evaluating testimony. They can bring in their full life experience when they decide, “Nah, that dude’s lying.”

        Which is what sucks about this, because “rape culture” is real. We normalize aggressive male behavior and passive female behavior, and then are surprised when a certain number of men cross the line. But worse, we see their behavior as normal; it is how men are supposed to act. Just, not take it too far, just to that bright white line. But anything in the world can justify it, including a couple drinks or a too-short skirt.

        How’s this: rape is when one of the parties to a sex act didn’t really want to do it all that much and ended up feeling shitty about it afterwards. Even if the dude gave her a few drinks and waited for her to say “no” like twenty times before she finally gave up, lay back, and let him do it.

        You know, just to get it over with so she could get some sleep.

        I’m serious.

        Try crafting that law.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to zic
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        I meant “math and logic,” not “match and logic.” I’m not sure what the latter would entail.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to zic
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        “For those looking for an easy answer to a difficult question, I say, sorry: the good faith observer must gather a critical mass of relevant facts and put each situation in its own context, on a case-by-case basis, before rendering judgment.”

        What if the observer takes the hard-line opinion that “any not-yes means rape, no matter what other circumstances entail”?

        What Brian Murhpy is asking is not “please tell me what the Sex Code is”. What he’s asking is “please tell me how I can know I’m not raping someone”. He’s trying to be reasonable and educated, trying to learn how to not be a bad guy, and what he’s being told is “sorry, either you inherently understand how not to be a bad guy or you don’t, and if you don’t then there’s no helping you”. He’s being told that consent is an ever-shifting mess of opinion and subjective impression, and it can be withdrawn at any time, even retroactively, even by a third-party observer after the event.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Brian Murphy
      Ignored
      says:

      If you wish to engage in sex without explicit verbal consent at the time of sex, I STRONGLY suggest you discuss this with your partner beforehand. Decide, together, what will constitute affirmative consent, what will constitute negative (or absence of) consent.

      This is not a legal ruling, but it is an idea that is intended to help you not go to jail. Or get murdered.

      If you wind up having sex with someone who’s opinion after the fact is: “I MIGHT have said yes, if you’d have asked” — you may wind up getting a two-by-four slammed into your head, knocking you unconscious.Report

  6. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist
    Ignored
    says:

    @brian-murphy

    My advice: when it doubt, spell it out. If you are even a little unsure, you ask & get a solid answer.Report

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