This post is reprinted with permission from the personal blog of Miss Sapphyre – Interstitial Space.
^ This is what I sat down to when I opened up my internet box the other night when I got home from work. Some days I really REALLY hate the internet. This was one of those days. A few folks I follow on Twitter were calling out this guy for making the above statement. (As they should). It offends me to no end that people a.) believe this stuff and b.) say it in public. And even on the off-chance that this was somehow either trolling or a joke taken out of context (and I doubt it based on the guy’s profile and other tweets), it’s not funny. It is so BEYOND not funny.
It is rape. Even if she’s “your woman”.
It is rape. It absolutely is. I should know. It’s happened to me. Twice.
I’m not going to go into details. Don’t ask if I could have stopped it. Don’t ask me if I saw signs beforehand. Don’t ask me if I reported it. In fact, don’t ask anything. Just listen.
I can tell you that there are few things more shattering than experiencing someone who you love and trust (or did until that point) negating your consent and violating your body.
There’s that horrible moment of having to choose whether to fight back and risk escalating the situation or to just give up and take it. I’m a small person, the chances of me winning a fight with a man who is intent on getting what he wants are slim to none. In some situations, you don’t fight back unless you are prepared to die. If you’re horribly outmatched in size and strength, and if the other person has the will to do damage, this is a reality. I have fortunately never been in a situation where I felt death was preferable. I hope I never do. But I had one moment where I sure as fuck had to think about it.
Then, after it’s all over, you have to choose whether to tell anyone. Because there is no proof. And you don’t know if people will believe you. And you like his family. And these were both people I was just dating. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for a woman who is far more trapped in a relationship than I ever was… because he owns the house. Because he makes most of the money. Because you’re married to him. Because he is the father of your children.
And beyond my two specific experiences where my lack of consent was fully ignored, I’ve had incidences with several people where I’ve had to say no more often and more forcefully than anyone should have to. They eventually listened, but not before I started seriously questioning whether they would end up taking no for an answer or not. And freaking out over what would happen if they didn’t.
Since the first time my lack of consent was ignored, my “STOP” has always been followed by a split second of fear that the other person won’t respect my wishes. That may never entirely go away. It has faded to near-nothingness as time has passed and as I accumulated a lot of really wonderful, completely respectful sexual experiences where ‘no’ and ‘stop’ were heeded immediately. But it’s still there. That “what if”. I hate it.
And I know that these experiences are far more common than anybody would like to think. The true prevalence of these moments of threatened and actual violation of non-consent within relationships is unknown. And unknowable. This report from the US estimates that 1 in 5 women in North America has been raped, with 90% of those rapes by an intimate partner or acquaintance (which can include more casual dating/relationship scenarios). If you were to include women who have ever felt threatened (overtly or implicitly) by a sexual partner (even if consent was ultimately respected), the numbers are obviously higher. But numbers aside, ANY is too many.
Sleeping in the same bed as someone gives you zero rights to their body. Marriage. Cohabitation. Sharing a bed, whether a regular occurrence or not. None of these involve women (or anybody) signing away their rights to decide what happens to their body and when. There was a time when marital rape was NOT illegal. Thankfully this is no longer true.
If she doesn’t want it, it’s rape. It’s that simple. And if you disagree with me, then there is something terribly wrong with you. And I’m terribly glad that I’m not your woman.