Guest post from Miss Sapphyre

This post is reprinted with permission from the personal blog of Miss Sapphyre – Interstitial Space.

“its not rape if thats your woman” – asshole on Twitter

 ^ 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.

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  1. mythbri says

    In before “But rape happens to men, too!”

    Yes it does. It’s still wrong.

    It’s always “No” until you get an enthusiastic “Yes”.

  2. says

    I never dated much. I flirted a bit. I fucked a bit casually but the only relationships I have ever been in I have complete trust for them. If I say no they will stop.

    That being said one time I flirted some with a campus police officer. Flirted and wore revealing clothing. He carried a gun and when he got in my face after I said no and called me a tease I wasn’t sure he was going to listen to that no.

    He did listened but only after he made it clear he thought I deserved worse.

    The hours after were spent clawing skin off my body because I thought I probably did deserve worse. After all I should have known better. He let me drive his car. Hold his gun. I should have just said yes.

    In someways I guess I am lucky. My childhood rapes I knew were on at least some level not entirely my fault. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if the officer would have raped me. I doubt I would be here today to talk about it. It has taken me years to own my life and say that my body is fully mine. To say no amount of previous fucking or flirting or whatever obligates me to another.

    I am grateful that I am here today and that you are here today to help show womennand men that our bodies are not property. Thank you for this post. It made me cry both sad and happy tears.

  3. smrnda says

    I don’t get the concept of ‘your woman’ I mean, isn’t ownership of people illegal? Shouldn’t someone be repulsed at the idea of thinking of someone as *their woman* since isn’t this something that’s kind of rightly taboo?

    As for leading men on, there are men out there who will argue you’re ‘leading them on’ over doing nothing. I actually wore sunglasses all the time for a while since I found if I even glanced in a guy’s direction someone is going to start saying I’m leading him on.

    On that second paragraph, are these men actually convinced that every little thing a woman does is trying to get their attention (and perhaps this is encouraged by ‘player handbooks’ and stuff like that) or are they just psychologically unstable – the type of person who thinks everyone is focused on them no matter what? Some of both? Any opinions?

  4. says

    I know there are some people who see their relationship in terms of mutual belonging, not necessarily with the implication of ‘ownership’. It’s not unusual, for example, to hear couples talk about “my man” or “my woman” as affectionate terms. That being said, the idea of having rights to someone else’s body because they’re “your man” or “your woman” does indeed connote ownership. I had the same reaction to this story on Twitter, whereupon the offender accused me of watching too much Basketball Wives (a joke that fell flat because I haven’t watched the show to understand the context of his comment). That being said, when my girlfriend says (often sarcastically, after I say something stupid or weird) “and you’re all mine!”, I don’t interpret that as a claim of ownership as much as a statement of mutual fidelity. Context, as always, is everything.

  5. Rabidtreeweasel says

    A hard subject for me. I was married and had grown up as a Mormon, and although I knew there was something wrong with how my husband treated me I also believed it was my job to be a good example for him.

    Stay sweet; when he sees how good you are, he’ll change. Sex? It’s his right to decide when and where.

    It was always the woman’s right to suggest if she didn’t want to, and the husbands job to take it into consideration. It was assumed he would be judicious because he was a priesthood holder, so how could he not be fair minded? Being fair minded was a requirement for holding the priest hood. Never mind interviewing the man’s family to find out whether he meets that qualification. They relied on the man’s word because if he were lying God would reveal it. So I literally lay there and took it for 3 years, 2 of which I was an atheist in hiding because I was gathering the resources to escape my marriage and my family.

    What’s disturbing for me 5 years removed from that experience is how many secular people share the mindset that if a woman said Yes once, even if it was begrudgingly, she’s given up her right to say no for all time.

  6. smrnda says

    Yes, I mean, I say “my partner” all the time. Context is everything, and here it made me think of people who start punching holes in their doors or busting their TV set going “it’s mine so I can bust it if I want to!” Had a mentally unstable neighbor who was prone to this behavior, he would smash his stuff, then go out and buy new stuff as if he’d just bought everyone in his family a present and made rationalizations based on city planning analogies. But I digress way too much there…

    I sometimes see a link though with the idea that if the man provides a paycheck, the woman gives him sex. The problem is the male breadwinner and female homemaker isn’t so common any more

  7. mythbri says

    Rabidtreeweasel, I’m really sorry that happened to you. As a former Mormon myself, I know exactly what you’re saying and it hurts to know that people don’t understand how wrong this is.

  8. Tony •Prom King of Sunnydale High• says

    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

    A thousand times ^^This^^.

  9. mildlymagnificent says

    how many secular people share the mindset that if a woman said Yes once, even if it was begrudgingly, she’s given up her right to say no for all time.

    And even if she’s said “Yes” to wedding vows, she’s not said yes to sex any-time anywhere any-activity at her husband’s whim.

    What marriage vows do is commit to never, ever engaging in sex with anyone else. They make no commitment of any kind to time, place, frequency or nature of any sexual activity with the spouse at all.

    Those vows are entirely about exclusive and negative boundaries around a one and only sexual partner, not, absolutely not a positive statement of availability anywhere any time for any sexual whim, notion or experiment that passes the spouse’s mind.

  10. Pyra says

    Even in my own marriage there was a moment that shattered my trust of my *previously trustworthy* husband. I never recovered my trust due to my history of abuse. It might have been rape. It was a threat because I wasn’t doing my duty enough because I’d been damaged by my first birth and also I was exhausted and depressed… It never mattered. He was my husband, and those that I shared this information with always sided with him and didn’t get what my problem was. After all, he didn’t DO anything, right?

  11. im says

    Yeah. And in the case of prostitution, a conflict over payment and services not offered can only result in refunding money if even that.

    Also we say ‘our country’ or, even more unambigously, ‘My Lord’ when in the latter case the ownership goes exactly the opposite direction.

  12. sc_3b82046bdb502ea36e9b525b6a8a51ae says

    Stay strong. Let’s hope women (and men) see through Romney. For UK posters and lurkers, he’s like Hughie Green. (A British game show presenter whose catchphrase was, ‘And I mean that most sincerely, friends.) Wasn’t Romney being so rude?? And he never stopped smiling while he did it. Good for Obama for sticking up for his staff.

    Thank you for sharing. It must have been hard.

  13. sc_3b82046bdb502ea36e9b525b6a8a51ae says

    Don’t know why the long number came up! I’m xmaseveeve.

    Baron Hume said that once a woman has had sex with her husband, she has ‘surrendered herself to him in that kind’ and so could not be raped by him. Hundreds of years later, we realised he was bloody wrong.

  14. vaiyt says

    “its not rape if thats your woman” – asshole on Twitter

    Well, let’s put it to the test, shall we? We get “Asshole’s Woman” to ravage his anus in his sleep with a strap-on, and see how much he approves of that.

  15. rilian says

    “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.”
    Yeah. Also… if someone doesn’t immediately stop tickling you when you tell them to stop… is that something I should be worried about? or am i over-reacting….

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