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Affirmative Consent Standard for Non-Rape

I'm happy to read that California colleges are adopting this new standard which says that in order to not be rape, sexual interaction may occur when both partners are conscious and actively consenting. I hope that this new standard is widely adopted and eventually becomes law for the nation, not just a few colleges.

My partner points out that it does not remove the possibility of a "he said she said" standoff in court, and this is true. It requires education, so that everyone knows that it is the standard, and support such that all persons feel empowered to say "no" when they want to.

What this standard does, in my mind at least, is raise the bar ever so slightly for aggressors seeking sex. It removes the defense "She didn't say no" from play. I have been appalled to see that a raped woman cannot get justice unless she gets hurt. If she is not injured, and does not have ejaculate on her, then the court could find "no evidence" that she was raped. Requiring that a woman be injured or that there be witnesses who heard her screaming "no" before you believe that she was raped is a terrible baseline, but in practicality it plays out this way. This is why even in our supposedly open culture most raped women do not seek legal recourse. It's not worth it.

I would like to believe that a good lawyer or judge can elicit signs of the truth from a person even when they are trying to hide it. I would like to think that attentive jurors will instinctively know when someone is lying. Perhaps I am too idealistic about our court system, and it malfunctions more than it functions.

There's nothing direct or simple about the way sexuality plays out in our culture and legal system. Messy is more the word for it. Within a relationship that has been sexual in the past, men do take advantage, and women do submit in order to not be hurt. That submission is not consent. For young men who have no partner, the situation is worse. I have read that many young American men today are angry at women because they cannot get the sex they want. One such young man took up a gun to express his anger. Intense desire is normal, but such anger is dangerous. Modern youth partake of online porn that gives them an unrealistic view of sex and does not educate them on the delicacies of dating or seduction. It is an unhealthy situation, and this standard does nothing to resolve it. Who is going to teach the young people how to talk to each other, to be respectful, and to flirt gracefully? I do not know. I only know that the social structures that used to educate us about proper mating behavior have fallen apart, and nothing has taken their place.

At least here raped women are not stoned to death, though I can comprehend how this would be better for the males in a patriarchal system. She can't complain if she's dead. At least in colleges in California, "yes means yes" is an excellent new dividing line between consent and submission or worse.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
bobby1933
Sep. 20th, 2014 01:58 am (UTC)
I think coercive sex is mainly an exercise of power.
The NFL cannot figure out what to do about off field violence because the NFL is itself an exercise of corrupt power. Men rape other men, they rape elderly people, they rape children -- and they seem to do this more often in time of war.

(edit) I believe that this new standard which forces the accused to prove that he did not commit rape is necessary, though its constitutionality could be challenged.

Edited at 2014-09-20 02:02 am (UTC)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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