Sexual Consent: The Dual Responsibility No One is Talking About

Posted in Politics
Fri, May 8 - 2:12 pm EST | 3 years ago by
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    Sexual consent is a two-way street, and no one is talking about this. While there are no lack of sources willing to – rightfully – stress the importance of only engaging in sexual relations with someone with their consent, one very big factor is not only being omitted, but is also being excused away: the responsibility of the person giving consent to be sure they are doing so meaningfully and responsibly.

    Sexual Consent
    Source: Shutterstock

    In a recent op-ed piece for the Claremont McKenna College student newspaper, The Forum, Jordan Bosiljevar introduces the newest ripple in the current wave of word meaning bastardizations: “raped by rape culture.” In the piece, entitled “Why Yes Can Mean No,” Bosiljevar asserts that she was conditioned against saying no, citing examples which include cheek kisses from relatives when she was five and a boyfriend daring to tell her that some girls enjoyed sex at age sixteen. These examples apparently led to Bosiljevar having a fear of saying “no.” Somehow. “In discussing this experience with friends, we coined the term ‘raped by rape culture’ to describe what it was like to say yes, coerced by the culture that had raised us and the systems of power that worked on us, and to still want ‘no.’” Examples provided included the internal feeling of obligation after visiting someone’s room, loneliness, fear that someone else won’t be interested in the future, and the concern that they might not stop anyway.

    Then, as is the typical radical progressive way, Bosiljevar throws in racism and homophobia, stating that (and I’m not even kidding right now), “Consent is a privilege, and it was built for wealthy, heterosexual, cis, white, western, able-bodied masculinity.” She continues: “When you’re poor, disabled, queer, non-white, trans, or feminine, ‘no’ isn’t for you.” Thankfully, Bosiljevar does clarify that sometimes people “oppressed in these systems of power” can have consensual sex and maybe even enjoy it. Sometimes, even women.

    Bosiljevar’s solution to this is to simply not make consent available to everyone unless they’re also willing to smash the patriarchy. First, we have to realize that all oppression is connected, and all rape is racist, classist, ableist, patriarchal, hetero and cissexist. We cannot make consent available to all if we are not simultaneously disrupting these structures.”

    Bosiljevar gives an example of a sexual experience where, despite the man asking her “Is this ok?” and, in her own words, “If we are being legal about this, I said yes,” she actually really meant no. Since she admittedly gave consent without coercion or threat, clearly a new term would need to be introduced in order to make her a victim – and here we have the birth of “raped by rape culture.” In addition to insulting rape victims everywhere, such a claim introduces a very scary mindset: that if you happen to be a woman, you are incapable of saying yes and meaning it. While this may seem like an extreme example, it is one we’ve seen utilized by colleges and universities across the United States in recent years – and it’s catching steam.

    In September of 2013, an unidentified man, “John Doe,” was accused of rape by an unidentified woman, “Jane Doe.” Despite being cleared by police – who determined that both parties were drunk, the sex was consensual, and it was a mutual engagement in poor judgment – Occidental College administrators evaluated the wealth of information in order to determine whether Jane Doe was a victim of rape. Both parties were severely inebriated, and while Jane Doe sent text messages – both to John Doe to see if he had a condom, and to a friend to brag about the fact that she was going to have sex – and went to John Doe’s room for consensual sex, one week later she revoked her consent, citing her level of intoxication as a factor to be considered for rape. This decision came after seeking counsel from the college’s assistant Professor of Sociology, Danielle Dirks, who told Jane Doe that the man she slept with “fit the profile of other rapists on campus in that he had a high GPA in high school, was his class valedictorian, was on a team of some sort (the specifics of the report were redacted), and he was ‘from a good family.’”

    Occidental administrators opted to hire outside adjudicator Marilou Mirkovich to evaluate the circumstances of the case. In the lengthy report, it was determined that, while the sex was indeed consensual, Jane Doe was too incapacitated to meaningfully consent. Although John Doe’s level of incapacitation impaired his ability to meaningfully assess how much she meant her “yes,” a clause in Occidental’s sexual-assault policy determined John Doe was responsible for evaluating Jane Doe in the same capacity he would have had he been sober. The fact that, technically, both students were too drunk to either give or receive meaningful consent was never addressed, instead resulting in John Doe’s expulsion. After rejecting his appeal, Doe filed a lawsuit against Occidental.

    The ideals introduced in Bosiljevar’s piece, when combined with the actions of Occidental College and many other higher learning institutions, champion for the ability of a woman to withdraw consent even weeks after a consensual sexual encounter has ended. When factoring in multiple documented occurrences of false claims, and the repeated defense of such false claims by feminist advocates, society has become desensitized to the gruesome act of rape.

    Even the CDC questionnaire considers consensual sex when a person is “making promises about the future that they know are untrue,” “repeatedly asking for sex,” or “showing they were unhappy” factors when compiling their data for their National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, stating “Sometimes unwanted sexual contact happens after a person is pressured in a nonphysical way.” Women can withdraw consent for a sexual act weeks after it occurs, yet men cannot withdraw consent for a relationship, lest it be rape. Because, if we’re being completely honest with each other, we know that’s what people really care about. Society has established that women consent and men obtain consent, a mindset that is evidenced by the FBI’s official definition of rape.

    Rape is a severe and traumatizing crime. Equally as severe, however, is the experience someone falsely or irresponsibly accused of rape goes through. While there is no question that any sexual act should only occur if said act is consensual, it is becoming increasingly apparent that those giving consent need to be educated on their responsibility to do so knowledgeably and responsibly as well. Regret does not diminish consent. Treating women as though they are incapable of making meaningful decisions, and expecting men to telepathically know what is best for a woman, sounds an awful lot like that big bad patriarchy people keep talking about smashing.

    Liz Finnegan is a soulless ginger with no political leanings. Pun enthusiast. Self-proclaimed “World’s Okayest Person.” Retro gaming contributor for The Escapist.

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      • http://www.avoiceformen.com/ Dean Esmay

        It really moves me to see that after all these years, this viewpoint is finally making it into mainstream sources. Thank you Liz Finnegan and the folks at Every Joe.

      • MrSonicAdvance

        In fairness to the author, this one sentence resonated with me: “Bosiljevar asserts that she was conditioned against saying no, citing
        examples which include cheek kisses from relatives when she was five”. I recall my mother insisting that my son “Give Auntie Sue a kiss!”. This woman was not family, just a friend of my mother that my son had no intention of kissing until forced into it by my mother. I said nothign at the time, but later told my mother not to pull that sort of crap again and told my son if he didn’t want to kiss someone, he should never feel pressured into it. I still feel bad about letting it happen, but it was exactly the same sort of shit she used to pull on me as a kid, so by the time I was indignant about it, it had happened.
        However all this shows is that boys are in the same boat as girls, so don’t ignore boys’ problems.

        • Gweilo66

          In fairness to context…it’s quite a stretch from asexual childhood cheek kisses to adult/adult sexual obligations.

        • http://renegadepen.blogspot.co.uk/ Dm Gray

          Feminists rely on people accepting “anecdote A is not okay” and just letting the rest of it slide
          Forcing a kid to kiss somebody is bad (when my nieces have been in a shy mood, as toddlers, their mum would entice them to kiss me/others goodbye. I personally would rather not be kissed by a toddler no matter how loving and would make a joke out of it. Fact is, most of the time my brothers kids have zero problems showing me affection, but forcing that shit is unacceptable. Mocking their teen angst is probably rape culture nowadays though. They don’t get away without a hug now they’re older :P)

          The leap is suggesting this uncool parenting bullshit (using kids as props in your own relationships/friendships) to “and therefore rape culture” is the truly toxic and insidious crap that has gotten these people so much power.

        • phaidros52

          No, its not. No woman is older than 15/16…

        • Bordeaux Vixen

          strange pressured kissed in childhood are not benign/asexual all the time. creepy pervy shit is common bro.

        • Gweilo66

          “common”? Sorry..not my direct experience nor observation of others.

        • Bordeaux Vixen

          well, sorry, but it is common. creepily common.

      • tz1

        Is it consensual when SHE lies, I’m not fertile, I’m using birth control, I’ll have an abortion, but gets pregnant and files for child support?

      • iggy

        I cannot stand the constant infantalization of women by the state and feminists (but I repeat myself). All agency is placed on men in regards to consent and none.. zero is placed on women because apparently they cannot really know if they are actually giving consent because they have been made mentally deficient by social programming. Are you kidding me… how are women allowing people like this to speak for them, to set policies and standards for laws for them. Adult women are not infants, they are not mentally deficient and are perfectly capable of deciding in the moment if they consent or not. Women, trust me when I say you will not enjoy the consequences of pursuing this revocable consent narrative. It’s time women start telling other women to grow up and drop the patriarchy fantasy (myth). Don’t forget who holds up the other half of the sky.

        • Demonspawn

          “how are women allowing people like this to speak for them”

          Because for far too long we have given women rights without responsibilities. They don’t care about being seen as “something which needs protection from themselves” because we’ve never taken away their adult rights due to it.

        • griorgy

          indeed, in their effort to smash patriarchal rule over women, they simply replaced with a matriarchal rule. one oppressive system for another

      • Krolll

        I prefer the good old concept of sin (and our many ways around it) to this New Morality. And don’t forget that the New Morality also preaches ‘sexual liberation’ for women and girls… We all know Miley Cyrus, but you won’t believe what French public television broadcasts at 8 o’clock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXYEdn98a5s&hd=1

      • Andrejovich Dietrich

        The more you feminist chicks yap on. The more you seem to keep making the case to establish a Patriarchy where one does not currently exist.

        None of you are capable of anything resembling self determination, self reliance, and ability to do anything except complain to us all how helpless you are. Since over and over we hear about excuses how you cannot even speak for yourself. You seem to constantly be proclaiming your dishonesty since you claim the inability to make up your own minds reliably.

      • Fraga123

        Men are going to jail, hence no one cares.

      • Demonspawn

        I think it’s really simple:

        If these women want to be treated like children where even when they say “yes” it’s the responsibility of someone else to ensure that they aren’t being taken advantage of, that they have the supposed right to change their minds after the fact… then fine. They can have that.

        But they lose their adult rights. How can we let them vote for candidate A when we can’t be sure that they meant candidate B? How can we let them sign contracts when a week later they might decide they want out of it? How can we let them hold jobs where any kind of risk is involved when they’ve screamed to the rooftops that they are not responsible for themselves?

        If women want to give up their adult responsibilities, fine. But they give up their adult rights too.

        • Gweilo66

          Heh…was wondering if anyone else thought of the voting issue. Hey…the expectations, the pressure…

      • olivier

        So if there is no way to tell the difference between rape or consensual sex, all male sex proposal should be illegal, isn’t it ?
        Congratualtions ! You’ve shown what is the purpose of feminism !
        I love you.
        Thanks to you and your kind, in 20 years, Feminism will be as popular and appealing than KKK nowadays.

        Keep on ! More stupid, outrageous ‘thoughts’ please !

        All male to female sex is rape, no ?

        https://witchwind.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/piv-is-always-rape-ok/

      • wordsIVue

        “Bosiljevar’s solution to this is to simply not make consent available to everyone unless they’re also willing to smash the patriarchy.” – That’s a new level of insidiousness. So basically only feminist women can consent to sex. Any sex with non-feminist women is a crime. if this doesn’t make women stand up and tell feminists to F off I don’t know what will.

      • BlixKrogg

        I’m going to be sorely disappointed when the dam breaks and the public begins to stop caring about victims of rape due to the devaluation of its significance and the trauma actual rape inflicts on victims.

        I’ve been happily married for seven years and have been together with my wife for 8 years longer. I’ve never had to mess with the dating scene even once. (I married my Internet stalker, what better way to find true happiness?) The more I hear about the new dating trends in colleges, the more thankful I am that I’m *done* with all of that and never had to deal with it at all.

        And if this keeps happening and it spreads outside of colleges (which is inevitable), I fear we’re going to see a growth of this god awful “men go their own way” business. I may be married, but holy hell I’m very sympathetic. If I were a guy going to college right now, I’d record every single second of my time outside of the classroom, including every second I’m in my dorm room. Just set up a security camera and carry videography equipment everywhere I go (and rarely leave my dorm room). Just so I can prove I didn’t god damn rape someone I’ve never even seen before.

        And I wouldn’t ever touch the poop. By poop, I mean college women. (Sorry, ladies, if you’re going to college right now. But sometimes generalizations are necessary to protect one self.)

        • Elliott Gaal

          Actually the men “going their own way” isn’t a problem in its own right but a sign of protest and response to a society who doesn’t even give a flying f*ck about you or your plights.
          And it only continues to get worse for them. So then why should they seek ladies if all it is doing is tying a noose around your neck with her at the foot of the chair, willing to kick it whenever she feels like it.
          These examples in the article just prove the reason why men actively avoid women on campus.

        • BlixKrogg

          Yes, I agree. That’s why I mentioned I’m happily married now because, if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t go near a woman unless I had to just to avoid being labeled something grody.

        • Elliott Gaal

          Good thing we can agree on this growing problem.
          Not too often you hear men and women mentioning being happily married (This just general observation in my neck of the woods)

        • Mr. E

          “If I were a guy going to college right now, I’d record every single second of my time outside of the classroom, including every second I’m in my dorm room. Just set up a security camera and carry videography equipment everywhere I go (and rarely leave my dorm room). ”

          Yeah, but then they’d get you for being a pre-meditated creepy perv and throw you in jail for filming your sexual acts without her permission… You just can’t win.

      • Well Done

        We need to put people who go along with the above bafflegab on the front line against Islamists. Jihadis will respond as they are wont to, then the rest of us can defend our way of life knowing that the hare brained, useless academics who were trying to dismantle if from within are no longer with us. We would, in effect, be using Jihadis like maggots, consuming only diseased, useless flesh… and the comparison works for both!

        • Andy

          I couldn’t agree more if I tried!

      • Maarten Vorwerk

        I like Xfer Serum, it’s a nice VSTi.

      • clinton

        you keep getting better and better with your writing liz, i really enjoy your pieces

      • Elliott Gaal

        Seems like the future for straight guys to get some love : is to have a legal document with both signatures, a lawyer (IE. the harbingers of misery) to approve of it and a recorded audio of consent prior to the act.

      • l jess

        The whole concept boggles the mind – women are showing more and more why we need artificial wombs.

      • Adrocked

        This is how feminism is destroying all sympathy for women. I used to be a feminist myself, but after realizing that mainstream feminism has become the new Tea Party, I got out. Sorry, I no longer have sympathy for rape victims because I just have no idea what to believe anymore.

      • JesterRaiin

        > Treating women as though they are incapable of making meaningful
        decisions, (…)

        That’s the problem in a nutshell. Demagogic misanthropes pretending to be feminists.

      • Tokenn

        Okay…the human race is doomed. Pretty soon it will be unsafe for men to engage in any sexual act besides masturbating to online porn.

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