Polimicks

Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

The Pervasiveness of Sexual Coercion

Yeah, this is going to be one of those posts that are going to make an assload of people roll their eyes and declare me a humorless feminist. And well, if you really think that you have obviously never met me, because I am wicked fucking funny and don’t you forget it.

There are a whole lot of reasons why some people have trouble calling rape rape. Pop culture for the last several decades, hell, centuries, has depicted women as reluctant for sex, at least on the surface. “Your lips say no, but your eyes say yes.” Women have to be “awakened” to their sexual desires, sometimes forcefully. Dating manuals from as recent as the 1950s advised young men to ignore the struggles of young ladies they wished to kiss or fondle, unless she screamed loud enough to draw attention or drew blood with her fingernails, slapping wasn’t good enough if no one heard it. The story of the young man who drives his date out to the middle of nowhere and then essentially tells her to “put out or get out” fills movies, novels and tv, as well as the autobiographical stories of real women. Even my beloved Romance novels are filled with unwilling heroines wooed into sexual abandon by the forceful hero of the story.

This pop culture avalanche of “no meaning yes” sends a horrible message to everyone.

However, pop culture is also not so kind to the men either. In pop culture, men are all sex-crazed imbeciles who will take sex any time, any where, from any one. Men are supposed to want sex all the time and take it when they want it in order to be a real man.

The pressure to be studs, combined with a society that tells them that girls have to be coerced into sex they would “enjoy if they give it a chance” combines to muddy the waters of sexual interactions something fierce.

I have had men describe a situation that I could only call rape, then look me in the eye and tell me it wasn’t rape. And the thing is, if you gave them a lie detector they would pass, because they honestly do not see anything wrong with coercing someone into sex, having sex with someone who is unconscious and therefore unable to consent, or refusing to let someone out of their house or car without a sexual act.

This belief does not let them off the hook. Just as the belief that men want sex all the time does not let women who have sex with men who are unconscious, or who coerce men into sex off the hook either. Nor does it excuse men who do the same with other men.

No means No. I don’t care how many times Hollywood, Harlequin, or society tells you it doesn’t. And Yes does not mean Yes, if that it the only answer you will accept, and you are holding someone’s life, livelihood or safety and well-being hostage. If someone is too drunk to know what is going on and you fuck them, you have raped them. If someone is unconscious and you fuck them, you have raped them.

But most of all, if someone says No, and you fuck them anyway, you have raped them. Don’t assume they’re being coy or playing hard to get. If they say No, take it at face value. If they don’t actually MEAN no, let them deal with it. I say this for the protection of everyone out there. If you’re not sure the other person wants it, then err on the side of caution. It’ll save everyone involved a whole bunch of heart ache.

In real life there is nothing sexy about coercion. Nothing.

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11 comments on “The Pervasiveness of Sexual Coercion

  1. garpu
    October 14, 2008

    I really fucking hate that some men take “no” as a “yes.” Witness: creepy lab dude. He honestly didn’t know that his behavior was stalking. Or he was too stupid to realize. (not that his crap was remotely in the same league as sexual abuse.)
    And I can verify that can make people shoot liquid out their noses.

    Like

  2. benevolentia
    October 14, 2008

    I know this amazing woman who a long while ago was really just starting to explore her sexuality after divorcing the husband she had married at a very early age. It was in the height of the 70s and she had gone to a club with a friend and went home with a really cute guy and had consensual sex with him. She normally didn’t go home with guys when she didn’t have her car with her, but that night for some reason was an exception. The guy lived fairly far away from where she lived and in the area taxi’s weren’t really an option. She just wanted to go home but being the “gentleman” that he was he decided that he wouldn’t take her to the ferry terminal unless they had sex again. She didn’t want to sleep with him, and told him no, he was quite a bit stronger than her and he told her that they were going to have sex and it could either be friendly or very unfriendly. She just wanted to go home was really scared and “agreed” to it just so she could get away and make it back to the
    I’m sure that there are people who wouldn’t consider that rape because she relented and agreed to it so she wouldn’t have the crap beaten out of her. I would disagree with them quite strongly. When someone says no and they’re threatened with either physical strength or violence they’re still having their options taken away from them. If the only option you’re giving someone is to do what they don’t want to do or get physically abused and possibly beaten to death, that really isn’t giving them any normal choices.
    When she told me her story I felt so sad for her and just wanted to punch someone in the face. I’ve had friends with similar stories that were told by people that what happened to them wasn’t rape, it was just a “bad date”. I of course think anyone who would say that is an asshole and should have their humanity card revoked.

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    • polimicks
      October 14, 2008

      Yeah, and because she had had sex with him once consensually already, it would have been (and still would be) next to impossible to press charges or get a conviction on it.

      Like

  3. sarmonster
    October 14, 2008

    Would that people could relive an experience like that from the point of view of the other person.
    Honestly, I know of no woman over 21 that has NOT had a non-consentual sexual experience at some time in her life. Not that I go around asking everyone I meet, but its apallingly common.
    We still live in the animal kingdom. The idea has crossed the mind of every man on this earth. How is it so prevalent, yet also a capital offense and completely unacceptable? -The court system might not kill rapists, but I think of all the people on this planet that others would turn a blind eye should someone take justice into their own hands… You’ll never see people standing up for rapists’ rights.
    Where is the disconnect between the condemnation and the act itself?

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    • polimicks
      October 14, 2008

      Actually a lot of people do stand up for rapists’ rights, because they don’t believe that the guy could possibly be a rapist. Or they firmly believe that the woman was “asking for it.” Or they don’t think his life should be ruined by one little “indiscretion.”

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  4. spitphyre
    October 14, 2008

    This particular little fact has come up in my conversations a lot in the past few weeks. I think the romance-story vision of the world of sex skews things all weirdly for women. “To be loved you can’t enjoy sex unless it’s forced on you or if you do enjoy sex just accept that you are unlovable.” I’m not saying that simply by reading romance novels (a lot of which are changing their tune on this subject) you’ll find yourself warped but rather this is just the overall mentality of the culture. Or rather was. But it’s in stark contrast to everything else we’re told or shown.
    But I have to agree that coercion does not equal sexy or sensual. It’s degrading, it’s painful, and it’s wrong. It can be blurry, especially in a long term relationship, (how many times have you thought “no” to your partner’s advances only to think about it more and go “wait, now I want it” It HAS happened both ways for me) but that never makes it right.

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  5. euterpe35
    October 14, 2008

    There is only one time in my life when I said NO and meant YES. And that was when my friend and I were playing a consensual, pre-determined… game of sorts. šŸ™‚

    Like

  6. Anonymous
    October 28, 2008

    “If someone is too drunk to know what is going on and you fuck them, you have raped them. If someone is unconscious and you fuck them, you have raped them. But most of all, if someone says No, and you fuck them anyway, you have raped them.”
    It’s been a month today since I was that drunk. It’s been a month today since he showed up in a place he wasn’t even supposed to be, called me his little sister, told me I needed to lay down because we all know that casinos mean free drinks which is bad for me. He’s married to one of my best friends. I trusted him to walk me back to the room, and that was a mistake.
    I was drunk. Too drunk to consent, really. On top of that, I didn’t consent. One of my clearest memories of that night is saying no. And saying no again. And again.
    I came home the next morning, and I told my sister I’d done something terrible. She asked what happened, and I told her. She said I was raped. I knew this, knew this logically. If it had been another woman, I would’ve known it. But it was me. I’d just fucked up. By getting drunk on a girls night out I’d fucked up.
    I kind of ignored it. By kind of, I mean completely. I knew, because the words were in my head, and I knew. But I didn’t want to listen to it or for it to be real, so I ignored it the best I could. I’ve done this before. I’ve been through this before. I’ve logged more time in trauma groups than I care to count. I know all of this.
    So why? What the fuck did I do?
    It’s been steadily getting worse. I’ve been isolating more and more. I’ve been having panic attacks when I walk out my front door. I can’t sleep at night. I’m jumpy. I cry. I pace around my apartment until my roommate looks at me like she’s afraid for me, or of me.
    This past week, I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t do it anymore, and I told her. I choked on my sobs and tried not to throw up and I told her. I told my boyfriend. I saw my therapist. I cried. A lot. I’ve been crying. A lot. I’ve still been isolating. I just…
    I don’t know. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, and why I can’t just fucking make this better. I’ve been through this before.
    I want my sister, but I’m terrified of her seeing me THIS weak, and THIS broken. I don’t want to have to lean on her when she’s got so much of her own going on. And I don’t know what else to do.
    My shrink wanted to put me back on xanax so I can sleep, and so I can leave my house without freaking out. I said no. I don’t like the meds. They don’t fix anything for me anymore.
    I feel like I’ve already cried about it too much. It’s not right, and I know that. I know that because if it was another woman, another person that this happened to, I would tell them that you just cry until you don’t need to.
    God, I’m sorry for this.

    Like

    • polimicks
      October 28, 2008

      Oh sweetie.
      If you need to vent, talk, know someone is there, email me at sirriamnis at gmail dot com
      If that isn’t enough, if you’re near Seattle, we can meet. If you’re not, there’s Skype.

      Like

  7. Anonymous
    January 27, 2009

    I was cautious and wasted time
    I dated this girl for like 3 years and, obviously, tried many times to see how far making out would go. She was 9 years younger than me, just turned 18. It was surprisingly easy to get her undressed above the waist and do whatever, but she’d completely lock up if my hand ever even attempted to go below the waist. She’d never even take her clothes off below that level. Being the straightforward guy I just asked asked her what the problem was and she told me a story about how when she was 12, her uncle tried to rape her. I always treated her with care, her being so fragile and all, plus I had some serious marriage thoughts. After 3 years (in my culture marriages are around 21 years of age) I proposed and was rejected. It was going nowhere and we split to become “friends”. Later on in an MSN Messenger chat (I still keep that file) our past relationship came up. She basically told me that she didn’t have sex with me and we broke up because “I didn’t press it enough”.
    So it was my fault that out of respect and care for her, taking a NO for a NO, and keeping in mind the rape story, I didn’t force her!?? The next guy went right for it and she lost virginity to him in like a week!
    So whatever you ladies say, my experience tells that:
    A. Women don’t know and rarely sure what they want, so as a consequence,
    B. They say NO and mean YES a lot more often than they’d like to admit
    It’s a man’s fault anyway. If I don’t push her enough into having sex or demand or simply “take” her, I’m not male enough and cease to become attractive. If I do that, then “all men are rapist pigs that only want sex”.

    Like

    • polimicks
      January 28, 2009

      Re: I was cautious and wasted time
      “So whatever you ladies say, my experience tells that:
      A. Women don’t know and rarely sure what they want, so as a consequence,
      B. They say NO and mean YES a lot more often than they’d like to admit
      It’s a man’s fault anyway. If I don’t push her enough into having sex or demand or simply “take” her, I’m not male enough and cease to become attractive. If I do that, then “all men are rapist pigs that only want sex”.

      One woman is not all women. And she was obviously pretty seriously fucked up if that is how she really felt about and dealt with sex. And with how horribly she communicated about that, her other communication skills are probably shit, too.
      Consider it a bullet dodged and move on.
      WOMEN do know what they want. And No still means No, one fucked up woman-child notwithstanding.
      The fact is, if you disregard what women say regardng sex, if you’re lucky you’ll get charged with sexual assault. If you’re unlucky, she or someone else is going to do you some serious bodily damage. Never date a girl with a close knit family, or they may never find the body.
      No means no. Period.

      Like

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This entry was posted on October 13, 2008 by in Uncategorized.

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