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Consensual non-consent & rape.

**Trigger warning: Sexual assault & rape discussion below**

During my time on FetLife I’ve come across so many many women referring to some of their fantasies as rape fantasy instead of consensual non-consent.

It’s not the same thing. It’s a pet peeve of mine. Why? Because until you’ve actually been assaulted you have no idea of the difference in these two things.

Consensual non-consent can be a fun space to play in with your partner. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an area of my sexuality that I love to push. That I love watching my partners eyes light up when he/she realises that they have my full consent to do whatever they want. Obviously within reason, I don’t want to end up dead or a vegetable – but that falls into mutual boundaries that should have been set by now. Consensual non-consent can be hot, dirty and endlessly vitalise one’s sex life with their other half.

Rape, on the other hand, is not fun. It’s not hot. It’s not something that I look forward to or encourage.

Here’s how Dictionary.com explain it:

Rape
noun

  1. the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse
  2. any act of sexual intercourse that is foruced upon a person
  3. statutory rape
  4. an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation
  5. Archaic. the act of seizing and carrying off by force

Here’s how I define it. It’s something that is done to you even though every cell of your being is screaming no.

It’s something that is forced on you with threat of harm, it’s something being taken from you that you never wanted to give, it’s a loss of power, a loss of self, a self loathing, a feeling of being dirty and last but not least… it’s shame.

Shame that it happened. Shame that you couldn’t or didn’t stop it. Shame that people will think less of you if they knew. Shame that somehow it was all your fault. Shame because a woman raped is somehow a woman tainted.

When I was growing up it was impressed upon me that purity was all essential as a girl. I shouldn’t have sex before I got married. I shouldn’t dress provocatively. I shouldn’t hang out with boys. I shouldn’t engage in anything that was considered impure or misleading. I shouldn’t wear makeup because that would make boys think that I was up for the taking. These are the things that were hammered into me from about the age of 8. I wasn’t allowed to leave the house without a male chaperone. Even to go to the corner store to get lollies.

Nevermind that the assault was already happening at home. While my mother was warning me against the big bad monster outside the house, all kinds of things were already happening inside.

Being raped doesn’t mean that it’s someone you don’t know. Most times it’s the devil you do. And sometimes, it’s the devil you don’t.

Last year one of my good friends went through a horrific experience. She was raped on her way home. I woke up to her screaming and crying outside my bedroom door at 2am. I haven’t really talked about this because it’s really hard to talk about without myself becoming a mess.  Plus, it’s not my story to tell. Suffice to say that it was a really fucking traumatic experience for me and I can’t even imagine how she’s coping.

One of the first things the police asked me was if she had been drinking.

I wanted to punch them and they must have seen it on my face because they followed up with “I’m sorry for asking these questions but it’s part of the investigation”.

I still wanted to punch them.

If you’ve had one, two, or even ten drinks – no one invites this. No woman asks to be raped because she’s had a few. No woman invites this invasion not only of her body but of her sanity. I didn’t leave her side for a week. I took time off work. I climbed in the shower with her, I held her hand as she passed out and vomited intermittently between the house and the hospital in the ambulance. I wrapped her up in me during the hospital kits being performed. We climbed into my bed together when we finally got home and I curled up against her back as I wrapped my arms tight around her and we finally both passed out from exhaustion. I was there. And we were safe and everything was going to be ok – or as ok as I could make it.

The direction of the police interview made me feel exactly like this:

Listen, it’s simple ladies. If you drive your vagina around and leave it double parked on a dark street with the keys dangling in the ignition and an apple pie on the dashboard, how can you expect someone not to amble past and just take it? I mean, if I were to just wander off and leave my wallet sitting on the table in a cafe, should I be surprised if I return later to find it gone?

The idea that we could possibly allow any victim of assault, sexual or otherwise, to think that they had somehow asked for it is so anathema to the idea of human decency that it beggars belief. Nobody asks to be raped. And vaginas don’t come with a goddamn steering lock.

When a woman puts on a short skirt, she isn’t signalling her exit from the building that is her body. She hasn’t left her car running on an empty street and wandered off to find some frozen yoghurt. All she’s done is put on a short skirt. You still have to ask her if she wants to have sex with you. You should still want to ask her.  – Article by Clementine Ford

That article has so many points that I literally cheered after that I could happily copy and paste the whole thing.

But I won’t, go read it. Clem is an amazing feminist writer that inspires me daily.

So let’s also flip to that movie that was banned all over the world for the horrific rape scene that went for 10 minutes. It was french. The scene in questions made me throw up. It’s called Irreversible.

It’s not something that I would suggest anyone watch.  Except these women that are saying they have rape fantasies.

Maybe then they’ll understand the difference in consensual non-consent and rape.


Rape helplines:

NSW Rape Crisis Centre – NSW Rape Crisis Centre provides the 24/7 telephone and online crisis counselling service for anyone in Australia who has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault.
Sexual Assault Support List Australia – This is a brief outline of services that can be accessed in other regions of Tasmania and other states to provide support to survivors of sexual assault and their support people.
Reach Out Australia – There are a number of services available for you regardless of where you live in Australia. National services like 1800 RESPECT can support you no matter what state or territory you are in. There is a list of all other states helplines and support people.
Twenty10 – For the queers amongst us, this is a great resource.
ACON – Also another GLBTIQ resource, ACON have been around for years and have counselling services available.

11 Comments

  1. I’ve had this conversation too often with men AND women. Hell, I had this conversation recently with my father who kept saying “What if she [fill in the stereotypical blank]? What does she expect?” To which I consistently reply, “and when she refuses him, he should back off.” I don’t care if you are walking downtown in your birthday suit and flirting with every male in sight. If any person, regardless of gender, puts their hands on you and ignores your refusal of them, it’s wrong.

    I sometimes wonder if the debate surrounding rape (I can’t believe it’s even debated) might be helped if we found a way to remove gender. Anyone of any gender identity can be raped by anyone else of any other gender identity. The same questions should be asked of all of them. Rape is equally unjustified among all of them as well.

    • Yes, yes it is.

      I am big on the consent front. I might waffle on about how i give up my consent to my partner, however at the end of the day I know that they have my best interests at heart and don’t want to break me.

      A rapist doesn’t care about your sanity. They don’t care about your health. They just care about taking what they want.

      And it’s so true, if you take away gender, rape is equally unjustified.

      But let’s not discount the amount of men that suffer rape and never talk about it. The number might not be as high as women, but the emotional shit storm they would be going through would be just as traumatic.

  2. This is a conversation I have to have all too many times. “What did she expect? I would assume she expected to not have someone put something inside her body without her permission. That is a reasonable expectation.”

    Also, it infuriates me when people question why she was alone with him. Or imply that if they have ever had sex before then she is consenting to sex with him for the rest of her life.

    • It shouldn’t be a debate.

      We shouldn’t have to defend ourselves and our dress style.

      What if men who walked around with their shirts off or in shorts got raped all the time. Are they asking for it? Why is it that a woman is?

      It’s infuriating.

  3. This: “Shame that it happened. Shame that you couldn’t or didn’t stop it. Shame that people will think less of you if they knew. Shame that somehow it was all your fault. Shame because a woman raped is somehow a woman tainted.” More needs to be said about THIS.

    Good stuff, Sharn. I always think similar (less eloquent) thoughts when people bring up “rape fantasies.”

    • Yes, yes it does.

      I wholeheartedly agree. That we are still feeling such shame associated with being raped says alot about the whole outlook of society on people that have been raped. I hate that anyone would feel that it was their fault – but this ties into my rage that I feel at slut shaming. Which is a whole other post =)

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