What the heck is ‘non-consensual sex’?

non-consensual

Words matter. Which is why we really need to axe the ridiculous expression “non-consensual sex”. Because “sex” is when a couple of willing, hopefully happily excited folks get naked and have grown-up fun times. That thing that happens when one person forces a part of their body into a part of someone else’s body is a criminal act and we have a word for it. Rape.

If someone breaks into my home and steals my television, have I just participated in “non-consensual sharing”? If the person kills me in the process, have I experienced “non-consensual death”?

What if I knew the accused? What if I had actually had sex with the accused the day before he broke into my house? Would this make being robbed and murdered slightly less criminal?

What if I knew the guy AND it could be proven that I had let him watch my television a few times? For free. Willingly. Perhaps I had even coaxed him into my home with tantalizing promises of popcorn with real butter. Would this make the whole robbery and murder thing more difficult to prove in court?

What if witnesses took the stand at trial and revealed that I had a bad habit of leaving my doors unlocked? What if photos proved that my television could be easily viewed from the sidewalk outside of my house? Would this ‘evidence’ cast doubts on the nature of the crime? Would jurors start to wonder if the poor guy had just mis-read my signals?

And what if the guy who took my television was famous!?!

Would being robbed and murdered by a celebrity be different than being robbed and murdered by a commoner? Would the media report about a ‘scandal’ instead of a crime? And would those reports focus mostly on the health of the accused and how the whole experience had impacted on his career and his public reputation?

The law has words for the illegal actions of individuals. Robbery. Murder. Rape. These are clear, simple terms we all understand. So let’s use them.

Author: kim scaravelli

Kim lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, with her long-suffering husband, an assortment of off-spring, a charming cat named Winnie, and a less charming (but oddly loveable) schnauzer named Buster.

13 thoughts

    1. no worries… under the post you will see lots of options for sharing. one is Facebook. when you click on that, you will get a pop up. In the top left it should say ‘on your own timeline’ (which just means that you would be sharing it on your Facebook page) and at the bottom right you will see a ‘post to Facebook’ box. Click that box and … presto… it’s on your timeline. And thanks for asking. I think lots of ‘non-techies’ wonder about these things, me included.

      Like

  1. Good comparison. As you know, most victims know their attacker. We must make it easier for the victim to come forward. We must take the rape accusation outside of the chain of command in the military and away from college deans. There is too much protectionism going on, rather than thinking of the victim. And, we must have better and more holistic training for teens on sex education including what is non-consensual sex, esteem issues around sex. etc. I read that kids get into college and do not know what “no” means or how to better say “no” and how to watch for trouble signs. Sorry to wax on.

    Like

  2. > Because “sex” is when a couple of willing, hopefully happily excited folks get naked and have grown-up fun times.

    ‘Sex’ means ‘sexual intercourse’ and in civilised human cultures we generally recognise an important distinction between consensual sex and non-consensual sex. People who do not recognise (or care for) this distinction are generally considered a danger to society.

    > That thing that happens when one person forces a part of their body into a part of someone else’s body is a criminal act and we have a word for it. Rape.

    This description limits the definition of rape to exclude the rape of women by women and the rape of men by women. A more ‘gender equal’ definition of rape is any sexual act which is non consensual. Forced envelopment is rape. So is any non-penatrative sexual act imposed onto another without their consent.

    > If someone breaks into my home and steals my television, have I just participated in “non-consensual sharing”?

    Only if they eventually give it back. If they don’t give it back it is non-consensual taking. Non consensual sharing would be borrowing someone’s bike for 3 hours without their permission.

    > If the person kills me in the process, have I experienced “non-consensual death”?

    Yes. Murder is any non consensual killing (assuming it was not justified as an act of necessary self defence).

    > What if I knew the accused? What if I had actually had sex with the accused the day before he broke into my house? Would this make being robbed and murdered slightly less criminal?

    Not really.

    > What if I knew the guy AND it could be proven that I had let him watch my television a few times? For free. Willingly. Perhaps I had even coaxed him into my home with tantalizing promises of popcorn with real butter. Would this make the whole robbery and murder thing more difficult to prove in court?

    Yes, probably. The more unlikely the scenario is the harder you will have to try to convince people it happened. If your neighbour saw you coaxing this person into your house with the promise of popcorn and he was a regular visitor then (obviously) it is all the more improbable that he would murder you and take your TV (compared to some random criminal). But it is possible. But if the story was reliant only on your word (no forensic evidence) then most people would need to be convinced …… they would want some evidence of him being a known con artist (who befriends people over time, and then murders them and steals their stuff) …… or that something had happened to change the scenario (your husband came back and got jealous and there was an altercation etc). On the face of it it does seem a rather unlikely scenario … or at least baffling.

    > What if witnesses took the stand at trial and revealed that I had a bad habit of leaving my doors unlocked?

    Then the thief would still go to jail but you would not get an insurance pay out because your insurers would say you were asking to be robbed by leaving your door unlocked. (Not LITERALLY asking, it’s a figure of speech).

    > What if photos proved that my television could be easily viewed from the sidewalk outside of my house? Would this ‘evidence’ cast doubts on the nature of the crime? Would jurors start to wonder if the poor guy had just mis-read my signals?

    If you live in a high crime neighbourhood (or on the ground floor in pretty much any city), everyone agrees it it is silly to put expensive electrical equipment (like a home cinema setup) on display next to a window so passers by can see them. At least get some net curtains or something. It would not alter the nature of the crime though.

    > And what if the guy who took my television was famous!?!

    He would become even more famous, but for all the wrong reasons. His career would either remain unblemished and he would be acquitted, or his career would be be over immediately and he would go to jail – which one depends on how well connected he was (same as anybody else).

    > Would being robbed and murdered by a celebrity be different than being robbed and murdered by a commoner? Would the media report about a ‘scandal’ instead of a crime? And would those reports focus mostly on the health of the accused and how the whole experience had impacted on his career and his public reputation?

    It would not change the nature of the crime. As far as punishments go judges often take into account the criminal’s social status …. kings and queens can get off scot free, politicians and aristocrats can often get special favours, and women are also given 60% shorter sentences than men for the same crimes ….. plus women are much less likely to be arrested and charged in the first place. This includes crimes like domestic violence, assault, sexual assault and rape.

    Women have far more leeway to slap a man in the home or in the street, touch a man’s butt in the workplace, and rape a man or boy un any situation. In all of these examples a slap on the wrist is a common ‘punishment’ …. and there is generally no public outcry at the leniency being offered either.

    > The law has words for the illegal actions of individuals. Robbery. Murder. Rape. These are clear, simple terms we all understand. So let’s use them.

    How do we use words like rape if we are not able to define them? You just said rape is not sex, because sex means consensual sex. So in that case what is rape if it is not a category of sex?

    Like

    1. Wow. That’s alot of input. I think your comment is longer than my blog post (ha ha). And while I appreciate your passion, I might recommend avoiding the use of so many un-annotated statistics. See my blog is just an expression of my opinions as a middle-aged woman. And your comment is your opinion. Kudos to us both for being engaged and interested in the world around us. But when you pop in things like “women are given 60% shorter sentences than men for the same crimes” and “women are less likely to be arrested and charged in the first place”, it gives those opinions the cachet of being thoroughly researched and unbiased facts. And I suspect that they are not. Just sayin’. Also, I am pretty sure that the law considers rape a category of violence, not a category of sex.

      Like

Can't wait to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s