There Has to Be a Better Way to End Rape Culture: It Isn’t At All Like Stealing $5
Anna Hundert

I sometimes wonder if the only people viewing and retweeting are the people who already get it.

Exactly my problem with such analogies. I wouldn’t mind that they minimise the horror of rape and reduce sex to an exchange if they were actually changing people’s minds about the importance of consent. They are, after all, reductive analogies and so some loss of meaning is to be expected. I think it’s also meant to be a light-hearted way to remind people about the importance of consent, which probably requires that you somewhat isolate it from the horrors of reality. Rather than saying “if you don’t do this, you’re a horrific monster,” it’s like “here’s what you should do, and it’s really very simple,” which is a positive message (meaning it’s also more likely to be effective). But our challenge is to find a way of communicating that message which reaches people who often have closed minds and guarded expectations when it comes to sexual conduct.

There’s consent, and then there’s enthusiastic consent.

I’m pretty sure that’s covered under most legal definitions of consent. In order for consent to be valid, it has to be informed and freely given. This is the problem with people who are emotionally manipulated (either in the short term as in “I bought you dinner now have sex with me,” or in the long term as in “I give you stability and [superficial] support on the condition that we have sex whenever I want to”).

Here’s where we run into the truly sticky issues of implied consent and mental impairment. I can think of a number of situations where implied consent works, but of course (and especially with unfamiliar partners) it’s much better to explicitly lay things out. I certainly don’t accept the narrative that gaining mutual consent is somehow “unsexy,” and would guess that those sorts of ideas are a product of our adolescence as a society. It seems as though, like teenagers, we’re more than willing have as much sex as we want, but as soon as the time comes to talk about it honestly and openly, we blush and run away.

On the issue of intoxication, how drunk is too drunk? What is the threshold of drunkenness where your judgement is impaired to the point where you can no longer make sexual decisions? How does the drunkenness of the other party factor into things? Clearly if a person is unconscious and someone else assaults them, that’s truly a situation where the case is closed prima facie. But if the judgement of both parties is impaired to the point where neither can barely remember what happened the night before, how can either party be held to account? I’m just having trouble understanding what “too drunk” looks like in a practical sense, perhaps because I haven’t been in that situation.

I’m willing to have holes poked in my logic and to admit that I’m wrong

Thanks so much for being an honest interlocuter. It’s great to see people having conversations on the internet who accept that their arguments might be fallible and give their opinion with humility and rigorous argument.

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