Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Dec 21, 2012 in Feminism, Freethought Blogs | 37 comments

What Is Rape?

Recently, Rebecca Watson tweeted the following:

“If you have sex w/ someone who is drunk, they are unable to consent & that is rape.”

Screencaps of this are everywhere, so I won’t bother posting another one here. But I do have a few comments to make:

1. If this weren’t the case, I’d still be a virgin (if we don’t count the one incident of actual rape, along with another one I managed to escape).

2. Someone needs to learn a bit of grammar and, no, Twitter character limits aren’t a challenge: Here’s a far less offensive statement with even less characters, to boot: “If you have sex w/someone who’s drunk & unable to consent, that’s rape.”  So there goes Watson’s excuse for being unclear and offensive. Took me about a second to fix.

3. If this applies to men, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t apply to women.

4. Every man I know is a rapist by Watson’s definition, and I don’t mind that a bit.

5. No means no. Learn it, accept it, and abide by it; unless in your particular sexual relationships role play and safe words are involved.

6. No one should take advantage of someone who is *too drunk to consent.* But this is not nearly as black and white as it seems.

7. Yes, women do have morning regrets when they realize that someone just isn’t that into them.

8. Yes, sometimes women who like random sex are viewed as slutty, while men are not; and I wish that would change. Screaming “rape” when it doesn’t exist won’t help.

9. Women should hold some responsibility for how drunk they get. No, this is by no means an excuse for sex without consent. But it leaves a huge grey area where a guy (who may also be drunk) might think that things are going just as they should, especially if the woman he’s being sexual with is an eager, willing participant. And that’s fine. It isn’t rape.

10. I don’t need to drink to enjoy sex; in fact sex, for me, is much better if I’m completely sober, and if someone knows me and is willing to listen to what I like and need. All of my serious relationships have been like that, and these days, that is the only way I’ll engage in a sexual encounter. But it took me a while to learn this, and I don’t regret the mistakes I made along the way.


Finally, and most importantly, if we start conflating trivialities with rape, people will stop taking rape complaints seriously, and I won’t blame them. Rape and sex you regret because of your own actions are two different things. As for an invitation to coffee in an elevator? Oh. My. Gawd.