This week I’ve read well over two thousand comments about rape, nearly all by men. Some about Assange, some about Todd Akin. A large percentage of them willfully belittling the crime, often comparing it to burglary, or being pick-pocketed. Most worrying of all, is the sheer volume of people who think that unless you’re dragged down an alley by a rabid stranger (and why were you near an alley on your own at night, anyway? Cuh, women) it’s not rape. The phrase “bad sex” keeps popping up. Seriously, bad sex. So, if you rape someone you know, if you rape them while they’re sleeping, if you rape them while holding them down in bed, that’s not rape. It’s bad sex. Not penetrating someone without their consent, you know, raping them. Apparently if one person decides they want sex, and the other doesn’t, and they rape them while drunk, sleeping, or restrained, it’s just bad sex. What an utterly insidious phrase. It then proceeds to depict any woman reporting rape as bitter, and hysterically blowing this “bad sex”out of all proportion. In many comments, this “bad sex” was compared to “traditional rape”, which I can only assume harks back to the stranger/alley trope that keeps cropping up. Hey, you feel violated and have been attacked by someone you knew! At least it wasn’t “traditional rape” though! It was that modern rape the feminists harp on about, to criminalise “bad sex”.
It’s depressing, but it’s more depressing when you realise these people are taking these beliefs back to the bedroom. And when they’re having their views validated by friends, and others online, and detectives in rape units falsify evidence to collapse cases, and senators believe you can only get pregnant through rape if you enjoyed it, it can’t end well. I feel a lot less positive about society seeing this, but more than that, I feel depressed as a woman, to be told that if you sleep with someone once, you rescind the right to refuse sex in the future. I used to find it baffling that men who refer to women as “sluts who should have kept their knickers up” can also want to have sex with women. That so many people seem capable of hating women but wanting to sleep with them seemed incongruous. Then you read through comments on articles about Galloway, Assange, Todd Akin, or take a quick scroll through Twitter and it’s obvious. If you view women as their constituent parts, and grow bitter with every rejection, slight or knock back, it’s easy. But it’s still profoundly depressing.