a reason i don't like 'grey' rape as concept
January 12, 2014
now, i”m not going to re-tread the well worn paths of criticism that the notion of ‘grey” rape is ridiculous, victim blaming, and allows for a certain kind of ambiguity around consent. this is, of course, all wrong.
consent really is a binary. you either have it or you don”t.
if you don”t know that you have it and continue with sex, you”re a rapist. if you assume you have it, without actually confirming that you do, you”re a rapist.
these situations are usually considered to be the sort of ‘grey” areas of rape.
even entertaining the notion that such grey areas exist or could exist (all the people who entertain ‘what if” scenarios under the guise of showing that things aren”t always so cut and dry), is to support rape culture.
and it fucking harms victims of ‘grey” rape.
i”ve talked to ppl seriously confused about their experiences because rape culture wants us to frame rape as narrowly as possible and call other things ‘grey” rape or consensual sex.
my concern with ‘grey” rape isn”t so much that it victim blames (this alone is bad enough to abandon the term entirely), but that it prevents victims and survivors from properly understanding and interpreting their own experiences. and, in doing so, pretty much ensures that victims of ‘grey” rape are never able to properly heal and get past it because they do not know that they”ve been raped.
even as i write this… i”m using othering language like ‘they” ‘them” despite the fact that i”m a victim of ~grey~ rape. i still have an unbelievably difficult time understanding that the times i”ve had sex without consenting are, in fact, rape. why? because because the experiences don”t fit within that very nnarrow definition of rape. because my experiences are in the ~grey~ areas that allegedly exist between consenting and unconsenting sexual contact.
usually when i see discussions about ~grey~ rape, it is always from the rapist”s point of view. things like ‘how is a guy supposed to know when his partner is too inebriated for sex?” or ‘how is he supposed to know if the partner changes their mind in the middle of the act?”
rapists don”t get to decide what counts or doesn”t count as rape. this is also one of the situations where intent doesn”t count for shit. you can rape someone without intending to. why? because the moral obligation is that you have consent before doing whatever. if you find yourself in a situation often covered by ~grey~ areas, your best and safest bet is to assume that you do not have consent. assuming you have consent =/= knowing you have consent.
i guess my point is… from a victim”s perspective, there is no such thing as ~grey~ rape. and the idea that there is, only further serves to victimize victims. and it is in rape culture”s best interest to prevent victims from understanding this, seeing it for what it is, and healing.</p>