WARNING: Vehement anger, foul language, and hyperlinks are used in this post.
Rape is rape is rape is rape. That’s it. That’s fucking it. No room for debate. None of this “Legitimate Rape”, “Date Rape”, “Gray Rape”, “Acquaintance Rape”, “Marital Rape” bullshit. Rape is rape. If a man has sex with a woman against her will in any way, it’s rape (and vice versa, too—guys get raped). It doesn’t matter how loudly or how many times she says no, if she’s dressed slutty, if she fucked twenty guys earlier that night, if the guy’s her husband or boyfriend, if he’s a first date or a stranger—”no” is “no”.
There’s also a law that if a woman thinks she is sleeping with someone and is actually sleeping with someone else (i.e. sex by deception, when a man pretends to be a woman’s husband in a dark bedroom) that crime can be prosecuted as rape. Notice I said “husband“? In California, unmarried women are shit out of goddamn luck if someone pretends to be their boyfriend in bed and rapes them. Only husbands.
This giant logical gap in the law was recently brought to my attention when this antiquated law (literally antiquated, it was put on the books in 1872), was actually used to overturn a rape conviction. Apparently the state of California is in denial that people don’t get married once they meet one another and sometimes co-habitate (and even fornicate, gasp!) before marriage? The state is trying to catch up to the times in terms of laws relating to rape (like taking out the stipulation that it has to be by physical force, when there are other kinds of force like coercion, intimidation, etc.), yet this law persists… I believe judges and juries should follow the laws of the city/county/state/country in which they preside, but the Dudette can’t abide by this.
We live in a country where people still think a husband legally can’t be guilty of raping his wife. Where victims, nay, SURVIVORS of rape are blamed for the violence against them (did she really say no? how many times and how loudly? she was drinking, she didn’t look THAT drunk, she was dressed like a slut, she’s had one-night stands). Where the Violence Against Women Act isn’t renewed—and I gotta tell ya, it’s not like it’s a bill that is actually about taxes on sugary soda or something, it’s about just that, protecting women from violence. Where photos of a rape in progress go viral (and little assholes post videos of themselves laughing about it) and only after a blogger outs the situation is police action taken. A country where an elected official has the gall to say that there is such thing as legitimate rape (as opposed to faux rape, I suppose, which sounds eerily like a dumb fashion trend) and that is the only case where abortion is necessary—but don’t worry folks, the female reproductive system has countermeasures to protect against pregnancy in those cases, so no abortion needed!
I really think that Tina Fey, the spirit animal for modern feminists, nailed a big part of the issue with our nation’s views on rape:
As angry as I get, I am more scared than anything. That I can’t count on the law to be on my side** and that I can’t be sure I won’t be in that awful position.
**Side note, did you know that in 31 states a rapist can claim custody and visitation rights for a child who is the product of rape? Makes complete sense, right?