Comments from September 2006
Comments and feedback from readers.
Catherine, editor of The F-Word, replies
Rape is sex without consent. The idea that you have to get yourself brutally physically injured in order to prove you’re a “real rape victim” is appalling. Men who attempt to penetrate a woman (or as you point out, women intiating sexual contact with a man) must ensure consent has been gained and that their partner genuinely wants it, not just assume that complete silence, a frozen, comatose body language and a total lack of physical reciprocation means “yes”.
Frankly, I find your comments “Silent participation is what girls DO when they want it” absolutely horrifying; talk about a green light to rapists. There is a difference between ‘silence’ which includes smiling, nodding, breathing, kissing and reciprocating, and lying there frozen, silently in fear, avoiding eye contact, with a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ expression on your face because you’re too scared or inexperienced to know how to stop what’s happening to you. Any man who genuinely has any smidgen of feeling for his partner would stop in that situation and know something wasn’t right. What’s so awful and threatening about suggesting that a man be sensitive to his partners feelings in such a situation, be cautious, and make sure she is genuinely happy to continue?
It’s good that you are able to verbalise your desires so clearly. But some girls and young women – and presumably boys and men, too – are often too frightened to do so, they lack the confidence because they haven’t been brought up to verbalise their feelings so directly.
Also, nowhere on this site does anyone say that “WOMEN DO NOT LOVE SEX AS MUCH AS MEN DO”. That’s a myth we often try to break down here (although admittedly, mostly in lower case). Having said that, “Most women want it most of the time” is the kind of generalisation that rape apologists always use to excuse their behaviour. I guess what I’m saying is I really couldn’t disagree with you more. Readers are welcome to send in their thoughts on this issue.