Sex contracts!

// 4 April 2008

An Australian politician has proposed that women should have to sign a contact before having sex with a man, reports (via Jezebel).

First off, this is a reactionary measure against proposed legislation “which make it an offence to continue a sex act with a person after consent if they changed their mind” – that’s not the case in Australia already?!

And, of course, this only seems to apply to women sleeping with men. Consent is not an issue for everyone else?!

Even within this limitation, it is hard to understand how these two ideas are at all compatible, as one (rightly!) states that consent can be withdrawn at any point. This is absolutely crucial. And the other seems to seek to provide men with a piece of paper they can wave around to prove consent for once and for all. There is no difference at all between this mindset and that which argued that husbands cannot rape their wives (because they signed a contract promising to sexually service him too!), and that boyfriend cannot rape girlfriend, etc.

And then, to further protect the hordes of Australian men being dragged into the courts on trumped up rape charges, by women who just can’t wait to get on the stand and put themselves through hell to send some bloke to prison:

“The contract may contain the name and address of the women, with her driver’s licence number, so that the man can see the signatures match, clauses that state that the woman has or has not been drinking or taking drugs – licit or illicit – and that she consents to foreplay.”

The proposed contract would also include details of the woman’s marital status, whether she has children and whether she consents to being taken to another location to engage in sexual activity.

Yes, MP Ann Bressington proposes that women must give out their name and address to any (men) they chose to sleep with, as well as certify their marital status. Because that’s not creepy and controlling at all!

As a commenter on Jezebel put it:

Or maybe women should carry around contracts that they make men sign which would say, “You will not molest or rape me if I am obviously too inebriated to consent to sex and you will not slip me roofies should I choose to imbibe any sort of beverage. You will also respect and honor the word ‘no’.” And then get his fingerprints too.

Although somewhat overshadowed by the misogyny of the entire concept, there also are numerous practical problems with this scheme (Bressington suggests that men whip out the contract after a few drinks – but it strikes me that signing a contract under the influence of alcohol might somewhat invalidate it? I know nothing of such legal issues, but perhaps readers do? Would it need to be witnessed? By who? Would a rapist hesitate to force a woman to sign such a statement? What a mine field).

Comments From You

Abigail // Posted 4 April 2008 at 12:18 pm

And of course if you are good at forging signatures you will never get accused of rape…

Juliet // Posted 4 April 2008 at 12:34 pm

Ain’t nothin’ in Ms Patriarchal Tool Bressington’s brain but dust and flies….

I couldn’t even be bothered to go into the staggeringly horrible implications of all this, let alone the myriad legal minefield points, because the whole thing is just so fucking beyond ludicrous.

The most terrifying thing of all is that this deranged individual is an MP.

anna // Posted 4 April 2008 at 12:35 pm

ok wow this is the stupidest thing ive read all day, what are these people thinking? do they have a brain or just a little leprechaun on a treadmill churning out random things?

tigtog // Posted 4 April 2008 at 3:49 pm

Would a rapist hesitate to force a woman to sign such a statement?

Exactly the problem. This woman totally fails Human Logic.

Li // Posted 4 April 2008 at 8:51 pm

The contract would be void if the woman was being threatened as that’s physical duress.

But the influence of alcohol issue isn’t so clear-cut as drunkenness is self-induced. Obviously if the signer had been drugged it wouldn’t be.

Basically, this contract would be effectively meaningless.

Cruella // Posted 5 April 2008 at 1:07 pm

The issue of withdrawal of consent is a huge one. For some (unsurprising) reason the media seem to see this as the issue of women being indecisive. People need to understand that while women do have the right to withdraw consent because they’re feeling indecisive, the more likely scenario is that women withdraw consent because it hurts, because there’s blood, because he wants to do something they don’t want to do (e.g. anal sex), or because he’s doing something they don’t like or because he’s behaving in a way that makes them uncomfortable. Consent doesn’t mean a free license to do ANYTHING you might consider a sexual activity. Consent is an ongoing process.

Jess McCabe // Posted 5 April 2008 at 2:18 pm

Yes “consent is an ongoing process” is a very good way to put it. Although I would add that it doesn’t matter what the reason is. There doesn’t have to be a ‘good’ reason or explanation behind the reason a person does not want to carry on.

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