Most people have a vivid picture of what they consider rape to be. They typically envision a poor, defenseless woman being viciously forced against her will to engage in a sexual act, fighting back her attacker to no avail. This, of course, is the sad truth in many instances, but is this the only valid image of rape? But what if it wasn’t “forced”; is there a force threshold? What if she really didn’t want it but just tolerated it and didn’t fight him off? Is that considered rape?
Is it only rape when someone tries to fight back and defend themselves, kicking and screaming? What if you say no but you feel so pressured that you just go along with it, maybe even pretending that you like it? What if you’ve had sex with this person before the incident in question? Is that still considered rape?
Is it considered rape when the victim feels forced or pressured even when the aggressor didn’t feel that he pressured her and claims he would’ve stopped if she said so?
So many questions and so many opinions, but no definitive answers. What it all boils down to is consent; however, there’s a lot of gray areas when it comes to what constitutes consent. According to Webster’s Dictionary, consent is defined “to agree to do or allow something, to give permission for something to happen or be done”. So, if someone allows something to happen that they don’t want, does that automatically equal consent? Are there exceptions to the rule? Does consent even take into consideration what the person truly wants or doesn’t want?
Now we’re left with even more questions and still no answers. This is a sensitive subject but I think it’s one that definitely needs to be discussed more. The more we talk about it the more clarity we’ll gain on the subject or maybe we’ll be more confused. Either way, I think it’s time we shed some light on this issue.
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