Last week I awoke and began my regular morning routine: turning off the alarm on my iphone, checking my email and facebook for the usual early morning updates. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that one of the first things I do each morning is read facebook statuses. What can I say...it gets my brain moving a bit. On this particular morning it actually got my heart beating rapidly as well. One of my fb friends posted a link to an article about North Carolina's legal rape case law (established in 1979) which essentially declares that if a woman consents to sex and then withdraws her consent once the act has begun but the man continues penetration it is not considered rape. Initially I was disgusted. And after reading the comments that followed the posting of this link I quickly became enraged. One woman was attempting to defend this law because she believed that women should have to accept the consequences of their actions. Later I googled this law to see how it was being addressed in other social media circles and became even further infuriated. I thought for sure I would find less ignorant conversations regarding this matter in other forums. Nope. Instead, I discovered a blog post with a long list of comments revolving around the necessity of this law for the protection of those poor teenage boys who just simply can't control themselves enough to stop once they've started or are simply too confused by the "yes"...then "no" response from the girl as those hormones are pumping through their bodies.
WTF. Yes. That is what I wanted to scream at the top of my freaking lungs. Sorry, Jesus, I have picked up this bad habit of cussing in my own head quite a bit as of late. But seriously. WTF. All I could think about was what if one of my daughters chooses to have sex for the first time as a teenager. (Side note: I hope this doesn't happen...I hope...and pray...often...that each of my girls is able to battle the peer pressure and not succumb to making such a significant decision at an age where it is not possible for them to have the wisdom necessary to tread into such sacred ground. But what if?). What if one of my daughters makes this decision, likely out of some form of peer/cultural pressure, but once the act begins she experiences severe pain and begins to beg her partner to stop. You want to tell me that this boy has the right to continue to use my daughter's body for his pleasure when she has asked him to stop because she is in pain? Are you serious? Actually what I really want to say is, "Are you f*#$ing nuts?"
Oh, but way too many internet voices would want to argue that we need to protect boys/men from the women who "cry rape" or who "tease men" only to trap them in the end. And you seriously think we need to have this kind of law set in place to protect these victimized men? I'm sorry (no I'm not...I just say that sometimes when I'm really angry and I'm trying to make a point), but the implications of this kind of law, the ways in which it can be utilized to further victimize women and rob them of power over their own bodies, is simply too much of a risk. Are there men accused unjustly of rape? I would have to concede that it is possible for this to occur on occasion...but I would hope that a jury would do their best to discern as such in specific cases. But to establish a case law like this is not the answer. (You can read about this law here.)
I really hadn't planned on spewing all of that out in this post. But it's been brewing for a while and needed to be released. Actually, I began writing this post because of the interesting take on how the social media has changed history. Anyone and everyone (actually...that's not entirely accurate because you have to have resources in order to have internet access) can say what they think and send it out into the world. I refrained from responding to the comments on my fb friend's link...I really wanted to respond but imagined it would turn into one of those long fb comment fights that wouldn't ultimately go anywhere. I remember thinking throughout that particular day, that I didn't know this woman who was making these comments and that it was the responsibility of someone else, someone who really knew her, someone whom she trusted and respected, someone whose face she knew, to explain to her how her perspective was actually quite violent towards other women. Instead, I posted my rant here. Is that any better? I'm not sure. Is this really the medium to be having these kinds of conversations? It's the medium we have...and I want to use it responsibly. I'm just not sure how.
A brilliant woman who graduated from MHGS with me this past June is now working as a TA at the school. She has a blog at kjswanson.com/blog where she posted this video and a blurb on her most recent class lecture. I miss this kind of dialogue...a lot.