Thursday, August 23, 2012

In Which Kittens Fail to Prevent Me from Discussing Rape

In case you haven't noticed by my one-day-off posting schedule, it's been a crazy week.  I took momma Arial and her two kittens Chubby and Chubby, I mean Adoran and Abigail, in for a check-up on Monday.  I wasn't surprised to hear that Adoran had hit the two pound mark and could stay, although I had thought they might have me keep him until he was done with his round of eye antibiotics.  I was more disappointed to find out that Arial, sweet momma kitty, wouldn't be coming home with me, either.  In their stead, I was given three underweight kittens named after Star Wars characters.
 Fortunately, my husband was very understanding about my having broken the 'no more than three foster cats total' rule.  We had a very busy, and very fun, house for two days, but then the whole crew had to go back in on Wednesday because Leia, a gorgeous orange tabby kitten, was just skin and bones, and refusing to eat.  She was given subcue fluids, an appetite stimulant, and a jar of chicken baby food.  I was all set to take my brood home, but when they brought the carrier back to me, it was sans two chubby kitties.  Both Abigail and Lando had tipped the scales, and would be staying for a big adoption event this weekend.  I was pretty bummed at losing Kitten Land in my kitchen.  Two skinny kitties just can't take over a room the way four can, and I hadn't even gotten a good picture of Lando the Pushy yet! 
So now I'm down to two: Oola, and Leia of course, who got syringe fed most of the rest of the jar of baby food last night, and is doing a little better this morning.   We'll see.
You may wonder why I'm going on and on about kittens as though you care all that much about my foster adventures.  Well, the truth is, I'm trying to resist going on a tirade about rape, because I've done that already, and many other eloquent writers have covered it already (here, and here).  And while I could argue for the happy middle ground that gets stampeded over whenever idiot patriarchy members open their mouths to spew untruths about women, even the thought of that exhausts me.  Plus I already covered that, too.

But, you know, beyond that even, I GET IT.  I get why women are just beyond pissed off.  I get why women are on the defensive.  I get why women don't want old white men deciding whether or not they can prevent, or end pregnancies affordably, or at all.  There are just too many elected officials saying too many astronomically ignorant and hurtful things for us to trust them, and no where near enough women in positions of power to properly represent the real life consequences of being a woman.

Of course, old, white, conservative men aren't the only people saying ridiculous things about rape.  How about Whoopi Goldberg drawing a line between rape-rape and...drugging and having non-consensual sex with a thirteen-year-old..?  Thanks for that, Whoopi.

I guess to some degree we do have to acknowledge that there are gray areas: statutory rape between an 18-year-old senior in high school, and his sixteen-year-old junior in high school girlfriend?  If I'm on the jury I'm still convicting the dude because he's not an idiot.  He knew the law, and he should have kept it in his pants until she was of legal age to consent.  [Of course, this presupposes A.) someone is pressing charges, which suggests this was not consensual sex with someone who wasn't technically old enough to consent to sex, but something more, and B.) that no one's concerned about the age of consent which is sixteen, isn't it?  We can make her fifteen instead of sixteen.  Oh wait, now that's gross and totally rape.]

So there you go: the grayest area I can find is still fairly cut and dried.  It really just comes down to consent, with the caveat that your partner must legally be capable of consenting.  If you have even the slightest reason to think that the person you might be about to have sex with is not consenting, or might not be capable of consenting, you need to be asking some questions: 'Would you like to have sex with me? is a good place to start.  (Keeping in mind that your partner can change his or her mind at any point, and if he or she does you are obligated to stop, or you are raping your partner.)  Oh yes, and if your partner DOES NOT CLEARLY RESPOND, because he or she is falling asleep, because he or she is drunk or high, because he or she doesn't speak your language, then he or she did not consent, and proceeding to have sex is proceeding to rape.

Can we imagine scenarios where someone says yes, her or she want to have sex, but then changes his orh er mind during his or her partner's orgasm when it's pretty difficult to stop on a dime, no matter how honorable your intentions?

What about if someone is definitely a legal adult, and definitely wants to have sex, but then turns out to have a mental illness and forgot to take their medication that day, and can legally argue the inability to consent?

Yes, these scenarios may be technically possible (I actually have no clue about that second one, it's pure speculation), but there is no gang of women (or men) running around trying to get men arrested for rape.  There's really not.   The spectre of the crazy ex-girlfriend, or the hysterical jilted lover are highly offensive stereotypes that date back to Victorian times if not before.  Women are rational creatures, just like men, and they know the difference between sex they later wish they hadn't had, and rape.  The pain and trauma of a rape trial, the shame that is piled on the victim is enough to prevent a woman, or man, no matter how angry, from bringing that on him or herself for the sake of revenge.

Sure there are exceptions, but that's why we have a legal system, a jury of peers, innocent until proven guilty, etc.

Oh, there you go, I failed to stop myself from going on and on about rape.  But we learned something today, right?  Maybe?  Ok, I'm just going to show you pictures of kittens, but you have to promise that come election day, you'll remember who said batshit things about rape, and not vote for those douche bags, no matter what other political similarities you may have.  Promise?  Ok.  Good.

Live Omily,

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