Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On poking and owning

Okay, so all my readers in Maryland and Maryland-adjacent areas, take heed: If you let him fuck you, you're fucked.

A Maryland appellate court has ruled that a woman can't withdraw her consent after the start of sex, throwing the entire "no means no" concept out on its ear. Per a 1980 rape ruling, once it's in, it's in, and if a woman consents and then changes her mind mid-coitus, she can just lie there until he's done. That ruling was based on common law definitions of rape, wherein:
But, to be sure, it was the act of penetration that was the essence of the crime of rape; after this initial infringement upon the responsible male's interest in a woman's sexual and reproductive functions, any further injury was considered to be less consequential. The damage was done. It was this view that the moment of penetration was the point in time, after which a woman could never be "re-flowered," that gave rise to the principle that, if a woman consents prior to penetration and withdraws consent following penetration, there is no rape.

Basically, once you've gone and sullied her precious flower, she's pretty much rurnt, so anything that happens thereafter is incidental. (See The Happy Feminist for more history on the law and elucidation as to how the real crime is that the rapist is defiling your father's property.)

Mind you this isn't an issue of retroactive consent. This isn't an issue of a woman sleeping with a regrettable man and suffering from boinker's remorse afterward. This is about a woman's right to say, "Ouch, you're hurting me." Or, "Stop, I told you I didn't want to do that." Or even, "I'm sorry, this just doesn't feel right." This is about a woman's right to have a penis in her body and then, should she not want it there anymore, have it removed.

Consent can be a tricky issue. Different states have different laws, and situations where alcohol and/or drugs are involved blur it even more. What if I'm drunk? What if we're both drunk? What if I'm asleep, but I don't mind? What if I don't wake up until the middle of it, but then I do mind? But one blindingly clarifying question has always been asked in rape cases: Did she say no?

There is no clearer sign of nonconsent than a woman saying, "No, stop having sex with me." But this ruling turns it on its head. This ruling makes an acceptable response out of "I'll stop when I'm good and done." Because once he pokes her, she's his until he's done with her.

(Hat tip, Feministing)

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