Friday, October 2, 2009


This whole Polanski business has really been bothering me. Aside from people's protests over the extradition, the thing that's been bothering me the most is how the crime is being reported.

He raped her.

There is a distinct difference.
In saying he had sex with her, it is implied that not only was it consensual, but that he was a passive participant. Sex is the coming together of two willing individuals capable of engaging in that act. This is not simply a case of statutory rape in which she willingly participated despite not being able to legally give her consent. He drugged her and pushed on despite her protests.
He did not participate in the act with her, he acted on her.
That is the difference between having sex and raping someone.
Sex is something you participate in, rape is something you do.

Reporting the crime as "having" sex downplays his active role in drugging her and taking advantage of her body which he felt entitled to. Wording it so passively seeks to remove that responsibility, and is highly indicative of how our culture views sexual conduct.

The responsibility is shifted to the woman for the acts of the man or attacker. So, instead of a man raping a woman whose body he felt entitled to take control of, he instead "has sex" with a woman who really should have known better than to:
Have that drink
Let someone slip something in her drink
Go out on a date
Wear those clothes
Walk alone
Leave her job at night
Leave her home at night
Return home after dark
Ride the subway
Wear makeup
Say no
Be afraid to say no
Exist in a world that she has no rights to

The list of responsibilities the woman has over the man's "nature" goes on and on. It's not in a man's nature to rape anyone. It's not about sex drive or enticing clothing. Rape is about power, not attraction. When you cross the line from wanting to have sex with someone to wanting to act on them, it is no longer sexual. It is about dominance. How dare she say no? I'll take it from her.

And then we have victim blaming and slut shaming all around as though it was the victim's fault that the (generally) man decided that he had the right to act upon her.

I don't mention men as the victim in that rant above because our culture doesn't even see them as victims due to the same mentality that holds the woman responsible his sexual conduct. Our culture sees men as un-rapeable. This holds true especially if the assailant is a woman because after all, what man doesn't want "sex"?
Whereas, when the assailant is male and in the context of prison rape, it's a joke.
Strangely though, that's hardly ever referred to as "sex."
Perhaps it's because that act is seen as damaging to so-called "manhood" whereas rape against a woman is affirmation of her "womanhood." Women are just there for "sex" right? And men just "have" it, right?

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