General Question

fluthernutter's avatar

Would you consider this rape?

Asked by fluthernutter (6323points) April 7th, 2015 from iPhone

Back in college, we were drinking and shooting the shit when the topic of first times came up.

Most of them consisted of those awkward first moments. Lots of laughing and commiserating.

Then it came round to one of my guy friends. He shrugged and said he didn’t have too much to say about it. He was just at a party and had passed out on the couch. When he woke up, there was this girl on top of him.

Most of the other guys’ reactions to this was to either high five him and/or ask if the girl was hot.

He didn’t seem like he was bragging. Wouldn’t have been like him to brag or make this up. He actually seemed kind of uncomfortable about it.

Personally, I found all of this pretty disturbing. Both his story and the general reaction.

Don’t think there would have been much to gain by saying “Hey, I don’t think she had any right to do that. I think you were raped.”

But does my silence compound this type of double standard? How would you have reacted?

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29 Answers

janbb's avatar

There’s always how I wish I would have reacted in a theoretical situation and the uncertainty of how I actually would have reacted. I would have liked to say to the group, “Don’t you consider that rape and if not, why not?” but I wonder if I would have. It sure seems like a discussion worth having but in the context of that setting and perhaps when we were less aware, I might not have said anything.

fluthernutter's avatar

@janbb I think there’s this weird double standard where if you point this out to a female, it would be seen in a supportive light, as trying to empower their sexuality.

Whereas pointing out to a guy (especially in front of a bunch of his male friends) that he might have been raped, would probably be seen as disempowering.

Maybe if he had just brought it up between me and him? But that window is closed. Because I think if I bring it up now (or x amount of time after the fact), it would be uncomfortable for him to realize that I’ve been thinking about this.

janbb's avatar

Not quite certain what your first sentence means but yes, I agree. There seems to be something perhaps even more shameful to a man’s being raped – either by a man or by a woman – than a woman being raped. It’s a bizarre double standard. Is it that it’s unmanly to not want sex from a woman any way you can get it?

elbanditoroso's avatar

Need more detail. It could have been assault. If I am not mistaken, for it to be rape, there had to have been penetration.

So when she was on top him, had she been penetrated? If so, that’s likely rape – she forced herself sexually on him.

Too many details missing.

janbb's avatar

@fluthernutter Sentence is clearer now.

fluthernutter's avatar

@janbb Yes, sorry. That first sentence is awkward. I’ve pointed similar things out to female friends. Some agreed. Some did not. But I don’t think they were offended by me pointing these things out. Can’t say the same if I had done it in this situation.

@elbanditoroso Yup, pulled down his pants and went to town. He was straight edge, so inebriation was not a factor. How would you have reacted In this situation?

Mariah's avatar

The legal definition of rape says that the victim must be penetrated, which makes female-on-male “rape” impossible unless some kind of foreign object is involved. I think this is bullcrap however and would absolutely consider what happened to this guy to be rape, personally.

fluthernutter's avatar

@Mariah Penetration is required for it to be legally considered rape? That’s crazy. How would you have reacted in this situation?

Mariah's avatar

Yes, it is “just” sexual assault otherwise.

Probably the same as you, honestly. I don’t know, I like to think I would have spoken up and said that the situation was fucked and not worthy of high fives but like you I don’t know what benefit would come from insisting that someone was raped if they don’t consider themselves to be.

fluthernutter's avatar

@Mariah I don’t know what benefit would come from insisting that someone was raped if they don’t consider themselves to be.

Do you think this is equally true for every gender?

Misspegasister28's avatar

Rape is just sex without consent. While it’s not very recognized, men can be raped. If she had sex with him while he was passed out, obviously he couldn’t agree to it and say yes, so it is rape because he could not consent. It’s awful how some people think men can’t be raped, when in reality, they can.

janbb's avatar

So here’s maybe a “dumb question” (I know, I know) – can a woman get a man hard and be penetrated without him knowing?

And yes, I consider rape to be penetration and anything “less” than that to be sexual assault or molestation.

fluthernutter's avatar

@Misspegasister28 How would you have reacted in this situation?

@janbb Morning wood.
Really? Even for men?

janbb's avatar

@fluthernutter True. The story is a bit odd though. He wasn’t a drinker but he was so “passed out” he didn’t feel her on top of him?

fluthernutter's avatar

@janbb He woke up with his pants down. The girl’s underwear was off and she was on him. That’s all I know. He didn’t seem to want to talk about it.

What his state of mind was when actual penetration occurred, I’m not sure. But I do know no consent was given to strip and mount him.

TMI My husband is a deep sleeper and I’ve woken him up this way before.

janbb's avatar

@fluthernutter The men would be unwilling penetrator or anally penetrated for it to be rape – in answer to your question a few comments back.

fluthernutter's avatar

@Mariah and @janbb Wait, the victim has to be penetrated for it to be legally considered rape? Or there just needs to be penetration involved (ie unwilling penetrator)?

janbb's avatar

Penetration (either unwilling penetrator or penetrated) involved is my understanding.

dabbler's avatar

I think you were considerate not to say that in front of the group, and it’s our culture that has the double-standard, not you, if you chose to treat a male friend’s circumstance differently that you would a female friend.
Privately, is how you would bring that up if you really are concerned. The word ‘rape’ is a serious thing to mention in public, and can make people feel compelled to intervene while the poor guy is maybe confused and embarrassed already. It doesn’t sound like he’s had a chance to understand his feelings on what happened to him, he might want to talk with a friend about it, privately. Or, maybe he did? What did he have to say about his experience? His feelings?

fluthernutter's avatar

@dabbler He didn’t say much more about the experience. And he’s not one to talk about his feelings.

I agree that discussing it privately was probably the way to go. But it’s been so long. I feel like if I bring it up now, he’ll feel uncomfortable knowing that I’ve thought about this for awhile.

Mariah's avatar

@janbb Ah if that’s the case then consider me mistaken. I thought the victim had to be penetrated and I’m not sure now whether that’s the case.

@fluthernutter If someone has been, by my definition, raped, and they’ve moved on from the incident, I don’t want create a fresh wound by telling them they’ve been raped. Obviously it would be great if criminal charges could be pursued but it sounds like this would not happen, and it might even be outside of the statute of limitations by now.

Misspegasister28's avatar

@janbb A man can get an erection if there is any pressure to the prostate gland. It shows a man’s body is working right. It’s kind of like laughing when being tickled—you may not want to laugh, you don’t enjoy it, but it’s your body’s response to being tickled. Same with erections during male rape. They can’t help it, they don’t want it, it’s just how their body responds. It’s possible for women to orgasm during rape, does that mean they enjoyed it? No, it’s just what happens.

@fluthernutter If I were the guy? Unfortunately, if a man calls the police after being raped/abused by his girlfriend, it’s likely that he will be arrested instead. And male victims of rape rarely get help because they’re often laughed at or told they need to enjoy it. We as a society need to change this view. Men who are raped do suffer trauma, and we need to get them the help they need.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Yes, I would consider that to be rape. Regardless of what the legal definition might be in any particular place—it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, after all—the person in question was made to have sex against his will and without his consent.* Morally speaking, that is rape.

As for the double standard: we live in a sexist society, and sexism harms both men and women. The same patriarchal standards that condemn women for having “too much” sex also condemn men for not having “enough” sex (or for turning down sex—unless, of course, the woman is considered doesn’t meet some sort of arbitrary standard, in which case men are mocked for “stooping” that low).

So how would I react in the same situation? If it were now, I would wait until I could speak to the person in private and say something like, “I’m sorry to hear what happened to you with that girl. I know it might not seem like it, but what you described is rape. Even if you feel more embarrassed than traumatized, it was still a violation. It might even be worth talking to a professional about it just to work through your feelings.” I wouldn’t necessarily say all of this at once, but I would try to work each point into the conversation.

(And for the record, you can give a corpse an erection and make it ejaculate with the proper application of electrical stimuli. So it shouldn’t be so surprising that it can be done to a merely unconscious man.)

* The formulation “against his will and without his consent” was chosen on purpose. Either condition would be sufficient on its own. But this is a case where both apply, which makes it particularly clear that the person in question was raped. One might wonder how the two conditions could come apart. In answer to that, I offer the following two scenarios.

(1) Rape by deception: Alex is particularly concerned with avoiding sexually transmitted diseases and asks every potential partner about their testing history. Blake, who is trying to have sex with Alex, claims to have been tested and to have received a clean bill of health just the previous week. In fact, Blake was diagnosed with herpes 10 years ago. Alex has sex willingly, but Blake has not actually obtained Alex’s consent due to the deception.

(2) Rape by coercion: Casey works in a reputation-based industry. Devin has the power to ruin Casey’s reputation, thereby making Casey unemployable. So Devin offers Casey a choice: “Either have sex with me, or I will ruin your reputation. Don’t forget that you have spent 15 years getting to this point in your career and have no professional qualifications in any other field that pays well.” Upon reflection, Casey decides that being driven out of the industry is the more unpleasant option and agrees to have sex with Devin instead. Devin has obtained Casey’s consent, but Casey is not a willing participant.

We could, of course, stipulate a definition of “consent” on which being an unwilling participant entails a lack of consent, but it can be useful for various reasons to keep the two notions separate. For one, it helps us understand the variety of ways in which rape can occur, which may in turn help us combat the notion that certain things aren’t “really” rape.

rojo's avatar

I would probably have reacted the way you did, that is, say nothing and yes there is a double standard.

From a personal, and I mean very personal, opinion, if it had happened to me, I would consider myself lucky and not raped. And, also pretty pissed off that I didn’t remember any/much of it. But then again, that is that societal double standard kicking in. Guys are supposed to be all about getting as much as possible while girls are supposed to be about keeping or withholding it, at least in my g g generation. Society…..... you suck sometimes.

longgone's avatar

When I was in law school, we were taught that penetration puts sexual assault on another level, on the grounds of it being very traumatic to lose control of your body’s insides. Legally, the case in point would not be considered rape by many. I don’t think it’s fair to consider it any less “wrong”, though. Double standard, definitely.

@fluthernutter I think you were right not to bring it up back then. If you are still close to the guy now, though, I don’t see anything wrong with talking about it. It may be something he needs to talk about. Was your thinking about this triggered by anything? Perhaps you could mention that?

@Mariah ”...which makes female-on-male “rape” impossible unless some kind of foreign object is involved.” That’s not strictly true – women have fingers. When I was in law school, I was involved in a case of rape. The victim was a woman, but she had “just” been penetrated by the rapist’s fingers. It was still considered rape.

Mariah's avatar

^Ah yep. Forgot about that situation.

DominicY's avatar

It’s certainly sexual assault. Unwanted sexual contact. If they didn’t have sex, it might not be rape, but certainly it could be assault. And since you said he hasn’t said much more about it, there could be more to the story that more clearly identifies it as rape.

I actually know a similar story. A friend of mine said this girl started taking off his pants when he was drunk and he didn’t strictly want it. Difference is that he didn’t wake up that way—it was stopped before it could go further. But the fact that he only really told that story to make fun of that particular girl made me unsure of how to take it. If he was really serious about it, maybe he would’ve been more hesitant to talk about it. But he seemed to really like sharing that story. Either way, it’s unwanted sexual contact and people often don’t take it seriously when it’s female-on-male.

fluthernutter's avatar

@DomincY There was definitely penetration involved at some point, since this was described as his first time.

DominicY's avatar

Ah okay, I see then. Sorry, I only skimmed the thread. In that case, it definitely sounds like she forced herself on him unwilling in which case it really sounds like rape to me.

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