New advice which is reported widely says that Men ‘risk rape case without consent’. Men must get the woman’s consent for sex before they have sex.
Are men to walk round taking notes of the whole conversation? maybe audio recording? video recording? Just how is this meant to work? I’m not belittleling rape at all – it’s a vicious crime that deserves much harsher punishments that are usually handed down and the conviction rate to too low (6% when I last looked) – but such advice is fuzzy and useless:
It will warn them that the Sexual Offences Act stipulates that a person must agree to sex by choice and have the freedom to make that decision.
Being a pedant, what if she says Yes then a few minutes later says No? The above also apply to marriages? That apply to marriages across all religions even those where the woman is considered to be an inferior being? Do they have these rights to consent? Rape is now a crime within a marriage – so could this be used for those women?
It’s also female centric – it assumes that men never have consent issues with regard to sex.
“Sometimes, in the heat of passion when the woman says no she doesn’t necessarily mean no” declared Sir Ivan Lawrence …. “Sometimes a woman says no to make it more exciting to the man” he told the judge.
With that attitude probably still prevailing from elements of the judicairy, it hardly helps does it?
Depending on where you look, body language accounts for between 55 and 90% of our communication. That’s more than half whichever way you look at that. So does that mean I’m saying a woman might not mean no when she says no? Absolutely not – but it can and does raise issues about perception and if men are not to risk a rape accusation things need to be very clear do they not ? Which of the following is clear?
- Would you like to come in for a coffee?
- Would you like to see my etchings?
- Fancy a bit then?
- What time do you have to be up for work tomorrow?
- Are you consenting to intimate sexual contact between us which may or may not include petting, sexual intercourse and oral sex even though in the morning we will both look at each other and wonder what in hell we did?
I reckon 5 is fairly clear … and I also would make a bet that such a line is not said of an evening across the land. But it’s the only one that works isn’t it? So how does a man get consent? It’s not about looking at the above and saying it’s stupid because the cases that will come to court will focus on absolute specifics – not what we may understand a statement means. In the end it still comes down to one person’s word against another.
There is one point about a male and consent though:
Ministers have also signalled that the law could be tightened to protect women who are raped when they are drunk.
Good. Getting absolute consent from a person who is sober might be tricky but from someone whose judgement is impaired that ranks up the difficulty in a major way. And the sort of man who would do that is more concerned with his own domination of another and crude satisfaction than he is about consent or any other finer feeling.
What the ministers should have said is this: For most men, this means nothing. For a few men, be a lot more careful. And for that minority who try to dance around the law, we will get you.