Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why is rape often called "non-consensual sex"?

I have for some time wondered why the phrase "non-consensual sex" is used as a stand-in for the word "rape". At first, it struck me as aesthetically incorrect. Rape being phrased as a "type of sex" just seems wrong in some way. But how else can we give a definition of rape in a sentence or phrase? Thinking about it for a while, I realized the issue:

"Sex" has always referred to an act in which more than one person (usually two people) participates. Rape only requires one participant, the rapist. One would not say that an unconscious woman who was raped "participated" in her rape. A "sexual" act involving only one person, on the other hand, is called masturbation. Rape is a form of masturbation -- to be "raped" is not to "have sex, but without consent"; it is to be used for masturbation.

This may seem like useless semantics, but does the reframing of rape as a masturbatory act not clarify its intent? The rapist does not see the victim as a human. The victim is a substitute for what the rapist would otherwise use to pleasure themselves.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me & Links

A young man