Friday, May 24, 2013

What Constitutes Rape? or Is Pleading for Sex Really “Forced”

Words convey thoughts, images and actions in very precise form and when used accurately can communicate those in a way that allows both speaker and listener to share those mutually. Perceiving an image can evoke vivid or lucid thoughts that lead to action. This is why it is important to maintain the integrity of the use and definitions applied to words.

Governor Daniels will sign into law HEA 1423 an anti-bullying measure on 04 June 2013. [I'll provide more details later] I support this law because it clearly defines and limits what constitutes “bullying”. There has been an effort by some to broaden the definition to included “teasing” which has raised my opposition to many anti-bullying policies or actions. Similarly, definitions of Domestic Violence are all over the place. Some so-called advocates want family budgeting to be considered an act of Domestic Violence because it limits a spouse from have 100% free reign to unilaterally expend the marital funds. To me these overly broad definitions, or more appropriately misapplication of the word, cheapen the acts and don't elicit the visceral response to those most egregiously affected who deserve to have us compelled to action.

So when I observed an interactive demonstration about teen sex issues I was rather upset at a response to a comment of mine. The scenario was a high school couple at a party who had recently begun dating. The boy was wanting sex and the girl insisted that she had already told him she wasn't ready. He went all-out with the charm including a subtle shoulder rub and said “I'm not talking about doing anything to you that can get you pregnant.” Each of her denials was met by another shrewd, charming comeback.

The audience members did not respond very favourably to this guy. I spoke up and said I think that he did a great job of honouring his hormone induced mandate to promote survival of the specie while not being forceful about it. [The previous skit had been a couple in which the boy was forcefully groping the girl over her objections although it was done in a playful manner and she was laughing throughout] But my comment elicited a retort from another gentleman who proclaimed, in a somewhat incensed tone, that, “He was being very forceful!”

Force must include a power imbalance either by physical strength or means, or by way of limitation on free will such as being an employer or in the case of this scenario, if he had provided transportation to the party. If he had said we either do this or you have to walk home and it is late at night in an area where young girls are likely to be assaulted then that would be force. But the statements, “I'm not gonna play you. You know I'm not like those other guys.” or “You said you love me so let's just go up there, put on some romantic music and let what happens happen.” and “You already said you had sex with your last boyfriend and you didn't like him as much as you do me.” While these were all intended to coerce her into satisfying his desires they were not statements or threats of force. They clearly would not be what could rightfully be classified as 'very forceful' attempts at sex such as physical restraints, a beating or threats with a knife.

The image of a girl being forced to have sex evokes images of screaming, crying, hitting, bleeding and cowering. To equate schmoozing a girl repeatedly in an effort to get her to give in to the physical act of rape is a travesty to those who have suffered the violence of rape. Coercion is coercion. Persuasion is persuasion. Force is force. They each have their own meaning and convey thoughts, images and actions distinct from each other and should remain so if the most severe of injustices are to give people rise to taking action.

If you would like assistance in protecting your child against potential sexual assault or have a child custody case involving that then please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. There is no charge for initial attorney consultations.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2008, 2013 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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