Saturday, April 05, 2008

Sexual Misconduct: Rape And Exploitation

The Pillars of Proper Sexual Conduct:
Sexuality is an important aspect of human life. Many people seek sexual activity in several ways most of which are natural and of proper conduct. Regardless of the details of the sexual activity, consent is an important pillar of proper sexual conduct. While most of the sexual misconducts are known to many people -say, forceful rape- there are other sexual misconducts that are less obvious. As I always say, awareness is the first line of defense.

Lets first define our first pillar: Every person has the legitimate right to join any sexual activity where all parties that are directly involved in the act are consenting to that act.

Our second pillar is: Any sexual activity that includes direct participants who are not consenting to that act, would be an illegitimate act.

A good system should grantee both the first and second pillars.

Legitimate Sexual Activities:
Here we can define two types of legitimate sexual activities:
1- Positively consensual sexual activities: Where all participants are consenting to the sexual activity, and are involved for a positive will to join the sexual activity. This would include the most common scenario, where two or more people are involved in a sexual activity for any of several reasons including -among others-: Love, lust, and enjoyment.

2- Negatively consensual sexual activities: Where all participants are consenting to the sexual activity, but one or more of the participants don't necessarily want to join the sexual activity - and are involved to complete a transaction, or abide terms of a contract. The most common scenario for this is prostitution, where the prostitute is consenting to the sexual activity, but the sexual activity is not a goal, but rather a side-effect to a trade. This would also include consensual engagement in sexual activity with a partner who may not want sex at the time, but does it to satisfy their partner's needs.

Illegitimate Sexual Activities:
Having identified the two possible legitimate forms of sexual activity, lets look more closely at the illegitimate forms of sexual activity.

1- Forceful rape: The type where physical force is used to force one party into sexual activity against their consent. It includes two types:
1a- Blitz rape: Being raped by a stranger. The type of rape most people know, and is usually punishable by most legal systems.
1b- Date rape: Being raped by an acquaintance (ie. someone who is not a stranger). This type is usually less known among most people. This type is not strictly applicable to dates - Don't let the name fool you. It is not necessary whether or not this type of rape is preceded -or not preceded- by consensual sexual activity. Prior sexual activity is irrelevant. This type of rape is sometimes not reported by the victims because of its confusing nature to human emotions, especially when prior sexual activity was established. A special case of "Date rape" is "Spouse rape".
1b'- Spousal rape: Being raped by a spouse (or someone with whom the victim has established a medium-term to long-term relationship with). This type of rape is common, yet is usually not reported -especially where women are the victims-!! Two factors depreciate the act of reporting spousal rape. The first reason is that in many cases the victims don't realize that they have been raped. Some women think that just because their husband has earned their socially imposed right to sexual activity -marriage that is- that that man has the right to engage in sexual activity at all times including when she is not consenting. This is obviously a fallacy. No one should be able to force anyone into sex, even if they are their spouses. The second factor for not reporting is that law enforcement in certain countries are uncooperative in those cases. Law enforcement has at times abstained from enforcing rape laws between married couples. [X-Ref: Law enforcement abstaining from homicide laws in "honor killings"]

2- Non-forceful rape (aka sexual exploitation): Non-consenting parties are directly involved where explicit consent is not given, and physical force is not used.
This includes many types including -among others-:
2a- Drug facilitated rape: Several types of drugs are used for this technique, including -among others-: Drugs that cause unconsciousness, drugs that cause hyper sexual activity, drugs that subvert rational decision-making (eg. Alcohol). Sexual activity where the participant is unconsently unconscious is illegitimate. Also, sexual activity where the participant's consent is unconsently subverted, is also illegitimate.
2b- Imposing rape: Using psychological or social pressure to subvert consent. This is the type that is most challenging to identify or handle. Several types of psychological tricks -including reverse psychology- can be used to manipulate the victim into sexual activity. For example: "You should have sex with me, to prove that you love me.", "Don't expect me to stay around if you are not willing to satisfy my needs.", or "Well, if you don't want to have sex with me that's fine. I get the message!"... etc, are all methods to impose sexual activity to a person who otherwise would not engage in sexual activity. Sure, the wording may not be as explicit as the examples I gave, and may include implying instead of declarations. Social pressure is sometimes used to subvert the victim's consent into sexual activity. [The opposite of this may also happen, where social pressure is used to subvert consent into abstaining from sexual activity.] [X-Ref: An example of using social pressure to subvert consent (although not in a sexual context) is demonstrated in The Observer's fictional story]
2c- Blackmail rape: Using the method of blackmailing to subvert consent. This technique can be used in several ways. This method usually includes a forceful bargain of not disclosing certain information in return for sexual favors. Two versions of blackmail rape are -disturbingly- common in sexually conservative societies (like Jordan!). The first scenario goes like this: One participant of a previous socially unapproved sexual activity blackmails one or more of the other participants into sexual activity for not disclosing details of the previous sexual activity. Or in more specific terms, a guy who has slept with a girl would threaten to tell about the sexual affair if the girl does not continue the sexual relationship. The girl would have to continue the sexual activity for the fear of honor killing. A second scenario goes like this: A person witnesses a socially unapproved sexual activity, and blackmails one or more of the participants into sexual activity for not disclosing his knowledge of that sexual activity. Or in more specific terms: A guy walks into a guy and a girl participating in pre-marital sexual activity, and threatens to tell about this affair if the girl does not do him some sexual favors. The guy who witnessed the sexual activity may -or may not- do this with participation of the guy involved in the sexual activity. Sometimes a guy may try to make a favor to another guy by giving time and place details of a sexual affair, so that the other guy walk into the scene and practically force the victim to give the other guy sexual favors. Again, the victim has to comply for the fear of honor killing.

While it may not be easy to avoid most forms of rape, awareness of "imposing rape" and -to a lesser extent- of "blackmail rape" can help avoid those types of rape. Imposing rape cannot always be protected legally. That's to say, no law could exist to prevent certain patterns of imposing rape. The only tool for protection from certain patterns of imposing rape is awareness - and no other type of protection could be provided in those cases. Manipulation using psychological or social pressure does not always involve any criminal activity of any kind. On the other hand, blackmail rape does involve criminal activity, but would most probably not be reported for the fear of disclosure of the information that was used in the blackmailing procedure. For example, a woman who was intimidated by honor killing would unlikely report the blackmail rape for the fear of honor killing.

It might be argued that "blackmail rape" is a subtype of "negatively consensual sexual activity", and hence can be seen as a legitimate form of sexual activity. It might be argued that the "bargain" made in blackmail rape turns it into some form of a trade. There is an important factor that differentiates a trade from blackmailing. A trade is consensual and opt-in. Blackmailing is forceful. For example: A prostitute can at will provide sexual favors for money. She consensually makes the deal, and can refuse to make that deal. On the other hand, blackmailing includes a threat (and threatening people is a criminal activity). The victim of a blackmail rape has no choice to opt-out.

Hard-to-Classify Sexual Activities:
Finally, I wish to point out some of the "gray" sexual conducts which cannot be easily classified as legitimate or illegitimate due to subtle details of consent.
Drunk sex: Having consensual sexual activity with a drunk person. Similar to "drug facilitated rape", where "drug facilitated rape" is a purposeful act to subvert consent, while drunk sex is only taking advantage of improper decision-making ability of a person. That's to say that the other participant did not subvert the drunk person into drinking, or manipulate that drunk person to sexual activity. The drunk person is considered as not in their right mind to make the decision, and hence acting on that consent can be problematic. A good solution to this problem would be asking for consent before drinking. For example, asking: "If you get drunk and start to want to engage in sexual activity, should we proceed?"... Asking this question -or another version of the question to the same effect- would make drunk sex unambiguously legitimate.
Statutory rape (with consent): Having consensual sexual activity with a minor. Most legal systems would criminalize sexual activities with minors - regardless of consent. The argument is that a child cannot give consent. While being different from "drunk sex", it is argued that a child is not in the right mind to make the decision. There are several problems that put child abuse in the gray section. Unlike drunk sex, where it is possible to solve it by asking for consent prior to the drinking, there are no similar solutions. The second problem is that based on the first pillar of this discussion, every person has the right to participate in consensual sexual activities. Denying a child from his right to consent is dubious [X-Ref: The problem of Age Discrimination]. It is very problematic to simply rule out that a child cannot give consent, or rule out that a child is not in the right mind to make a decision. It is important that we preserve the second pillar (prohibiting non-consensual sexual activities), but it is equally important that we preserve the first pillar (every person's right to join consensual sexual activities). A good solution is hard to make, but I would suggest a combination of sexual education to minors who are willing to engage in sexual activities, and a way for case-by-case assessment, that would assess whether or not the minor understands the decision he is making. Last, but not least, parents should take better responsibility to educate their children about sexuality, so that they can make informed judgment about their choices.

18 comments:

The Observer said...

DM, excellent summarization (altough long) for legitemate sexual activities.

I do agree with both pillars. It is all based on consent. But as you stated is it not always clear in real life how consent can be trusted. It is even more difficult for minors, and maybe in retarted people's case, because if we forbide minors to reach a certain age in order to be able to judge, retarted people wouldnt never reach an age to be able to give a clear consent. Depriving them from their sexuality is not fair either.

Would you agree on monitored sexual activities to guarantee safety? or that would be a huge violation of privacy?

Devil's Mind said...

I would agree with "monitored" sexual activities as long as its optional. Again, I am all for sexual education and sexual counseling to increase people's awareness of their own choices. But under no circumstances, there would be an authority that can deny you your legitimate freedom.

Quite frankly, this post was made in order to increase awareness about the less common types of rapes (like date rapes, and non-forceful rapes), but somehow I kept adding more definitions, and more information that made this post this large.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you repeatedly refer to the role dishonor killings play in the underlying thinking.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"

No_Angel said...

a childs consent doesn't qualify as consent unless the other party(s) is a child... just carries on from the juvenile criminal code for if we treat a childs consent on par with an adult consent then there shouldn't be a special treatment for children's crimes

there is no need for the Negatively consensual sexual act since those parties are consenting to the act and a prostitute who isn't getting forced into sex is still consenting so there isn't a requirement for special treatment since the monetary transaction is a result thats all

will continue when i get home those are just scribbles as i was reading

bambam said...

Drug facilitated rape: Also, sexual activity where the participant's consent is unconsently subverted, is also illegitimate.
just wondering how you can be consentingly unconscious ... that case is applicable only when the drugged individual was not consenting on the intoxication, if they willingly intoxicate themselves in a compromising situation it doesn't qualify as rape, just bad judgment.

Imposing rape is not rape, thats sexual harassment at best. but it she/he participated in a sexual activity based on those comments and did so consciously then she did so consentingly and its just sex :D

Imposing rape cannot be protected legally. it's sexual harassment laws

anyone who consents willingly to drinking in a compromised situation is not in a grey area they did get drunk fully knowing the possibility of sex in that situation. and alcohol in general does not eradicate judgment or inhibition.

Child abuse (with consent)...where it is possible to solve it by asking for consent prior to the drinking, there are no similar solutions.
the solution is that they are allowed to have sex with kids around their age and give consent to other kids not adults. because based on ur classification they are more at risk from all froms of rape than adults... and especially manipulation. So yes, unless there is a recognized pedastry/lolita(usually in the form of arranged marriage rather than an independant culture) culture within that society there is no possibility for a healthy relationship between the two... even a sexual permissible one.

Devil's Mind said...

First, imposing rape is not the same as sexual harassment. I provided definitions to avoid confusion. It reads: "2b- Imposing rape: Using psychological or social pressure to subvert consent." - Thats something different from sexual harassment.

"anyone who consents willingly to drinking in a compromised situation is not in a grey area they did get drunk fully knowing the possibility of sex in that situation." - Sure, if people drink acknowledging the possibility of sex. For example, if you are on a date, and you both drink, there is an implicit acknowledgment that sex might entail.

But consider the case where a person drinks because they have been depressed, and someone then catch them in that state and takes advantage of the situation to make sexual advancements that otherwise would have not been possible?!

Regarding child abuse, you seem to forget that: A good system should grantee both the first and second pillars. So again, you are focusing on the second pillar and ignoring the first one!

Finally, drug facilitated rape is when the victim has been intoxicated against their will.
Hence, to answer your question: "just wondering how you can be consentingly unconscious" - If that person takes drugs with knowledge and consent, then they can be consentingly unconscious. You just answered yourself!!

bambam said...

definition of sexual harassment Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment so yours is different how ? and i said at best because there is nothing that removes the choice of the person to partake in sexual activity which is the primal condition for rape; the lack of choice. so it makes it not a case, while it doesn't really apply to blackmail either since there is a choice over there but since i consider that parental and familial rape is a combination of all of them and you just ignored it made me not talk about either.

takes advantage of the situation to make sexual advancements that otherwise would have not been possible yes might be possible in the movies, but at the end if they remain conscious they haven't been subverted of their choice, again important to call anything a a rape. u dont have to be on date to be in a compromising situation.
so everyone should shoulder the consequences of their choices.

A good system should grantee both the first and second pillars. based on cultural systems across humanity history this hasn't been exhibited, especially heterosexually. so whats your definition of good ? and whats the advantage of allowing a minor to develop a sexual relationship with an adult over that with a peer ?


intoxicated against their will. you didn't mention that, and contradict it when you say "Also, sexual activity where the participant's consent is unconsently subverted, is also illegitimate." and evidently when you say "If that person takes drugs with knowledge and consent"

an informed consent requires consciousness, so its an oxymoron to describe the state of unconscious to be consensual. he can be consentingly intoxicated but not unconscious and there is a difference in the sense that he is able to have a consent given in intoxication and depending on the level it might be impaired while that choice is absent when unconscious. so no, i didn't answer myself there although i did that just now.and you were just contradicting yourself thats all.

Devil's Mind said...

Good system is defined [for the purpose of this entry] as a legitimate system. This good system is also the desired system.

If you go to a hospital and they give you anesthetic -with your informed consent-, you would be contently unconscious!! If after being unconscious the doctor has sex with you, that would be drug-facilitated rape! [assuming you agreed to be given anesthetic for the purpose of surgery, not sex]

But if you agree to take anesthetic as part of a sexual fetish, that you have agreed to before being doped, this would not be rape!

I don't see what is confusing you! (read more on wikipedia)

Devil's Mind said...

"and whats the advantage of allowing a minor to develop a sexual relationship with an adult over that with a peer ?" - Whats the advantage of allowing homosexuality?! Whats the advantage of democracy?! Whats the advantage of freedom of choice?!

Devil's Mind said...

"anyone who consents willingly to drinking in a compromised situation is not in a grey area they did get drunk fully knowing the possibility of sex in that situation. and alcohol in general does not eradicate judgment or inhibition." - It seems that you misunderstand the concept of "gray". The article defines "gray" as: the "gray" sexual conducts which cannot be easily classified as legitimate or illegitimate due to subtle details of consent. - You are making assumptions that identify the situation as while or black... But without those assumptions, you have no case to make!

Devil's Mind said...

As for sexual harassment, it can fall under imposing rape, and hence the paragraph in that regard has been modified. Instead of "Imposing rape cannot be protected legally.", the sentence was changed to: "Imposing rape _cannot always_ be protected legally.", implying that in certain cases legal protection can be provided.

bambam said...

"contently unconscious" - yes, but that is your intention and you consentingly agreed to it before hand. the difference in your example and drug related rape incidences is that the aim is not to be unconscious but to be intoxicated (of the person willingly taken the drug which am arguing doesn't constitute rape). So the intent is different hence you can't be (in general) consentingly unconscious.
My argument(and its not a confusion) is two folds:
1) why is drunken sex treated separately, when intoxication of alcohol is one of the highest if not the highest of any abused substance ?
2) if a person willingly takes a drug that impairs his judgment fully knowing of the possibility that it might result in undesired sexual he/she has not been raped. they just made a bad choice.

bambam said...

Good system is defined [for the purpose of this entry] as a legitimate system. This good system is also the desired system.
so for a system to be legitimate it must be accepted by the society, and hence why i mentioned that its neither desire nor legitimate except in one case in history which stretches to modernity and that is in the case pedastry.

Whats the advantage of allowing homosexuality?! Whats the advantage of democracy?! Whats the advantage of freedom of choice?!
Homosexuality: that is comparable in the sense that its also a minority culture. the main difference here lies in the age of consent and the quality of the informed consent. that main difference is why there is a driving age, and drinking age because eventually you have to draw the line of when is the child able to draw a mature informed consent 4? 6 ? 9 ? 12 ? 14 ?
if we agree that this line should be drawn then that makes a world of difference.


democracy & freedom of choice those are system, and interestingly they are contradictory in the sense that true freedom is anarchistic. while democracy is the rule of majority over the minority :D so yeah they have their advantages and purposes

Devil's Mind said...

"so for a system to be legitimate it must be accepted by the society," - The first pillar defines legitimate sexual acts, the second pillar defines the illegitimate acts. So, for the purpose of this entry, legitimacy is defined by those two pillars.

I will address the other issues at later time.

Devil's Mind said...

In short, the pillars suggested are desired from a liberal POV. So obviously, if someone does not desire a liberal system, the proposed pillars would not work for them. So in short, if you don't agree with the two defined pillars, then the rest of the entry will be meaningless.

"2) if a person willingly takes a drug that impairs his judgment fully knowing of the possibility that it might result in undesired sexual he/she has not been raped." - It is rape because the person did not provide consent!

You are practically saying that since the person knew beforehand that sexual activity might happen, then that person has implicitly consented. But thats false reasoning.

Consider this: You are smart enough to know that if you go out of your home, an armed person might come and shoot you... Then you go out of your home... Does that give armed people an implied consent to shoot you?! I wouldn't say so!

The Observer said...

'Does that give armed people an implied consent to shoot you?! I wouldn't say so!'

Neither would I :)

No_Angel said...

the allegory ur using doesn't translate to the case so its irrelevant. since in the case we are talking about i compromise my consent by taking the drug under which i might be influenced to imply or explicitly state my consent while not meaning to :D plus the chance of me getting shot when walking out is minuscule compared to the chance of having sex under the influence (and yes there are statistics to back that claim) so unless am playing Russian roulette with the shooter i fail to see the point of that allegory.

and i disagree with that being a liberal view in the political or legislative sense since i don't know of any modern liberal system that legislated pedophilia. so i guess non of those "liberal" system are liberal in your eye in this case because they saw pedophilia as harmful with no positivity to it at all.

and again i ask you would you draw an age of consent when you are defending pedophilia in this case or is there no age of consent and any child regardless of the age is able to participate in sex play as long as he agrees to it?

Devil's Mind said...

On the drugged\drunk issue:
Lets agree first: We both agree that in most cases drunk sex is okay and no rape is involved. We also agree that there should be no legal protection if someone agreed to sex while drunk.
What we seem not to agree on is that there are some cases where a person would take advantage of a drunk person, and this would include rape.

The issue here is consent. Just because you agreed to something doesn't mean you consented to it. Thats to say, if you were mislead to agree on something, this doesn't count as consent. Consent is a fully informed choice, based on knowledge of truthful and complete set of relevant input.

Consider this: You sit in a restaurant, and the waiter pours in your cup a colorless, odorless, tasteless, liquid poison. You think it is water and drink it. Obviously no one forced you to drink it, and you have implicitly agreed to drink from it when you actually drank of it. But did you consent to be poisoned?! No, because the decision was not based on a truthful set of information.

On the liberalism issue:
As a matter of fact, there are no purely liberal systems in this world at this time. Most countries are democratic, and some go one further step and have liberal democracy.

Liberalism is an ideal that the world is not ready for yet. Even liberal political parties don't call for theoretical liberalism, but rather practical liberalism. Thats to say, the part of liberalism that the world at this time can manage.

For example, consider democracy. In democracy every person in a country should be able to vote on every decision. But in practice, we have representative democracy, where representatives are elected, and only those representatives vote on decision in practice.

Liberalism in theory would require infinite recourses to be fully implemented, but there needs to be compromises since there are no infinite resources available to us at this time.