sigsfried wrote:sigsfried's story about two people who pieced together a drunken night and mutually decided that one had raped the other
This story indicates something about our society, but not that we have a culture where rape is acceptable; rather, the idea that the man is ultimately responsible for any sexual conduct, and a lack of consent falls squarely on his shoulders. If neither party has any malice aforethought and the unfortunate circumstances leading to "non-consensual sexual conduct" were, at the very least, evenly split between both parties, how can there be rape? I find it disgusting that they both came to the conclusion that they should turn the guy in to the cops, rather than mutually apologizing and moving on with their lives.
As long as sex is a game where one party is "defending" and one "attacking" there will always be a vast grey area that you can call coercion (because it isn't actually a symmetrical agreement), and what is necessary for consent will be hard to pin down. It's one of the unfortunate results of our particular evolutionary path, and something that I hope we can move beyond, but the scope of the problem seems broader than rape culture.
fr00t, I think you have some good insight into what "rape culture" actually is, but then you classify it as something other than rape culture. When people use the phrase "rape culture" we don't just mean culture that celebrates rape: we also mean culture that interferes with full, informed consent for sexual behavior. I think you're completely wrong with pinning these rape promoting aspects of behavior and expectation as evolutionary, but that's a discussion for another thread. Assuming that men want sex, women don't, and sex is heterosexual, all interfere with consenting and communicating consent, and are therefore important parts of "rape culture".
I think I'm using quotes around "rape culture" because I'm not a big fan of the phrase: I prefer to talk about aspects of culture that promote rape (or rape promoting culture). I think "rape promoting culture" is more clearly a broad category, so people can more easily agree that aspects of our culture promote rape (or interfere with consent), so this phrase makes it easier to get the help of more people in changing the parts of our cultures that promote rape.
Re: "Sleep with me or I'll leave you"
I think that this concept is both something that can be rape, and also the best way to get rid of many of the rape promoting aspects of our cultures.
First, I'll make this rape.
A and B live together and have debts and obligations together. B is employed outside of the home, A does home keeping. B tells A that they must have sex, this very instant, in a way that A is not interested in, or B will leave A and remove all financial support. That's attempted rape on the part of B, rape if B gets what B wants.
And now, as a rape prevention.
A and B have had sex a few times, are trying to figure out if they want to have a relationship, and have each separately decided that they want to be monogamous. A explains specific sex acts that A needs to be sexually happy, gives B plenty of time to think about it and work towards it, but explains that A and B can't be together if B doesn't want to do this specific sex act with A on a routine basis. While the rape prevention here might not be obvious at first glance, this is a situation were sex is being communicated about, and consent is being explicitly asked. And, in my opinion, everything that increases the power and importance of consent decreases the likelihood of rape.
Without people deciding what type of sex they want, with whom, when, and then communicating it, I think that rape is inevitable.
Unequal power and opportunity is one of the most powerful way cultures promote rape. But another powerful part of culture that I think promotes rape is the expectation that sex *must* be tied with other things, including love and economic household arrangement (that sex is inherently about love and family creation). I think that the only think that *must* accompany sex is consent. When other complications (love, rent) automatically come with sex, or when sex is derided if it doesn't come with these other complications, that makes consent difficult. The expectation that sex is supposed to be about love makes people who want one night stands come up with excuses for consent (drinking, a narrative of overwhelming need that *must* be sated), because they don't want to think of themselves as the "bad" type of people who have sex without love.
Let me throw something out here that I suspect will be unpopular, but I think is worth thinking about. I think that the cultural expectation that people should be monogamous promotes rape, because it makes it necessary for people to get all of the sex they want with one person. And, for almost every single pair of people, their sexual desires don't exactly match up. So you've either got to consent to something you aren't a big fan of, or go without. That seems pretty toxic to me. Now, I was in a monogamous relationship for 7 years, and I was neither raped nor did I rape in that time. But both my SO and I did sex acts we weren't particularly interested in, and now that we are not monogamous any more, we don't do that any more, and I think we are both happier for it. I think any parts of culture that promote specific, clear consent for sex work strongly against rape. When consent is usually complicated, then it will be easier for people to go over the line and have sex with someone who does not consent.