Consent explained


I love this, but I think we need a follow-up in which the young woman demonstrates that being drunk herself does not excuse stealing someone else’s phone. Additionally a “culture of borrowing” does not excuse taking an incapacitated person’s phone.


antioch ( yellow springs , oh ) rules rule !!

I’m not sure the mobile phone analogy establishes what the authors are trying to establish.

For example, while my girlfriend would never borrow a stranger’s phone without asking, she will frequently use my phone without asking first. She has my consent in the broad sense that she knows I’m fine with her using my phone. She also knows a number of things I wouldn’t be happy with her doing with my phone (e.g. installing new apps, using it to watch pr0n) and she would never do these things without my express prior permission. However, she doesn’t ask first before each particular occasion where she borrows my phone. She tends to assume that if I’m in the room, and she picks up my phone, I’ll tell her if I have a problem with her using it on that occasion. She would of course put my phone down if I objected, or if I looked kind of angry or upset at her when she picked it up or while she was using it. She would also of course start checking before using my phone if I told her I would prefer things that way. However, as things are, I’m generally happy for her to pick up my phone without asking first, and I feel very free to tell her if I want her not to use it (or to stop using it) on any particular occasion. I feel very confident that she would respect any request for her to stop using my phone. All of these things are mutually known between us, so it isn’t unreasonable of her to assume that if she picks up my phone and I don’t object or look annoyed, it’s OK for her to use it.

If the authors of this video think that initiating sexual contact in a relationship isn’t like borrowing your partner’s phone in any of the above respects, they really need to choose a better analogy.

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If someone is of the mindset that rape of any manner is okay, then I definitely do not believe this video will do anything for them but act as a joke or object of mockery for them. I am not against the video, the more discussion on consent, the better.

A cell phone is not a person, though, and the kind of guys with rape like mindset, I think, need far more serious intervention. People natively understand that you do not have sex with someone who is unconscious and you do not have sex with someone who is not consenting. I am a little worried that this issue is being treated as if they might not know, and so may be excused for their ignorance.

The rape culture in many Western youths is widespread and needs to be fought against strongly. A video that might well work would be one which looks at the shame and punishment caught offenders face. These news stories hit mainstream news, but they do not tend to be pushed out there as much as famous murder cases.

Usually the only real interaction I tend to have with these youths is in video games, and it is pretty much a daily thing to sometime hear in chat some exhortations to “rape” the other team, some misogynist statements, some homophobic statements.

I also believe movement’s like the “red pill” movement, men’s movement, and the like need to be strongly countered.

But where are the high quality documentaries on rape? We can get assaulted endlessly on Amanda Knox, but stories about how football players gang raped a minor and then bragged about it online vanish. How the parents, the coaches, teachers, politicians in not a few cases work together to prevent justice happening. Why is it kids might make it to a college and not be able to operate higher then an animal? Maybe if they were educated on the pain and suffering caused by rape, which is totally possible by documentaries, they would consider changing their viewpoints.

Back in my day: I vividly recall one woman who became unconscious who was sexually attacked by a man. Everyone reacted with appropriate seriousness. If we thought we could safely do it, we probably would have beat him to a pulp and let him die somewhere. Nobody was confused about the morality of it. I suppose some of them later went to college, but they were blue collar ‘just graduated’ seniors mostly.

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US colleges are all about providing safe environments for experimentation and self-discovery. Underage drinking, drugs, whatever. The last thing colleges want to do is create the impression that “boys being boys” can lead to expulsion or criminal charges.

And men can imagine the pain and suffering of rape. Depict male-male rape in a movie and its almost certainly meant to be much more powerful than your generic rape of a female (and a female-female rape would probably be presented less as a violation and more as a male fantasy). The problem is that men refuse to see women as being creatures that should have the same physical, bodily, and sexual agency and integrity as men: it’s shocking and humiliating to see a man violated and penetrated this way, even though we accept that it happens to women all the time.

Instead of seeing it as a violation, many men seem to see rape as another form of sex, which should therefore be fun or something. The best retort I’ve heard to a man telling a woman they wouldn’t mind being raped is “OK, bend over and I’ll shove this beer bottle up your ass.”

I don’t think people took rape more seriously “back in [the] day.” It’s more likely that the woman only came forward because the act was egregious and mostly fit the stereotype of “real” rape, i.e., stranger rape, and/or was accompanied with significant violence. Most rapes don’t fit in this box, and back in the day women were even more unlikely to report these kinds of rapes by their dates, friends, boyfriends, etc.


Totally agree with your post, but the post by @gurglegurglebangbang gives a lot of food for thought too.

I think gurgle is right, that the way to get through to the sort of men who do not see rape as a problem is not through making them feel for the plight of female rape victims. That’s the sheer face of the mountain; the hardest ascent with the least likelihood of success. Instead, the two pronged-approach of putting them in the position of feeling for MALE rape victims, and more public shaming and prosecuting of this violent criminal behavior would work better to shift public opinion away from “boys will be boys” and “no means yes…” to “get consent or you’re a criminal”.

I was talking with my dad about one of my kids doing the college search right when the NYTimes was covering a number of campus rape cases. I mentioned to him that I was worried about some of the schools she was looking at, and his response was: it’ll be OK, because it’s all about how the mother raises the girl whether or not she gets raped. After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I did manage to say that it was about how the parents raised the BOY that made the difference. But there you go: a man who should have every reason to empathize with a female victim, ready to blame his daughter if his granddaughter is raped. That’s the socialization that has to be overcome.


This is tangential, but in my opinion it is the most prestigious and expensive schools that have the most to gain by burying sexual assault claims, as they feel the most pressure to preserve their reputation and revenue streams (tuition and alumni donations, mainly). I suspect that state supported schools that offer commoditized education to fungible students are best situated to properly investigate sexual assault, even if they do not afford the educational opportunities that elite schools are thought to. (Of course, there’s a significant body of evidence suggesting that future earning are predicated less on the school you actually decide to attend and more on the schools you were admitted to — students who got into UPenn and instead choose Penn State do just as well as those who decide to attend UPenn, for example, although selection bias may significantly affect these findings.)

spent a few glorious years of my life there.

I try to be more specific in my language when talking on these issues, as it can be very difficult to fix problems if specificity is not discovered and understood.

From my own self, I became very aware of male rape when I was twelve and an adult coworker decided to shut me up by mock ass raping at work in front of the other adult male coworkers. Before that I had been sexually abused by a male, adult boy scout leader who had befriended me and my bestfriend. I was also approached in a variety of ways by adult males numerous times as a teenager, when there could be no mistaking I was underage… and, of course, to some degree, this trend has continued all my life… though, of course, there is a vast difference between a respectful homosexual or bisexual male approach versus a heterosexual male approach when they view the possibility of exploitation as possible.

Sixteen, first real girl I fell for explained how her stepfather molested her, seventeen I found myself in full on sexual survivor’s groups, and around eighteen got with my first major girlfriend and mother of my first child who previously had given up a baby for adoption – she was a victim of rape.

My first sexual experience was in the second grade when my girlfriend and neighbor girl attacked me. Admittedly, not a negative experience. Consensual enough, but as usual, where the female is the pursuer and the aggressor, a preference or trend that has stayed course through my life.

I have seen both heterosexual rape and homosexual rape accepted in this society. I do not believe everyone accepts it, but a shocking large number. If I felt it was everyone, I would probably never socialize in person ever, though admittedly, whenever I go outside I am extremely aware of these factors around people.

That is not at all what I said. I said I think people understand what rape is and the seriousness of it, because I saw people understand that even back in the mid eighties. What I see some acting like is as if these males engaging in this sort of behavior or tolerating are like sweet kids who just do not know any better. As I found in my youth, even when we did not have any of this sort of education, this was not ignorant to anyone. Everyone knew this was very bad.

I am not sure why you took my statements and tried to make an entirely different and nearly opposite meaning from it.

You do not seem to be saying that rape is something people do not know is bad and these sweet, innocent little boys in their rape glorifying college cultures are really sweet, innocent, and just do not know how bad they are even glorifying exploitation of other people and power for power’s sake. I guess. Or maybe you are. As that is the more direct and true opposite of what I was saying.

Yes, there have been many advances since then, advances which I have watched closely and I am glad about. But, I am very aware at the same time that in many ways, in this society, rape culture is growing, not lessening.

I am not really surprised because a lot of varieties of “might makes right” and “power is the only meaning to life” belief systems are getting strongly promulgated out there, both in non-“mainstream” cultures and in mainstream cultures.

Some of these problems are inherently “male”, and I often wonder if all the men in the world were made into women the world would not be a much better place. But, that is largely foolish thinking on my part, and by no means do I feel every male is the same, or that every woman contributes to these sorts of problems.

There are chemical differences which we know about now, but these do not explain rape cultures and dynamics. Men have estrogen, men have prolactin, women have testosterone.

Women, like men, or even moreso like girls or boys, do tend to not report sexual abuse issues. I surely did not report most of mine. Even when I got into sexual victim survivor groups at sixteen, for some weird reason I refused to talk about the more serious event, and refused to share anything really important, at all.

But by no means is this just a female problem, though in college environments, it probably mostly is. In terms of teenage and younger sexual abuse, I would be surprised if the numbers are not more even.

More importantly, the problem is not so simple to be put in sweeping black and white categories. No problems are ever solved by such problems of perception. That is how many of these problems fester and explode. If you have a physical problem, you want to get specific to try and fix it. Lack of specificity means you don’t know what the problem is and you are likely to die from it. Same with nearly any other sort of problem.

Yeah, that is really bad.

I have actually not seen that from anyone in my family, nor anyone I socialize with, albeit I really have a strange family and strange social circles. The only exception here is I do believe one of my four daughters can be naive, and I make pains for her not to be naive. But, I stress that the problem is because there are really crappy human beings out there.

I have that sort of stance because I was unaware that I might have been victimized before I was victimized as a child. Since then, I have been hyper aware of this, going on now three decades since.

I can see how that could be a bit challenging to say, but it is my viewpoint. Do I blame myself for being attacked in my youth? No. Have I gotten angry at people who did not understand my extreme feelings on the situation? Yes. Do I believe that I had and have traits making me more susceptible to this? Yes.

But, then again, I am just blunt with my middle daughter, who, for instance, is taking the bus downtown now. I tell her the simple facts, that guys might want to rape her, and be cautious of that. We discuss issues like “should she carry a weapon”. But, these sorts of discussions are not unlike any other potential danger or security hazard she might face.

Thank you. As I felt I needed to, for another poster, I pointed out that I suffered male sexual aggression considerably as soon as I hit puberty.

This is, however, a worse problem for females, then it is for males, I will definitely acknowledge. While males probably are as much of a likely target for sexual abuse as minors… outside of prison, generally, once we are past being minors… the chance for rape for us tends to be far, far lower.

I am also very aware I am in a really very small category of males, being especially skinny, soft skinned, and ‘the way I look’.

Obviously, there are also issues here with masculinity and femininity, and the way sex is engaged… but having watched this issue for three decades, and being generally security focused and a book worm, I have come to a number of conclusions… though, also a lot of unanswered questions.

As an adult, I definitely experience unwanted male advances, but usually these were not overly aggressive. Usually, I just get unwanted staring and such.

Women, when they tend to do this, they tend to be attractive when doing it, so not nearly as much of a problem.

Though I am not entirely sure on “the solution”, I kind of separate male rapists into two major categories: the lone “weirdo” rapist, and then the cultural pool of rapists. There are many types of rapes, however, and rapists… but it is that later group which especially concerns me in today’s western, modern world. (And exactly the problem I see in less developed countries…)

I believe that the government, in many ways, has helped foster this culture by showing people that if a person is powerful, or a group, they will give them special privileges. The basic ethical model of these groups is “might makes right”, “power is the only morality”, and so on. So when the government wiretaps all americans and they get away with it? That message is sent. When the government bails out major financial corporations who had been operating grossly unethically? That message is sent. When the government jails african american males far more and far worse then white majority males? That message is sent.

And on and on it goes.

College cultures? Those are very centers of some of societies “elites”, even if many end up taking liberal leaning viewpoints. Though I do not hold the view that these are the only cultures where “elites” exist, as every culture has their top strata, even the poorest. And the top strata among the poorest cultures feed on those under them, just as they do in the wealthiest strata.

The “solution”, I very much agree, is not simple, however. In fact, I lean towards complete societal destruction when the rape and power culture becomes predominant. Even being raped my own self in my youth, while it made me entirely sensitive to the problem, for many males it teaches them that is the way to do things when they find themselves in positions of power. Visual education or more remote can also do the same.

I’m not quite sure what you’re saying, and it doesn’t seem like English is your native language.

To clarify, I don’t believe that the rape culture has grown or expanded in recent years or decades. If something was recognized as rape in the past, it is still recognized as rape today. It isn’t that long ago that people thought it was basically impossible for a man to rape his wife, for a prostitute to be raped, and date rape would be questioned even more than it still is.

What has changed in social recognition that rape is much broader than crimes of violence perpetrated by strangers. It’s this realization that has led to the “rape culture” phrase, as it’s only by realizing that these unconsensual encounters are, in fact, rape that we are able to understand how society and culture encourages these types of rapes. 70 years ago a husband forcing his wife to have sex with him wouldn’t be a symptom of rape culture, because that act was not rape. A drunken girl forced to have sex by her boyfriend wouldn’t be symptomatic of rape culture, because that sort of thing didn’t fit into the prevailing idea of what rape is.

Now maybe the sexual revolution in the '60s and the current hookup culture have made rape more likely to the extent that people are more likely to either test their sexual boundaries (or expect people to be more willing to have sex), but I’m not sure this goes hand in hand with the advent of a rape culture.

I don’t understand the prominence given to “Consent” in this context. And before anyone rushes to flame, let me clarify.

Consent is the process we engage in prior to performing unpleasant and potentially life-threatening procedures in healthcare. No-one is under any misapprehension that the person giving consent is really expressing more than a certain resignation with their fate; that they’d really prefer not to be in their situation but the balance of probabilities is that they’ll be better off after their procedure than before. So consent is an extraordinarily low standard to set.

Surely we need to be teaching that what is really needed in a sexual relationship is enthusiastic participation? That’s a rather higher bar altogether. Plus the sex is better. Make up with quality what is lost in quantity …

I learned it in the 70s, but still have some kind of strange way of speaking and accent, yes.

It is more difficult to hide that fact in this sort of situation.

I do not, at all, think the sexual revolution increased the prevalence of rape. I agree that people have become more aware of rape, in many of the ways you are aware, as well. I am not sure what anyone else means by “rape culture”, I am not aware of actually having gotten that term from anywhere else. Instead, it is a product of my own looking at areas of the world where rape is endemic.

I strongly agree, advances have been made: for instance, in education and in policing. You mention how, in the 50s and before, for instance, a man raping his wife might be condoned. Or not be equated with actual rape. Or how “date rape” might not have been considered “rape”, or rape of prostitutes… I am not so sure, though not as interested in these trends as I believe other societal trends are making rape more socially accepted, as I have mentioned in another post.

Recently, one friend of mine pointed out how “Gone With The Wind” had a rape scene in it, for instance. And how this was also in a “Streetcar Named Desire”, or a movie I am mistaking with that. I would be surprised if people back then felt that those scenes were socially acceptable, and did not find it repugnant.

Much of the world, however, is not the “first” world, anyway, though, and I also believe people need to start taking a more global outlook on matters.

In the US, I believe that there is very much a strong trend towards a social view of “might makes right” type of “morality”. In brief, this spans from the government engaging in illegal spying and not making changes when caught, to not making changes when caught with the problems of unfair incarceration and legal system against the poor and minorities… to issues like the financial bailout.

Rape is about power, and when people believe that power is the highest virtue, they tend to be on a road for self-destruction.

I do very much see this as a cultural thing, and I see it, as one might say acquainted with internet parlance, a meme, a concept which operates exactly like a virus.

For evidence, I would point to societies, cultures, some mainstream, some not (and so “subcultures”), where this very thing has taken root and rape becomes exactly endemic to the culture.

This, today, would include upper middle class college societies, in the US. And it would include some impoverished areas in the US, as well as prisons in the US (where the mainstream Americans tend to continue to condone rape).

I can see you balking at this because of another problem: one strong positive in the US and other first world countries has been very strong and well organized movements to help ensure rape is better policed and so reported. Reporting is far higher today in first world countries, then in the past.

I suspect, however, this very fact can blind people, however to an actual rise in incidents.

Are there many—or any—places where it is not endemic?

Rape was rarely addressed directly in old movies. But what audiences did not find repugnant were men forcing kisses on resistant women, who would suddenly stop struggling and embrace the man after he had forced himself on her. The lesson was clearly that men knew what women wanted, and if they just relaxed they would enjoy it. Of course they had to struggle a little bit to protect their reputation, but they really wanted it, too. And yet you don’t seem to think this is a rape culture, but think they had moral clarity about rape back then.

I think you’re very much mistaken if you think that the apogee of rape culture is in modern US society.

Or I simply, as I said, am not as interested in older American culture in regards to rape, and I can add not much interest in old movies, actually, not all. This does not mean I am not interested in these observations, I am. Though, my interest in older movies or shows is next to nil, in other contexts.

I actually do, however, appreciate your comments on this. I do not disregard, them, either, just as this other friend pointed out to me those scenes in those two famous movies.

I actually had to look up “apogee”… no, I do not think that American culture has, today, anywhere the pinnacle of rape culture, nor did I state I do think that. I do think it is on the rise in some subcultures, in America, and in decline in other subcultures.

If I think of where in the world I would think rape is much more endemic, I would say in India, in Muslim majority cultures, and in the Congo and sorrounding areas of North Central Africa. Especially in the later. In areas of the middle east where ISIS has taken, I have read credible reports that, for instance, in Mosul, ISIS members went door to door raping women and boys, and selling both into sexual slavery.

One problem with these societies, however is when it is really, entirely virulent, the society is entirely lawless. So reporting will tend to be next to impossible. As it is in that region, and it has been in the North Central region of Africa. Also, in the areas of North Nigeria and sorrounding nations where Boko Haram is.

The “why” of that manner of situation is: human beings are far more valuable then any material non-human thing. Where there is no law whatsoever then the elite of the societies have as their primary social sign of power the ownership of as many sexual slaves as possible. Related to this is rape, though in these societies, rape typically begets full on sexual slavery, but definitely not always.

I do believe this problem is culturally universal, but not universally popular. The reason for this is because there are many downsides to rape in societies. So you can find rape in far flung, entirely unrelated cultures, but you do not find it popularly everywhere, nor do you find it in every far flung culture. One caveat here is it does tend to be more endemic to larger cultures then to smaller cultures.

I do believe rape is endemic to human beings, and especially for men. It is like gut bacteria, or an inert virus we all carry, but it is not always active.

But the use of the word, as I was meaning in these contexts, is when it has started to show itself and spread.

Because there are many downsides to rape, there are many areas where it does not start to show, or come alive, and when it does, it tends to be isolated.

But, it is true, it can be very difficult to truly know these things as rape can be underreported, not properly defined, or not reported at all.

I could, however, be incorrect. I am not talking so much as to educate, as to learn.

I so believe Cory Doctorow’s “Rapture of the Nerds” gender bending aspect was very forward thinking, and do expect that there is very likely some manner of revolution coming which will involve transcendence of current gender concepts. It is interesting however, to me, to try and understand modern popular - and exceptional - current gender understanding, as well as historical.

Though, perhaps, unfortunately, a lot of my current conclusions are that real gender definition is based on social hierarchy models… even if deeply tied up in observable chemical reactions. Which means that it is contagious and can be spread when a society begins to suffer strains of dissolution.

Here’s an excerpt from an NYT piece from 1995 talking about that scene from Gone With The Wind:

" [ T ] he majority of my correspondents (and I agree) recognize the ambiguous nature of the encounter and interpret it as a scene of mutually pleasurable rough sex . . . By far the majority of the women who responded to me saw the episode as erotically exciting, emotionally stirring and profoundly memorable. Few of them referred to it as "rape.’ "

This is only 20 years ago, and the scene was widely considered not to be rape but just a manly man making a woman out of his unwilling wife.

20 years later the scene reads very differently to most people, as this 2014 NPR piece and your friend both suggest:

The students had two issues with Gone with the Wind: race and rape.

In one scene, Scarlett is raped by her husband and wakes up the following morning in an absolutely wonderful mood. Today we watch that scene — or those with happy slaves — differently than we would have even a generation ago.

So while you think that people in 1939 would had moral clarity about the rape depicted in GWTW, it wasn’t even recognized as rape 20 years ago. It’s only now that we have moral clarity about what is depicted in the film, and it’s this increasing moral clarity that allows us to recognize that we do have a rape culture. This is why I don’t think rape is becoming more socially acceptable.


Huh, interesting and illuminating. Maybe there is some cause for optimism.

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