I don’t normally get involved with the blogging element of SLN, my role being more of a bankrolling exercise to supply the bits and bobs as and when required to make Ella and the team’s work easier.
But recent events in my real world have led me to break silence to highlight something that is current: the ‘blur’ between consensual sex and rape.
One of my co-workers, a woman in her early 20s, recently went on a night out. The evening became a blur and she woke up the following morning in a hotel with no recollection of the night’s events. She confided in me because we work closely together and because I guess she sees me as a sort of father/uncle figure, and probably couldn’t bring herself to bring the topic up to her own family.
Piecing together what we can, it rather appears that not much alcohol was involved, but the volume is essentially immaterial anyway. It appears that the total blackout of the night means that what she did have was spiked. The following morning she didn’t recall sex taking place, but she was severely bruised, suffering from vaginal pain that suggested penetration had occurred. Not only does it seem that sex took place, but was certainly non-consensual (in the sense that she was not remotely well-placed to say either yes or no) and was rough sex to some extent, possibly forced sex. Was a condom used? Has she been exposed to an STI? Might she be pregnant? Quite beyond the horrible experience she has endured, she must now deal with all of that.
She has been an emotional wreck since. I’ve tried to help her as best I can, but feel helpless other than acting as a sounding board for her, and offloading the stuff in her head hopefully helps.
Thick, appropriately enough, is a colloquialism for ‘stupid’ in British English.
And if there’s anything more #stupid than Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’, celebrating a ‘blur’ between rape and consensual sex (which only exists in the predatory male’s mind), then I’ve yet to see it.
This isn’t something to be taken lightly, made fun of, thought of as even existing. No means no. No means not spiking a girl’s drink in the hope that her semi-comatose state, her total blackout to her surroundings, can mean her semi-compliance (or less) means ‘yes’.
In these circumstances, there is no ‘consensual’. Let’s call it for what it really is: rape.
In the city where I live, there’s a rapist at large, one who will get away scot-free with his offence due to my co-worker not feeling confident enough to go to the police and report it, and because of the delay between the offence occurring and now. To go to the police and make the accusation, she would subsequently -if the police extracted a confession- have her role in the night’s events, and any other sexual experience she has ever had, dragged up in a court that leans towards the point of view of the rapist, rather than the victim. As a result, there are certainly other women who’ve experienced the same violation and who haven’t alerted the police. The scumbag who violated my co-worker may have, in the 10 days since her experience, repeated it.
First and foremost this is a naturist blog. Those of us involved in it are real life naturists, and all of us are away beyond a sense of naked bodies being necessarily sexual. For us, it’s about a sense of freedom and relaxation with social nudity. I don’t look on women as breasts and genitals on display, or as available. The ladies who contribute here don’t ogle penises and size men up. We speak to each other as human beings who just happen to be naked in specific circumstances.
And then we’re subjected to moronic videos containing moronic imagery and roundly questionable morals or ethics such as ‘Blurred Lines’, which -despite protestations- certainly does, in my mind, celebrate ‘rape’ dressed up as ‘consensual sex’. The message is vile. The accompanying video, in which girls prance around in flesh-toned briefs and nothing else, reinforces the objectifcation of women as sex objects.
While all of us who are male within SL are indulging -as the females are, too- in some sense of a fantasy alternative existence, that does not mean we should park a sense of responsibility at the log-in page. The morals that we have in the real world, the respect we should have for women, should also apply within SL. Every rape has a victim. A victim of violence. And we should never allow ourselves to become numbed to that, even in an online game.
While most avatars probably indulge (or have indulged) in cyber-sex, it is incumbent on all of us to have clear lines on what’s right and wrong. The blurring of them should never be encouraged, in or out of SL. Dude…stay out of those rape sims, talk to women like they’re human beings, take her to romantic locations or restaurant/dancing sims. Make some sort of mental connection with her. It may well lead to cyber-sex, and that’s OK. Spouting a whole stream of objectionable views while abusing her (and I don’t hold much enthusiasm for the argument that the female avatar is compliant…who knows if ‘she’ is being run by a male who runs that avatar as a means of reinforcing his own sordid fantasies?) is patently not OK.
I’m away beyond angry at my co-worker’s plight right now, away beyond angry that an asshole like Robin Thicke is making money with a message that ‘even when a girl says no, she might mean yes’, and take advantage of it. The celebration of this idiotic message helps reinforce, in men’s minds, the notion that spiking a girl’s drink, taking her to a hotel and assaulting or raping her is somehow right.