Because life is complicated, and in the interest of fairness, it might be a good idea to examine the other side of the coin. Can women rape men? Does it happen? And why is it so rarely reported? It has to do with honor and courage and proof. It has to do with social norms and the legal system.
But it's not something that can be easily fixed, by passing another law, because ultimately it has to do with sexual desire, the limbic system, and our own struggle as individuals, not just with concepts of personal sovereignty, but with the mind-body problem. We are not just our minds, We are not just our bodies. And our minds and our bodies do not always agree.
Stranger rape is clear cut and obvious, but even there, victims have been known to be burned by the burden of proof. Date rape or rape in relationships is much more messy. And quite often, rape ends up getting ratified after the fact.
As an attorney practicing in Texas in the 1980s, for instance, I learned that bringing up a non-consensual sex act that occurred thirty years earlier between a husband and wife, at a time when it was not a crime, was not allowed as evidence of cruelty in a divorce action. The victim was deemed to have waived the right to withhold consent when she entered the marriage. If she stayed in the marriage for thirty years after the act happened, she was deemed to have waived her right to complain about it even in a divorce. Today, when the current law says you cannot waive any of your rights when you enter a relationship, there are ways in which, by their actions afterwards, people end up ratifying an act that was done without their consent.
To complain about it afterwards opens up a very real possibility that you will be slapped with a defamation action. But even more than that, there is the issue of whether the body and the mind were of one accord, and who exactly are we? Are we the mind who said no, or the body that said yes? This is the issue that makes rape one of the most difficult crimes to investigate.
Bruises do not necessarily mean it was a rape. Not having bruises does not necessarily mean it was not a rape. Lack of sexual receptivity does not prove rape. Sometimes people consent verbally and mean it with all their heart, but their body does not cooperate. Sometimes people do not consent, but do experience arousal. The mind-body dichotomy is very real when it comes to sex. If you report a rape, then all of what happened must be described in open court, and it can be very demeaning to the victim, especially when it involves arousal. If it is not reported, but the victim later talks about the event in public, then a suit for defamation can be brought, and the burden of proof under common law shifts to the defendant to prove the allegation is true.
In the "good old days", long before "sexual liberation", many people avoided rape by not getting into ambiguous situations where proof would be difficult to come by, because they understood that the burden of proof would be on them if they were raped. They did not complain decades later about a rape they had not had the courage to report at the time, because they understood this would open them up to legal action. They didn't talk about it nearly as much as they do today, but I don't think that meant that rape was more rampant a problem. If a rape did occur, this might lead to a duel, not a lawsuit. I happen to think that dueling is a very good deterrent to both rape and defamation. I don't think we have made it any better or any less likely to happen by all the mandated anti-rape and anti-sexual harassment seminars that young people are being forced to attend on college campuses today.
When rape happens to a woman, there is more sympathy. If it happens to a man, we are conditioned to be dismissive. I think that's wrong, but it may be inevitable due to the nature of the act, and the undeniable inequality of the sexes in matters of basic physiology.
I'm not going to say much more about it right now. I'm not going to describe what happened between Verity and Nabal. I'm not going to justify a violation of the NAP that did occur in the story, but that was definitely ratified afterwards. Buy the book and read it yourself, or get the Audible Edition, and listen to Kelly Clear act it out. I will just share two paragraphs from Nabal's letter to Verity written after the fact.
Don't you think it's true for all of us? How else can they claim that our tax payments are voluntary? And aren't all peace treaties signed under duress?
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