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Jim Lane

(11,175 posts)
81. The "was this rape" question involves both law and ethics.
Mon Apr 21, 2014, 01:52 PM
Apr 2014

There are some instances of bad conduct that are unethical but that are not illegal. One can ask whether something is ethical, whether it's legal, and (a third separate question) whether it should be legal. Each of these is a legitimate question. The questions won't necessarily all have the same answer.

You write, "You are arguing for a society, a culture, where it isn't men's fault if they pressure others to have sex with them." No, I am not, and I would appreciate it if you would refrain from putting words in my mouth.

I said that the man in Example 1 was selfish and insensitive. That's criticizing him, not excusing him. "Immature" can be an excuse if said of someone who's not of legal age; said of an adult, however, it also is a criticism. To state what I thought was clear in my post: I do consider his behavior unethical and I do think it's his fault. As I understand the current law, however, he has not acted illegally, and I would oppose making such actions illegal.

You're right that I'm considering a continuum of gray-scale cases. In the real world, that's what actually comes up. In the context of deciding what should be illegal, it's very important that laws, especially criminal laws, give people reasonable notice of what is prohibited, so that continuum has to be considered. Note that, just in this thread, there's disagreement about the ethics of the man in Example 3. That naturally raises the questions whether his conduct is or should be illegal.

Your food stamp analogy would apply to someone who pointed to examples of improper prosecution for rape and argued on that basis that laws against rape should be abolished. My own belief is that rape laws and food stamp eligibility criteria are both administered by fallible human beings. The inevitable result is that mistakes will be made in both directions -- some people convicted of rape are innocent, some who are guilty are acquitted or never even charged, some people get food stamps who aren't really eligible and some who are eligible are denied. Although it's true that we could completely eliminate the mistakes by eliminating the underlying law, that would be too drastic a solution. For both rape and food stamps, we should instead do our best to achieve correct results in each case, bringing the system as close to perfection as possible while acknowledging that we'll never succeed completely.

Logically I would end this post there. The problem is that I said "some people convicted of rape are innocent," which, in the unfortunate current atmosphere on DU, might well prompt the charge that I'm a "rape culture apologist" because I'm "emphasizing" false prosecutions or parroting an MRA talking point or whatever. To try to avert that distraction: I'm sure that the number of guilty people who are not convicted greatly exceeds the number of innocent people who are convicted. I was merely listing the problems, not quantifying them.

~kick! CrispyQ Apr 2014 #1
Thanks for the kick! MineralMan Apr 2014 #2
I don't think we're teaching empathy MineralMan Apr 2014 #3
Well, I never had much to do with the "cool crowd." MineralMan Apr 2014 #31
I know that rape and sexual assault are about power, but it also happens because LuvNewcastle Apr 2014 #4
Well, my opinion about that is that if you're MineralMan Apr 2014 #5
Recreational sex isn't really my style, either. LuvNewcastle Apr 2014 #8
I'm OK with it, or was in my younger years. MineralMan Apr 2014 #13
Thank you for posting this. K&R Tuesday Afternoon Apr 2014 #6
And thank you for replying to it. MineralMan Apr 2014 #11
Kicked and recommended! In_The_Wind Apr 2014 #7
k&r, uppityperson Apr 2014 #9
K & R n/t Aerows Apr 2014 #10
Thanks for the K&Rs! MineralMan Apr 2014 #12
What a fantastic way you laid out this op mineral. Nt seabeyond Apr 2014 #14
Thank you. I've been thinking about posting something MineralMan Apr 2014 #15
A friend told me the boys at her son's college, in orientation, Bette Noir Apr 2014 #16
Good for that college. MineralMan Apr 2014 #19
Ha! I love that! Prophet 451 Apr 2014 #76
KnR with naught more to add other than thank you. chknltl Apr 2014 #17
More: How to know if it's "Yes!" MineralMan Apr 2014 #18
Very nice, thank you. MuseRider Apr 2014 #20
I agree with much but disagree with the part about "whining" etc. Jim Lane Apr 2014 #21
Examples 1 & 3 certainly don't sound like rape scenarios. But if the guy's pushy all the time then nomorenomore08 Apr 2014 #22
I disagree. What I wrote is the OPPOSITE of minimizing rape. Jim Lane Apr 2014 #24
Stop minimizing rape, Jim. CFLDem Apr 2014 #27
Let's look at this from another perspective: chervilant Apr 2014 #25
Example 1 is coercion, pure and simple intaglio Apr 2014 #26
Poor examples, all. chervilant Apr 2014 #29
Have you ever heard anyone talk TBF Apr 2014 #28
Real-life conversations are indeed much more nuanced and ambiguous. Jim Lane Apr 2014 #61
I think if you turn TBF Apr 2014 #64
Trust me, I wasn't offering Example 1 as relationship advice. Jim Lane Apr 2014 #67
Nope, I'm not counseling anything other than TBF Apr 2014 #78
Your first example is coercive. MineralMan Apr 2014 #30
I disagree. She said no and instead of respecting that he pressed her on it. If she says no IT'S NO. redqueen Apr 2014 #32
I understand what you're saying, and tend to agree. MineralMan Apr 2014 #35
Didn't read it. She said no. redqueen Apr 2014 #39
No is a complete sentence. KitSileya Apr 2014 #40
"Treat anyone's no as negotiable, and you are enabling rape culture, pure and simple." <- BOOM redqueen Apr 2014 #43
But asking why someone is uncomfortable isn't necessarily enabling rape culture. msanthrope Apr 2014 #77
Follow-up question for redqueen and KitSileya Jim Lane Apr 2014 #63
It's not necessarily a crime, or provable as one at least, but that doesn't make it okay to keep nomorenomore08 Apr 2014 #65
We're talking ethics here. KitSileya Apr 2014 #75
The "was this rape" question involves both law and ethics. Jim Lane Apr 2014 #81
What if the athlete says it in a slightly different manner? Hippo_Tron Apr 2014 #33
It's still coercive. MineralMan Apr 2014 #34
Maybe I'm confusing two different things here Hippo_Tron Apr 2014 #36
Nope. It's still coercive. MineralMan Apr 2014 #37
So how does one tactfully say they don't want to be in a relationship with no sex? Hippo_Tron Apr 2014 #38
Nobody is obligated to continue dating anyone. MineralMan Apr 2014 #41
Right, and that's why I think this is NOT coercive. Jim Lane Apr 2014 #62
Why are you spending so much energy debating where the "line" is anyway? nomorenomore08 Apr 2014 #66
The OP was thought-provoking and I shared some of the thoughts it provoked. Jim Lane Apr 2014 #69
I do not want to date you noiretextatique Apr 2014 #42
I think "I do not want to date you" is a shitty way to break up with someone Hippo_Tron Apr 2014 #46
Yours is closer to respectable. redqueen Apr 2014 #47
Well no, he should find someone who has a similar timeframe about sex Hippo_Tron Apr 2014 #48
He's clearly got a problem waiting for a woman to be ready. redqueen Apr 2014 #49
Well I don't agree that it's a problem, but... Hippo_Tron Apr 2014 #50
no it isn't qazplm Apr 2014 #51
Oh, yes it is. MineralMan Apr 2014 #52
can you cite Niceguy1 Apr 2014 #53
What criminal code? MineralMan Apr 2014 #54
so basically you're just a opining Niceguy1 Apr 2014 #55
I'm having trouble understanding your reply. MineralMan Apr 2014 #56
fixed Niceguy1 Apr 2014 #57
Sexual assault can be defined in law or in MineralMan Apr 2014 #58
I think your op would be more accurate amd better Niceguy1 Apr 2014 #59
OK. Well, thanks for your feedback. MineralMan Apr 2014 #60
So if it's technically not rape by a strict legal definition, then it's a-okay? nomorenomore08 Apr 2014 #70
hmmmm no cause she can Niceguy1 Apr 2014 #71
what a load noiretextatique Apr 2014 #44
whining for sex because, yeah, that is So Attractive ... NOT !!! Tuesday Afternoon Apr 2014 #45
And if in doubt, you can always ask. Merely saying "Is this okay?" shouldn't ruin the moment. nomorenomore08 Apr 2014 #68
Love the use of the "Don't be that guy" line. Ken Burch Apr 2014 #72
The chronology was the other way around. Jim Lane Apr 2014 #73
I didn't know that. n/t. Ken Burch Apr 2014 #74
How about, Brigid Apr 2014 #79
Pretty ugly situation that would require that, for sure. MineralMan Apr 2014 #80
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