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No, Amy Schumer did not give a speech celebrating how she raped a guy

Any Schumer, not giving a speech
Amy Schumer, not celebrating rape.

Thought Catalog – which seems to be rapidly becoming the go-to site for terrible antifeminist posts – is making a bit of a stir on Reddit with a post bearing the deliberately provocative title “Wait A Second, Did Amy Schumer Rape a Guy?” Spoiler Alert: The anonymous author concludes that yes, she did. The anonymous author is full of shit.

In the Thought Catalog piece, Anonymous takes a look at a speech that Schumer – a comedian with some subversive feminist leanings — recently gave at the Gloria Awards and Gala, hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women. The centerpiece of Schumer’s speech, a bittersweet celebration of confidence regained, was a long and cringeworthy story about a regrettable sexual encounter she had in her Freshman year of college, when her self-esteem was at an all-time low.

The short version of the story: A guy named Matt, whom Schumer had a giant crush on, called her at 8 AM for a booty call, after he apparently had been turned down by every other woman in his little black book. Amy, thinking she was being invited for an all-day-date, only discovered his real intent when she got to his dorm room and he romantically drunkenly pushed her onto the bed and started fingering her.

After several failed attempts at intercourse, and what she describes as an “ambitious” attempt to go down on her, he finally gave up and fell asleep on top of her. Lying there listening to Sam Cooke, she decided she didn’t want to be “this girl” any more, “waited until the last perfect note floated out, and escaped from under him and out the door.”

Looking back on the incident, she thanks her failed lover for introducing her “to my new self, a girl who got her value from within her.”

But Thought Catalog’s anonymous author, noting the extreme drunkenness of Schumer’s stumbling lover, concludes that “Amy’s actions may have constituted as rape in the eyes of her college, Towson University.” (Or at least according to the school’s current policies.)

Anonymous quotes Towson’s current policy on sexual harassment, which states:

In order to give effective Consent, one must not be mentally or physical incapacitated (e.g., by alcohol or drugs, unconsciousness, mental disability).

And adds:

It’s hard to argue that Matt was not mentally incapacitated. In Amy’s words, he was “wasted.” 

Actually, the fact that Matt wasn’t too intoxicated to initiate an assortment of sexual acts with her — or to get up and change the music at her request — suggests that he wasn’t “mentally incapacitated,” at least by the standards used by colleges when investigating alleged sexual assaults. The Association of Title IX Administrators’ Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Model Policy (which sets an unofficial standard for college administrators) defines incapacitation as “a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the ‘who, what, when, where, why or how’ of their sexual interaction).”

In any case, it’s not clear why Anonymous is looking at Towson’s sexual harassment policy, which is designed to deal with “non-consensual Sexual Contact, Sexual Exploitation, or requests for sexual favors that affect educational or employment decisions,” and which clearly doesn’t apply to Schumer’s story.

As for sexual assault, the school’s official web site states:

Sexual assault is defined by Towson University as forcible sexual intercourse, sexual penetration–however slight–of another person’s genital or anal opening with any object, sodomy, or any unwanted touching of an unwilling person’s intimate parts or forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts. Under this definition, these acts must be committed either by force, threat, intimidation, or through the use of the victim’s mental or physical helplessness, of which the accuser was or should have been aware. This includes, but is not limited to, victim helplessness resulting from intoxication or from the taking of a so-called “date-rape drug.”

This definition is drawn from the University of Maryland System Policy on Sexual Assault, which classifies sexual assault involving penetration — the traditional definition of rape — as a more serious type of sexual assault (Sexual Assault I) than those forms of sexual assault involving touching (Sexual Assault II). By this standard, assuming we equate Sexual Assault I with rape, Schumer clearly did not rape him.

Anonymous then looks at Maryland’s state laws and concludes:

In the eyes of Maryland state law, things get a bit more complicated. Amy could be guilty of rape or sexual assault depending on whether or not penetration was achieved. According to the state law, a person may not engage in vaginal intercourse with another “if the victim is a mentally defective individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual, and the person performing the act knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a mentally defective individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual.” Legally, it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t rape, at least given the details in Amy’s speech.

Well, actually, yes it is. And not just legally, but by any reasonable definition of the word “rape.”

Because Schumer, at least by her account, wasn’t “the person performing the act.” He was. She was lying there wondering what had gone wrong with her life.

If you read the speech in its entirety, instead of depending on the selective quotations in the Thought Catalog post, this is abundantly clear. As she describes it, he:

Pushes her down on the bed; as she writes, he does “that sexy maneuver where the guy pushes you on the bed, you know, like, ‘I’m taking the wheel on this one. Now I’m going to blow your mind. …’”

Penetrates her with his fingers; as she writes, “[h]is fingers poked inside me like they had lost their keys in there.”

Tries to have intercourse, though his penis is only half-willing; she describes him as “pushing aggressively into my thigh, and during this failed penetration, I looked around the room to try and distract myself or God willing, disassociate.” Even using the “made to penetrate” standard, she’s not raping him, because she’s not making him do anything; he’s the active one.

Goes down on her.

Attempts intercourse again; this time, “[o]n his fourth thrust, he gave up and fell asleep on my breast.”

At no point in Schumer’s story does she describe herself as initiating anything. Indeed, she spends much of the time thinking to herself how much she wants to leave.

He started to go down on me. That’s ambitious, I think. Is it still considered getting head if the guy falls asleep every three seconds and moves his tongue like an elderly person eating their last oatmeal? … Is it? Yes? It is. I want to scream for myself, “Get out of here, Amy. You are beautiful, you are smart, and worth more than this. This is not where you stay.”

If a woman initiates sex with a man who is too drunk to consent, that’s rape. But a woman lying motionless trying to dissociate while a man tries to penetrate her is not a rapist. Even if he is drunk.

And that’s the case no matter how you switch the genders up.

Of course that’s not how they see things on Reddit, where most of those who’ve commented on the story have been quick to agree with the Thought Catalog author that Schumer raped her partner. Ironically, it’s been those outside the Men’s Rights subreddit who have been the most outspoken on this point. In TwoXChromosomes, a subreddit ostensibly devoted to women but in fact overrun with MRAs and other antifeminists, someone calling herself Shield_Maiden831 has gotten more than 200 net upvotes for a comment concluding that “[i]f you really believe in equality, then it seems to be a clear cut case from her own admission.”

Not everyone agrees. Elsewhere in TwoX , one commenter by the name of critropolitan argues, I think quite cogently, that

Unless the full transcript reveals something that the quotes in the article don’t, it doesn’t seem like Schumer exploited this guys mental state to do something to him that violated his will.

He was the one who called her.

He was the one who acted every step of the way and she went along with it.

Assuming that a person who is drunk is, automatically, in virtue of being drunk, without agency, is a mistake. It is moreover a mistake only made with regard to sex – no one thinks the same with regard to bar fights or the choice to drive. Drunken sex might not be the platonic ideal of sex, but it is not automatically rape in every case regardless of the actual state of minds, wishes, and feelings of the participants. …

There is no suggestion that Amy engaged in any sexual contact with this guy while he was passed out, or that she did something he didn’t want to do but he simply lacked the capacity to effectively resist or communicate non consent. Instead he was drunk enough to show significant signs of drunkeness, but not so drunk that he couldn’t not only communicate effectively but take a sexual initiative.

Rapists can exploit the vulnerability of drunk people, but we must walk back from the bizarre and agency-denying position that all drunk sex is rape. Rape is far too serious a matter for this bullshit.

It is.

But of course the MRAs and antifeminists on Reddit now accusing Schumer of rape aren’t interested in taking rape seriously. Indeed, if we look back on how they regularly talk about rape and issues of consent, it’s clearly they’re interested in taking rape less seriously. Their main interest in this case is as a supposed “gotcha” of a prominent female comedian with feminist leanings. In the process they are slandering her, and trivializing the real issue of rape.

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serrana
7 years ago

Cassandra, maybe the flag of inclusiveness is air-conditioned.

LBT (with writeathon poll!)

RE: freetofish

You come back to an old thread from over a month ago, don’t read all the comments to check your claim, and claim WE’RE being condescending? Please.

marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

That, too, is condensation.

Luzbelitx
7 years ago

I feel more condensed already.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

Condensation! Lol.

It just occurred to me that no troll has used a the double ellipses in a while.

Matt
Matt
7 years ago

This article is absurd for one reason. If a man just laid there and let a drunk woman have her way with him, then gave a speech about how she was utterly inept and had no idea what she was doing and they wondered what had gone wrong with their life, everyone would call that guy a rapist that took advantage of a drunk girl.

In fact, the standard sexual assault doctrine is that it doesn’t matter if she says yes or even initiates the sexual activity – if she’s “wasted”, “her yes is a no”.

Untame Able
7 years ago

“Any gender of victim or perpetrator, and includes instances in which the victim is incapable of giving consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity, including due to the influence of drugs or alcohol or because of age. The ability of the victim to give consent must be determined in accordance with state statute. Physical resistance from the victim is not required to demonstrate lack of consent. ” Therefore, he was raped.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

And how exactly was physically or mentally incapacitated?

The Association of Title IX Administrators’ Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Model Policy (which sets an unofficial standard for college administrators) defines incapacitation as “a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the ‘who, what, when, where, why or how’ of their sexual interaction).”

In what way does pushing someone down on a bed, performing oral sex, and inserting fingers and penis while that person passively lies underneath them mean that the passive person has commited rape? In what way was Schumer forcing this guy to do anything against his consent?

How is passively lying underneath a fumbling drunk man raping the drunk man?

beelzibubbles
beelzibubbles
7 years ago

If this had been the other way around, you would not be so defensive. Feminists are always saying that if a woman is drunk, even if she initiated it, even if they are both drunk, the man is the rapist. My mother used to have drinking contests with men (she had a very high tolerance), she would wait until they passed out and have her way with them, she said it was the only way she ever got any. By feminist logic, she was raped by the unconscious men. Some feminist even tried to convince me that I was being raped by my partner every time I initiated anything after drinking, which I find profoundly insulting.

And why are you dismissing even the mildest dissent as “MRA bullshit”? You lot believe in ~patriarchy~ and “rape culture” (a term you stole from male prisoners to apply it to your bloody feelings, now they are still 2/3 of rape victims and still no one gives a toss) and that women never achieved a damned thing until some genius declared them human. Women have always been leaders, have always done the same jobs as men, have always taken precedence over men. Look at any disaster, the survivors are always nearly all women, children even count for a lower percentage of survivors than women, children are often even imprisoned more than women for the same crimes.

The lower classes were always in the same shit pit together, no vote, no power, no “privilege”, same jobs, same status. It was the upper class women who didn’t have to work, who didn’t have to slave away down a mine or in the sewers. For most people, working was not a privilege, it was hard, dangerous and unrewarding. The best jobs were often as staff of the upper classes, butlers, maids, governesses and the like, mostly done by women. The few upper class women who wanted to work, did so. They ran shops, somehow managed to become qualified doctors, nurses, botanists, chemists, scientists of all kinds, look at photos of Marie Curie sitting amongst her fellows who seem to have forgotten to oppress and despise her. My point being that feminists do more to shit on women than anyone else ever could, you can look at a tyrannical queen and see a powerless victim, you erase everything women ever did because it goes against the idea that we’re just pathetic infants who can’t think for ourselves and put up with “oppression” for millennia because we were just too stupid to see it.

Women were never oppressed, they’ve always been more valuable than any other group for obvious reasons that no longer apply, hence why you can look at the exact same situation from 2 different perspectives and decide that one is rape while the other is perfectly in their right mind because between bouts of unconsciousness they changed the music. If no drunk woman can consent, no drunk man can either.
Hypocrites.

Fibinachi
7 years ago

That’s amazing. Awe-inspiring.

Did you have to organize a convoy to ferry in that much straw?

titianblue
titianblue
7 years ago

My mother used to have drinking contests with men (she had a very high tolerance), she would wait until they passed out and have her way with them, she said it was the only way she ever got any.

Then your mother was a rapist. And you must have some pretty complex emotions about her confessions to you, her child. I’m sorry you have had to deal with that & I hope you are ok.

Doesn’t excuse you being a troll, though.

PS Hypocrite – not sure you know what it means.

contrapangloss
7 years ago

Fibi, to haul that straw, he must have needed a few of these trailers:

http://youtu.be/aHUKQhc3ghk

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

Aww, bless his little heart.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
7 years ago

It must have taken a lot of time, effort, and research to write a post so full of claims that are completely back-asswards. That actually is pretty impressive.

sparky
sparky
7 years ago

What does Marie Curie have to do with anything?

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
7 years ago

@sparky:

Marie Curie proves at least one woman was able to become a scientist, therefore women have never been discriminated against throughout all of history. Apparently.

Fibinachi
7 years ago

Bonus points has to be given for the “No one cares about male prison rape” when the sidebar and the preceding discussion in this very thread includes information and links to organizations that actively work to improve the lives of prisoners.

I also love “Obvious reasons that no longer apply”, with neither the obvious reasons stated nor the sudden magic thing that made them suddenly no longer apply. It’s brilliant.

Kudos to wanting to assume feminists erase women, when endless parades of feminist pull out endless historical examples of women doing awesome things to prove that women have always done awesome things.

There’s just so much here. It really is awesome, as in, inducing awe, as in, inspiring surprise and fear.

pallygirl
pallygirl
7 years ago

No one cares about white male prison rape. FTFThem.

It’s not like they care about any non-white males being raped. Also, given the fact that prisons are same-sex, guess who tends to be doing the raping?

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

a term you stole from male prisoners to apply it to your bloody feelings, now they are still 2/3 of rape victims

Hmm, so, worldwide stats report that between 1/6 or 1/2 women are rape victims depending on which area we’re looking at. There are approximately 3.5 billion women and girls in the world. So, doing the math, that means a minimum of 580 million women will be raped during their lifetimes (or, using the more alarming version of the stats, up to 1.75 billion).

Now, there are some countries (such as the US) that imprison far too many people (with black men being particularly overrepresented). Still, though what you’re saying is that there are between 387 million and 1.16 billion male victims of prison rape in the world? This is a thing of which you are certain, and you have stats to back it up? Because honestly, I’m not sure there are that many prisoners in the world, never mind prisoners who are also rape victims.

(Yes, prison rape is a serious issue. You’re really not helping with shit like this. Quit trolling feminist blogs and go donate either time or money to Just Detention instead.)

Anarchonist
Anarchonist
7 years ago

What is it about Schumer’s story that brings the thread necromancers out of the woodwork? Are MRAs so desperate for a gotcha that they don’t care how stupid they make themselves look, spinning like that?

@beelzibubble:

Citation needed. Yes, for every sentence in your post. I attempted to dissect your post, but I realized that’s all that needs to be said. Your “Feminists are always saying…”, “Some feminist…”, “You lot…” etc. convince me that you’ve never actually known any feminists, and are just parroting the straw feminists in MRA narratives. So, again: who are these infamous feminists that soured you on feminism forever by saying such things? Where are they?

I also have a suspicion that you’re not actually a woman as you seem to imply, as the whole “feminism perpetuates the victim status of women”, “classism is soooo much more important than anything else” and “women have always been a privileged class” is such ignorant shit that I’m not sure anyone but the most ignorant-by-choice MRA douchebro would believe that.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

How is passively lying underneath a fumbling drunk man raping the drunk man?

Well, first you have to believe men can do no wrong, then you have to think that a woman can rape a man by not fighting him off hard enough. Nevermind that Shumer is at no time turned on or interested in having sex with this guy. Nevermind that she was disgusted and shocked at his actions and initiated none of the things he did to her. Just keep telling yourself that up is down, night is day, women have never been an oppressed class. It will help you to believe the other lies you tell yourself.

Of course, you’ll be an ass with no connection to reality if you succeed.

blahlistic (@blahlistic)

…side-spur of reality.

It’s not to say a woman cannot forcibly have intercourse with a man. This just isn’t the case here…Schumer answered what turned out to be a drunken booty call, and was suitably all ewww…while the guy did all the adventuring, then passed out.

If she’d found him passed out already and had sex with him, I’d agree it was rape.

I’ve had sex while drunk and stoned…it’s just that I set out to get laid prior to getting drunk and stoned.
Stoned drunken stranger sex gets depressing afterward, and I had to figure that out for myself.

Bina
7 years ago

Women were never oppressed

Cool story, bro.

Tell it to all the Chinese baby girls drowned in buckets at birth. Or all the Indian girls aborted before they could even get that far. Tell it to that girl who was raped to death with an iron bar on that bus. Tell it to Malala Yousufzai, who got shot just for advocating the right of girls to be educated in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Tell it to any woman who ever died trying to get an abortion in times and places where it wasn’t legal.

Hell, tell it to any woman who ever lived, and lived in fear of assholes like you.

And fuck the hell off when you’re done doing that.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

blahlistic,

You can also discuss your plans to get high and have a few drinks before having sex so that you and your lover can be on the same page and either approve the idea or reject the it with clear heads. You can then check back with them as the night goes on, to make sure they are not too out of it or still interested in sex more than snacks and sleep. These guys act like compassion, consideration and honest intimacy are offensive to them. I don’t get it. It’s obscenely entitled and callus to pretend that consent is confusing or too much work to get.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

“The plan”, not “the it”.
I am so derpy at a keyboard.

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