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Vox Day: "The concept of marital rape is not merely an oxymoron, it is an attack on the institution of marriage, on the concept of objective law, and indeed, on the core foundation of human civilization itself."

Anti-rape protest in India
Anti-rape protest in India

Apparently worried that the world might forget what a thoroughly reprehensible human being he is, fantasy author and freelance bigot Vox Day (Theodore Beale) has decided to bring up the issue of marital rape again – in order to assert, as he has many times in the past, that marital rape doesn’t actually exist.

In a post yesterday on his blog Vox Populi, Beale notes with obvious pleasure that an Indian judge recently ruled that marital sex, “even if forcible, is not rape,” thus upholding a section of the Indian Penal Code that refuses to acknowledge marital rape as rape.

Beale crows:

Some of my dimmer critics have attempted to make a meal out of my factual statement: a man cannot rape his wife. But that is not only a fact, it is the explicit law in the greater part of the world, just as it is part of the English Common Law. …

The fact that some of the lawless governments in the decadent, demographically dying West presently call some forms of sex between a husband and wife “rape” does not transform marital sex into rape any more than a law that declared all vaginal intercourse to be rape would make it so.

Unfortunately for Beale, simply declaring that the world is on his side on this one does not make it so. It not simply a handful of “ lawless governments in the decadent, demographically dying West” that see marital rape for what it is. The United Nations has recognized marital rape as a human rights violation for more than two decades. And the world is coming around to this point of view.

While (as of 2011) only 52 countries had laws specifically criminalizing marital rape, many others don’t have a “marital rape” exemption to their rape laws, meaning that in more than 100 countries marital rape can be prosecuted. And that number will inevitably grow.

Here’s a map from Wikipedia showing the countries (in red) in which marital rape is illegal. The countries in black allow marital rape. In the other countries, it’s a bit more complicated. (See here for the details.)

From Wikipedia.
From Wikipedia.

But for now, at least, Beale is happy for another chance to explain the toxic “logic” behind his assertion that “marital rape” is impossible.

Anyone with a basic grasp of logic who thinks about the subject of “marital rape” for more than ten seconds will quickly realize that marriage grants consent on an ongoing basis. This has to be the case, otherwise every time one partner wakes the other up in an intimate manner or has sex with an inebriated spouse, rape has been committed.

Now, by Beale’s logic, a husband is entitled to force his wife to have sex over her screaming objections. Since “consent is ongoing,” in Beale’s version of marriage, a woman could say no or even fight back against her husband’s advances, but none of this would count as non-consent because once a woman is married there is no such thing.

But of course Beale doesn’t want to have to defend what is obviously – at least to anyone with any humanity – violent rape. So he tries instead to restrict the debate to the seemingly innocuous practice of “wake-up sex.” After all, what guy doesn’t want to be woken up with a blow job?

But even this example isn’t as persuasive as he thinks it is. Some people like to be woken up in an “intimate manner,” at least some of the time; some don’t, and you don’t get to override their desire not to be sexually manhandled in their sleep just because you’re married to them. And while drunk sex is not necessarily rape, marriage doesn’t give you the right to force sex on a partner who is intoxicated to the point of incapacity.

And for those who wish to argue that consent can be withdrawn, there is a word for withdrawing consent in a marriage. That word is “divorce”.

No, that word is “no.” There is no such thing as ongoing consent to sex. The fact that you are married to someone doesn’t give you the right to have sex with them whenever and wherever you want, whether they want to or not, any more than the fact that someone is a professional boxer gives you the right to punch them in the head any time you feel like it.

The concept of marital rape is not merely an oxymoron, it is an attack on the institution of marriage, on the concept of objective law, and indeed, on the core foundation of human civilization itself.

No, Mr. Beale, you having the right to do whatever you want to with your dick is not the basis of civilization itself. Civilization, in fact, is built in part on the repression of some of our darkest desires. Part of growing up is reconciling ourselves to the sad fact that we can’t just do whatever the hell we want to all the time; Freud described this as putting behind the “pleasure principle” of infancy and early childhood for the “reality principle” that governs the more mature mind.

Beale seems to be driven not only by a desire for instant sexual gratification, whenever and wherever he wants, but also by a certain degree of sexual insecurity. In a previous post on the subject, he wrote:

If a woman believes in the concept of marital rape, absolutely do not marry her! It would make no sense whatsoever to marry a woman who believes that being married to her grants her husband no more sexual privilege than the next unemployed musician who happens to catch her eye.

Beale seems to think that if married women are allowed to say no to their husbands, they’ll desert these poor beta schlubs en masse in favor of scruffy alphas with guitars. At the root of all his arguments against the idea of marital rape is an obvious terror of unrestricted female choice.

In a way Beale’s petulant, self-serving defenses of marital rape serve a positive function, in that they help to remind us how abhorrent the practice is and how nonsensical the “arguments” in favor of allowing it really are.

Every time he opens his mouth on the subject, he helps to strengthen the growing consensus against marital rape.

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Michelle C Young
8 years ago

@dustedest – ooooh, accidentally letting your marriage lapse. Good point. Excellent point.

Also, I like your idea for your renewal. Cool!

Michelle C Young
8 years ago

@Luzbelitx

“Only consent is consent.

Did I really need to write that down?”

Yes, you did, because

“abusers are masters at making their victims believe they are the problem”

I once had a jerk manipulate me into apologizing for him punching me. I still don’t understand how he was able to do that. And he was still a teenager at the time. I shudder to think of the mental gymnastics he could master by the time he was 30.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

Is Confused one of the two BSDM-is-evil trolls from the other thread back again? The whole “posting this under a different name so people won’t yell at me” would seem to support that theory. If so – dear sir/madam, please stop trying to shoehorn your pet topic into every conversation. Doing so is both rude and irritating. So knock it off.

I quite like the idea of renewable vows too. Not only because hey, people change and that means a relationship that worked for you at 25 might not work for you at 35, but also because it would provide a great excuse to throw a big party for all your friends and family every once in a while/take a trip somewhere pretty.

Michelle C Young
8 years ago

@cassandraykitty – Who needs an excuse to party?

Children of the broccoli
Children of the broccoli
8 years ago

@Marie: I think Confused might be Retha. If you don’t remember, she was the one who pissed everyone off by conflating kink with rape, refused to apologize, flounced, and then got yelled at for not sticking the flounce and posting in the next day’s thread while acting like nothing had happened.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

But I want to go back to Hawaii! “Renewing our vows” would be such a perfect excuse.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

FWIW, I think it’s probably Retha too. In which case, sure, comment here again if you like, but not every conversation gets to be about your pet topic.

Children of the broccoli
Children of the broccoli
8 years ago

Spanked by Cassandrakitty!

But seriously, Confused, don’t confuse (pun unintended) kink with abuse. Some people really, truly enjoy being spanked and bossed around in bed, and actively seek out people who will do that for them. It is not even in the same zip code as being pressured into something you don’t want to do, which is abuse/rape.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

Careful, Retha might think I’m abusing you if you use language like that.

leftwingfox
8 years ago

toolbox: I agree completely, although I think a lot of people take it a step further as self-defence.

“Only terrible people do X. I’m not a terrible person, therefore what I did wasn’t X.”

Substitute X for racism, sexism, sexual assault, harassment, bullying, or any other negative behaviour.

There was a thread at Captain Awkward where you see this on display, dude whining about being cut out of a woman’s life, noting that this should only be done to abusive people to guys like him. The letter is littered with red flags that yes, this guy IS the sort of abusive stalker type that people would want to get away from as fast as humanly possible.

http://captainawkward.com/2014/05/12/entitlement-much/

Unfortunately, it’s not just the guys obviously on the wrong side of these issues that have this problem. One of the most common recurring events I see in social justice arenas are self-proclaimed allies reacting with rage and defensiveness to criticism from their own side.

leftwingfox
8 years ago

*only be done to abusive people, NOT to guys like him.

Sorry.

dustedeste
dustedeste
8 years ago

@Michelle – Yeah, I really like the idea of common law marriage – I would have preferred it, honestly, especially at my age, except our situation didn’t allow for it. If we wanted to legally live in the same place, we had to get formally married so one of us could sponsor the other one into one of our countries, or else go through a much more precarious job-related immigration process (because of changing immigration laws, school-related immigration seems to be a poor choice to initiate a permanent relocation these days).

In other news, I’m a big proponent of open borders – the problems we faced were minuscule compared to what some people go through, especially refugees.

Also, yeah, “Confused” is setting off my troll alarm, here.

Skye
Skye
8 years ago

Lea, I’m so sorry. That’s terrible.

Toolbox, unfortunately, it’s not just men who do the ‘rapists are bad, I don’t think my friend is bad, therefore what he did can’t be rape’ thing. Anyone remember the female writer at the not so good men project who wrote a long post trying to absolve her ‘good man’ friend of commiting rape?

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
8 years ago

With the guys who overreact to conversations about rape, I’m sure that some of them have done what’s being described themselves and that’s why they’re in “but that can’t be rape because then I’d be bad and I’m not bad but you’re making me feel bad, so feminism is evil” thing, but I also wonder how many of them are reacting that way because at some point a buddy has told them a story that sounds exactly like what they’re now seeing described as rape and what does it mean about them if they responded to that story by high-fiving the guy? The overreaction is often so exaggerated that I always wonder what specific form of guilt they’re trying to avoid feeling.

Children of the broccoli
Children of the broccoli
8 years ago

It’s OK, cassandrakitty, I enthusiastically consent to getting spanked by you! 😉

Twincats
Twincats
8 years ago

She chose the face he presented to her, before he got her bound tightly in his clutches. Dude LIED! And he was really good at it. That is not HER fault, and no, she did NOT deserve to be abused.

She did not choose an abuser/murderer. She chose the good man he pretended to be.

Third-ing this, as it happened to me.

*Trigger Warning*

The first time I had sex, I was raped. It took a lot of years and a lot of education for me to conclude this (it happened in 1978 and I was 18.) I thought I had done all the right things; he was older and more experienced (he was 24 and divorced) he never pressured or pawed at me in the two months before it happened, hell, we even discussed the deed and how, when and where it would happen. He waited for me to get on the Pill and even for it to become effective. He was always nice and treated me well; even my mom liked him! He promised to be gentle and make it good for me. I had NO warning whatsoever that it would turn into hell in a heartbeat.

Leaving out (some of) the gory details, I had a lot of pain from the get-go and asked him to stop what he was doing. He did for a minute; long enough to rip off his condom and get back to it. The pain (obviously) did not abate and I guess I kind of spaced off to another place mentally for a bit because the next thing I knew, he had his hand over my mouth to muffle my screams (I wasn’t even aware I WAS screaming.) After he had finished, there was a lot of blood. I bled for another two weeks, in fact.

So, yeah. At the beginning of that evening, I could hardly believe how lucky I was. By the end, I couldn’t figure out where I’d gone wrong.

Toolbox
Toolbox
8 years ago

Another thing that I think should be noted is the way that abusers tend to feel entitled to things – they feel that they’re owed something just because they’re there. Many abusive individuals fail at self-realizations; that what they do is abusive seldom crosses their mind – they twist it to the point where they become the victim, to some degree, and thus have total justification (in their mind) to say and do whatever they want.

This could be why a rapist might try to argue that if she hadn’t been grinding on him earlier in the club, or if she wasn’t dressed like that; or if she hadn’t pushed him away; or if she had been clearer he wouldn’t have done it. Or he might just try to reason out, “Well, she was dancing with me in the club, and called me handsome; so she is clearly still game even if she said she’s “not sure” He’ll simply start negating her – ’cause she’s just a thing – and project what he wants onto her.

He may just decide he’s owed sex because he bought her three drinks at the bar. Or that since she came home with him, he is now entitled to it.

Simply put, I don’t think it’s consent that’s the issue. Consent isn’t confusing. Not if you respect and care about your partner. If you don’t give a toss about them, if you see them as a means to an end, you have no reason to “respect” their wishes.

Luzbelitx
8 years ago

that what they do is abusive seldom crosses their mind – they twist it to the point where they become the victim, to some degree, and thus have total justification (in their mind) to say and do whatever they want.

Sometimes they twist it to the point where they become the victim period.

I’ve seen discussions about domestic violence in which someone asks:

“But what of the woman has verbally abused the man for years, and then one day he punches her and then HE’s the monster”

I think the only possible answer would be:

“What if proven abusers have pulled this excuse again and again? Even when the woman was proved to be the only victim?”

Toolbox
Toolbox
8 years ago

One thing about that that gets me is…someone can’t “make” you violent. You choose to behave violently, you choose to respond violence. In that scenario, the man probably had plenty of opportunities to leave the relationship. He could have contacted an abuse line, a therapist, got support from friends. Leaving an abusive relationship is hard, but responding with violence is not another solution. Simply put: if you are the victim of emotional/verbal abuse, violence is not the appropriate response. You will be charged with physical assault because…you committed physical assault. It might be unfair, but that’s how it goes.

Victims of abuse, both male and female, straight and gay, cis-gendered and trans-gendered, need to be made aware that they have options and that help is available, if they look for it.

And it is true, many abusers, with their childhood wounds, see themselves as perpetual victims. They struggle with notions of responsibility and empathy. Abusers are well practiced at transforming situations into their own personal tragedies. It’s why, when confronted with such a situation, you shouldn’t make rash judgments. Well, [name here] is my friend, they are nice to me, therefore they must be the victim.

emma
emma
8 years ago

Re: rapists as abuse victims (a good discussion, btw):

“Most sex offenders were not sexually or physically abused as children. In one study of 114 convicted rapists, 91% denied experiencing childhood sexual abuse; 66% denied experiencing childhood physical abuse; and 50% admitted to having non-violent childhoods.” (Scully, 1990).

http://sapac.umich.edu/article/196

Confused
Confused
8 years ago

Thank you for all the comments about consent. I am learning.

Dvärghundspossen
8 years ago

@Twincats: All the cyberhugs. That’s terrible.

moldybrehd
8 years ago

@Twincats – cyberhugs from me too.

Rea
Rea
8 years ago

Lea, that is terrible.

She did not choose an abuser/murderer. She chose the good man he pretended to be.

I think that is usually the case: MRA types claim women like bad guys. But women actually like good men and some very bad men know how to pose and pretend they are good.

Michelle C Young
8 years ago

COTB – “Some people really, truly enjoy being spanked and bossed around in bed, and actively seek out people who will do that for them. ”

Yeah, I had an acquaintance who told me about her husband, a very alpha man, all powerful in business, church authority, and all that jazz, pillar of the community, but when it came to sexy-times, he wanted to give up the power, and have someone dominate him. He loved it. He loved being told what to do, and he even loved being “disciplined.” I mean, he would ask for it. “I’ve been a bad boy.” She never punished him because she was angry with him. It was always a sort of play. When they had a real issue, they discussed it, like civilized adults.

Apparently, after a hard day of being large and in charge, and everyone coming to him with their issues, it was a profound relief to put someone else in charge for a while, and it made him feel incredibly sexy to hand all that power over to his wife. And spanking apparently gives a warm, tingly feeling, and stimulates the prostate.

Incidentally, that was when I found out they make chastity belts for men. Kind of blew my mind. That whole conversation was a bit of TMI, but also very enlightening into the human psyche.

It did make me curious on the subject, though, and I’ve read a bit about it. Which is why I can’t, for the life of me, understand how anyone can NOT understand that BDSM is NOT rape, and rape is NOT kinky sex. The two are so very mutually exclusive. BDSM is ALL about trust and respect.

Although, I have heard that there are dangers and that some people get into BDSM specifically to use it as an excuse to abuse, but they are definitely breaking the understanding and trust of the entire kink community when they do that.

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