Could be prosecuted for rape after penetration — yes, he could, and should be. Just because a person has consented to sex initially does not mean they are signing over the rights to their body, allowing whoever is doing the penetrating to do what they please, and for however long. Sex that starts out very consenually and tenderly can quickly turn uncomfortable, rough or frightening. Even if nothing about the sex changes, if one of the people having it changes their mind, they have the right to call for an end to it and have their partner desist immediately. For a bloke to “refuse to stop” after consent has been withdrawn is rape, not just some callous “insensitivity”. It is indeed unconscionable but not just for social etiquette reasons, as you seem to indicate. It is unconsionable because it is a gross violation of another human being, the stripping away of their bodily autonomy and control over what happens to it. Not least of all, it is unconsionable because it is a CRIME.
Unfortunately, you are right that these types of rapes (where consent is withdrawn after intercourse has already been initiated) are much harder to try because most people cannot wrap their heads around the fact that a woman can change her mind and mean it during sex. We’ve been sold this idea that all women are really gagging for some man to give her a rough shag and that if she says no she really means yes, or is perhaps just feeling guilty for getting so carried away. We’ve also been conditioned to believe that men are incapable of controlling themselves when in the ‘throes of passion’ and any woman standing in the way of his climax will just have to get over whatever it is he must do in order to reach that climax, even if it means “refusing to stop”.
So yes, Mark, sex after penetration CAN be rape, and IS rape if consent has been withdrawn, or was never given in the first place. One way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to get active consent at every step of the way. Don’t just wait for a No, keep getting Yeses before proceeding to the next ‘level’. And if your partner wants you to stop, you STOP. Immediately and without question or harrassment. Anything else is a crime. And it’s a shame that a self-proclaimed feminist like Ellie Levensen won’t even ackowledge that. In doing so, she completely denigrates the multitude of women to whom this kind of rape has happened.
Good to know you’re making sweeping generalisations about British people as well as this website.
Francine Hoenderkamp, author of the article, replies
I actually think the Page 3 culture would make women even more scared of coming forth when reporting rape because of the widespread belief that women were ‘asking for it’ in the first place – especially if they were wearing a low cut top or being provocative. This is what the whole campaign is about; the attitudes towards women in society because of the influence of pornography into the mainstream.
Even though you make the point that men are going to rape women anyway, pornography or no pornography, does it mean that we have to put up with this in the UK? Different countries all have different oppressive regimes when it comes to women. Is pornography helping with women’s oppression in the UK? That’s all I want to know.
Francine Hoenderkamp, author of the article, replies
Hi Sherry. When I first read your comment I was inclined to totally agree with you. I hadn’t actually viewed the image as submissive before (actually thinking it more neutral), however, although I can see where you are coming from – as the image probably would be more powerful presented as a stance of defiance – I don’t think that just because I’m showing flesh it should instantly seen as ‘sexual’ and therefore inappropriate. Many have mentioned that I should be clothed but I stand by my decision in showing my bare back, not only because of the bare-breasted model and the pun which attaches itself perfectly to that but also because it isn’t flesh we should be turning our back on – it’s Page 3 and what that symbolizes within our society. This image was simply taken of your every day woman, in a natural pose, inspired by a strong desire to want Page 3 abolished once and for all. That is it.
I actually use a man’s image for my Facebook page, but ultimately I dream of having a wall of backs, clothed or unclothed, of all genders, ages, races, colours, creeds, religions and faiths, in all different styles and with all types of attitudes to front my campaign. Whoever or whatever you are.
It seems that you completely misunderstand feminism and what it means to be a feminist. Many anti-feminists would paint feminists as man-haters that want to be better than men and want a tribe of Amazonian-like women warriors to rule the world. No, we do not want to be treated like men and no, a punch in the face is not OK. Perhaps you have not read many posts and artilcles on this very website regarding how being punched in the face is not OK. That is violence against women, which has been prevalent in our society for hundreds of years and which feminists try stop.
So you are fed up with the so-called drivel that feminists witter on about? Would you rather be told what to do, that you are put on this earth to be the object of men’s satisfaction as and when he pleases? So you would rather not be treated as a human being in your own right and be defined by what society would have you be?
It’s rather sad that you would take your anger out on people like me who believe that women have the capability to excel in any field that we put our minds to, provided, like everybody else (men and women alike) we train and work hard enough. It seems that you have also misread my article and took it as a ‘lecture’ that you *have* to aspire to. If you could bring yourself to read it again, you would see that my article does not try to *make* anyone an engineer or scientist. My article argues that women, like myself, who want to become scientists or engineers have every capability to become them and should be given the encouragement and not have their opportunities taken away from them before they even start.
It is unfortunate that you feel you have to place your anger on me, my article and women like me who believe that we deserve every opportunity and equal encouragement as men do. But like I said, being hit in the face is not being equal. And to claim that being a feminist is being stupid and irresponsible is actually yourself ironically shrugging off responsibilty. You may see feminist movements and what feminists do as having created *mess*, but perhaps you should look further back into history and consider where the so-called mess started. If women demurely did as they were told, then sure, there would be no mess, the way you see it. Yes, feminists have caused a stir, but a stir in the fabric of society that demands that women be ‘prim and proper’ and do as we’re told. That is not a society in which I, and many women, wish to live. If that is the kind of society that you would like, then I feel that that is really rather unfortunate.