There’s a topic I want to cover today, in a more serious manner than my usual tone. I want to talk about ‘Rape’, because I think a lot of us (myself included) are still unclear on what rape actually means.
In the most traditional definition, rape is when a man forces himself on a woman without her consent. What comes to mind here is news of women getting raped by men they don’t know as they walk home or take public transport, etc.
That’s the idea of rape we’re most familiar with. But there’s much more to it. The keyword here being ‘consent’. And every time consent is not given, every time you did not mutually agree to have sex, that’s rape. It can happen not only with strangers, but also friends, boyfriends, and even husbands. This is called ‘date rape’.
Let’s look at some situations that count as date rape:
You’re drunk or high
Sex that takes place when you’re drunk or high counts as rape. And here’s the most important thing to remember: Since you’re mentally unable to make sound judgment during this time, even if you say yes, it’s still rape. And as I said before, it can apply to your life partner as much as a stranger. So if you’re drunk and your boyfriend takes advantage of you, that is rape.
You’re asleep or unconscious
I know there are some movies and books that romanticize the idea of a man initiating sex while the woman is sleeping. And if you’re thinking ‘hey my boyfriend wakes me up with sex and I actually like it.’ Then that’s fine, it would be considered as consensual sex. But it doesn’t always end with the woman enjoying it.
Picture this scenario – A girl. Deep in her sleep. Peaceful. Relaxed. And then she wakes in a panic. Her pants are being pulled off. Her heart is beating so fast she thinks it might explode. She squeezes her eyes shut. She manages a powerless ‘No, please don’t’. She can feel his weight on top of her. She tries to push him away. But he’s much stronger. She whispers again ‘No, stop, please’. He doesn’t listen and forces himself on her until he’s satisfied. He rolls over to his side and goes back to sleep. She continues to lie on her stomach and cries in silence.
In the above scenario, these two have been dating for years and live together.
Does it still count as rape?
The answer is Yes.
In fact, a man could still be convicted of rape, even if consent was given. This is where a woman has agreed to sex within certain limitations, and the man has deliberately ignored those limitations.
Earlier in April, there was a case of a man accused of raping his wife, because his wife agreed to sex, but only on the condition that her husband withdrew as she did not want to become pregnant.
However, at the last minute he told her he was not withdrawing and told her ‘because you are my wife and I’ll do it if I want’. The woman became pregnant after the incident, and the husband was charged with rape.
There are many more cases of date and marital rape. And if there’s one thing you take out of reading this, I want it to be that:
Date rape is any form of sexual activity that you have not consented to. And it’s important for you to know that silence does not mean consent. So if your date, boyfriend, or husband tries to justify what they did by saying that you didn’t say no, you can kindly point out this fact to them.
Last but not least, if you are a rape survivor, or if you think you may be a victim of rape, I urge you to talk to someone. There are people who are willing to listen and help you. You don’t have to go through this alone.