LADIES’ AUXILIARY OF THE PATRIARCHY – Demonizing Male Sexuality

 Male sexuality has traditionally been seen as aggressive in the West, but traditionally that was lauded and validated, sometimes to the point of glorifying behavior we would call stalking nowadays.

 But it was always also considered dangerous – even when it was also considered vivifying as in ancient Rome where phalluses were scratched into walls as good luck symbols – and a man could step over the line very easily, and the constant threat of this kind of accusation was a way of controlling men in other areas, and not just women controlling men. This is how people believe women can’t rape men, how when a woman seduces and rapes a boy people consider them equal in aggression and why it was so easy to go to a cultural mode where female sexual expression was celebrated above any other consideration in a relationship a la Eat, Pray, Love.

 And this model of male sexuality fed the general macho construction of masculinity. Whoever describes male sexuality as aggressive and harmful is reinforcing patriarchal gender constructs.

 So when a movement develops doctrines or theory that demonize male sexuality with terminology like “rape culture”, “male gaze” and “sexual objectification”, we have no excuse for seeing it as anything other than cultural continuity from very traditional attitudes. When a movement does this, they are just auxiliaries to the traditionalists.

 I am going to keep exploring the demonization of male sexuality. The female counterpart is slut-shaming and it merits scrutiny too, but others have done that already, and probably better than I would.

 So the initial cut on this is just to quote two comments from other threads, as impressions. These two comments refer to two seaprate strands of demonizing male sexuality, and both of them into broadly structural kinds of misandry in the culture andin the gender discussion:

 THE HYPERAGENCY/HYPOAGENCY NARRATIVE

 MaMu1977

 “It’s the feminist double standard: male aggressor/female victim has multiple qualifiers, female aggressor/male victim only qualifies if *physical force* is used (IME, according to feminists, even a woman with a weapon doesn’t count as a female rapist. It only counts if/when the woman has enough mass and/or strength to bend her target to her will.)

This, of course, leads into the male paedophile w/female targets becoming a monster, while the female paedophile w/male targets receiving the “What, what? Nothing wrong here, just look away”, treatment. It’s always been funny to me, that an underage, but 15+ years old girl is a victim (even if her victimiser is within her age group), whereas an <13 year old boy receives “agency” when a woman expresses interest. 

 And, in the end, it’s all about the idea that all female sexuality is “legitimate” and all male sexuality is “perverse”. When men (who, for the most part are under the drinking age) make internet “jailbait clocks”, they’re daemons. When women (regardless of age) scream and throw panties at Taylor Lautner or Justin Bieber, it’s “okay”. If a man wants to suck a woman’s toes, he’s a despicable pervert. If a woman wants her male partner to (personal example) urinate on her post-coitus, *he* becomes the pervert for *not* doing so. If he wants to give oral sex and she doesn’t want to receive, he’s a “patriarchal arsehole”. If she wants him to receive anal sex and he doesn’t want anything to do with the act, he’s a “patriarchal arsehole”. It’s not about legality, it’s all about *morality* (and mens’ desires are de facto “immoral” in the eyes of feminists if they don’t toe the line.)

 Yeah, MaMu, and if a woman demands cunnilingus and her man refuses, he’s a misogynist according to Jill Filipovic – despite the fact that cunnilingus carries a threat of transmitting HPV that fellatio does not.

 It is about demonizing male sexuality, hetero or homo or celibate. Celibates come in for their share of shaming language too.

THE SEXUAL OBJECTIFICATION NARRATIVE

 1.      Patrick Brown on 2013-02-02 at 3:29 am said:

 Re Daisy’s comment on “men’s thoughts” becoming the issue…

 AVFM have discovered a new anti-feminist on YouTube called Shieldwife, who has come up with an amazing insight on the feminist concept of “sexual objectification”. Whatever your faction of feminism, it seems to me that “sexual objectification” is pretty much a universally accepted doctrine, and too many non-feminists take it for granted too. I’ve been struggling to articulate what I find so objectionable about it for some time, and Shieldwife has nailed it – it characterises male sexuality as sociopathic. We need to start rejecting this, loudly.

 More thought on “sexual objectification from Shieldwife at her blog.

 Objectification is real but it takes in a lot more than sexual objectification. A lot of it is just a necessary part of interacting with strangers. A real investigation of objectification in our lives is going to lead a lot of places in the gender discussion that are going to make a lot of people howl. It’s telling though when feminists fixate on sexual objectification specifically – it chimes with the sex-positive/ sex negative chasm among feminists. It’s a type of arrested development, adolescents terrified of full adult sexuality. Actually this fixation and fear of sexuality puts sex-negative feminists on par with Bevis and Butthead smirking and giggling over someone’s innocent use of a word they thinks sounds like a reference to sex.

 Sex and suality are pretty central to most people’s humanity and demonizing them is a pretty fundamental form of dehumanization. When feminists protest against being called name-haters, they need look no farther than their own theories and rhetoric to find the basis for those accusations.

 Patrick Brown and Shieldwife are on to something.

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  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com stonerwithaboner

    “The female counterpart is slut-shaming and it merits scrutiny to, but others have done that already, and probably better than I would.”

    I would say the opposite side of the coin is virgin shaming for men but I think it’s a little more complex than that…

    I’m beginning to believe that those who have a high investment in keeping men in the innitator role are promoting male disposability. It’s no coincidence that someone like Futrelle makes fun of males who use sex toys but would NEVER say the same thing about females who use vibrators… It’s similar to when a PUA tells other men to “man up” and learn game, or when a PUA shames men who visit prostitutes.

    https://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/another-creepy-male-feminist-extraordinaire-telling-you-that-you-are-a-subhuman-nice-guy-tm-pos/

    Yes, there are certain people who are extremely invested in the whole Nice Guy ™ thing, you’ve gotta ask why. There’s a Whole Lotta Privilege ™ behind it…

  • Ginkgo

    “The female counterpart is slut-shaming and it merits scrutiny to, but others have done that already, and probably better than I would.”
    I would say the opposite side of the coin is virgin shaming for men but I think it’s a little more complex than that…”

    Well men get both. Women don’t really get virgin-shamed – virignity is not considered a degendering failure for women – men get both creep-shaming and virgin-shaming. It’s a cultural double-bind.

  • Schala

    in the 3rd paragraph, at

    ” So when a movement develops that demonizes male sexuality with terminology like “rape culture”,”

    develops should have “language” or some other word before “that”

    and right before the end at

    “Sex is pretty to most people’s humanity ”

    pretty ______, waiting for a qualifier here

  • Ginkgo

    Thatnks, Schala – I do need a proof reader.

  • thefish

    Ah, Jill. Whenever you need a go to of a mainstream “feminist” demonizing male sexuality and presenting rapey as fuck attitudes, she’s your girl. Seriously how is she a member of the mainstream feminist movement?

  • Ginkgo

    “Ah, Jill. Whenever you need a go to of a mainstream “feminist” demonizing male sexuality and presenting rapey as fuck attitudes, she’s your girl. Seriously how is she a member of the mainstream feminist movement?”

    So what is not mainstream about demonizing male sexuality and justifying rape of men? Sounds pretty mainstream, feminist or tradcon, to me.

  • http://www.genderratic.com Xakudo

    @Ginkgo:

    Well men get both. Women don’t really get virgin-shamed – virignity is not considered a degendering failure for women.

    Degendering, perhaps not. But “frigid”, “uptight”, etc. are still certainly negative labels that people slap onto women. Social pressures for men to have sex are in general much stronger, I think, but there are many contexts in which women feel social pressure for that as well.

    In general, I think our culture views sex in terms of men taking and women giving. And the double-binds for men and women take on different forms because of that.

    The ways in which a man having sex is lauded, is very similar to how a shrewd businessman is admired: gaining something for himself. And the ways in which a man having sex is derided, is very similar to how a shrewd businessman is viewed with disgust: taking from people and exploiting them. On neither side of the double-bind is the man viewed as harming himself.

    The double-binds for women are much muddier in modern times than for men, because of the whole sexual-empowerment strand. But that muddiness is largely on the lauding side.

    Women having sex is largely derided in terms of self-degradation and self-harm, rather than in any harm done to others. It seems similar to how people view addicts of various kinds with disgust, but also pity at times. As far as I can tell, this hasn’t changed much over the last century.

    But the lauding side, as I said, is much muddier. My impression is that, traditionally, women having sex was largely lauded with respect to motherhood, expressing love, and providing comfort to a partner. Note that all of these things have to do with giving in some fashion. But in certain circles women are now also lauded in the “shrewd businessman” sense, as per sexual empowerment etc. So the terms on the positive side are expanding.

    So far I’m only describing the pro/con attitudes for having sex. But there are similar corresponding attitudes for not having sex, and they are also informed by a sense that men take sex and women give sex. And, again, attitudes with respect to women are currently muddier. But as an example, men tend to be shamed for not having sex in a similar way as a failed businessman is shamed, and women tend to be shamed for not having sex in a similar way as someone refusing to care for a loved one is shamed.

  • Copyleft

    Ironically, the feminist complaints about ‘creeps’ and ‘nice guys’ still boils down to the old model that they claim to reject: men are not allowed to have (or even want) sex until women give permission.

  • Ginkgo

    “Degendering, perhaps not. But “frigid”, “uptight”, etc. are still certainly negative labels that people slap onto women.”

    I didn’t realize “frigid still curent. It was a big thing back in the 70s when everyone was supposed to bust loose, but here it still is a thing.

    It sure isn’t degendering. It reinforces the old “good girl” stereotype.

    “Social pressures for men to have sex are in general much stronger, I think, but there are many contexts in which women feel social pressure for that as well.”

    Women get pressured inot and sneered at if they don’t get *relationships*. Sex is treated like the price they have to pay to have a boyfriend or a husband to show off to their friends to keep thieir membership current. That’s a certain narrow but very visible and influential slice of the population.

    “But in certain circles women are now also lauded in the “shrewd businessman” sense, as per sexual empowerment etc.”

    Yes, definitley, as in “Sex is treated like the price they have to pay to have a boyfriend or a husband…” and a shrewd businessman pays as the vendors as little as possible, got to keep costs down.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUv02VxAcNU MaMu1977

    @SWAB

    “Beginning”? When you have the time, download a copy of the “Agent Orange” files. Even the hardest Kinsey-6 female separatist radfems believe that they should only incubate children from “superior” sperm (and when you read through the various radfem websites, you can see plenty of posters who agree with the idea.) Regardless of culture, women want the “best” of whatever is on offer (even among egalitarian or matriarchal/matrifocal cultures.) The only thing that’s more “alpha” than survival is victory. Ever wonder why all wars are succeeded by a “baby boom”? Ever notice that the most warlike and/or resource poor environments produce the strongest polygamist cultures? If 99.99% of all of the men on the planet disappeared *tomorrow* (let’s estimate, a drop from 3.5 billion to 350,000), our planet would look like Y, The Last Man.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y:_The_Last_Man

    Within weeks, any man who was better looking than Danny Devito would be surrounded by women. The fewer available men, the easier it is to make up their minds/accept the idea of “settling”. The men would receive alpha cred by existing (in the same way that 500 surviving warriors of middling ability would appear to be “fitter” than even the 1,000+ pre-battle vanguard warriors from their army’s specific division.) Coke and Pepsi didn’t become the biggest soda brands in the world through superiority, they became the biggest brands by outlasting the competition. (Most) Women are emotionally socialist, sexually capitalist. Once you accept that, then things begin to fall into place.

  • Jupp

    You can’t really demonise male sexuality without pathologising heterosexual female sexuality. If you desire something toxic, you are broken.
    As it is easier to convince somebody, that something alien is dangerous and toxic, than to convince somebody that they themself are (at least if the somebody has a healthy dose of self worth), the demonisation of male sexuality is more a tool to control heterosexual female sexuality (and of course male homosexuality) than male heterosexuality.

  • Clarence

    “As it is easier to convince somebody, that something alien is dangerous and toxic, than to convince somebody that they themself are (at least if the somebody has a healthy dose of self worth), the demonisation of male sexuality is more a tool to control heterosexual female sexuality (and of course male homosexuality) than male heterosexuality.”

    This is the single silliest thing I have seen on this site in probably a year.
    Demonizing male sexuality (which also takes the form of “purifying” and deifying female sexuality) via expanded rape and sexual harassment laws (which ruin mens lives and reputations left and right) is a “tool to control heterosexual female sexuality”.

    Seriously? In this “Slutwalk” society of empowered womyn?

  • Ginkgo

    ” the demonisation of male sexuality is more a tool to control heterosexual female sexuality (and of course male homosexuality) than male heterosexuality.”

    Yeah, that’s quite a stretch. Female het-sexuality may be collateral damage, in fact it is bound to be, that’s the nature of heterosxuality; but male het-sexuality is the primary target on that bombing mission.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Mayhaps Jupp forgot to add the -ina?

  • Reuben

    why is it a stretch?

    If you de-value something everyone else is gonna disassociate from it.

  • Ginkgo

    Welcome Reuben,

    “If you de-value something everyone else is gonna disassociate from it.”

    Not following ooyu here. It’s male heterosexuality that’s being devalued.

  • HidingFromtheDinosaurs

    Xakudo & Ginkgo:

    Regarding “frigid”, “prude” etc. to shame female virgins: Who actually says those things anymore? I have literally never heard either term used outside of movies older than I am and articles about how they’re used to shame female virgins. I’ve even spent some time around the sorts of people who are supposed to use them (frat guys, dudes at least mildly into the whole PUA thing, men who go to bars and parties looking for casual sex, etc. None of them are more than slight acquaintances, but I’ve heard them talk for long enough to know that they just don’t say that sort of thing). The only women my age who I have ever heard give concrete accounts of being shamed for their virginity talked about ‘mean girl’ in-groups shaming them for being un-cool or inexperienced. The only situation in which I have ever heard a living man make these sorts of complaints about a woman, even online, is in regard to their significant others (in which case it’s an issue of them being in a relationship which isn’t fulfilling their basic needs with a partner who isn’t willing to discuss the issue, and they probably have the right to vent about it a little).

  • Jupp

    Clarence:

    Demonizing male sexuality (which also takes the form of “purifying” and deifying female sexuality) via expanded rape and sexual harassment laws (which ruin mens lives and reputations left and right) is a “tool to control heterosexual female sexuality”.

    You have a point that laws are used to control sexuality and in particular male sexuality. I wouldn’t overvalue the significance though, most sex happens in private between consenting and decent people, laws don’t come into the equation.
    Now look at feminist demonisation of male sexuality. What is the male to female ratio in the audience of these messages? On average, is a man or a woman more likely to adjust their sexual behaviour and attitude due to such messages? (I realise that I am kind of acting like you live in a very similar sexual culture as I do in Germany, which might well be wrong)
    Many feminists would love to control men, this is why a site like the Good Men Project got so much initial support. Women telling men how they should behave and men listening, sounds like feminist heaven. Only it doesn’t work, most men will angrily turn away or make fun of the sender, when told that their sexuality is toxic. The whole story is very different, when it comes to women. Male Sexuality Demonisation Feminism claims to be on the women’s side and concerned with women’s issues, while playing into the small fears and insecurities, women have, magnify them and use them.
    When I read a female (male sexuality demonising) feminist like Jill Filipovic, I see, behind all this sex positive talk, a fundamental conflict over her own sexuality. On the other hand, when you read a self accusing and castigating male feminist like Hugo Schwyzer, it is difficult not to see the boasting what a stud he is.

  • Reuben

    if male sexuality is devalued, women would be reluctant to associate with it

    in fear of womens sexuality losing status through contact with it.

    you could control both sexualities just be devaluing one of them.

  • debaser71

    I dunno. I see my culture full of raunch where those not into raunch are shamed.

  • Wudang

    I tend to think that there is a real form of sexual objectification that is bad and there is a form that is good. Most of what feminists call out as sexual objectification has nothing to do with this. Looking at awoman just because you think she is sexy or wanting to have a one night stand without being interested in her personality much is not bad but normal sexuality and women do it to. A certain form of inhuman not caring about what is good for her mixed in with the lust for casual sex on teh other hand I think can be objectification. Just wanting to band a girl with no interest in relationships or her hopes and reams etc. is not wrong. Trying to push the intereaction too hard towards that one night stand in a way that disregards her humanity on the other hand can be a form of objectification. It has more to do with neediness making you push too hard than pushing hard from a strong desire that is capable of registering her needs for not going through with it. A desire to bang a girl you hardly know just because she looks pornstar hot perfectly ok as long as you desire it with someone who desires to be banged by a sexy guy she just met. Even though your own desire is just to “get off” it is still to get off with someone who enjoys the process of just getting off. So although you don`t really care about her much in a very personal way as long as your continued desire is dependent on her mutual desire it is not objectification. Wanting to have sex with her just as much regardless of wether she is into it or not is objectification. Letting that primal lust that still “respects” and wants and is ultimately respectfull of her primal lust or lack thereoff and expressing that is something that players are very good at. When women have sex with a guy like that they will sometimes say they felt objectifyied IN A GOOD WAY. Most women get off on getting dominated in bed and being treated LIKE AND OBJECT while he at the same time cares about her is something they tend to love. He does not have to really care for in a way that is bonded or especially caring either if it is casual sex as long as he ultimately don`t want the woman he is with to just go through with something she does not want.

    Wether a woman sees the way a man expresses his desire for her as objectification tends to have a lot to do with wether he comes off as needy and desperate (which “nice guys” tend to do) and how dominant he is. The more dominant you are the more women tend to want to have you treat them like and object. They will even say this to a dominant man. Stuff like do whatever you want with me, fuck me like a whore or fuck me like a slut etc. They also tend to enjoy the SELFISH desire of a dominant man more than almost anything:

    http://krauserpua.com/2012/12/24/how-to-be-a-sex-god/

    Of course it is even better when that man fully lets his slefish desire out and cares about her at the same time and knows that his selfish desire is the ultimate sexual gift to her.

  • typhonblue

    @ Wudang

    “Wanting to have sex with her just as much regardless of wether she is into it or not is objectification.”

    Only the mentally ill treat people like objects. Why concern ourselves with this quirk of cognition from a minority of people?

    “Letting that primal lust that still “respects” and wants and is ultimately respectfull of her primal lust or lack thereoff and expressing that is something that players are very good at.”

    So where’s the respect for him from her?

  • http://dannyscorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com Danny

    Jupp:
    Many feminists would love to control men, this is why a site like the Good Men Project got so much initial support.
    Yes it is. And it’s also why feminist support dropped once Schwyzer left and Marcotte stopped contributing. And that’s also why feminists attacked GMP after MRAs started putting up posts there (but which from what I hear posts by MRAs have been silently disappearing over time, which tells me that deep down inside the brains behind GMP do want that feminist support) And that is also why feminists attacked GMP after that set of rape posts last Nov. or so. Their claim was that GMP supported rape.

    Women telling men how they should behave and men listening, sounds like feminist heaven.
    For some of them yes it really is. Even if they won’t outright say control. They want to have an influence on the changing state of men. This is why feminists get so pissed when there is a space, any space that promotes progress for men that exists outside of feminism.

    Only it doesn’t work, most men will angrily turn away or make fun of the sender, when told that their sexuality is toxic.
    Which is why even doing that is seen as toxic in and of itself. Oh you won’t take advice from a feminist? That means you hate women and equality.

    The whole story is very different, when it comes to women. Male Sexuality Demonisation Feminism claims to be on the women’s side and concerned with women’s issues, while playing into the small fears and insecurities, women have, magnify them and use them.
    Yeah when powerful entities have power they will do whatever it takes to maintain that power.

    On the other hand, when you read a self accusing and castigating male feminist like Hugo Schwyzer, it is difficult not to see the boasting what a stud he is.
    And female feminists had no problem with that…..until they found out that he attempted to kill a woman years ago. Then all of a sudden he was poison.

  • Ginkgo

    “You have a point that laws are used to control sexuality and in particular male sexuality. I wouldn’t overvalue the significance though, most sex happens in private between consenting and decent people, laws don’t come into the equation.”

    Oh but the law does poke its long ose into private sex, Jupp – laws that alow women but not men to accuse their spouses of rape after sex, rape laws in general.

  • EquilibriumShift

    How about this story?

    http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020291659_apusguardinmateaccusedaffair.html?prmid=obinsource

    Complete and utter bullshit.

    A rapist is crying about how she got “caught up in her victim’s world” and her lawyer refuses to say whether or not she “was pressured into it” by her victim. She confesses the whole crime to another rape victim, and it turns out the first rape victim might be mentally disabled. And she only got caught when she unilaterally decided to get pregnant, to give her rape victim hope.

    And yet, she is the one who we are worried about.

    Demonizing male sexuality, indeed.

  • Clarence

    Ahh, yes, the old “all sex between guards and inmates in correctional facilities is rape”, Equilibriumshift.
    I’m afraid it’s much more complicated than that.
    She’s also not being charged with rape, nor is she claiming she was raped.
    Meanwhile the guy you say she “raped” is on death row for killing two cops by shooting them in the back of the head and his lawyers, as part of a process to try and spare his life are trying a defense that hardly ever succeeds “diminished capacity”. Thus , not only do I doubt the claim, but even I know the claim isn’t the same as saying he is utterly crazy or of very low IQ.
    I sincerely doubt she threatened this guy or forced him in any way. Most het male inmates would take sex with a pretty female guard, I know I would.

    It’s not that I think what she did was right, or that I am not aware of the massive doublestandard that might be applied to coverage of a male guard (even a charming rake, let alone a normal looking schlub like myself) in similar circumstances. It’s that I don’t want to :
    A. Prejudge accused people
    B. Overuse the word rape

    And I really wish we were more realistic about sex in our society. Hey, I have every reason to hate on this woman. I’ve never had sex with one that looked that ( one was close) good, and right now there’s a possibility I’ll die childless. I’ve never been in jail a single day in my life. This guy demonstrates his psychopathy by apparently ‘offing’ two cops and he gets rewarded with propagation of his genes. If I wanted to , I could easily serve my own psychosexual needs by pretending I think it’s likely she was able to “abuse her power” over a cold-blooded killer, but I doubt it. He’s already facing death, if she bugged him too much he could have simply strangled her.

  • Ginkgo

    “Ahh, yes, the old “all sex between guards and inmates in correctional facilities is rape”, Equilibriumshift.
    I’m afraid it’s much more complicated than that.”

    In the specific case of prison guard sex – or sex between officer and enlisted in the military, or teachers and students – it really is that simple. It is more about the abuse of authority than the sex. The sex just happnes to be the modality of the abuse.

    It is fundamentally different form raltionships between young wopmen, say 19 – 25, and ollder men, say 35-45, or the same with the genders reversed. There isn’t the element of authority involved. And BTW any other “power differential” is just nonsense, it’s just sophistry.

  • Clarence

    Gingko:
    You can have all the “authority” in the world in terms of law.
    You don’t have to use that authority, if you and someone else both want the same thing.
    And in dangerous circumstances you don’t always necessarily even HAVE the authority.
    Indeed, entering a convicted killers cell , by yourself, alone and unarmed? A convicted killer who has been on death row?
    Tell me you have that authority now if you aren’t Rambo.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Clarence,

    I know statutory rape laws are your particular bugaboo. I’ve seen you discuss it before.

    But as Ginkgo said, it really is that simple. It is rape, due to the extreme power differential between a prison guard and prisoner, or teacher and student. Is it rape if a 17 year old meets a 22 year old on the street, they hit it off, and decide to have sex? I find that unlikely. But it most definitely is rape if a 22 year old teacher has sex with their 17 year old student. (N.B. I have been that teacher (22) who had a student (18+) that was attracted to me. More than one, in fact. I can almost 100% guarantee you they wouldn’t have been attracted to me if I wasn’t their teacher. It was a power thing, for sure. I didn’t ever take advantage because I saw how easy it would have been. Literally like snapping your fingers and finding a chick on your jock. Schwyzer is a fuck-head.)

    And I find your lack of compassion for someone who has been found guilty of a crime to be a little frustrating. The thing that separates a just society from an unjust one is how they treat the most vulnerable, and how they treat those that do the most damage to the society (note that this man was both).

    Yes, he killed two people. Does that mean he wasn’t mentally disabled? Does that mean he deserves to be raped? Does that mean he deserves to be the victim of paternity rape? (is there a better word for that?)

    And to say he could have just killed her if he didn’t like her… it’s upsetting, I expect more from you. The people he killed weren’t random people. He didn’t kill them because ‘he was annoyed’. He killed them because they lied to him, gained his trust, betrayed him, would have put him into jail, he found out, and killed them. (Ironically, of course, landing him not only in jail, but on death row). I don’t mean to say that this guy is a saint, or that he is a particularly nice person, just that he isn’t some cold-blooded psychopathic killer who offs people for annoying him (those people do exist, but it seems like this guy isn’t one).

    And I am not really sure how this is pre-judging people. She got pregnant with his sperm. Even if she *didn’t* have sex with him, she is guilty of something, because there is absolutely NO legitimate reason for a prison guard to have access to a prisoner’s sperm, at any time, ever, under any circumstance.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Also, you should understand that all prison guards are unarmed. I can’t say for sure they are unarmed at all times, but when they enter a prisoner’s cell, they definitely are. You don’t bring weapons around dangerous people, because if they get ahold of that weapon they become supremely more dangerous.

    The fact that she entered the cell alone (extremely rare, I believe) is evidence of the power she did have over that person. Indeed, why would you enter the cell of a convicted cop-killer, unless you knew absolutely knew that you had total control over them?

    Why would you ever enter the cell if you are supposedly under the inmates thumb? All you have to do is… not go in. You report that he has been acting badly, and he gets solitary for 6 months. Yet, if he doesn’t like what she is doing, where does he go? That’s right, right into her vagina. Which is why it is rape.

  • Clarence

    If he doesn’t like what she is doing, he claims rape.
    See EquilibriumShift, I think you are missing something here.
    In order to have a crime, you have to have a victim.
    Now, sometimes the State claims to be the victim.
    But for such a personal crime as rape?
    I bet you wouldn’t dare ask this guy if he felt he was victimized by her because you wouldn’t like his answer.
    We don’t have laws against these relationships because the abuse is ‘inherent’. We have laws against them because it is easier to abuse. There is a big difference, otherwise ANY “power differential” becomes inherently abusive.
    And my “bugaboo” about statuatory rape laws is an entirely different subject. This has nothing to do with that. But simply so people don’t get the wrong idea I will state I support some of these laws but not often how they are implemented.

  • Ginkgo

    “Now, sometimes the State claims to be the victim.
    But for such a personal crime as rape?”

    This issue was setled back in the early Middle Ages in englsih Law. Yep, personal crimes are the king’s business, because they are breaches of the King’s Peace.

    “I bet you wouldn’t dare ask this guy if he felt he was victimized by her because you wouldn’t like his answer.”

    But he’s a convicted felon! Are we going to take his word on anything? /s

  • Ginkgo

    “You can have all the “authority” in the world in terms of law.
    You don’t have to use that authority, if you and someone else both want the same thing”

    When it comes tot authority, that’s only half the story. You may not be asserting authority, but that doesn not mena the other person is not submitting to it.

    “And in dangerous circumstances you don’t always necessarily even HAVE the authority.”

    That is absolutley the truth. Which leads me to wonder how this person:
    “Indeed, entering a convicted killers cell , by yourself, alone and unarmed? A convicted killer who has been on death row?”

    …would do this without some kind of power behind her. Yeah, I get that guys on death row can fall in love and this may have been quite romantic, or even just that they welcome a chance to get laid and the guard may just have liked the bulge in this one’s prison uniform. But you have to admit that’s a stretch

  • Clarence

    Wow, Gingko.
    You mean you literally can’t conceive of how some women can get off in the presence of dangerous men? And then there’s the common female meme of “repairing” some man.
    I bet both sexual memes are involved in at least some male inmate/female guard sex.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Clarence,

    The crime of rape is having sex with someone when they don’t want to, or don’t have the option of saying no. I know it sounds bizarre, but the way he feels about it doesn’t really matter, since he absolutely did not have the ability to say no. I bet he loved getting regular trim.

    I understand your point that if we legislate against sexual contact between two people at a power differential, we have effectively legislated against sex. But we do have to draw a line somewhere, and protecting a person who has been deprived of any of their rights seems like a good place. Indeed, if we don’t draw the line at prison guard-prisoner, where do we draw the line?

    Anyway, regardless of whether she goes to jail for 15 years (she won’t) or not (seems like a long time to me), she needs to be fired and blackballed from that profession. The same way a therapist, doctor or nurse should be fired and blackballed for fucking a patient: it cheapens the profession, and shows an extreme disregard for their job. (I however, strongly disagree with firing a teacher/doctor/nurse/therapist for having been involved in porno in the past).

    And this is not the same thing as saying a woman who consented was actually raped, because the man was really big, and therefore she reasonably believed she couldn’t say no. (Unless there was an actual threat. Size does not imply threat). I think that is self-evident, but you never know. I have seen this exact argument used before by rape-hysericals.

    P.S. And just in case anyone reading was confused, I did not mean that Clarence is part of, or sympathizes with NAMBLA, or any other group like it. That would be the user ‘humanstupidity.com’. Clarence just doesn’t like the way people apply statutory rape laws toward consentual relationships where one person is old enough to make their own sexual decisions, but not legal contracts. FWIW, I agree with him on a lot of points.

  • Ginkgo

    “You mean you literally can’t conceive of how some women can get off in the presence of dangerous men? And then there’s the common female meme of “repairing” some man.”

    Clarence, I think that may be exactly what is happening. In that case, it’s a woman using a man in a powerless position for her own purposes. Sounds about as rapaey as it can get. You stated it better than I did.

  • Clarence

    Gingko:
    In the case she is attracted to his power *ability to take life* OR she thinks she is helping him by fixing him your ability to twist these desires into the desire to RAPE is something one would expect from a radfem.

    Sorry, not everything is about rape. Not even sex in prison.

  • Clarence

    Or let’s put this in simpler terms.
    I suspect they both wanted to have sex with each other. Simply because she could have illegally bent rules to coerce him into having intercourse with her, doesn’t mean she did so. Anytime you have sex with someone it’s conceivable you “could have” done so involving force , or threat of force.
    I’m fully fine with firing her as she showed very poor judgement. However UNLESS some element of coercion is alleged (and not merely the fact that she was a guard and he was not) I’m not for treating this as a rape.

    And thus I can’t get upset about it.

  • Ginkgo

    “I’m fully fine with firing her as she showed very poor judgement.”

    At the very least. Breaches of judgment like ehrs quickly spin out of control in prison setings and can endanger lots of other people.

    “However UNLESS some element of coercion is alleged (and not merely the fact that she was a guard and he was not) I’m not for treating this as a rape.”

    Coercion – exactly my point. The situation is inherently coercive, regardless of the personal feelings of those involved. Sop, rape. And yet, I am feeling the same reluctance you are. i am not really sure how much room for consent the guy had, and how much consent he actually communicated, and how she was supposed to know the differnece in all that. That’s more a lack of having all the fatcs and taking the time to think it through. but I bet unless someone comes up with somethng game-changing, it still doesn’t quite feel like rape to me.

    But then I wasn’t either one of those people.

  • YetAnotherCommenter

    This is a very important point.

    Our culture in general has always seen male sexuality as violent, debased, degrading etc… this goes back at least to St. Augustine of Hippo.

    I mean, lets look at our language: “you’ve just been fucked over,” “go fuck yourself,” etc. etc. The basic presumption being that to “be fucked” is to be conquered/defeated/violated etc.

    Some feminists have argued that this is (surprise!) merely an epiphenomenon of misogyny, since in standard-issue heterosexual intercourse the woman is penetrated and thus “being fucked” is seen as bad because it is the woman’s role and misogyny means anything associated with feminity is bad. But I don’t think that is the case (at least not entirely) – since our culture has consistently associated the “male role” with being a brutish snarling rutting beast that gets off on degrading one’s partner.

    And neither victim nor victimizer are positive things to be.

    Male Gaze and Sexual Objectification (and possibly Rape Culture depending on your definition) are clear instances of pandering to the misandric view of male sexuality (as bestial, subhuman and violent). I absolutely agree that in demonizing male sexuality, some feminists are in fact just recycling a very old and culturally conservative idea.

  • Adiabat

    EquilibriumShift: “The crime of rape is having sex with someone when they don’t want to, or don’t have the option of saying no. I know it sounds bizarre, but the way he feels about it doesn’t really matter, since he absolutely did not have the ability to say no.”

    What a strange view of rape you have. Most people understand rape as occurring when one person doesn’t consent or when one of the participants is judged to be unable to consent due to not having the mental wherewithal to make that decision, such as minors.

    If one person doesn’t want to but is coerced then it is rape.

    If that person didn’t need to be coerced because they wanted to then it wasn’t rape, even though coercion may have been used in the case of a refusal.

    If a person doesn’t particularly want to but agrees to have sex because they believe that they may be coerced if they don’t consent… then it gets a bit greyer but it still wasn’t rape, as there was still no coercion when they consented. There are nuances to this situation, which is what makes it a grey area and why we have courts, but I think your view that it is always rape is wrong and is playing into the radfem’s hands.

    The best solution if you don’t want to have sex with someone is don’t agree to have sex with them, MAKE them coerce you; this removes most grey areas around the issue and it’s always something an adult has the option/ability to do.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Adiabat,

    forgive my imprecision.

    My definition was a little loose, it is not rape if someone had sex when they didn’t want to, it is rape if they didn’t give consent.

    But you hit the nail on the head when you said:

    when one of the participants is judged to be unable to consent

    I argue that in this situation, the prisoner is unable to consent. There are any number of physical, mental, or social punishments (tantamount to torture, really) that the prison guard could have inflicted on the prisoner. He fundamentally has no rights whatever. I argue that makes his consent meaningless, essentially rendering him unable to consent to her. If he was allowed conjugal visits from a non-guard, it would absolutely not be rape (assuming his consent, of course). But in that specific context of prison guard to prisoner, consent is impossible.

    As to the radfems, I don’t think their point is that consent is impossible between a prison guard and prisoner. I think their point is that consent is impossible between a man and a woman, and thus, obviously, the prisoner raped the prison guard, rather than vice versa. He used his magical partriarch-enis to wave his male privilege in her face, so of course she had no choice but to accept impregnation.

  • debaser71

    Just gonna add in here that in the US schools are already deemed as a coercive environment. So says SCOTUS. This is in regards to First Amendment Constitutional Law but I imagine that the coercive status of schools applies to other areas.

  • Ginkgo

    Adiabat,
    “Most people understand rape as occurring when one person doesn’t consent or when one of the participants is judged to be unable to consent due to not having the mental wherewithal to make that decision, such as minors.”

    Then most people are missing a minor but in this case crucial point – some people are legally incapable of giving, and in the case of prisoners, of withholding consent, so legally their consent does not exist. Legally they are minors. And I am mising this same point when I say: “it still doesn’t quite feel like rape to me.”

    Hiding, very good summation.

  • Adiabat

    EquilibriumShift: “I argue that in this situation, the prisoner is unable to consent”

    Course he can. If he wants sex he can consent to it. If he doesn’t he can withhold consent. The fact that he may be coerced into sex anyway doesn’t negate the fact that he can still consent to it. If she threatens “any number of physical, mental, or social punishments” to force him to have sex when he doesn’t want to, then he still hasn’t consented: that’s what makes it rape!

    “He fundamentally has no rights whatever.”

    I fundamentally reject that claim. He has rights, human rights (I imagine ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ of prisoners would apply in this case). The fact that the system in place doesn’t protect those rights is neither here-nor-there in regards to the existence of those rights. He has the right to consent, or not, to sex with a guard (not that such sex should be occurring anyway!). In an ideal world any actual coercion, not assumed, that takes place should be investigated upon a complaint being received by the prisoner, former prisoner or a visitor, such as a relative. In fact this does occur in most civilised prison systems. In the UK system there doesn’t even need to be coercion, any sexual harassment by a guard is grounds for a complaint and investigation, first by the Prison Services internal Complaints procedure, then by the independent Prisoner Ombudsman if you aren’t happy with the response from the Prison Service.

    Gingko: “some people are legally incapable of giving, and in the case of prisoners, of withholding consent, so legally their consent does not exist. Legally they are minors.”

    Putting aside the fact that legally doesn’t equate to reality, can you back up that claim with a link? I’ve searched and can find no record of prisoners being considered minors, unless they were actual minors. The only mention I can find is this:

    “When an inmate accuses a guard of sexual harassment, a federal appeals court says, the guard must be prepared to prove that whatever happened was with the inmate’s consent” (https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/(S(gz3ueva2b1yvkkjuvgeutczo))/24298_displayArticle.aspx)

    This implies that the US legal system does believe that a prisoner is capable of consent, and also stacks the burden of evidence in favour of the inmate.

  • Adiabat

    Sorry wrong link was given before. This is the correct one:

    http://blog.sfgate.com/crime/2012/09/06/prison-sex-requires-consent-court-says/

    The other link is interesting, with lots of examples of court cases where guards have been punished for having sex with inmates, but they also fail to back up the claim that prisoners cannot consent.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Adiabat,

    She doesn’t need to threaten anything. The threat is implicit in the situation. The coercion is inherent to the relationship, whether or not he would have consented to it outside of prison. (Likely, the woman wouldn’t have desired/consented to it outside of prison. I think this is an almost equally strong test for whether or not what is going on is inherent coercion).

    Think about it. You are in a hole. You are on death row in federal prison, which means you likely get 1 hour of exercise time per day. Your entire contact with the outside world is likely limited to a visit or two per week from your lawyer, and maybe the occasional drop by from a family member. You don’t shower, shit, masturbate, talk, eat, sleep or read without the consent of the guards. You are, quite literally, treated like an animal. Can animals consent?*

    I am not sure about state and local laws, (and I can’t really google it, being at work), but I am fairly certain that under federal law, there is absolutely no sexual contact permitted between guard and prisoner. I believe that is what this woman is facing, federal prison time. Of course, the crime isn’t called rape, because federal authorities well know that male prison guards don’t do it very often to female inmates, that it is a woman on man problem, and federal law defines rape as penetrative.

    *N.B. It is still legal in Sweden to fuck animals, since you can’t prove they are actually harmed by it, unless there is physical damage to the animal. This was all explained to the Riksdag by the minister of animals by saying that putting peanut butter on your balls and getting your dog to lick it off isn’t bad for the dog, since they love peanut butter. Most surreal moment I have ever seen.

  • Clarence

    Equilibriumshift:
    I refuse to endorse magical thinking like “the threat is implicit in the situation”.
    Indeed, I’d like you to state precisely what she could LEGALLY do to him to coerce him into sex with her. If she lies and makes up stories about misbehavior, that’s not legal and it might not even work.

  • Clarence

    I mean SERIOUSLY:
    Do ANY of you doubt that there are people in jail WHO SCARE THE HELL out of the guards? People have set up ‘hits’ from inside US prisons! The analysis of power dynamics in prison in this thread is simplistic, to say the least.”Formal” power doesn’t always mean much in US prisons, some of which are helped run by various criminal gangs. And corrupt guards usually need either OTHER corrupt guards for help, or , more common, other prisoners. And I literally can’t wrap my head around anyone could think that a normal straight male inmate would prefer sex with his hand or a cellmate to sex with a pretty female guard.

  • Schala

    “Do ANY of you doubt that there are people in jail WHO SCARE THE HELL out of the guards? People have set up ‘hits’ from inside US prisons!”

    If the prisoner “scares the shit out of you” then don’t enter his cell, alone.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Of course there are people who scare the guards. That’s why you find prisoners being shackled before they leave the cell, through the bars. Or 8 guards with riot armor entering the cell post stun grenade to get one prisoner.

    Yes, prison can be a violent place. Especially the lifers, who don’t really give a rat’s ass about “good behavior”. But to suggest that somehow, through his cage, this man scared this woman into submission, so that she entered the cell alone, with no stun grenade (I assume, anyway. That would have been some kinky sex.), presumably when other guards were not watching? And that it happened to her not with one prisoner, but at least two?

    The threat is implicit because the man’s reasoning goes a little something like this:

    Option A) I agree to it. I get some action, and human contact (don’t underestimate what these people would do for just a hug). Seems like a win.

    Option B) I don’t agree to it. I could get hit with a stun grenade, beaten, restrained, free time eliminated, locked in solitary, lose reading privileges, or any number of other things, and literally the only thing this woman would have to do is say I was misbehaving. Seems like a pretty bad deal.

    The key here is that outside of prison, the carrot of option A still exists, while the stick of option B does not. Worst case scenario she can make a false rape claim, which is pretty bad, but the chances of that happening are probably pretty slim. (Note, if anyone is confused, I am not saying there is a slim chance that a rape claim is false). Option B is what makes it inherently coercive. There is both a carrot and stick, while in a non-coercive situation, only the carrot exists.

    And why move the goalposts, Clarence? Why is it limited to legal behavior before it becomes coercive? If a woman tells you she is gonna fuck you or she is gonna tell your friends you raped her, is it coercion? I think so. Is it illegal? No, because in order for it to qualify as slander, it has to damage you economically. Is it also coercion if she tells you she is going to tell your boss? Hell yeah, it is. If someone threatens to kill your family if you don’t lie still while they rape you, is that not coercion?

  • Clarence

    All authority vested in guards by the state , Equilibriumshift, is LEGAL authority and in order to do it legally you have to follow the rules about using that power.
    Anything else is ILLEGAL.
    Yet your whole argument rests on either powers the guard does not legally possess OR the misuse of legal power that would then become illegal abuse.

    And you have no evidence whatsoever that any of this occurred. Indeed, your whole argument stems from him being powerless when she enters the cell, and her deciding to misuse power to coerce, something, once again, of which you have no evidence.

    More likely in this case:
    A. The sex was consensual and both wanted it
    B. If there were any “implied threats” they went both ways. A word from him, she could lose her job…opps! Looks like someone spilled the beans or caught her anyway. As someone who had been on death row, I doubt he gave a crap about her life. She meanwhile, was probably turned on by the danger implicit in the sexual relationship.

    Sorry, unless the man himself claims he was coerced, this is not rape.

  • Iron Lightning

    @EquilibriumShift: “The key here is that outside of prison, the carrot of option A still exists, while the stick of option B does not.”

    No, the stick of option B still does exist outside of prison. A strong person asking a weak person for sex always has the option to pull a gun on the weak person and chain him or her to a radiator and keep them for a rape-slave. If the strong person is at all competent and unknown to the weak person then it could be months before rescue if rescue comes at all.

    Does this mean that all sex that involves power differentials is rape because of option B? To answer this question we have to determine how likely a person is to exercise option B. The best way to determine this likelihood is whether or not one of the people makes a threat. Without a threat it’s still possible that the person intends to exercise option B if consent is not given but the legal principle of presumption of innocence rightly states that we ought to assume that the asking person does not intend to exercise option B.

    I argue that even in a situation where the power differential is very large like in a Guard-Prisoner relationship or in an Arnold Schwarzenegger-almost any woman relationship the presumption of innocence should still stand.

  • Ginkgo

    “Sorry, unless the man himself claims he was coerced, this is not rape.’

    Not according to the law. As I pointed out above, he is effectively a minor under the law. He can’t legally give consent.

  • Iron Lightning

    Could you cite that claim please, Ginkgo?

  • Clarence

    Gingko:
    If this was rape, she’d be charged with rape.
    More to the point, I’m VERY LEERY of laws that say that so and so cannot consent. Short of mentally ill or cognitively challenged people or young teens or below, I regard such laws as nothing more than legal fiction and an abuse of language.

    Here’s a two part series from a lawyer that explains (in cartoon form) some of the problems involved in current law:
    http://thecriminallawyer.tumblr.com/post/29326904495/16-a-problems
    http://thecriminallawyer.tumblr.com/post/29327306986/16-b-solutions

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Equilibrium Shift: I always whine when you don’t chime in and agree/disagree, so I am doing the same right back atcha. 😉

    You are making excellent points in this thread and have convinced me of your POV.

    Clarence: You mean you literally can’t conceive of how some women can get off in the presence of dangerous men?

    Women who lust after convicts like the Menendez brothers, Richard Ramirez and Robert Chambers (and eventually marry them… ugh), is not the same as a woman with state-invested power over their everyday existence. You should not compare them.

    I believe the convict-groupies are getting off in the presence of dangerous men (and further, getting off on the status of being their wives), but I think a guard would better be described as getting off on HAVING POWER OVER a dangerous man. And exercising it.

    Don’t confuse the bottoms with the tops, Clarence.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Clarence: More to the point, I’m VERY LEERY of laws that say that so and so cannot consent.

    Haven’t you also criticized Hugo taking liberties with the student body? (old Laugh-In joke)

    If I have mistaken your position for someone else’s, I apologize, but I know I have seen you criticize Hugo.

  • Clarence

    I have criticized Hugo for a zillion things, but provided they were not currently in his class having sex with former students regardless of age has never been one of the things I have criticized him for.

  • Clarence

    Sure, Daisy. And I’ll just put on a guard’s uniform and go into say one of the big Crip leaders cells and use my magical “guard power” to have my way with him. Well, I would assuming I was gay, because you assure me its as easy as pie. My power is absolute! Makes you wonder how any prison guards ever get killed, doesn’t it?

    Sorry, not all guards /inmates are situated in the same place power wise.
    Just like Equilibrium shift I see you making pronouncements, I don’t see you providing evidence in this case.

  • debaser71

    Again, just popping in. Consent isn’t always the only issue. for example, one can not consent to assault. So, for example, I can not pay you $10 to let me whack you with a baseball bat. Well you could, but you can also press charges. And although situations generally have mitigating circumstances, consent alone doesn’t absolve one a the crime.

    I don’t know the specifics of the case but it could very well be a situation where consent doesn’t matter.

    Anyway using the word “rape” to describe consensual sex is something I am very leery of as well; even with power differentials.

  • Equilibrium_Shift

    Clarence, once again I am wondering why it needs to be legal behavior in order for it to preclude the ability to consent. It most certainly is legal for a guard to claim that a prisoner is misbehaving. I can’t imagine that to falsely claim such would be viewed as worse than letting your paperwork pile up – shouldn’t do it, but 99% of the time, if you do, nothing bad is going to happen. It certainly isn’t illegal, de facto, and probably even de jure.

    And do you honestly think he could just say one word and have her get in trouble? She got caught because she told her other “boyfriend” in the prison. I guarantee you that every other guard on the shift knew about it, though. I know when my co-worker has diarrhea because he spends 10 extra minutes in the bathroom after lunch. It is so implausible as to be impossible that not one of the other guards knew. And if one knew, they all did, because 90% of people never leave middle school and are gossip hounds, especially men.

    And one final point: no one said she just waltzed right into his cell on the first day and told him to strip. This kind of power differential is groomed over long periods of time. Guarantee you if you got off on controlling people, and you were really a guard, you could get a prisoner to crack. Everyone cracks, its just a matter of time.

    Iron Lightning:

    Sure, sure, there could be a boogeyman behind every bush. The difference is the likelihood that such a thing can occur, and your ability to protect yourself from it. How many rapists are there, per capita? And how many of them are the forcible kind? .01% and 25% respectively? So that means you are looking at a (hypothetical) .0025% chance of some random person being a forcible rapist. And you have the ability to mitigate your danger. Travel in pairs, keep pepper spray, etc. etc. (join me as I merrily victim blame along).

    The prisoner has a ~100% chance that the woman propositioning him for sex gets off on having power over someone, and ~0% of protecting himself from the damage she can do him. We already draw a line saying that mentally disabled people are incapable of giving consent, and, like it or not, (at least federally) we have put prisoners on that side of the line as well (when it comes to guards).

    Can you think of a population that has less rights and freedoms than prisoners? Especially death row prisoners.

    I KNOW I SOUND LIKE A RADFEM, AND I HATE IT!

    But I am right.

  • thefish

    ” I think so. Is it illegal? No, because in order for it to qualify as slander, it has to damage you economically.”

    It depends on state laws. Some state laws are broader than others. I think in general threatening to reveal* embarrassing information or accuse someone of a crime to certain things** you aren’t entitled to is blackmail. It depends on the laws if sex would fall under the things you aren’t entitled to. In my mind any good state laws would include sex. And would consider any sex that results as rape.

    *Not sure what the best word is. It doesn’t even have to be true.
    **The exact list depends on state.

    “To answer this question we have to determine how likely a person is to exercise option B. ”
    The problem is in prison the guard WILL exercise option B. As a guard you need to report on the prisoner’s behavior to decide treatment. You decide if you flash bang them before going in. You help decide if he gets solitary or not. Guards are NOT inhuman perfect automatons. Even if the guard was wholly incorruptible, being in a sexual relationship WILL colour their perception. Rejection hurts. That WILL colour the guards perceptions. As would being in a relationship with the inmate. It certainly coloured this guard’s judgement; she gave him extra time in the activity room when the other inmates were supposed to be sleeping.

  • Equilibrium_Shift

    Let me distance myself from the radfems. I think that situations like this are exceedingly rare. Exceedingly.

    In fact, we can count them on one hand: prisoner-guard; mentally disabled person-anyone not mentally disabled; teacher-(current, young) student; and parent-child. Notice that prisoner is such a special case that it is the only one that involves two adults. But that is because a prisoner is literally treated like an animal, and stripped of most of their rights.

    If anyone can think of any other such situations, feel free to add to the list.

  • Equilibrium_Shift

    Fish, (haha, how appropriate)

    I totally agree on the second point. That is absolutely what I am saying.

    As for the first, I can’t argue against you. I hadn’t considered blackmail. I wonder how likely it would be that you would be laughed out of the precinct if you brought it to the police.

    Daisy,

    I’m glad that my argument was persuasive enough for at least one person. I personally hate that we need to have these types of special circumstances that follow these lines. I dislike it, but I agree with it, in extremely limited cases.

  • Adiabat

    Ginkgo: “Not according to the law. As I pointed out above, he is effectively a minor under the law. He can’t legally give consent.”

    Please see my post 2013/02/12 at 9:19am. You seem to have missed it. The Federal appeals court believes that a prisoner is capable of consent, and also stacks the burden of evidence in favour of the inmate. If sex occurs then it is up to the guard to prove that there was consent. Sounds like inmates have an awful lot of power in a guard-inmate relationship. Feminists would kill to give non-prisoner female victims of rape such a favourable position in law.

    EquilibriumShift: “The threat is implicit in the situation” et al

    It seems to me that you are using how you imagine the situation is in lieu of evidence. A prisoner has a lot of rights, including the right to shower, shit, talk, eat and sleep, as well as recreational time. A guard alone cannot legally withhold any of these from a prisoner. A prisoner is not treated like an animal; that is hyperbolic language as he has several universal human rights that animals don’t have, as I’ve already pointed out, as well as protection under the justice system.

    It seems that the crux of your argument is not what the guard can legally do (or actually does) but what they can illegally do. Well, if the guard does break the law do you know what a prisoner can legally do? Make a complaint. The burden of evidence is in his favour, and that link I provided before shows dozens of examples of guards who have used illegal coercion and been punished for it.

    “And do you honestly think he could just say one word and have her get in trouble?”

    If you believe that the complaints procedure is corrupt then you need to be campaigning to reform the complaints procedure, not to change the definition of rape to include imagined power dynamics.

    The problem is that once you agree to change the definition of rape from consent to spurious power dynamics, whether rape occurs becomes a *debate* about power (like what we’re having now) rather than a simple question of whether there was consent. I can just see a radfem arguing that even though the guard usually has more power, as soon as she’s bent over the prisoner’s greater size and position means that he has more power, therefore he is raping her. And of course the same doesn’t apply if you reverse the genders.

    And of course none of this takes away the fact that someone may still consent and want sex, even if they would be forced to if they don’t.

    DaisyDeadhead: “Haven’t you also criticized Hugo taking liberties with the student body?”

    Yet no-one claims Hugo raped his students, except ardent radfems. He took liberties and he should’ve been fired for that but he didn’t rape them.

    There seems to be a misunderstanding of statutory rape here among some commentators, and this misunderstanding is fueling a drive to extend these laws to other areas. Statutory Rape is not defined by power, no definition of rape is. The only people to bring power into the definition of rape are ideological feminists. Statutory rape is about consent. A minor is not judged to be unable to consent because of a lack of power, but because they don’t have the mental development to actually make a decision on the matter. Same with the mentally disabled. There is no analog in these situations to the prisoner-guard relationship or professor and adult student relationship. The power dynamics can still makes it wrong for a number of reasons but it doesn’t make it rape.

  • Clarence

    And of course none of this brings up a very salient fact:
    We don’t just disallow prisoner / guard sex because there is a legal power disparity that may be abused.
    No, we also do so because inmates are being punished and many people would (sadly) far rather that inmates raped each other than had conjugal visitation rights, let alone opportunities for sex with prostitutes or guards.

  • Ginkgo

    Clarence,
    “If this was rape, she’d be charged with rape.”

    Bwahahahah. You refute your own statement by including “she”.

    Adfiabat – okay.

    also:
    “Yet no-one claims Hugo raped his students, except ardent radfems. He took liberties and he should’ve been fired for that but he didn’t rape them.”

    Hugo said his conduct was rape, on severla occasions, but he was wrong. His conduct was fraternization, and his students were as guilty if not more, since the real victims of fraternaization are the thrid parties in the situation, all the peers of that student. But this is a classic case of the wrong heuristic bringing you to the wrong conclusion – Hugo only hs the rapae narrative and not the fraternization narrative.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Adiabat,

    I wonder, have you ever seen the footage of the Stanford inmate-guard experiment? The one that the “prisoners” volunteered for? The one that had the prisoners hunger striking within days? The one where the guards (who are college students at Stanford, may I remind you) used psychological torture on their fellow student “prisoners”?

    I’m not saying real prison is exactly like that (that is one of the major criticisms of the study). But, to be sure, the behavior that pretty much normal people displayed towards other pretty much normal people was de-humanizing. What human being has to ask to be let out of a cage so that he can take a shower, or shave, or get a haircut, or see the sun, or go to the doctor, or eat, other than a prisoner?

    Sure, sure, he has the right to not be beaten. To not be tortured. But he has lost his freedom of expression, of assembly, arms, protection from search and seizure, due process (to non-criminal matters, i.e. guards/warden are witnesses, judge, jury and executioner), etc. etc. the list goes on. De facto, this man has lost most of his rights. And please don’t confuse the ability to do something with the right to do it. Sure, he can say whatever he wants. And he can go in the hole if the guard doesn’t like it. Basically, what happens is prisons become roman law based spaces, meaning that every activity is forbidden, unless expressly permitted. And the list of expressly permitted activities can be changed by who else? The guards and warden.

    I am still confused as to why the obsession with whether or not the guard can legally wield power over the prisoner. Why does that matter? It is very clear and obvious that it is a crime of rape if someone outside prison uses illegal methods to coerce someone into having sex with them (e.g. blackmail, death threats, bribery, battery, etc. etc.) Why do we suddenly now switch to only looking at legal expressions of power? Is power defined by the legality of its use? A gun is no less or more deadly because of it’s legal status.

    It’s like this: in Mexico, corruption of the police forces is endemic. But do you blame the junior level officer who is bribed to look the other way when a drug deal goes down? Do you punish him? No, because in truth, his options are A) accept a bribe that is probably equal to his entire salary for the year; or B) come home to find his wife and children have had their heads cut off. That choice is no choice at all, and at least in (most?) US jurisdictions, he would not have committed a crime (or he would not be held accountable for that crime) because you are allowed to commit any crime up to murder, if you believe you will be murdered if you don’t do it (I believe the same applies to preventing the murder of others, but I am not sure). This is an identical situation, the difference is in magnitude of punishment, but not likelihood.

    Clarence, I totally agree that people think rape is a just punishment for people in prison, and it is horrifying. That is precisely why the only portion of US society that is actually a rape culture is inside the prison walls. And yes, these prisoners should be allowed to hire prostitutes, just as anyone in this country should (provided adequate oversight of the prostitution industry, etc. etc.).

  • Clarence

    “I am still confused as to why the obsession with whether or not the guard can legally wield power over the prisoner. Why does that matter? It is very clear and obvious that it is a crime of rape if someone outside prison uses illegal methods to coerce someone into having sex with them (e.g. blackmail, death threats, bribery, battery, etc. etc.) Why do we suddenly now switch to only looking at legal expressions of power? Is power defined by the legality of its use?”

    Because you keep confusing legal authority with illegal uses thereof.
    Like I said, I doubt she had to coerce this man using any of her legal powers whatsoever (and to abuse those legal powers, would , itself , be illegal), and that is why, fundamentally, this is not rape. The ability to do something is not the same as actually doing that something.

    I’m all for firing this guard and throwing the book at her for whatever actual crimes she may have committed. But if he is not alleging coercion then I would not punish her for that.
    I remember , about ten years ago , reading about two cases of teacher/student sex in my local paper(The Baltimore Sun). Case one was of a 25 year old married female teacher,who was also a mother. She had sex with 3 or 4 boys , at least one of whom was only 15. She had the teens come over to her house where she served them alcohol. She was also their teacher in one or two subjects. She did this repeatedly. Her arrest was devastating to her family, including at least one young child.
    Case 2. A 22 year old unmarried substitute gym teacher. She had sex with two seventeen year olds, who were not in the one class she had anything to do with. No alcohol was involved.

    Are these cases exactly the same? Would any sane person believe that the teacher in case two was as culpable and as likely to have done damage to the teens or her own family as the teacher in case one?

    “That choice is no choice at all, and at least in (most?) US jurisdictions, he would not have committed a crime (or he would not be held accountable for that crime) because you are allowed to commit any crime up to murder, if you believe you will be murdered if you don’t do it (I believe the same applies to preventing the murder of others, but I am not sure).”

    It’s a bit more complicated than that:
    Necessity – http://thecriminallawyer.tumblr.com/post/20559033909/13-necessity
    Duress – http://thecriminallawyer.tumblr.com/post/21826668142/14-duress

    Needless to say, I love that website, and plan on getting that book.

  • Jupp

    EquilibriumShift:

    I am still confused as to why the obsession with whether or not the guard can legally wield power over the prisoner. Why does that matter? It is very clear and obvious that it is a crime of rape if someone outside prison uses illegal methods to coerce someone into having sex with them (e.g. blackmail, death threats, bribery, battery, etc. etc.) Why do we suddenly now switch to only looking at legal expressions of power? Is power defined by the legality of its use? A gun is no less or more deadly because of it’s legal status.

    When you are married your spouse has huge power (also legally) to harm you. So how can you give meaningful consent? Now think not only about western societies, but also about countries where people are more economically dependent on their spouses and where there are less laws to regulate divorces.
    I agree that the guards actions were wrong, but the question of consent in potentially coercive situations is difficult and I would like to start from a presumption of benevolence.

  • Clarence

    I think people are also getting the guard’s powers mixed up with the State.
    When someone is incarcerated, technically it is the State that is acting “in loco parentis” and has responsibility for that inmate. Guards have some particular powers, but these powers are not all inclusive as to the inmates care, and are definitely not absolute.

    Corrupt prison guards almost always need the help of either prisoners or other corrupt prison guards or both. By him or herself the guard does not have anywhere near absolute legal authority over an inmate. They have more formal legal power, hence the possibility for abuse, which is one of the two reasons that we have laws against inmate and guard sex. The other reason is, of course , less defensible; and mainly amounts to revenge.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Clarence, what changed my opinion of these types of prison situations was Damien Echols’ book, Life After Death. I recommend all of you here read it; I can not speak highly enough of the book. (You may remember him as a member of the West Memphis Three; he was the one sentenced to death. Peter Jackson’s movie about the case, “West of Memphis ” should make it to DVD soon–can’t wait to see it.)

    Damien carefully explains how he was targeted just for being interviewed a lot on TV. He describes the prisoner/guard dynamics very well. In short, one group has total power and the other has none. They act AS A UNIT.

    He described (in rather gruesome detail) the beating/stabbing of a (very abusive) prison guard, which Echols witnessed. And then, he described the ongoing fate of the prisoner who dared attack the guard. He said the prisoner will basically get legally-tortured for the rest of his life.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Equilibrium: Sure, sure, he has the right to not be beaten. To not be tortured. But he has lost his freedom of expression, of assembly, arms, protection from search and seizure, due process (to non-criminal matters, i.e. guards/warden are witnesses, judge, jury and executioner), etc. etc. the list goes on. De facto, this man has lost most of his rights. And please don’t confuse the ability to do something with the right to do it. Sure, he can say whatever he wants. And he can go in the hole if the guard doesn’t like it. Basically, what happens is prisons become roman law based spaces, meaning that every activity is forbidden, unless expressly permitted. And the list of expressly permitted activities can be changed by who else? The guards and warden.

    This dynamic is what Damien describes in detail in his book. Guards usually take the most precious thing away from someone, such as photos of their kids, letters from home, books, or pencils that they draw with. Etc. They have no rights at all. The basic way you get respect from the guards is to appear crazy and unpredictable–and then they might (operative word *might*) leave you alone. Many of the guards get bored, like the guards at Abu Ghraib, and stir up shit with the inmates just to alleviate the boredom.

  • Clarence

    LOL!
    Daisy, I’m sorry to tell you but a single book about a single prisoner in a single prison (since you didn’t provide any details we don’t even know what TYPE of prison he was in, the years he was in there, etc)does not a book about the entire system make.

    Prisons in this country are a mixture of public and private. At higher level the SCOTUS has given prisons and prisoners some basic rights and responsibilities however how a prison is actually run is often determined by State law which is all over the place. Some prisons very much are hellholes run by the most sadistic guards and other prisoners. Some prisons in California seem to be basically run by large prison gangs and the guards downright rely on them to keep order. Some prisons are run fairly humanely. Some are mixed population. Some are “country club” prisons, meaning much less severity and danger and more likely to house civil and other non-violent or first-time offenders. And some are SuperMax. You really need to learn the differences between all these types of prisons before you comment on them.To be an unpopular prisoner (say a convicted child rapist) in the worst prisons is downright hazardous to your health as both the guards and other inmates are gunning for you.
    It really does vary. But men on death row , lifers, or even your common type of plain ol murderer are unlikely to be terrorized by a single slip of a girl,. or heck a single guard in general. Once again, almost every case I’ve ever heard of involving guards and actual injuries/forcible rapes or deaths of inmates has involved multiple guards, behavior far outside the legal, and usually other prisoners (who want to curry favor or just have their own grudges) as well.

  • Ginkgo

    Jesus, Daisy, you sure know how to ruin somene’s day.

    If Obama wants to strike a blow for men’s rights – and I don’t doubt there are women in similalr situations too – he can aim straight at the heart of the prison-industrial complex. And think of how that will reduce the size of government. The Tea Party will just swoon over him. (Not joking; that is just the kind of political stunt a contrarian like Rand Paul would love.)

    Ending the War on Drugs is a very good and probably the easiest place to start.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Clarence: And I’ll just put on a guard’s uniform and go into say one of the big Crip leaders cells and use my magical “guard power” to have my way with him.

    This wouldn’t work (initially), but offering him up to the rival Bloods certainly would. It would probably only cost the guard a few cartons of cigarettes or some reefer. And then, you make sure the prisoner knows which guard engineered that. (Just start the rumor, which prisons thrive on.)

    THEN you enter their cell and have your way with them, after they have already had their ass handed to them. It’s usually pretty easy after you show them who’s boss.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Clarence: Daisy, I’m sorry to tell you but a single book about a single prisoner in a single prison

    Well, that’s just it. He has become an activist. He has made this stuff his business.

    I assumed everyone knew: Damien Echols was on Death Row in Arkansas Dept of Correction prison (formerly Arkansas State Penitentiary) in Grady, AR. This is where the lethal injections are carried out (Cummins Unit), and he could have received his date of execution at any time. He was there half his life, almost 18 years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Memphis_Three#Damien_Wayne_Echols

    Clarence: But men on death row , lifers, or even your common type of plain ol murderer are unlikely to be terrorized by a single slip of a girl,. or heck a single guard in general.

    Wrong. They are all in solitary confinement, and Damien got down to about 108 lbs. The food is shit and none of them have seen a fresh vegetable or fruit in years, except when the religious people bring them in at Christmas.

    He got one hour in a small walled-in yard (alone) a day, his feet chained together. (when he was released, he described having to learn to walk again, since he only had walked 8 feet in his cell without chains on his feet for 18 yrs) He was in terrible physical shape. Many men are in similar bad shape and failing health–the idea that they are all big bad killers is a myth. They may have been at one time, but years of prison (especially solitary) wears them down. Damien estimates that most (he thought about 60%) are mentally challenged; he says it is rare to find someone on Death Row who can even read.

    Solitary confinement also means that any guard(s) could enter cells at any time and claim anything, since there were no other witnesses.

    Clarence: You really need to learn the differences between all these types of prisons before you comment on them.

    Please don’t patronize, Clarence… we have been through this before, haven’t we?

    One of my friends, Efia Nwangaza, is a lifelong prison activist, so I do know about prisons. (She has invited me to accompany her on her visits, but I am too chickenshit, I confess.) As a lawyer, she has to be invited and there are all these hoops to jump through.

    You seem to have an idealized view of the prison system. “Illegal activity” is business as usual, the way they run the place.

    “Goodfellas” was a true story, remember… if you are a rich mafioso, you can pretty much do anything you want.

  • Clarence

    I’ve read Gordon Liddy’s biography, Daisy. He has quite a bit about his time in prison there.
    Please do not patronize me , either. You didn’t actually disprove anything I said, did you? I wonder if you even know the difference between a jail and a prison? Regardless, and so this sinks in your head: there is not a uniform nationwide method of running prisons, and some need much more reform than others.

  • Schala

    “I wonder if you even know the difference between a jail and a prison?”

    For most people they’re simply synonyms, we don’t all live in the US where we invent words to signify a small but significant (but only to you) difference. I rather we call them light security prison and maximum security prison. The competency (state or federal) should matter not one iota.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Clarence: I wonder if you even know the difference between a jail and a prison?

    As Johnny Cash supposedly said, the difference is the length of time you’re there. 😉

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Clarence: I’ve read Gordon Liddy’s biography, Daisy.

    Ohhhh me too…. loved the part about Timothy Leary’s bust. (Most people don’t know it was Liddy that busted our good Dr Leary.)

    They later ended up serving time in the same prison. Is America a great country or what?

  • Equilibrium_Shift

    Clarence, I think you have a serious case of the Clear Chambers. You are assigning the male prisoner hyperagency, and assigning the female prison guard hypoagency.

    Prison guards, especially at federal, fuck-you-in-the-ass prisons, can literally do whatever they want. Not legally, of course, but who cares? Oversight of these prisons is very minimal, due to the exact reason you pointed out earlier: people feel that whatever bad shit happens to the prisoners is some sick form of justice. Which warden or superintendent is going to side with a prisoner over a guard? Especially a convicted cop-killer?

    And once again, I stand by the fact that we need not distinguish between legal and illegal expressions of power. After all, the guard has already broken the rules by propositioning a prisoner for sex. What about that decision leads us to believe that she would not break other rules? Once again, this obsession with theoretical divisions of power is ludicrous, when, out here in reality-ville, the guards own your life.

    There was an enlisted man in the Army, can’t remember his name, who was convicted of setting up a spy ring for Hungary. He would purposely target other enlisted men who smoked pot, because he knew if they were willing to break one rule, they would be willing to break more, and more, and more, until they were handing him classified documents. This is actually one reason why past marijuana use is such a big deal in becoming an officer (for which you must achieve secret clearance). The enlisted grunts didn’t pass anything useful on to Hungary, but officers could have.

    Ask anyone that has been and I will bet that the the words: animal; hole; or hell come up. It is not nearly so sanitary as we are led to believe (although, ironically, most are not so physically dangerous as that found in, say, “Shawshank Redemption”. The danger is largely psychological – with the exception of the maximum security prisons, and especially the federal versions).

  • Equilibrium_Shift

    Jupp,

    I agree with the point you are making. Certainly a wife has a lot of legal power over your life once you get married. But what are the honest chances that she fucks you over? We obviously don’t know the answer to that, but would you agree that it would be less, probably by a huge factor, than the probability that the guard who just propositioned you for sex will fuck your life over if you turn them down? How bad are the consequences if you are ‘punished’ in each situation?

    That is the difference. Like I said, prisoner-guard is the only adult-adult relationship where I see this dynamic.

    No, thought of another one. Commanding officer – underling. Although that one might not even be enough to qualify… certainly deserves to get the officer fired, but not sure I would call that rape. Tough to say, so by default, I think you don’t, for a lot of the (generally very good) reasons that people have brought up against the prisoner-guard situation.

  • Clarence

    No, Dear ES:

    If you hadn’t been reading carefully, I’m assigning them BOTH agency. I’m also asserting my opinion that both were horny and wanted to get it on together.
    You are the one that keeps trying to assign one no agency and the other malevolent agency.
    I say prove it.
    We get assertions that all prisons are Gattica.
    Well, whatever, then.

  • Adiabat

    Ginkgo: I agree with your post at 8:09 am.

    Clarence: I wouldn’t bring your examples into this as statutory rape has nothing to do with the prisoner-inmate dynamic. There is no analog here.

    EquilibriumShift (and Daisy): “What human being has to ask to be let out of a cage so that he can take a shower, or shave, or get a haircut, or see the sun, or go to the doctor, or eat, other than a prisoner?”

    Yet again, no prisoner has to ask for those things, he has them by right. In fact a prisoner often cannot refuse many of these things. There are special cases where a court, not the guard or warden, has decided to restrict these rights but these are special cases based on a balance between the prisoners’ rights and the safety of those they come into contact with.

    Yes as you point out he has lost many other rights, such as the right to bear arms; he’s in prison ffs. Seriously, what are you trying to argue here, as this is getting ridiculous?

    “I am still confused as to why the obsession with whether or not the guard can legally wield power over the prisoner.”

    Because it means that the situation isn’t inherently coercive. If the prisoner, or the prisoners lawyer or family members, can instigate an investigation where the burden of proof is on the guard then the guard has no real power, except that which is lawful.

    Everyone has the power to break the law, even the prisoner, yet you seem to claim that he has no power because he’ll be punished for it, even though the guard supposedly still has unlawful power even though they’ll be punished for it. You are the one assigning hyper and hypo agency to them.

    And as I’ve already said, if you (and Daisy it seems) believe that it’s too easy for the guards to get away with breaking the law then you need to campaign to reform the complaints procedure, not to change the definition of rape. Though to be honest the policies already in place seem quite robust, including video surveillance, a method for staff and other third parties to report abuse on behalf of an inmate, multiple channels for inmates to report sexual abuse, including by contacting an outside entity (so no, the whole warden/guard cover up thing is largely imagined by yourself), allow inmates to report abuse anonymously upon request, and access to victim advocates from rape crisis centers for emotional support services related to sexual abuse. The full list is here: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/May/12-ag-635.html. I have no doubt that the application of these policies is far from perfect but it does remove the claim that the situation is inherently coercive.

    And yet again, none of this removes the fact “that someone may still consent and want sex, even if they would be forced to if they don’t”.

  • thefish

    “Because it means that the situation isn’t inherently coercive. If the prisoner, or the prisoners lawyer or family members, can instigate an investigation where the burden of proof is on the guard then the guard has no real power, except that which is lawful. “That’s absurd if someone breaks into your house, with a gun, and “propositions” someone for sex its obviously coercive. Same thing here. If the guard is willing to flout the law on having sex with prisoners they just proved they don’t care about the law.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Adiabat,

    you are forgetting that the woman was only caught when she got pregnant. Once again, a guard who breaks the rules only does so with the blessing of all the other guards. Yet, as was obviously the case here, all the other guards gave their blessing. This wasn’t a one-off thing, clearly. You are basically saying, “Let’s rely on police to police themselves, and take their word for it when something happens”*. I don’t know where you are from, but where I am from, that has turned out about as well as a pepper oil enema. (Do prisons even have the equivalent of IA? I don’t honestly know).

    I guess I should say that the prisoner does not need to ask to get his shower, exercise time, etc. etc. He has to take them, he doesn’t have a choice. Same thing, really. You don’t get what you want, you get what they want to give you.

    I’m not saying that a prisoner should have the right to bear arms. I just went through the bill of rights and realized that he pretty much lost all of them that apply to individuals (1,2,4,6,7, and 9) and has “kept” 2 (5,8) by law, but can lose those as well, if the prison is bad enough. Note that the 3rd amendment is not applicable in jail, since it isn’t his house. (I mean, technically speaking, congress hasn’t made a law prohibiting prisoners from free congregation, but… come on, they have lost that right). I did that to illustrate the point that these people are not like any other people in the country. You can’t appreciate their situation without seeing it firsthand. Volunteer in jail, and tell me these people have enough power to tell the guards no about anything.

    This is most obviously not the same as a rape that occurs outside of prison. You argue that someone can consent to something, even if they would be forced to do it if they didn’t consent. I argue that, by definition, it is not consent unless you have a free choice to make. You are conflating desire with consent. As debaser pointed out, you cannot consent to being assaulted, even if you want to. (Not for the same reasons as here, but it illustrates that want and consent are different things).

    And once again, I am concerned with the de facto situation, rather than the de jure situation. This is real life, folks, not a theoretical exercise. Thus, we need to consider the real life situation.

    I am willing to rethink the concept of prisoner-guard being a strictly rape by definition, if, and this is a big if, prisons are not like what I have described. Obviously, my definition is only valid on that premise. Clarence, unfortunately, I don’t have or know where to find descriptions of prisons that would prove what I am saying. I only have interactions with past prisoners and guards to go by. Anyway, I am not entirely sure your position is the null hypothesis. I mean, one person is in a cage, and another one is not, and you are arguing that the person in the cage is able to tell the person outside the cage no. Maybe you just see more good in people than I do.

    Also, a very important thing here. When I say that the prisoner was raped, I don’t in any way mean to say he has been hurt. I don’t think psychological damage is inherent to rape, or a requirement in order for illicit sexual contact to be considered rape.

    *Speaking of which, is it not inherently considered rape if a police-person has sex with someone, during a traffic stop or some other type of detainment? It’s wrong for all the same reasons, just less. I honestly don’t know. Once again, I’m not sure if it should be, for the reasons that Clarence and Adiabat have brought up.

  • Jupp

    thefish:

    If the guard is willing to flout the law on having sex with prisoners they just proved they don’t care about the law.

    What if Chris Brown proposes Rihanna sex, is this a coercive situation? What if a 20 year old guy proposes sex to his 15 year old girlfriend (in a country where this is statutory rape), does his disregard for statutory rape laws mean he disregards her right to bodily autonomy?
    Disregarding certain laws or moral rules certainly doesn’t mean disregarding all laws and decency.

    EquilibriumShift:

    Certainly a wife has a lot of legal power over your life once you get married. But what are the honest chances that she fucks you over? We obviously don’t know the answer to that, but would you agree that it would be less, probably by a huge factor, than the probability that the guard who just propositioned you for sex will fuck your life over if you turn them down?

    If we are talking a generic wife you are right, but there are peple who have a history of abusing their spouses and then the comparison becomes less clear (even if the history of abuse doesn’t involve sexual violence).

  • Schala

    “What if a 20 year old guy proposes sex to his 15 year old girlfriend (in a country where this is statutory rape), does his disregard for statutory rape laws mean he disregards her right to bodily autonomy?”

    In Canada this would be legal, the US’s disregard for situations with close-in-age minors, and putting the consent at age 18, is what is problematic (here it’s 16 with a 5-years-older allowance – 15 with 20 is perfectly legal).

  • Adiabat

    thefish: You’ve described a situation which is actively coercive. It is not comparable to this situation. If the prison guard walked up to the prisoners cell, gently tapping their left palm with a truncheon and says “Hey Bubba, drop your pants” then yes that is coercive. That is not what is happening here and says nothing about any inherent coercion in the prisoner-guard relationship.

    “If the guard is willing to flout the law on having sex with prisoners they just proved they don’t care about the law.”

    Someone who shoplifts hasn’t shown that they are willing to commit more severe crimes, such as murder or rape. Likewise, a guard who is willing to break the law insofar as to hit on a prisoner hasn’t shown that they are prepared to enact all manner of cruel illegal punishments imaged by ES.

    But even if they are prepared to, which is debatable, I’ve shown that any such punishments can be avoided. Any threats which can be avoided don’t have any power.

  • Schala

    “But even if they are prepared to, which is debatable, I’ve shown that any such punishments can be avoided. Any threats which can be avoided don’t have any power.”

    Which is why no people do evil things, abusers do not exist, and everyone reports every little thing that happens to them against their will to the proper authority, immediately, and get believed and helped for it immediately as well.

    Get real, he wouldn’t be believed it was rape, because he’s not penetrated. He wouldn’t be believed it’s sexual assault, because, either he likes it because he’s straight (and thus can’t not-consent) or he doesn’t like it because he’s gay (thus worthy of contempt and not worthy of help).

    Love the double bind of male sexuality.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Jupp,

    In the specific hypothetical situation of a wife who has made numerous false claims, and those claims have all been believed completely, and those claims have destroyed lives, and the husband knows about those claims, and believes the same might happen to him, you might consider him having sex with her to be rape, inherently. Still, you might not, since he can protect himself from them with, say, a tape or video recorder. But the point is moot, since the chances of that being a reality are (dear god, I hope) vanishingly small.*

    Adiabat,

    I never said the punishments would be unusual. Indeed the very nature of the system relies on plausible deniability. The punishments look like legit punishments for (trumped up) misbehavior. That way everyone can go home to sleep at night thinking that justice is served. Like I said, my whole viewpoint may be born of extreme cynicism relating to the behavior of humans. Any time someone says “Sure, I could do that, but I won’t” the hair on the back of my neck stands up. But you should be happy, good people tend to see the good in others, and people like me, well, a wolf knows a wolf.

    As far as the shoplifting thing goes, that is true. But the law already recognizes the castle doctrine in many states, specifically because if a person has shown they are willing to violate your autonomy by breaking into your house, you have to assume that they are willing to violate your autonomy by hurting/killing you. The concept is not so much of a stretch.

    And I would add that many gang members start small. Killing someone isn’t usually the first task. Go to Lapa, in Rio de Janeiro, and watch the 9 year-olds snatching purses. See the 12 year olds who are their handlers. Go to Rochina and see the 15 year olds with assualt rifles and grenades.

    *And they are likely vanishingly small, not because there are no women who do that, but that there are no women who could get away with it for very long. (Once is too long).

  • Adiabat

    Schala: “Which is why no people do evil things, abusers do not exist, and everyone reports every little thing that happens to them against their will to the proper authority, immediately, and get believed and helped for it immediately as well.”

    Yes that statement of mine you quoted is a bit too far reaching and I regretted it somewhat after I posted it, but your response still does not follow. My mistake was implying that complaints always work, which is obviously untrue. My point is that the prisoner is not completely helpless before the whims of spurned guard. The threats of the guard can be removed. The fact that the power dynamic isn’t all one way means that the claim that coercion is inherent in the relationship is wrong, or can only be applied to certain justice systems where you should be campaigning for further enforcement of the complaints procedure and reforms in the prison system rather than the redefinition of rape. What does redefining rape actually solve except to add complexity to the legal system? The events will still happen whatever they are called. A system that gives power back to the prisoner when faced with illegal conduct by a guard on the other hand…

    And your response makes no sense as I never claimed that all harm can always be avoided: The aforementioned armed home intruder for example.

    ES: So in your last two posts we’ve now got police cover-ups, unusual punishments hidden by the guards behind innocuous reasons, and ensuring that basic needs are met being the same thing as treating people like animals. Oh and a shoplifter should be treated the same as the worst criminals. I really don’t know how to respond to this lot.

    What is your solution to all this? Getting everyone to call it rape so we can shake our finger at it even more vigorously? It seems to me that what you’re campaigning for has already happened. You’ve won. In the US complaints can be made and will be investigated, though you may be right that some prisons are still worse than others. But why not campaign for them to improve? The only thing not happening is the redefinition of rape but do you really want to be having these endless inane discussions about “power” every time two people have sex?

    “I argue that, by definition, it is not consent unless you have a free choice to make.”

    I know, but you seem to be stating it rather than arguing it. They do have a free choice whether to have sex. Sex and rape are not the same thing. A prisoner can consent to sex, they can agree to something irregardless of whether they will be punished for not agreeing to it. Sometime some voters actually do vote for the government in rigged elections.

  • Schala

    “I know, but you seem to be stating it rather than arguing it.”

    It should be an obvious statement. It’s not up to debate, it’s a self-evident fact.

    If she wants to have sex with the prisoner, she can apply for conjugal visits or w/e (must be for other than married right?). Then he actually has more power to refuse.

  • EquilibriumShift

    Adiabat,

    Honestly, re-read my posts, you just strawmanned the hell out of what I said. The punishments aren’t unusual, the police certainly do cover things up, and it is rare that they get punished. There is a pretty well documented ‘blue wall of silence’. Same for military and sports teams. You don’t rat on the guy that has your back, because if you do, he (or others) might not have it any more. And you do realize that animals in contact with humans generally have their basic needs taken care of by humans, right? That isn’t the issue. Its the inability to control most aspects of your own life that is the issue. And when did I ever say anything about how to treat shoplifters? I just said that generally, people don’t start with murder, or robbery, or any of the serious felonies. Guards probably don’t start by having sex with prisoners. They probably start with over applying rules or overstepping their authority in very small ways.

    I am not arguing for a change, Adiabat, you are correct. I am arguing that in this one, and only one instance, this type of view of sex is correct. Your analogy to an election is actually a very good one. Do we say that the election was valid if some people voted for the winners of a rigged election? No, never. Not even if the number of valid votes fall in favor of the winners. Because by rigging the election, you create an environment in which voting against the presumptive winners is pointless, so why do it? We know very well in that situation that you cannot say what the outcome would have been identical or even that those who voted for the riggers would have done so, if the rigging wouldn’t have taken place. Similarly, why argue internally against the sex when making the decision? Consent requires that the person be able to legitimately consider both options. When a decision has been reached with one of the parties being unable to consider a different option, no consent was given, even if the same decision would have been reached under coercion free circumstances because the ability to freely consider options is necessary to give consent.

  • Tamen

    I came over a paper a while back which actually listed the data/circumstances (not much circumstances, but nature of complaint, “verdict” of whether it was subtantiated or not and what, if any, action were taken towards the guard and the prisoner) for complaints of sexual abuse by guards. Quite a lot ended with “No action towards the guard taken”. Now, that may be that the accusations were without basis, but I am willing to bet that the accusation were with merit in some cases, but there still was no action taken towards the guard – either because the inmate wasn’t believed or because the guard was protected by work-mates (providing alibi etc).

    *Gone looking…*

    I found it. thefish posted a link to the Report on Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails 2012 from the Review Panel on Prison Rape. It comes from this site: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/reviewpanel/reviewpanel.htm

    That report had a link to several appendices.

    Of interest here is Appendix C: Charts Summarizing Facility Investigations
    of Inmate-on-Inmate and Staff-on-Inmate Sexual Assaults

  • EquilibriumShift

    Of course, lost in all this debate over intrinsic coercion is the fact that what she did – unilaterally deciding to get pregnant with his baby (or, lets us hypothetically assume it was unilateral) could also be considered… tantamount to rape. That is, if he were forced to provide for the child for the next 18 years. Since he can’t do that, for obvious reasons, is that still a crime? (In the moral sense, of course, since controlling the reproductive rights of a man is a woman’s prerogative, legally)

  • thefish

    “Someone who shoplifts hasn’t shown that they are willing to commit more severe crimes, such as murder or rape.”
    Yeah, except this isn’t flouting the law on shoplifting and then wondering if they will commit rape/murder. Its someone flouting (or saying they will) flout the law on rape, and then wondering if they commit other similar crimes of roughly equal severity. Like say… rape. Or crimes of lesser severity like abusing their power as a guard. (Which isn’t even a crime always.)

    If you see someone shoplifting you are going to wonder if they tried to steal other things still in their pocket.

    Also back to the breaking in analogy. Rape is much more severe than breaking and entering. And we assume that anyone who breaks into a house is a potential murderer. Going from rape to any crime whatsoever would be a smaller jump up than that.

    Proof:
    Breaking In<Rape. So Murder-rape<Murder-breaking. Any crime=<Murder. So Any crime-rape<Murder-breaking in.

  • Adiabat

    Sorry for the long post. I may have to leave topics out in future.

    Schala: “It should be an obvious statement. It’s not up to debate, it’s a self-evident fact”

    Riiight. I suppose that it is a fact not recognized by the justice system, and practically everyone else out of the gendersphere, means everyone else is so stupid that they can’t recognize this “self-evident fact”. But of course *You’re Right* and everyone else is wrong. You don’t even need to convince them, they should just acquiesce to your superior wisdom. Get over yourself.

    ES: “the inability to control most aspects of your own life that is the issue.”

    You claim that I strawman you but you keep making these wild claims. They are in prison, they don’t get complete control over their lives. *That’s the point of prison*. But that also doesn’t mean that they are treated as subhuman without any rights as you originally claimed.

    It may mean that they are in a more vulnerable position, as I believe that is what you are trying to argue by making these extreme claims, but the law already takes that into account by putting the burden of evidence on the guard, and the system has introduced that long list I linked to before of measures designed to prevent these things happening, and to resolve them when they do. Every one of those items on that list diminishes the claims about intrinsic coercion and power dynamics, as they give power back to the prisoner. And that is how these “power dynamic” problems are solved, not by calling it rape.

    If you think that it is insufficient because of a “blue wall of silence” then you reform the system, you don’t fuck up the legal system’s concept of rape by making it about anything other than consent, and that is what you are doing. Once you introduce the concept that people can’t consent even when they consent because of “power dynamics” then the discussion is no longer about consent but relative power. And those discussions are pointless.

    ES and thefish (I’m merging replies as people are making similar points): “And when did I ever say anything about how to treat shoplifters? I just said that generally, people don’t start with murder, or robbery, or any of the serious felonies.”

    And a lot more people shoplift then never go on to commit more serious crimes. Therefore whether someone shoplifts tells you nothing about whether they are likely to commit murder. The same principle applies when a guard hits on a prisoner.

    Thefish: “Its someone flouting (or saying they will) flout the law on rape, and then wondering if they commit other similar crimes of roughly equal severity. Like say… rape.”

    It’s not rape. It’s only rape in your head. Come on, if there is going to be any sensible discussion here you need stop making stuff up. Having consensual sex with a prisoner is a crime but it’s not as psychologically jarring for the guard to break the rules enough to have sex than it is to commit rape. Even if you think its rape I doubt the guard does, mainly because it’s not recognized by any legal authority as rape, so your argument doesn’t apply.

    ES: “I am arguing that in this one, and only one instance, this type of view of sex is correct.”

    The rigged election example shows that people may support the government even if the election is rigged. I don’t believe that that support is rendered invalid just because the election is rigged.

    “Similarly, why argue internally against the sex when making the decision? Consent requires that the person be able to legitimately consider both options”

    If the inmate doesn’t agree to sex then sex doesn’t happen, that seems like a free choice to me. The decision is not to allow rape or not, and that cannot be consented to. If violence is actually threatened then the decision is to submit to rape or receive violence, which as you say is rape either way. Do you really not see the difference?

    I believe it is up to the prisoner to claim that they felt threatened enough, overtly or intrinsically, that they consented to “sex” even though they didn’t want sex. I think when you claim that they couldn’t consent, even if they didn’t feel threatened, because of “power” then that removes more agency from the prisoner than the alternative; You are the one who is dehumanizing that person and removing all agency and ability to control aspects of their life. I gave an example up thread of a prisoner who claimed exactly that and which resulted in the federal appeals court decision that the burden of evidence was on the guard to show consent.

  • thefish

    ” Even if you think its rape I doubt the guard does, mainly because it’s not recognized by any legal authority as rape, so your argument doesn’t apply.”

    The legal authorities disagree:
    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/940/II/225
    Wisconsin puts it in the exact same category as putting a knife to someones throat and saying you will kill them in they do not have sex with you before raping said person.

  • Adiabat

    Thefish: Wisconsin also puts ‘touching through clothing’ in that same category so I don’t think that it’s the best argument for your claim.

    Tbh I don’t know the reasoning behind Wisconsin’s decision to lump everything into one category of Sexual Assault. Perhaps it allows the sentencing to be more adaptable to the individual cases.

    Interestingly Wisconsin takes the same tact as the Federal Appeals Court: Prisoners are “presumed incapable of consent but the presumption may be rebutted by competent evidence” (940.225(4)), implying that they do accept that prisoners can consent, but the burden on the guard to prove it. I also imagine that if consent is shown then the sexual assault charge will also be dropped but I’m no expert in Wisconsin law.

  • thefish

    … Did you even read the part you cited? I’m serious because it doesn’t look like it.

    From (940.225(4)):
    “Consent is not an issue in alleged violations of sub. (2) (c), (cm), (d), (g), (h), and (i). ”
    Nor does it say prisoners are presumed unable to consent, what it actually say is:
    “The following persons are presumed incapable of consent but the presumption may be rebutted by competent evidence, subject to the provisions of s. 972.11 (2):
    (b) A person suffering from a mental illness or defect which impairs capacity to appraise personal conduct.
    940.225(4)(c) (c) A person who is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act. ”

    So umm… try to read what you cite next time?

  • Ginkgo

    “I think when you claim that they couldn’t consent, even if they didn’t feel threatened, because of “power” then that removes more agency from the prisoner than the alternative; You are the one who is dehumanizing that person and removing all agency and ability to control aspects of their life.”

    Or just characterizing the situation accurately. It is all going to depend on the fatcs of the specific situation. This kind of thing comes all the time with human trafficking,; at what point does alien smuggling (the person being smuggled is empolying the smuggler) become human trafficking (the smuggler s holding and transporting the prosn against their will) or sex trafficking (the smuggler is forcing the the person inot sex work because he /she is holding thier docs, the person is 10,000 miles form home and can’t escape, etc.) Add to this inter-cultural issues – what would clearly be considered coercion under US is not recognized as such by the persomn trafficked because they see themselves as obligated to comply.

  • Adiabat

    Thefish: “Did you even read the part you cited?”

    Did you read the part in my last post where I demolished your point? Or did you decide to ignore that to focus on an irrelevant addendum in my post?

    I took the final line to follow on from the previous line as parts 940.225(4(b) and (c) refer to the same people as subs 2c and 2d anyway, and so would be redundant if it wasn’t a continuation. Otherwise it says consent doesn’t matter, and also it presumes that they can’t consent unless evidence is produced. But why bother producing evidence since consent is not an issue anyway? It makes no sense unless my interpretation is used. But maybe you’re right, maybe it’s just poorly crafted legislature.

    But all this is irrelevant because even under your interpretation the implication is that a prisoner can consent but even if he/she consents the crime under 940.225(h) has still been committed; that isn’t being disputed here. I agree a crime has been committed, the guard shouldn’t have sex with an inmate, but that crime is not rape, which is what you are arguing. It’s a crime put in the same category as ‘touching through clothing’.

    Maybe you should read what you cite. You link to something which completely fails to make the point you are trying to make then, rather than admit that you’re wrong, you get snarky with me because an interesting caveat can be read in different ways; one that is more to the letter but doesn’t make sense and one which makes sense but requires a slightly more golden-rule led reading. Though I suppose that if you use enough snark no-one will notice that you had your ass handed to you using your own evidence, eh?

    Ginkgo: “It is all going to depend on the fatcs of the specific situation.”

    I agree completely. Which is why rules such as “guard-prisoner sex is always rape” are unhelpful. I think the US Federal Appeals Court has it spot on: Assume consent is not present but allow the possibility for consent and put the burden of proof on the guard to prove it. It offers the right amount of protection to unwilling prisoners while allowing exceptions when the prisoner really did consent (while still prosecuting the guard for lesser crimes than rape). The ‘power’ dynamics have been taken into account and a sensible ruling reached; everyone should be happy. But feminist rape ideology always gets in the way.