Men In Power Defining Rape

by Rachel Gertz

Guess what. Ever since we can remember, men have been defining what constitutes rape. Interesting, especially when you think about the fact that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will be raped before they turn eighteen in Canada. Calgary, Canada, actually.

Goes like this…

In the beginning, women were property. So if a daughter was raped, the rapist owed her father some money and had to take her down the aisle.

Then men wrote into religious law that women wouldn’t get pregnant if they were raped—they had to want to be pregnant to get pregnant. Sound familiar, Mr. Akin?

“If you don’t squirm a lot, it’s not rape. Dr. Lawson Tait, an eminent 19th century gynecologist and medical officer who helped police with criminal investigations, was “perfectly satisfied that no man can effect a felonious purpose on a woman in possession of her sense without her consent.” Said he: “You cannot thread a moving needle.”

Next, in the name of progress, having sex with girls under twelve was now considered rape and not property damage. Way to go, King Edward I.

On and on it went till men actually decided that a woman could in fact be raped by her husband, that people who were not white could be raped, people with disabilities could be raped, and yes, even men could, in fact, be raped by other men or women.

It’s kind of a wonder to me, why we would even bother to ask the most victimized sex about their own personal definitions of rape. Men—in positions of power—have been doing such a bang up job all these years.


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