Content note – contains discussion of sexual violence and low rape conviction rape.
Trigger Warning for rape.
What is the legal definition of rape in the UK? In all the conversations I’ve had about rape, responsibility and consent, I’d never thought about what is actually being contested when an allegation of rape makes it to court. I don’t think I’m alone in that. Under the Sexual Offences Act of 2003, this is the definition of rape:
After several drunken post-exams conversations, I’ve had numerous women finally pluck up the courage to ask me how can I be a feminist and the college women’s officer when I like to dress in corsets, pencil skirts, tiny dresses and miniskirts. The truth is I simply do not subscribe to the idea that I am somehow objectifying myself for the benefit of men when I decide that I’d rather like to wear a catwoman fancy dress costume over dressing as a parcel at Christmas. The fact that it has been suggested that I am putting myself in the place of a ‘thing’, object or dehumanising myself, is quite frankly insulting as it suggests that I have no will or understanding of the way the world works. I’m an educated woman; I know exactly what I am doing when I go out. I know that man buying me a drink has no interest in my personality, life story or what I’m studying. Yet I don’t have any interest in him either, I’m just out having a good time and getting a free drink. To be honest, what business is it of yours anyway? Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I joined some revolutionary socialists at a conference on objectification, which pitched itself against ‘the new moralism’ of some, mainly radical, feminists. I was forcibly struck by that tone of opposition – it threw a problem, which I already knew existed for feminism, into sharp relief: we allow our politics to be measured by how antithetical they are to the right wing. We really need to start measuring our policies according to how they (would) affect the lives of those they concern. It’s a false dichotomy, one of the many that plagues women’s lives, that to be ant-puritanical, anti-moralistic, anti-judgemental, you have to divorce sex from any more significance than that of pulling a pint.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell anyone that they don’t have a right to label themselves (or not) however they want. Your label, your business. But I’d be interested in some thoughts about how common the following is as a coming out experience, and what that might mean: