Rape, Sexual Assault, and Coercion


Wow, what a great resource on Aphrodite Wounded that explains what sexual assault and rape are, and defines brilliantly the difference between consent and nonconsent, and addresses the issue of sex by coercive pressure as rape, as well as discussing a number of other behaviors that are considered sexually abusive.

Here are some choice bits:

“It is important that you realize you do not have to have physically fought or even said “no” for an act to be regarded as sexual assault. Tears or other expression of discomfort are more than reasonable indicators that you do not want the sexual activity. Often, sexually violent partners do not actually seek consent, or if you do say no, it is not taken any notice of.
 “Remember that submission is not the same as consent.
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“Is sex by coercive pressure rape?
“Yes. Sexual activity using emotionally distressing tactics of coercion such as sulking, becoming angry with you, withdrawing affection, withholding household money or blackmail i.e. I’ll leave you; I’ll go and sleep with somebody else; I’ll spread rumours about you”. Finkelhor and Yllo call this type of rape ‘interpersonal coercion’ and state that it has devaluing and traumatic effect on women (3). Furthermore, research has found that a higher proportion of women are upset by threats to leave them, than women subjected to physical force.(4).
(colored emphasis added to both above quotes)
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“At the time of writing, similar reforms have been passed in the US, and most recently the UK. Such reform recognizes that submission does not equate consent and that women may be coerced in a number of non-violent but distressing ways. It addresses at least in part, the old and common assumption that men are entitled to use any means necessary to persuade or “seduce” a woman into sexual activity (5)”
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