In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight
henwy

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The great rape ape

I just started watching the show Lie to Me on Hulu and it's been pretty spiffy so far. I caught a promo advertisement for it on tv a while back and had always meant to check it out, but it slipped my mind until now. The basic premise of the show is that the main character studies facial and body response, using that information to determine whether a person is lying or telling the truth. In the second episode the problem to be unraveled involves a rape, and it got me thinking. The scenario in the show reminds me a lot of a similar circumstance that I debated about once and I thought I'd pitch it to all of you out there and see what you think.

I'm going to describe a series of events and I'd like to know whether you think what I'm describing qualifies as rape or not.

Two people work at an office and over time get to know each other pretty well. The male employee is the female employee's boss. One day, after the office christmas party or some other get together, they end up splitting a cab to go home. The man invites her into his apartment for a nightcap and she agrees, thinking that they'll just have some coffee and talk. Once inside the apartment, he propositions her. She thinks about how if she says no, he could go apeshit and fire her or otherwise try to ruin her career so she says yes and they knock boots.

Was she raped?

Yes
2(22.2%)
No
7(77.8%)




What sort of disturbs me about this situation is that if you think it's a rape, it's based entirely what's in her head. If you buy into her thought process, whether or not it's justified, then the guy seems like a predator. If I had told you instead that she said yes because she thought he was hot, then the specter's gone. Nothing in the situation has changed other than what's knocking around inside her head. That seems to be a pretty horrible way to determine whether a crime has occurred.

In the episode, the situation was pretty much as described and the investigators are dead set on classifying it as rape even before finding out what was in the guy's head. The woman claimed she was in fear for her life if she didn't consent and because of that there was no point at which she said no. In the end, it almost doesn't matter whether the guy had a nefarious intent or not since it's all about her perception. Of course, because it's a tv show, the guy had to be shown to have known that he was coercing her, but what if he wasn't? What if he truly believed that they were having a great consensual relationship? Is he still a rapist simply because that's how she views it in her head?

Here's a curveball of sorts. If you do think that this is horribly inappropriate sexual contact, or even rape for a person with power over another to ask/initiate a sexual relationship...do you then also believe that Bill Clinton, in effect, raped Monica Lewinski? Why not? If she had perceived it as a power issue...would it then have been rape even if his actions were exactly the same in both situations?
Tags: poll, rape, tv club: lie to me
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  • WTF?

    From: "mac72@vt.edu" <mac72@vt.edu> To: htlan@ncsu.edu, costro1@vt.edu, wchurch@vt.edu, henry###@gmail.com, carlwd40@hotmail.com Date: Jan…

  • No phone calls at 4am are ever good...

    ' Shadow-Lover, court me in my dreams Bring the peace that suffering redeems.' -Mercedes Lackey Just got a phone call from my dad.... He's dying…

  • My tweets

    Tue, 13:38: Today is the day... https://t.co/97tWas5Ydy