Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rape by deception

This story is interesting from a lot of angles:

At first I really didn't like the idea of rape by deception. It seems like a dangerous slippery slope. I decided that a solid legal standard would be if the perpetrator tells a lie that s/he knows or should know will be a critical factor in the granting of consent. That's a fairly high standard, but we're talking about criminal law, if anything it felt potentially too low. We laugh at characters like Barney on How I Met Your Mother, when he lies his way into a girl's bedroom. Do we want to send him to jail?

Upon further consideration I've realized this is an odd social programming. There is a crime called 'larceny by trick.' If I lie to you in order to convince you to give me your stuff, I've committed a crime. If I lie to you to get you to consent to sexual activity, no crime. Shouldn't our sexually repressed culture be more concerned about chastity than things? I think I'll have to reconsider what is a fairly patriarchal view that boys lying and tricking their way to sex is just boys being boys.

1 comment:

  1. It's only similar to "larceny by trick" if you consider sex as being something that a girl gives to a guy - and this is an old outdated patriarchical view.

    Sex should be seen as an activity that people can mutually enjoy doing together.

    If I'm attracted to a girl, and she asks me what I did yesterday, I might lie and tell her I had a business meeting, when really I just played video games all day. She'll probably find me more attractive that way.

    Attraction is not a choice. It doesn't come from logic and reason, it comes from emotion and instinct. Attraction is not a contract.

    My lie might make her feel more passion for me, leading to sex that we both enjoy.

    In other words, my lie was less like fraud or rape, and more like a fictional story told by a circus clown, to make the show more fun for audience members who believe it.

    Note: of course, there are cases where sexual deception is genuinely wrong. For example, if someone has AIDS and knows about it, and has sex with someone without mentioning it, that's a crime punishable by jail time. But only because AIDS is harmful.