Radical feminists question relevance of consent

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Radical feminists question relevance of consent

Common Themes and the Liberal-to-Radical Continuum Virtually all feminist thinking about rape shares several underlying themes.

Feminist Perspectives on Rape (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Feminist thought and activism have challenged the myth that rape is rare and exceptional, showing that it is in fact a common experience in the lives of girls and women. It has now been amply confirmed by research: Of these women, Indeed, many women suffer multiple rapes in their lives: An accurate estimate of rape's frequency requires a clear understanding of rape itself and of the varied circumstances in which it occurs.

Often contributing to the underestimation of rape's frequency is a narrow and stereotypical conception of what rape is: While such rapes do occur, the great majority of rapes are committed by a man or men known to the victim: For this reason, again contrary to stereotype, most rapes are intraracial.

In the study of over 16, Americans mentioned above, Remarkably few assailants are punished: Perhaps the most basic challenge that feminists have posed to traditional views of rape lies in the recognition of rape as a crime against the victim herself.

A raped woman or girl was less valuable as property, and penalties for rape often involved fines or other compensation paid to her husband or father Burgess-Jackson The marital rape exemption in law, which survived in the U.

A further corollary of this view was that women who were not the private property of any individual man—for instance, prostitutes—were unrapeable, or at least that no one important was harmed by their rape Dworkin—, Burgess-Jackson, Feminists' recognition of the severity and pervasiveness of rape's harms, and of how infrequently victims receive justice, has inspired decades of activism for social and legal change.

Feminists in many U. In addition to pressing for changes in law and in police and prosecutorial practices, feminists have founded and staffed rape crisis centers and hotlines to support victims, whether or not they choose to pursue charges against their attackers. Feminist views of rape can be understood as arrayed on a continuum from liberal to radical.

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Introduction From the first day in graduate school in psychology, psychotherapists and counselors 1 in training have been instructed to pay great attention to the "inherent power differential" in psychotherapy, to be aware of the "imbalance of power between therapists and clients", and they have been repeatedly told to "never abuse or exploit our vulnerable and dependent clients. While the universal assumption about the "power differential" is like an undercurrent in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, and counseling, there is paradoxically a split between the ethicists, risk management experts and boards who over-emphasize the "power differential", and the clinicians and the theoreticians who largely avoid or ignore any reference to power Heller,

More radical views, in contrast, contend that rape must be recognized and understood as an important pillar of patriarchy. Johnson defines patriarchy as a social system in which men disproportionately occupy positions of power and authority, central norms and values are associated with manhood and masculinity which in turn are defined in terms of dominance and controland men are the primary focus of attention in most cultural spaces Radical feminists see rape as arising from patriarchal constructions of gender and sexuality within the context of broader systems of male power, and emphasize the harm that rape does to women as a group.

In addition, radical feminist approaches to rape often share one or more of the following three features. First, they regard the deprivation of women's bodily sovereignty—in particular, male control over the sexual and reproductive uses of women's bodies—as a central defining element of patriarchy Whisnant As a result, they analyze rape as one of multiple forms of men's sexual violence and exploitation, looking at their interconnections and how they work in concert to maintain and reinforce women's oppression.

Third, the focus on group-based oppression has also led many radical feminist thinkers to examine the role of rape itself, and of ideologies about rape, in creating and reproducing not only patriarchy but multiple systems of domination, including racism and colonialism. Feminists are committed to ensuring that women's and girls' experiences of sexual violation are taken seriously as such, that the harm they suffer therein is recognized, and that those who inflict that harm are held accountable.

Achieving these goals has often involved arguing that certain kinds of encounters that have previously not been socially or legally recognized as rape should be so recognized—thus, challenging overly restrictive ideas often encoded in law about what counts as rape Burgess-Jackson; Sanday; Bevacqua Obvious examples include the abolition of marital-rape exemptions and the recognition of date and acquaintance rape.

There are varying feminist views about whether and how the concept of rape, and hence its framing in the law, requires further renegotiation or expansion. Many laws also include a force requirement, about which more below.

To consent to something is to reverse a prima facie supposition about what may and may not be done. In most contexts, there is a standing presumption that one does not have access to and may not make use of another's body, property, personal information, or other elements of his or her personal domain.

This presumption is reversed, however, when and for as long as the other consents to such access. Consent thus alters the structure of rights and obligations between two or more parties. Assuming for the moment that, in sexual encounters, rape exists where consent is lacking, the question then becomes what counts as consent.

Radical feminists question relevance of consent

Women's sexual consent has in many instances been understood quite expansively, as simply the absence of refusal or resistance; feminists have criticized this approach on the grounds that, among its other untoward implications, it regards even unconscious women as consenting MacKinnon b, ; Archard A vital task on the feminist agenda has been to challenge and discredit such ideas—to deny that what a woman wears, where she goes and with whom, or what sexual choices she has made in the past have any relevance to whether she should be seen as having consented to sex on a particular occasion.

Consent in general may be understood as either attitudinal or performative Kazan Because the kinds of behaviors mentioned above such as wearing revealing clothes, going somewhere alone with a man, or engaging in heavy petting have often been claimed by perpetrators to constitute evidence that a woman was in a mental state of willingness to have intercourse, feminists have often rejected attitudinal accounts in favor of performative ones; with a performative account, in contrast, a defendant can be challenged to articulate exactly what the woman said or did that constituted her consent to intercourse.

An added advantage of a performative account is that it suggests that sexual consent is not a woman's implied default state, but rather must be actively and affirmatively granted.

One limitation of a purely performative account of consent is that it does not take into account the context in which the relevant behavior or utterance occurs. The question is what other contextual constraints and pressures may also undermine the validity of a woman's apparent consent.

Radical feminists question relevance of consent

There are many kinds of explicit and implicit threats that render a woman's consent to sex less than meaningful:"Consent" is a word that's already defined in the English language, and it simply means giving someone permission to do something. Consent is an indication of permission, totally regardless of one's mental state (disregarding, for the moment, the obvious cases of when a person cannot consent due to alcohol, drugs, or being a minor).

Responses to “Walter Lewin” jd Says: Comment #1 December 10th, at pm. I disagree about the lectures. Given the recent cases of reported rape as well as the recent survey which showed that a large percentage of undergrads were sexually harassed, I feel .

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The economic, political, and social frameworks that each society has—its laws, institutions, policies, etc.—result in different distributions of benefits and burdens across members of the society.

Jan 31,  · Primoratz writes that “ radical feminists typically question the very relevance of consent to the morality of sexual acts.” Rape is to be quite frank, the lowest and most demeaning act a man can do to a woman.

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