I had the pleasure of attending Dave Selfe’s lecture on the issues surrounding sexual offences today, in the context of the Learning Together project which I am currently working for as a research intern, as well as attending in my capacity of Master in Criminal Justice student.
We talked about many things during the session: as always, a delight to witness.
We were reminded that a woman cannot rape a man. Many of us – I sense – understand why not, but even so I am uncomfortable enough with the absence of conceptual symmetry to want to thought-experiment this further.
A trail of ideas below, with which you may condemn or dismiss me if you wish.
Let it be clear, however, upfront, that I have personal experience of what I am attempting to understand in the words you can now read:
Does there need to exist another offence which parallels rape in a mental sense?
Shouldn’t it be possible to say humiliation of the man – when undesired – is a form of rape?
Isn’t, in fact, rape – if indeed a question of power and control more than sexual desire – as much an act which takes place in the mind’s sphere of the victim as in and on their body physical?
And wouldn’t, therefore, it be fair and justifiable to argue that a woman – in terms of committing abuse with respect to the mind’s sphere, and in this specific context – can after all rape a man?
And if it is wrong to call it rape, because rape requires a physical penetration, doesn’t this go some way to explaining why too many people – even these days – see rape as a matter of sex and the body, not as a matter of power and the mind?