Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Ninth Doctor

Peikoff on date rape

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

http://www.peikoff.c...valent-of-rape/

Today LP is answering a question about having sex under false pretenses, then he quickly moves into one of his more amazing recent statements.

A woman can give her consent by her presence, in certain contexts, and that frees the man to have sex regardless of what she then says. I'm thinking of that case of Kobe Bryant, where the woman came up sometime in the middle of the night, after some drinking, to his bedroom, and then when he purported to do something, she said, "No, I don't consent." You cannot do that. You have given every evidence that that is what you are going to do, and it's too late at that point to say, "Sorry but no."

Wowza.

That slippery phrase “in certain contexts” seemingly provides a convenient out. And if the example he used was of a couple that likes to act out rape fantasies, and they’ve done it before, then I’d agree with him. So don’t forget to specify a “safe word”, you pervs!

But for a first time sex encounter? I don’t know how to explain this without getting graphic, so let’s just say: what if the parts don’t fit together? Too bad honey! The ER’s down the road, don’t worry they’ll patch you up good, now shut up and stop all that screaming. The fact that he uses the Kobe case, and note the details he ascribes to it, I find this is shocking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is for real here? Really now? Really? Was Peikoff drunk or something when he recorded this? If not . . . this is like . . . some serious loss of marbles there. Even the example case chosen is terrible. *face palm*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The question, to which Dr. Peikoff replied in his podcast, Episode 202, of February 6, 2012:

"Is it rape if you obtain sex through fraudulent means? For example a man does not love a woman but tells her he does so that she will have sex with him. Is this the moral equivalent of rape?"

Listen directly on Dr. Peikoff's site here (Duration: 02:45)

I've transcribed his answer in full, hopefully without error:

Well, if all she needs is three words, "I love you," and you're not saying it, then it's not an issue of rape.

You have to determine here, before you talk about rape, what is the context.

A woman can give her consent by her presence, in certain contexts, and that frees the man to have sex regardless of what she then says. I'm thinking of that case of Kobe Bryant, where the woman came up sometime in the middle of the night, after some drinking, to his bedroom, and then, when he purported to do something, she said, "No, I don't consent." You cannot do that! You have given every evidence that that is what you are going to do, and it's too late at that point to say, "Sorry, but no!"

So, we're assuming it's not that type of case and you actually have created some kind of false identity; she falls for it and she never would have otherwise.

Well, that's obviously deception, so in a sense it is like rape because she is engaged in the act without her actual consent, without her knowledge - means she would not consent to what you're doing, and it is a form of having sex by force.

But, I don't think you could ever make that a legal crime because, you say, she says she thought you loved her, and you say you didn't say you loved her, but if it came to the law case, how are you going to decide? What is objective?

If a woman says, "he told me that he loved me," and he didn't, a defendent can say, "I indicated that I had a great admiration for her, otherwise I wouldn't want to sleep with her," etc., etc., there is no way of adjudicating what emotions he did or didn't have.

But if there is evidence of physical, of violence, of, you know, in a context that she didn't know him, she was walking down the street, etc., that's a different story.

So, that's what I would say. It's fraud, but in the form you present it, it's not legal, not a legal case.

Edited by Trebor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would think in the case of sex, since it is an active process, that consent would need to be continually given, either verbally or through action. You consent to what you are actively taking part in. Once you actually say, "I don't consent", then you no longer consent. "Oh, you didn't realize that my definition of 'sex' also included asphyxiation? Sorry, too late to turn back now!"

Does this also apply to, say, going to an abortion clinic? Once you're in the door, it's too late to say no? Your presence is consent alone?

Edited by brian0918

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got the impression he was taking for granted some context that he didn't make clear in his brief answer. Still, I can't really imagine what that context would be in order to justify his response.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got the impression he was taking for granted some context that he didn't make clear in his brief answer. Still, I can't really imagine what that context would be in order to justify his response.

Except that he gives a real example, so isn't it safe to assume that that example fully contains the correct context?

I'll also note that he wasn't forced to give a brief answer - he could have clarified it as much as he wanted. I would think that with such a topic, it would be important to be as clear as possible. If he left out some important context, then that's unfortunate, but I have no reason to believe he did.

Edited by brian0918

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[...]but I have no reason to believe he did.

Yeah... any further defense would just be rationalizing on my part. I think you're right about continual consent. But, I think you'd get a different response out of him in a 10 minute conversation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now you're just trying to feed this thing, aren't you? :P

Somebody should write in to Piekoff asking specifically about that one section of his answer. Devote and entire answer section to elaborating on what he contends is the logic behind this. This way, there should be no room left for any dispute over what he may or may not mean and what he may or may not support and so on and so forth. Otherwise, I'm sure plenty of bickering and assuming will occur.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's important to maintain the context of his answer. I think it's pretty clear that he is talking about a legal context: that is, a woman should not be able to legally claim she has been the victim of rape when she declines at the last second after having presented a large amount of evidence that she did consent (if this were the case, it would be much too easy for women to claim that they had been raped arbitrarily in order to punish their former boyfriends or for some other reasons). Cases such as State v. Rusk (http://wings.buffalo.../web/mdrusk.htm) are evidence that it's not always easy to determine when rape has occurred, but it is very important to set strict limits on when rape can be claimed to have occurred, since it obviously can ruin a person's reputation.

Ninth Doctor/brian, notice that you completely changed the context by supposing examples where the woman was physically harmed. Physical abuse of that kind is illegal regardless of whether or not rape occurred.

Whether or not it would be immoral for a man to continue to have sex with a woman after she changed her mind about having sex in the middle of the process is not at issue, and is therefore not taken into consideration in Peikoff's answer.

Finally, regardless of whether you think Peikoff is correct, I advise anyone who thinks that consent can disappear "whenever the woman says so" should consider the implications of that view. That's something that a malicious woman could very easily take advantage of. So I think the broader context needs to be considered to establish whether or not consent is in fact present.

Tristan

Edited by ttime

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it's pretty clear that he is talking about a legal context

That may be the case, though this bit doesn't fit: "that frees the man to have sex regardless of what she then says."

If he was simply explaining what the law should say, he should have said, "that frees the man from legal culpability, though not necessarily moral censure." His statement as it stands appears to give consent to men to continue on their way and force the woman to let him finish.

Ninth Doctor/brian, notice that you completely changed the context by supposing examples where the woman was physically harmed.

Rape does not involve physical harm? Does a woman who is involved in non-consensual sex simply sit still, saying politely, "please stop"? No, she struggles to free herself, and any force preventing her from freeing herself is likely to cause physical harm.

Edited by brian0918

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That may be the case, though this bit doesn't fit: "that frees the man to have sex regardless of what she then says."

If he was simply explaining what the law should say, he should have said, "that frees the man from legal culpability, though not necessarily moral censure." His statement as it stands appears to give consent to men to continue on their way and force the woman to let him finish.

Why does he need to reestablish the context of his answer in the middle of it when the question was about a legal issue? Peikoff obviously considers rape to be immoral, so I don't see why it would be necessary for him to make such a statement.

Rape does not involve physical harm? Does a woman who is involved in non-consensual sex simply sit still, saying politely, "please stop"? No, she struggles to free herself, and any force preventing her from freeing herself is likely to cause physical harm.

Rape may involve physical harm. It also may not. State v Rusk is actually an excellent example of rape without any real physical harm; the harm was predominantly psychological.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why does he need to reestablish the context of his answer in the middle of it when the question was about a legal issue?

Because the bit I quoted doesn't appear to fit that context.

the harm was predominantly psychological.

And that is of no consequence?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because the bit I quoted doesn't appear to fit that context.

How does it not fit a legal context? Why are you trying to change the context to a moral one?

And that is of no consequence?

Of course it's of consequence. But I'm saying that physical assault and rape, while being correlated, are two different phenomena. Someone who strangles someone or beats them up is guilty of that crime regardless of whether or not they committed rape at the same time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it's pretty clear that he is talking about a legal context

Actually, I don't even see where the context is only legal. Can you point that out? Certainly the question doesn't set that context: "Is this the moral equivalent of rape?" At what point in Peikoff's reply did he switch the context to the legal?

Edited by brian0918

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, I don't even see where the context is only legal. Can you point that out? Certainly the question doesn't set that context: "Is this the moral equivalent of rape?" At what point in Peikoff's reply did he switch the context to the legal?

At about 1:40. I'm actually no longer sure what is going on in the beginning with the use of the term 'moral', since his conclusion focuses solely on the legal aspect. I'll have to listen to it a couple more times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At about 1:40.

But that's *after* the comment in question. So was he talking about the moral or the legal before that? I can only gather from the content of the comment itself (particularly the bit I specifically cited), that he was talking about the moral.

Edited by brian0918

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ninth Doctor/brian, notice that you completely changed the context by supposing examples where the woman was physically harmed. Physical abuse of that kind is illegal regardless of whether or not rape occurred.

I say non-consensual sex = physical harm. Does there need to be vaginal tearing, and does she need to leave blood stains on the guy’s shirt, as happened in the Kobe Bryant case? Hell no. I can twist your arm behind your back, causing you immediate pain, but without causing physical harm, in the sense that you won’t have an injury, and will be fine once I let go.

Or do you think non-consensual sex doesn’t hurt? Tell you what, I have it on good authority that with sufficient lubrication in place, non-consensual anal sex doesn’t result in injury. Imagine a scenario where you find yourself bent over a chair, you’re saying no, but your rapist is a highly regarded Objectivist authority (and judo master), and he quotes chapter and verse at you from Peikoff podcasts as he gets busy. Maybe he threw some code words at you earlier; it’s a break during OCON, and you were drinking together at the bar, talking meta-ethics, and you unknowingly communicated “yes, I’m game for a buggering”, when you thought you were affirming the primacy of existence. Remember, once you’ve gone up to his room, whatever you say from that point on is too late, taking Peikoff literally.

As to this moral vs. legal issue, there’s always going to be a he says she says aspect to rape allegations, and I don’t see how Peikoff is shedding any light on the matter. What I do see is him giving moral license to men to force themselves on women, and I think it’s horrifying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally, regardless of whether you think Peikoff is correct, I advise anyone who thinks that consent can disappear "whenever the woman says so" should consider the implications of that view. That's something that a malicious woman could very easily take advantage of. So I think the broader context needs to be considered to establish whether or not consent is in fact present.

I don't know what you mean about consent "disappearing," but consent stops at the moment that any participant declares that he or she doesn't wish to continue. The same is true of any activity into which one enters with others consensually, be it sexual or otherwise. If a person changes his or her mind about having sex with someone, including in the middle of having sex, his or her partner(s) don't get to refuse to stop and use force to continue.

Peikoff's views suggest that he might have some strong disagreements with Objectivism on the issue of volition -- he seems to perhaps believe that males can't be expected to volitionally control themselves once they've reached a certain stage of sexual arousal, and therefore cannot be held morally responsible for not being able to stop themselves from finishing.

J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peikoff's views suggest that he might have some strong disagreements with Objectivism on the issue of volition -- he seems to perhaps believe that males can't be expected to volitionally control themselves once they've reached a certain stage of sexual arousal, and therefore cannot be held morally responsible for not being able to stop themselves from finishing.

I think Peikoff is suggesting that aliens are forcing the humans to have sex!

Seriously, whatever it seems like Peikoff isn't getting right on this question, let's keep the pure speculation to a minimum -- especially since Peikoff literally wrote an Objectivism book with topics that included volition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess what he actually said isn't all that egregious. Why else would you feel the need to spice it up like that?

Yes it is egregious. And we’re merely taking the principle he’s enunciated and applying it. I brought up anal rape to illustrate the problem in a way a man ought to understand.

In Peikoff's example (though I have no idea if also in the actual case he cited, because, like I said, I don't keep up with celebrity news), the woman is clearly there by choice, and free to leave at any time.

Free to leave? Obviously not. If so, there wouldn’t be a problem. “t's too late at that point to say, ‘Sorry but no’”, therefore, what? Peikoff’s guidance for women: don’t go up to his room if you’re not up for sex. Peikoff’s guidance for men: she’s here, now plug your ears and bone her!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes it is egregious. And we’re merely taking the principle he’s enunciated and applying it. I brought up anal rape to illustrate the problem in a way a man ought to understand.

Free to leave? Obviously not. If so, there wouldn’t be a problem. “t's too late at that point to say, ‘Sorry but no’”, therefore, what? Peikoff’s guidance for women: don’t go up to his room if you’re not up for sex. Peikoff’s guidance for men: she’s here, now plug your ears and bone her!

Alrighty then: kidnapping and "plug your ears and bone her", both added to the list. Anything else?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...