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Is this rape? Consent? Something else?

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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

So first it is plausible with a disorder

to be clear, i'm not at all convinced that it is plausible even with a disorder. it has not been established psychologically that someone with PTSD would suddenly behave like a pheasant instead of a human whenever they experienced unwelcome physical contact, and be completely unable to move or even vocalize for extended periods of time. i find that highly unlikely. i was just responding to your comment above that some kind of rare disorder was only one possible explanation among many, that this kind of "tonic immobility" is not even that abnormal to expect.

i don’t think it’s reasonable to demand that people modify their behavior based on such fanciful possibilities that they have no grounds in their experience of human beings to postulate. it would be on par with being afraid to pour someone a glass of water because they might automatically drink it and have a medical condition unknown to you where it affects them like poison.

Edited by splitprimary

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but i think we’re missing the intention behind that part of the story in speculating about disorders. “at first” it says she was “shy and intimidated” as the reason for her for not immediately objecting, as anyone would expect from someone who isn’t okay with what’s happening. but it fills in some of her thought process as she considers it further and actually consents on the basis of her original conditional: “Maybe this is his way of saying he wants to be with me? That was the agreement”

the interesting question here is whether there was a contract that for them to have sex meant agreement to be in a relationship, which he broke when he cut off contact right afterward, before anything else had really changed. there is a much better case for *that* action being immoral. then the argument is that this was a kind of fraud or theft, that he failed to deliver his end in an exchange once he had already been paid.

JASKN tried to handle this objection in his retelling of the story from an innocent Chris’ perspective, and it would be pretty tricky to specify for what amount of time he had to remain in the relationship before changing his mind. but it does seem like a moral issue if he went ahead with sex without ever intending to be in a relationship or seeing himself as in one. and a single instance of sub-par sex, especially an awkward first time, is not really reasonable grounds for a breakup.

Edited by splitprimary

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15 hours ago, splitprimary said:

it has not been established psychologically that someone with PTSD would suddenly behave like a pheasant instead of a human whenever they experienced unwelcome physical contact, and be completely unable to move or even vocalize for extended periods of time.

Yes it has, dissociation is a common symptom of PTSD. Dissociative freezing can and does happen if the situation reminds them enough of a traumatic. I know you find it unlikely, but there is no argument to persuade. You'd need to read up on PTSD and other severe anxiety disorder.

All I'm trying to suggest is that if someone says no to sex, we don't need to speculate on -why- someone said no or why they didn't respond normally when you disrespected their wishes. They said no and that's that. Your pouring glass example is in the video 2046 posted. It's not like you'd force a person to drink something.

14 hours ago, splitprimary said:

the interesting question here is whether there was a contract that for them to have sex meant agreement to be in a relationship

I don't understand this. There was no conditional. Haven't you heard people say "I only have sex in relationships" It doesn't mean "Sure, and if we do, it means we're in a relationship!" I hear it usually as a polite no without saying no.

 

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20 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

This is so implausible: that there was no touching below the waist and suddenly a penis was discovered in a vagina.

 

19 hours ago, Eiuol said:

That's kind of how rape goes....

This difference in understanding facts is the deepest part of the chasm, and far near the top are the other differences in opinion.

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18 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

 

This difference in understanding facts is the deepest part of the chasm, and far near the top are the other differences in opinion.

Which facts?

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On 9/27/2017 at 10:55 PM, splitprimary said:

to be clear, i'm not at all convinced that it is plausible even with a disorder. it has not been established psychologically that someone with PTSD would suddenly behave like a pheasant instead of a human whenever they experienced unwelcome physical contact, and be completely unable to move or even vocalize for extended periods of time. i find that highly unlikely.

How people behave with or without PTSD in these sorts of situations -- unable to move, or etc. -- I think is mostly a question for scientists (including psychologists), and what we find "likely" or "unlikely" (especially to a layperson) seems to be a poor standard for settling such questions.

Regardless, I think that PTSD is besides the point (and it wasn't mentioned in the original example). Sally "froze up," not because this is typical or even realistic, but because the author said so. The entire example is contrived, and poorly described, and it was probably a mistake to introduce it as a conversation starter (if we want the resulting conversation to be reasonable, at least), but if we're going to discuss it then we have to take it as it is: Sally froze up. No PTSD required, it's simply what she did, plausible or not.

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21 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

 

This difference in understanding facts is the deepest part of the chasm, and far near the top are the other differences in opinion.

2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Which facts?

1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

The entire example is contrived, and poorly described, and it was probably a mistake to introduce it as a conversation starter (if we want the resulting conversation to be reasonable, at least), but if we're going to discuss it then we have to take it as it is: Sally froze up. No PTSD required, it's simply what she did, plausible or not.

Honestly, what does this discussion accomplish? What goal are any of you hoping to achieve after three pages of debate? Is this really the most productive use of our time as objectivists? Is this discussion enjoyable to any of you? It's just pointless bickering and discord over an edge case that probably never even happened.

No wonder there are no objectivist congressmen, no wonder less than 1% of the population believes our true philosophy. We spend so much time bickering with ourselves when we agree on 99% of what's truly important. Reason, objective reality, selfishness, capitalism, heroic art! That's what we should be talking about, with others who we can reasonably convert. Not some stupid rape/consent case with each other. Our time is too valuable!

Edited by CartsBeforeHorses

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39 minutes ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

Honestly, what does this discussion accomplish? What goal are any of you hoping to achieve after three pages of debate?

I think it is an important issue to talk about rape. Too many people think it is pretty simple or don't really understand what consent means. I'd rather persuade at least some people to consider that there are more issues than how most people react. I don't mind saying that the story overall is poorly written. I mind a whole lot when people think PTSD doesn't really cause bizarre behaviors, or that we even need to say that Sally saying no is somehow cancelled out because she was making out.

It's not a small thing at all.

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5 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I think it is an important issue to talk about rape. Too many people think it is pretty simple or don't really understand what consent means. I'd rather persuade at least some people to consider that there are more issues than how most people react. I don't mind saying that the story overall is poorly written. I mind a whole lot when people think PTSD doesn't really cause bizarre behaviors, or that we even need to say that Sally saying no is somehow cancelled out because she was making out.

It's not a small thing at all.

You should only act in your own self-interest. How is this convo in your self interest? Do you honestly think that there is even the slightest chance that the two (three?) other people you are arguing with will ever commit rape? If not, then why are you arguing with them over a topic which does not affect them, or you personally for that matter?

Rape is a terrible crime, but arging about an edge case is definitely a small thing compared to saving the country. I am NOT trying to be accusatory here, but it bears asking. Have you done anything recently to try to spread objectivist ideas about capitalism, selfishness, etc.? How effective have you been?

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48 minutes ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

It's just pointless bickering and discord over an edge case that probably never even happened.

Challenge accepted, lol :) . (Now you'd better read this post!)

The edge case is seldom about the edge case though. It really about rape itself; about the concept of rape. Consider that my grandma's generation used different concept from today's. The existents subsumed under granny's concept probably excluded some less violent rapes (using the modern concept) and perhaps it excluded marital rape. So, the edge case is about drawing sharp lines,  the point is not so much "where exactly does the line go? "but "in what general vicinity?"  More than that: why? How do we decide where it should go? i.e How do we create good concepts?

Practically, since prison time is involved, the concept impacts lives: too restrictive a concept let's dangerous criminals roam free, while too inclusive a concepts destroys lives of the guilty/accused under the more inclusive concept. So, in terms of impact, it is a discussion like any other legal issue -- e.g. taxes, or minimum wages .

I can explain my motivation for starting the thread, but I did not read all three pages. I read this example on FB and all responses (non-Objectivists) were unanimous that this was rape. Little doubt was expressed (could be an FB thing). Since I disagreed, I wondered how Objectivists might hold the concept of rape. That's why I posted.

If people here generally agreed more or less on the concept, it would have been a short topic. Agree, agree, agree... we're done! Instead,  the disagreement sounded like "Hell YES!" and "Hell NO!" , signifying something deeper. If everyone thought it was an edge case, their would be that type of disagreement. How though? If Objectivists agree on so many philosophical issues, and also agree on the topic of concept-formation, how can they disagree so much on a moral/legal concept like rape? 

Concept formation is everything. It is easy to say we are for "rights", but even commies say they're for rights. Speaking of it in the abstract, you cannot define your way out of it... everyone is for "rights" and "freedom" and "justice": where they differ is what they mean by those terms. In other words, they have different concepts. Meanwhile, Objectivists agree on most of those concepts, but even there Objectivists do not all have the same conceptual framework when you start to shake the tree.

Take property rights for instance: they're absolute...we all agree. But, you test your concept by proposing a silly edge case: suppose someone buys up property around you and keeps buying in a circle so that in the end you and a few of your neighbors are trapped. If all property is private and none is public, then  -- some would argue -- the right to that property is absolute in the hands of their owners. Therefore, this edge case can happen in theory. One can shrug it off as an edge case and unrealistic. That's perfectly fine, if we generally agree this is the case. 

Instead other Objectivists would argue that the "surrounder" has no right to prevent access. What this means is that the two groups actually have very different ways in which they are conceptualizing "property rights" even if most of the existents subsumed by their concepts are the same ones. This difference in concept formation is not limited to one area: property-rights or rape: it applies wherever concepts are found (i.e. everywhere).

And, having hung out in such discussions for a while, I've noticed another curious thing. If you take 10 such controversies around edge cases: more or less the same groups of people take one side or the other. What that tells me is that there is a basic difference in approaching concepts  as such, not just in approaching one specific concept.

With all that said, of course this isn't the most interesting topic out there. The forums has tens of thousands of posts, so maybe we're scraping the bottom of the barrel now :)  Needless to say though, new and interesting topics are always welcome. You mention "reason, objective reality, selfishness, capitalism, heroic art". Those are some huge areas, but I look forward to your specific topics. 

Finally, everyone has certain interests. Some people here want to discuss more technical philosophy, while it bores others. Some wasn't to discuss economics, but it bores others. Personally, I'd love to see topics about practical ideas on being successful, in dealing with the world, etc. Others may have other interests. The only solution is to post something where response will interest you. And, if the topic moves somewhere you don't want to go, move on to another topic.

PS: Thank you for caring enough to criticize.

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39 minutes ago, softwareNerd said:

If Objectivists agree on so many philosophical issues, and also agree on the topic of concept-formation, how can they disagree so much on a moral/legal concept like rape?

Because concept formation is not automatic. Ayn Rand never clearly defined rape, and neither did Peikoff, so there's been no consensus or discussion on the topic before. So for now, none of us is using the same definitions of "sex" and "consent." Rape has so many foundational components as a concept that, outside of a well-defined legal statute, it is not a useful concept. It's an anti-concept until we define it further.

Say that we said:

Rape = Sex without consent.

What is sex? How long must an action last to be considered sex? Must it involve a penis entering a vagina? How many thrusts? Any penetration at all? Touching? Were they already having "sex" before he entered her?

What is consent? Saying yes? Nodding your head? Signing a contract? Your body language? Can lack of action indicate consent? Is that true if you have a gun to your head? What if you're married, do you have to consent every time? How long does "no" last for? One date? One week? Forever?

This gets off in the weeds very quickly. That's why we need statutes, based on clearly-formed concepts. It's why current statutes on the books are so long, they have to answer every one of those questions and define the concepts underlying what makes an action a crime. That's why we need courts.

You guys can keep playing mock trial if you want. Mock trial is fun. I did it in both high school and college. I've had enough of it for one lifetime, I think. I've got a culture to help save.

Quote

PS: Thank you for caring enough to criticize.

You're welcome! If you find this fascinating, and view it as a valid inquiry of Objectivist epistemology, then it's in your self-interest to continue the discussion without me.

Edited by CartsBeforeHorses

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On 9/29/2017 at 6:29 PM, softwareNerd said:

Instead other Objectivists would argue that the "surrounder" has no right to prevent access.

That would be me.  I just try to be objective, if there is any method to my apparent madness it is objectivity.   I don't think objectivity is as well studied among self-professed Objectivists as it should be.

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A recent news story suggests that the definition of legal rape may expand beyond consent, to informed consent. 

The example is a man who secretly removes his condom, but where the woman consented to sex with a condom.

One could imagine other scenarios: a man having sex with a girlfriend and it turns out he has a wife, or a second girlfriend and the sex-partner would never have consented if she knew.

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That would be something bad. There is greater STD and pregnancy isk. You added a pointless scenario that isn't like the first one. The article is about stealthing. Your second example is not stealthing. Step back a moment from seeing it as overreach right away and think about how in fact there is a big difference in risk;, removing a condom in secret is a dramatic increase in risk. Consent generally operates on grounds of what is a reasonable interpretation of risk involved at the time.

Edited by Eiuol

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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

That would be something bad. There is greater STD and pregnancy isk. You added a pointless scenario that isn't like the first one. The article is about stealthing. Your second example is not stealthing. Step back a moment from seeing it as overreach right away and think about how in fact there is a big difference in risk;, removing a condom in secret is a dramatic increase in risk. Consent generally operates on grounds of what is a reasonable interpretation of risk involved at the time.

So, are you saying "stealthing" is rape?

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I recall reading the "stealthing" story, albeit on a different news media at the time. It is a good tie-back to this thread in as far as it goes to the heart of the breach of a verbal agreement. Arguably, it has to be more difficult to build a case that non-verbal cues were used to "justify" removing the condom at some point during the act where the use of a condom was part of the agreement of the consensual sex.

Perhaps it is something that I've instilled into my character over the years, but in the scenario of the OP, even if the physical "language" suggested "go ahead", I would have verbally confirmed that the initial boundary was being approached, and that her consent would be required to go beyond it.

Both of these scenarios suggest a breach of agreement to me. Rape, on the other hand, would be the most clearest in a case where the assailant and the victim had little or no track record leading up to the assault.

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