Breitbart Editor Remembers The Good Old Days, When Rape Used To Mean Something
Picture it: the fevered imagination of misogynists everywhere, 2017.
A smooth talkin' fella meets a lady in a bar, probably by "negging" her. She is seduced by his handsomeness as well as his charms and wiles (which he perfected in a class at the local community college taught by a man in a velour hat), swiftly agreeing to go home with him and spend the night sexing him up like a common hussy. BUT THEN, the next morning she wakes up, and in the clear light of day realizes that having had consensual sex with him makes her A SLUT, which she does not want to be. "Well, I guess it is OK," she thinks, "so long as he sends me flowers the next day and seeks to win my hand in marriage!"
BUT THE FLOWERS NEVER ARRIVE! "Oh, he was a cad all along!" she cries!
The woman, simultaneously incredibly evil and o'ertaken by desperate grief caused by having surrendered her virtue, fearing that people will call her a slut, decides to call up the police and report that consensual sex as a rape. The police then show up at the smooth talkin' bachelor's house and immediately arrest him for said rape, and then he goes to jail FOR LIFE.
Simultaneously, across town, there is another woman who just had sex with a man who is really, really bad at sex. So bad at it, in fact, that she rings up 911 and has that man sent to jail FOR LIFE.
This is, of course, not a thing that happens in real life. But that doesn't stop jerks like Alex Marlow, editor-in-chief of Breitbart, from insisting that not only does this happen, but that the very definition of rape has changed to include such incidents.
On the November 21 edition of SiriusXM Patriot's Breitbart News Daily, Marlow opined:
Rape used to have a narrow definition. Rape used to have a definition where it was -- it was brutality, it was forced sexual attack and penetration. Now it's become, really, any sex that the woman ends up regretting that she had. And that leaves us without a lot of clarity, because when words lose their meaning, then they can be manipulated. And so now the left has made it so that women who are, maybe are -- I don't want to paint a scenario because the freaks at Media Matters are listening and they want to take me out of context, so I'm not going to give specific scenarios -- but you guys can do this in your own mind, where rape used to mean something. We used to all knew what it meant. And then now we don't know what it means. And then we don't know what's credible and what's not. And now everyone is going to come forward.
This line of reasoning is easily debunked when one imagines how many women out there likely regret having had sex with Alex Marlow and somehow have not yet accused him of rape.
Reading his words, however, you would think it was the most difficult thing in the world to avoid having sex with women who don't want to have sex with you, or with women who are too incapacitated to consent to sex with you. I assure you, Alex Marlow, it is not. It is very, very easy. Frankly, it involves far less effort on your part than the alternative.
Marlow, however, isn't entirely wrong about the definition of rape changing. Rape has indeed had a number of "definitions" over the years. Once upon a time, rape was a crime that could only be committed against an unmarried virgin, and it was considered to be not a crime against the woman, but a property crime against her father. Up until fairly recently, historically, marital rape was not a crime.
Up until 2013, the FBI's definition of rape was “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” It has since been updated to the far more accurate “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim."
It has not, however, been changed by anyone to mean "any sex a woman regrets."
In fact, if you'll notice, there is absolutely no mention of "regret" in that new definition. In the piles and piles of "MeToos" that have come out over the last month, you will notice that not a single person has said "I had sex that I wanted to have at the time that I later wished I did not have. He raped me, in retrospect!" Not a single one! Which is interesting considering I don't think I know a single person that doesn't have at least one entry on their "Oh god, I can't believe I banged that loser" list. No one is defining that as rape. Not me, not anyone I know or have even heard of.
You will also notice that there are not exactly a ton of feminists going around giving a flying crap about sexual purity or fearing being labeled a slut. That's not really a thing we do these days. Conversely, I've spoken to a lot of women who for a long time feared even saying they were victims of sexual assault because they didn't want to be known as "that girl," didn't want to be defined by the worst thing that had ever happened to them, didn't want to deal with all the shit that came along with it. Part of the catharsis of the "MeToo" thing was in finding out that they weren't alone in being "that girl."
I very much doubt that Marlow or any of the myriad other men who share his ideas about this are genuinely afraid of actually being accused of rape by women who simply regret having had consensual sex with them. Statistically, they are much more likely to be falsely accused of murder.
According to the National Registry of Exonerations, since records began in 1989, in the US there are only 52 cases where men convicted of sexual assault were exonerated because it turned out they were falsely accused. By way of comparison, in the same period, there are 790 cases in which people were exonerated for murder.
You would think they'd be more worried about that, but then they don't get to yell at feminists.
What this hysteria over "regret-based rape accusations" and "they're changing the definition of rape! How will we ever keep up???" is all about, ultimately, is men's own insecurity and fears of rejection. It's about the fear that if they have to really make sure that the woman they are about to have sex with really wants to have sex with them, that she will immediately come to her senses, realize they are repulsive, and run the hell away. It's about the fear that they are so bad at fucking that a woman would enact revenge upon them by accusing them of rape. It's about the fear that the woman fucking them really doesn't want to be fucking them.
It's part of my job to pay a lot of attention to the news. In the five years that I've been doing this, I have never seen a single news story about a woman who reported consensual sex that she later simply regretted having as rape. I have, however, seen dozens of stories of men going homicidal or brutally attacking women after being rejected. Just this month, a 34-year-old Pennsylvania man brutally murdered a 19-year-old girl he wasn't even dating for rejecting his proposal of marriage.
Women have much more to fear from scorned men than men have to fear from scorned women. That is a fact.
Being sexually harassed or assaulted is a bad time. Reporting a sexual assault the police is a bad time. Getting a rape kit done is a bad time. Talking about being sexually assaulted or harassed is a bad time. There is not a woman on earth who is going to put herself through any of that shit simply because you were a bad lay and she's an evil bitch.
The new rule is not that we count sex one later regrets as rape, the new rule is that if you are not 100% certain that a woman wants to have sex with you, do not put your penis inside of her. It's not that hard to figure out, Marlow. It's not that complicated. You can do it. And if you can't, don't have sex.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse