Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which came into effect on 1 May 2004, an individual (a) is guilty of rape if;
A – intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of B (the complainant) with his penis;
B- does not consent to the penetration; and,
A- does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Thats the legal ‘definition,’
i want to specify what my definition of rape is, and one that i know many will agree with,
Rape occurs when a sexual act is subjected on an individual without consent,
now that means even if you slept with someone, had sex with them and then woke up and decided to go again but they weren’t up for it. Coercion need not be violent, many victims of domestic abuse know this, a woman may feel pressured to have sex again if the man is being forceful or if he has left her with no choice. That constitues as RAPE, whether you like it or not. I dont care if shes naked, if she aint up for it,its rape.
For so long, women have been campaigning to make this view normalized, it was only until 1991, that rape within marriage was criminalized. Before then it was an issue that was avoided as many saw it as a husbands right to have sex with his wife, it was her duty to pleasure him, therefore the very notion of rape in marriage was mocked. And I can tell you, that that view still exists, I have heard many stories and know of people who still believe that the husband has a right to be sexually pleasured on his demand. What frustrates me more then anything about this view, is the complete negligence of the woman, of her sanity and of her self esteem. You see if you tell a woman or a young girl that upon marriage, she is to comply to her husbands needs, you are subliminally telling her that she has no worth and that she is inferior to him. You are essentially stripping off her equality, esteem & integrity. That is a crime in itself.
So now that we have established that, let me move on to what has prompted me to write this post. When I heard what George Galloway had said in his video podcast, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/9490122/George-Galloway-Julian-Assange-rape-allegations-nothing-but-bad-sexual-etiquette.html, I heard myself say oh God, no you didnt George, please tell me you didnt just say that. His arguments regarding rape, are absolutely beyond ridiculous. In ethics, we were taught that Rape was an intrinsic wrong, meaning that wherever you went in the world, whoever you are, you will always abhor rape, due to the horrific nature of the act. So firstly for George to speak so lightly on the issue, is a disgrace in itself, but to state that
“Some people believe that when you go to bed with somebody, take off your clothes, and have sex with them and then fall asleep, you’re already in the sex game with them…It might be really sordid and bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape or you bankrupt the term rape of all meaning.”
I’m sorry George, but what does rape mean to you? so to you, if a woman sleeps with a man, he is licensed to have sex with her in the morning even if she isn’t consenting to it, to you by her being in bed with him means she has consented already?!?! How do you know she consented in the first place? How do you know she wasn’t coerced to get into bed with him? Forget all that, does it not occur to you, that she has every right not to want to have sex again!
What frustrates me about George’s comments are the effect they will have on his fans, I am one of the many Bradfordian woman who was chuffed by his election result in Bradford West, hence why i am so incensed by his comments now. When it was revealed that the women of Bradford had won the election for him, I was overjoyed, not that Galloway had won, but what he had achieved, you see for so long woman in Bradford had been dis empowered by the Biraadri system, and I would applaud anyone who sought to empower them. Regardless if it was a political strategy or whatever else the motive may have been.
It is for that reason, that I am more irritated and angered by his comments, I wasn’t a big fan of George before he came to Bradford, but when he came I thought lets give this guy a chance, I admired the lengths his campaigners went to for votes, I was impressed by his dedication to including the women, who had, for so long been marginalized. He has let me down, he has let down the women who voted for him, more then the Biraadri system did. Because at least with the Biraadri politics, women knew and accepted that their voices were silent, but to give them hope, to gain their trust and then to turn around and to make such demeaning comments is a complete slap in the face. It isnt just demeaning to the woman in question re Assange case, it is demeaning to all women, and in particular to women in Bradford who were led to believe that they are equal socially and politically. George Galloway has fallen from his white horse, and im glad its happened now rather then later.
Another of my concerns is the effect it will have on the young boys here, who revere him and to whom he has become a savior and celebrity. You see, there are some within the Asian community, like there are some in all communities, who do not acknowledge the existence of spousal rape, or even rape if the woman is already in bed with you. Let me stress that this is a cross cultural opinion held by some not just limited to one community. So now that Galloway has publicly made these ridiculous, outdated, misogynistic remarks, it will and can create a precedent, there will be some who will say well George knows his stuff, if he’s saying it, he’s got a point, its not rape. It will reinforce the misogynistic views already held by so many within the Asian/white/black communities, and the fact that it has been said by a public figure will give it authority. And that is my greatest worry, all the work that is being done within these communities to empower women will take on a new challenge and we will have stepped back rather then stepping forward. The fact that George has defended his ignorant comments doesn’t make it any better.
I really hope someone in the Respect party gives him the telling off he deserves, maybe he needs to meet some rape victims and gain a deeper insight into this great and grave atrocity.
But more then anything I think he needs to issue an apology to women everywhere, and in particular to women in Bradford, who brought him power only to be told that if they were raped, their leader would tell them that they had made their own bed and now they would have to lie in it.