The Vagenda

Competitive Rape Defining

Hey there, old white man in a position of political power. Come and sit down. I have some beef to discuss. Yes, it’s ok for you to sit there. I have given my consent. Do you know what consent is? Consent is me giving you permission to do something. Got that, OK? So we’ll begin.
It seems, oh old white man in a position of political power, that your chums up there in government are having some trouble with some issues pertaining to rape. There seems to be some kind of competition going on. Ooooh FUN! Some of them even think that there is such a thing as ‘legitimate rape’ (TM Todd Akin) , you know, like there’s some kind of rape spectrum, with ‘not actually rape-rape’ at one end and ‘rapey rape’ at the other. Something like this:
Some old white men in positions of political power seem to think that ‘some rapes are less serious than others’ (TM Kenneth Clark), while their buddies over in the fucking DUNCE corner over there just regard it as ‘bad sexual etiquette’ (TM George Galloway) Do you know what bad sexual etiquette is? Bad sexual etiquette is farting when I’m going down on you, not fucking me without my permission.
I can’t believe I’m having to say this, old white man in a position of political power, fucking me without my permission is rape. 
What do you have to say for yourself now?
Perhaps, like Tony Benn,  you’ll say that ‘a non-consensual relationship is very different from rape.’ In which case, I’ll say to YOU that a non-consensual relationship is when some dude decides he’s my boyfriend without my agreement. If he then goes on to fuck me without my permission, then it’s rape. Why are you laughing? Do you think it’s funny?
In that case I’m going to have to throw the book at you. Here goes. Rape, defined under English law:

Under section 1(1) Sexual Offences Act  2003 a defendant, 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.

Section 74:  ”if she agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice” . In the offences of rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault and causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, a person (A) is guilty of an offence if (s)he:
  • Acts intentionally;
  • (B) does not consent to the act; and
  • does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Nowhere does it say that it doesn’t count as rape if it isn’t by stranger. Nowhere does it say that it doesn’t count as rape if the two parties had previously had a sexual relationship. Nowhere does it say that a woman has to explicitly state ‘yes, I give you permission to put your penis in me now, on this specific occasion’. I could be passed out after ten tequila slammers. It’s still rape. I could be the biggest ‘slag’ in NW1, with over 500 men in my back catalogue, but if I don’t consent, then it’s rape. I could be a prostitute, or your wife, or asleep. It’s still rape.
Here’s a helpful diagram:


And I’m not even that clever. When a member of the Republican party told me that, were I to be raped, a troupe of magical elves would emerge from my vagina clutching knapsacks containing the rapist’s expunged sperm, I couldn’t believe it was true! Imagine! 
So there you have it. Rape. Simples. You can all go back to what ever the fuck you were doing beforehand, because guess what, arseholes? Having a load of old white men in positions of political power trying to give their opinion on what might or might not happen to my body, and what frequently DOES happen to the bodies of other women, well, that really bums me out. It’s rude, and plus, it for a court of law to decide (helpfully staffed by yet more old white men in positions of power, but at least they are armed with a wig and a legal qualification). The law of consent may be a tricky beast to negotiate, but thankfully that’s not your concern. Your input is not needed.
Toddle along, now. There’s nothing more to see here. Except my RAGE.



28 thoughts on “Competitive Rape Defining

  1. Dear Vagenda: I love you for so many reasons. May I request that your articles have a ‘share’ option for facebook so I can do it EVERY DAY – thanks!

  2. While I’m also shocked and enraged about the whole ridiculous ‘legitimate’ rape discussion, and I’m nodding along with most of this article, I do wonder what being ‘white’ has to do with this subject. Understand it could be used as a descriptive part of the story, but not sure why you repeatedly refer to the colour of their skin as if it is a symptom of someone with this crazy point of view – rather than an incidental detail.

  3. I’m not kicking off, but surely there are different kinds of rape? There is rape, as you have defined it. Then there’s statutory rape. Then there’s BDSM rape.

    “Legitimate rape” doesn’t mean it’s OK to rape people, it means that it’s actually rape and not something else, something more arguable (statutory or BDSM rape for e.g.)

    He is a terrifyingly stupid misogynist and his ideas are dangerous. What his conclusions lead to – that women who are pregnant through rape must have really wanted it – are completely sickening. But your problem is with him and his mentality, not his terminology.

    Also the facts that is he’s old and white have nothing to do with it.

  4. Well the ‘different kinds of rape’ thing is kind of a moot point, because BDSM still involves CONSENT, and the only reason statutory rape is different is because someone is too young to reasonably give CONSENT by law. That is all this article points out, and rightfully so.

  5. Yes John, I think you need to refer back to the final diagram. It’s all covered there.

    And all these horrible people getting their harmful views on rape aired ARE old white men, as are most people who frequently have their views on anything aired, whether or not they are experts. There are a few power structures showing themselves here. It’s no conicidence, and thus totally relevant.

    Great article, added some rage to my giggle to my rage.

  6. Agreed Bonneth, the moot thing is exactly my point – if it’s moot then it’s not “all covered in the diagram”

    - Some BDSM does not always involve consent. Most does, but some really doesn’t. Even though it sort of does. Expressing a wish for future non-consent is terrifying and confusing.
    - Statutory… at what age can make an informed decision? California says 18. Lots of other states have it lower. I think we can all agree that an 8 year old has no decision making process but where is the line?
    - If people are tricked/coerced into it, is it still rape?
    - What about people who don’t say no but feel coerced or terrified? Is a lack of no consent the same as consent?

    I have questions that are not covered by your diagram. They are also grey areas legally. So “legitimate rape” is just another term – it does NOT mean it’s OK, legitimate rape is disgusting. It just means that it’s the same kind of rape that you put on the right side of your diagram and isn’t the same kind that would go in the BDSM section of mine.

    The man is an evil, small-minded, regressive dick. His views and conclusions are insne. That we all agree on.

    “All these horrible people… ARE old and white” – no they’re not. Plenty of people of all colours and ages say horrible shit about women. There is no connection between them being old, white or male and their views here. Not relevant at all.

  7. White male privilege is a thing. There have been whole books written about it. So yes, it is relevant.

    That’s not the same thing as saying that all old white men are evil, or that non-white men don’t make sweeping statements about rape.

    In bringing up BDSM rape, you have mentioned a rather niche concept. Would you like me to add it to the diagram for you? Where on the rainbow do you think it should go? Are there any other types of rape that you’d like us to add? We’re sorry that our humorously intended diagram was insufficient as far as you, John Smith (if that IS your real name) are concerned.

  8. Oh, and also. We do take issue with his terminology. To say that there is such a thing as ‘legitimate rape’ implies that there is such a thing as ‘non legitimate rape’.

    Thanks, though, for taking part in the competitive rape defining. Anyone else want to have a crack? We have a trophy for the biggest douchebag ready and waiting.

  9. John – whether BDSM or not. If there is no consent – it’s rape (which according to UK law means vaginal, anal or oral). A respectful and healthy BDSM relationship should be consensual. Even if roleplay involves acting out ‘non-consenting’ sex, an agreement and consent should have been discussed in the first instance. If within that roleplay, one of the parties uses a safe word, then it should stop immediately. If not, then it’s rape.

    Lack of no consent means no consent – it’s rape.

    So the diagram above is completely explanatory.

    No consent – rape

    Consent – not rape.

    The comments about ‘old white men’ are reflecting that in systems of patriarchy, the patriarchs are predominantly white and middle class (Rothman and Caschetta, 1995).

  10. Vagenda, I love you but sometimes I find your responses to commenters overly aggressive.

    I didn’t read John Smith’s comments as trolling, he made some points and HFA responded with a good rebuttal to his comments. No need to call anyone a douchebag.

    But thank you for writing this piece.

  11. Is it rape if a man gets woken up by a woman performing a sex act on him of any kind? Now this may sound sexist against men but i’m sure most wouldn’t mind , although if you hold gender equality close to your heart then surely its a crime nonetheless that should be punishable to the full extent of the law. Maybe though if its a white man he would deserve it, some form of karmic comeuppance for all of the plotting done to determine his race and gender in utero with a mind to subjugate and make life miserable for women everywhere and all men of a non-aryan disposition, as a white man i can tell you this is how it works.
    Final point, free speech is great, and i can utterly see why you are frustrated by the point put forward by mr Galloway, however if you bring race and gender into it then surely you are no better than the English Defence League, the BNP, Islam4uk, the KKK etc etc, and im sure you would eagerly complain about their use of race as a base platform for viewpoints.

  12. ” – If people are tricked/coerced into it, is it still rape?”

    Yes. That’s rape.

    “ - What about people who don’t say no but feel coerced or terrified?”

    Also rape.

    It’s really not complicated. If one party does not consent- or is unable to consent because of age or incapacity – it’s rape. No ifs, no buts.

  13. I think the old white men thing is a rather lazy shorthand for men in so-called liberal western societies who hold, as an adjunct to the positions of power they inhabit and to which they feel they are entitled, patriarchal attitudes which are unacceptable to many they hold power over.

    Rape has a legal definition in this country – see above. I am sure that a woman is legally capable of sexual assault. If the man doesn’t mind, GET THIS, it’s not rape (or sexual assault) is it? CONSENT is the key word

  14. The Republican jerk is illiterate as well as stupid. He presumably means by “legitimate rape” not rape which is permissible, but “rape as defined by law”, i.e. “proper” (in his book) rape. This is, in his view, the one that female biology reacts against. Presumably if the legal definition changes, the female body alters accordingly, as it would have to if the victim were to cross into a state/country where the definition of rape differs.

    Interesting though that those socially liberal Swedes have a legal system that does recognise degrees of seriousness of rape, if I understand it correctly…

  15. 1. You finished your own article with “The law of consent may be a tricky beast to negotiate”. I am trying to negotiate it with a serious of (I hoped) non-offensive and genuine questions. I was straight up and respectful. You weren’t. You called a douchebag, twice, simply for asking questions. That’s why I’m not using my real name.

    2. “Humourously intended” – you told me, specifically to, “refer to the diagram” because “it’s that simple” and “it’s all in the diagram”. I did that, and now you’re saying “oh it was only humourously intended” like I should have realised that from your very literal and specific insults and rebuttals.

    3. Susie – it IS complicated. You say it’s not, Vagenda say it’s a “tricky beast”, and I ask questions. That’s all. I’m not missing any points. So let ME be clear:

    When a woman says no and means no, and a man fucks her anyway, that is not complicated. I agree completely, of course I do. It is rape and to say otherwise would be insane.

    But that’s not what I’m arguing. There are other circumstances which cloud this. There are ifs and buts. Hence Vagenda saying “The law of consent may be a tricky beast to negotiate”. That means that there are ifs and buts.
    Therefore it’s not as simple as consent vs no consent, especially as until recently there was a massive inequality in consent for straight and gay relationships.

    4. Old, white men are at fault. I agree there too. I am not suggesting that they are innocent. However you seem to be ignoring 2-5,000 years of global religion, and over 100 years of global, celebrity-focused media, which are directly responsible for spreading horrific levels of (amongst other things) misogyny and homophobia. That’s what is fucking up our society. It’s not just an old, white Republican thing. Look at the Jews, the blacks and the Muslims as well, please. As far as men go, you got me. The old and white thing is way more contentious though.

    5. Don’t call me a douchebag. Just because you’re angry doesn’t mean it’s not really fucking rude, something I have not been to you.

  16. willy in mouth / bum / vag – without lady/ man agreeing to it = rape.
    Every other terminological discussion is futile and ultimately unhelpful with regards to remprimanding perpetrators.

    I find it generally appaling that definitions such as this are even being questioned and it goes with out saying ‘legitimate rape’…well like I wrote, goes without saying. A ridiculously self indulgent philosphical discussion seems to have broken out without the tiddly-winkllyest consideration for what the fuck they are actually talking about.

    Too angry to properly articulate – RAGE shared and article much appreciated.
    Thanks Vagenda.

  17. Sorry if our comment was overly snarky and/or rude. The legitimate rape thing makes us really, really angry. As we said before, using the term ‘legitimate rape’ implies there is ‘non legitimate rape’. And it IS kind of ironic that on an article about how men seem to have some kind of problem with defining rape, a man has joined the discussion to query the definition of rape. HM?

    Again, on the old white male thing…we’re not ignoring ‘the jews, the blacks, and the muslims’, (although we probably wouldn’t prefix those terms with ‘the’, we’d say: ‘jewish people (sometimes also white BTW), black people, and Muslims’) but in this specific case we are talking about white, male politicians, so the academic arguments about white male privilege were inevitably given a nod.

  18. Thank you Vagenda and I really do apologise for causing any offence. I appreciate it seems ironic, and I appreciate that there are such things as trolls, and I’m really neither of those things. I just have questions.

    Okay I’ll fess up to something and maybe you’ll see my angle. When I was a lot younger I got into a huge amount of trouble for having sex with a girl who was under the age of consent. There was only a 2 year difference in our ages, she was my girlfriend and we stayed together for the next two and a half years. I didn’t trick, force, lie or coerce anybody. It was her choice for us to sleep together, yet I’m still a rapist, albeit a statutory one.

    “Every other terminological discussion is futile and ultimately unhelpful with regards to remprimanding perpetrators”

    Well I would have liked a tad more discussion before being labelled a rapist by a bunch of people who didn’t even know us, and having this on my record for the rest of my life. That was 20 years ago and I will be fucked by it for the rest of my life.

    I’m sorry if you think I’m being ridiculously philosophical and I’m sorry you think I have no idea what I’m talking about. No, I’ve never been raped, but my life has been ruined and I’ve been treated like a rapist for the past 20 years, so it’s not exactly a picnic. I just wanted to talk about THAT without getting torn to pieces by a baying mob.

  19. None of what I wrote was directed at you, John Smith. But at the greater topic at large i.e. the debates floating around as to want qualifies rape (as in non-consentual sex) currently being discussed in the media and in this article. If it was directed at you or your experiences which I knew nothing of – I would have written it as a response to your comment above – as I am doing now.

    It was my personal opinion, intended not at or for you – but in connection with the article above and the aforementioned politicians/media figures.

    I’m sure your experiences were horrible, but as I don’t know or wish to know any details – I’m sure you’ll understand that none of what I write can be in connection with that or you.

  20. According to current uk law a 17 year old having sex with a 15 year old is not guilty of statutory rape. It is rape, regardless of consent, if the minor is under 13. Otherwise it’s unlawful sex (unless there is no consent and then it’s rape, not statutory rape. Simple). These laws exist to protect young people and I think most of us find that a worthy aim? Whether or not courts get involved and how involved they get in cases where teenagers are bonking seems to be influenced by sensible standards (see

  21. It seems the point of the article was that there is rape and there is not rape and no grey area in-between. Ie. Was there consent? yes. Not rape. Was there consent? No. Rape. What constitutes consent in some circumstances can be tricky to work out but once it has been worked out whether or not it was rape, it comes back to the simple question. It is clear that some of our politicians don’t see this. However some people in the comments seem to be saying that once this simple question has been answered, any further analysis is unnecessary. Well surely some rapes are worse than others. The use of violence for example, or the amount of emotional abuse involved, how sustained etc. I’m not going into any more detail because it would be gratuitous, but while all rape is bad, some is clearly worse. And some of the worst rapists need more severe sentences to fit their level of threat.

  22. The law already makes the distinction between rape and rape with aggravating circumstances (which includes coercion, violence and emotional abuse.) In addition to this if violence has been perpetrated then the defendant may also be charged with ABH/GBH. Nuances in the law already allow for different sentences depending on the severity of the crime. The problem isn’t that the legal system treats all rapists the same, it’s that some people (unfortunately many of these are men in prominent positions of power) seem to want to disregard the experiences of rape victims unless the crime fits their preconceptions of what rape is (i.e stranger jumps woman in a dark alley at night).

  23. I agree too, the comparison between your response here and your defence in “The penis perspective: thoughts from a male feminist” of “Also you have to take it into account that, when people come to a movement, they often haven’t got it all figured out (hell, we know we haven’t)” seems a little extreme. However like Unknown says thank you for writing the piece, it’s just brilliant

  24. on the other hand I think the Vagenda team reacted to the tone as well as content of John Smith’s post. Wonder if he’s one of those middle-aged White Men Of Power.

    I still can’t even believe we ever ever have to have this discussion: if someone (man or woman) says “no” to penetration (outside of the clearly defined agreements of BDSM scenes) then that’s it. If someone then sticks their willy in one of their orifaces: it’s R. A. P. E.

    It’s not rocket science.

  25. You’ve been honest about your sexual relationship with a minor, John Smith, so thanks for that. But you see the point? You are a rapist in the definition of the law (in Germany they have a convention that for young people having sex under the age of legal consent if the other party is less than 2 years older the punishment is much much more lenient).

    On the other hand, as the mother of 2 teenage girls: I’d call the police.