But second, rape must necessarily mean sexual intercourse by physically overpowering or threatening a woman rather than the pregnant term "without consent," if rape really is a uniquely heinous crime on a different plane from a physical battery or forcing somebody at gunpoint to empty their checking account. Rape is not, "I really shouldn't have his penis inside my vagina." (Or, more cynically, "That bastard used me!") The allegations against Julian Assange are apparently not that he physically overpowered a woman in order to sexually penetrate her but rather that he boorishly insisted on plowing ahead without a condom. One one-hundredth of an inch of latex apparently distinguishes rape from what would otherwise be a good f*** to regale your friends with. (And anybody who thinks women don't talk about these things, you are hereby permanently banned from this blog.)
George Galloway is right. To define rape in such terms is to "bankrupt the term rape of all meaning." Yes you can plow me like the back forty (I am necessarily omitting the preparatory work and graphic detail) but no condom? That's where I draw the line!
If that is Julian Assange's crime, then we detach rape from the uniquely violent and violative nature of the act. The act of coitus is irrelevant in such circumstances. The "rape" would lie in inflicting the risk of pregnancy or venereal disease. In the case of the former, the victim would be compensated by billing Assange for a Morning After pill or a D & C. Hey, abortion is safe and legal after all. Just an exercise in reproductive choice. Empowering even. In the case of the latter, we are obviously talking about serious consequences, in which event maybe we ought to rethink this whole idea of casual sex with people we have no intention of marrying. If Assange is in fact neutered or hygienic, then truly no "crime" has been committed. This is how absurd the debate gets when the act of coitus becomes so completely trivialized.
This whole brouhaha continues to roil because of statements by a typically clueless Congressman who used the unfortunate phrase, "legitimate rape." Well, if rape really is a uniquely heinous form of battery (it used to be punishable by death), then there really is such a thing.
On a further note, The Spearhead has a thoughtful essay on the consequences of restricting abortion to cases of rape.
[I]f a woman in a rape and incest only abortion state says, “I’ve been raped, and I need an abortion,” what do you think the doctor will ask? Why, he’ll ask “who raped you?” She’ll have to come up with someone or some description of a crime, or else she’ll have to make something up, otherwise the ban on abortion has no teeth. If she really was raped and reported it immediately, she won’t need an abortion; the morning after pill works. But if, for whatever reason, she held off long enough for fertilization to occur, the automatic assumption will be that she is the victim of a serious felony crime, and the state has a mandate to investigate.
Say she really wasn’t raped, but her boyfriend/sex-partner rejected her after she got pregnant and told her to get the hell out of his life. She isn’t ready for this baby, and she really doesn’t want to have it without some support. So she decides to claim she was raped. The doctor or some hospital official asks her who, where, when, she hems and haws, and finally a detective is brought in to get to the heart of the matter. Eventually, she admits that the boyfriend is the child’s father. “Did he really rape you?” asks the cop.
Now she’s faced with the choice of admitting that she’s been lying all along and losing the chance to get an abortion, or getting her boyfriend in very serious trouble with the law.
Who can say what she’ll do? It could go either way. And perhaps the most terrible thing is that a man’s dead child could be used to falsely convict him through a DNA test.
Who knew fornication would be this complicated?