If orgasm occurs during rape, is it still considered rape?
Yes, it is, but that’s not the most important consideration about that subject.
More interesting is: what is the legal definition and proof of female orgasm, and does its mechanical provocation equate to sexual gratification?
The ‘Stanford Rapist’
While the Ghomeshi affair was going on in Canada, the Stanford sexual assault case was playing out in the US.
In the end, 20 year old Brock Allen Turner (pictured above) was sentenced to six months in jail, but only ended up serving three months, and three years’ probation, after sexually assaulting an unconscious girl behind a dumpster while drunk at a frat party.
Witnesses who happened upon the victim, “discovered her attacker lying on top of her unconscious, partly clothed body. The witnesses intervened and held the attacker for the police.”
“The judge, identified by The Guardian as a Stanford alumnus, handed Mr. Turner, a champion swimmer, far less than the maximum 14 years after he was convicted, pointing out that he had no “significant” prior offenses, he had been affected by the intense media coverage, and “there is less moral culpability attached to the defendant, who is … intoxicated,” The Guardian said.” (emphasis added)
Wait a second, does that mean drunk driving which results in manslaughter has less morally culpability attached than a sober, accidental vehicular manslaughter?
Michele Dauber, a law professor and sociologist at Stanford, said “the judge had misapplied the law by granting Mr. Turner probation and by taking his age, academic achievement and alcohol consumption into consideration.”
““If you’re going to declare that a high-achieving perpetrator is an unusual case, then you’re saying to women on college campuses that they don’t deserve the full protection of the law in the state of California,” the professor said.”
Turner was convicted of three felonies – sexual assault of an unconscious person, sexual assault of an intoxicated person, and sexual assault with intent to commit rape.
“In court, the victim had spoken out against the inequities of the legal process, arguing that the trial, the sentencing and the legal system’s approach to sexual assault — from the defense lawyer’s questions about what she wore that night to her attacker’s sentence — were irrevocably marred by male and class privilege.”
The 23-year old, unidentified victim may have been frustrated in her quest for justice, but she left an invaluable breadcrumb on the trail for others to follow and use in future legal battles for social justice.
She wrote a letter, she described her experience, she voiced her truth and was brave enough to cite the honest examples that she held as proof (unlike the women in the Ghomeshi case).
She used her logic and critical reasoning skills to construct a narrative of the truth that, unfortunately, her lawyers were not able to turn into a winning defence in court – ignorance is not a defence in the eyes of the law – but which is important for social learning and growth.
The Victim’s Letter
The full courtroom statement was published by Buzzfeed.com on June 4, 2016, the day after it was given in court.
The statement began with “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.”
It included such passages as:
“The next thing I remember I was in a gurney in a hallway. I had dried blood and bandages on the backs of my hands and elbow. … A deputy explained I had been assaulted. I still remained calm, assured he was speaking to the wrong person. I knew no one at this party. When I was finally allowed to use the restroom, I pulled down the hospital pants they had given me, went to pull down my underwear, and felt nothing. I still remember the feeling of my hands touching my skin and grabbing nothing. I looked down and there was nothing. The thin piece of fabric, the only thing between my vagina and anything else, was missing and everything inside me was silenced. I still don’t have words for that feeling. In order to keep breathing, I thought maybe the policemen used scissors to cut them off for evidence.”
“My clothes were confiscated and I stood naked while the nurses held a ruler to various abrasions on my body and photographed them. … I had multiple swabs inserted into my vagina and anus, needles for shots, pills, had a Nikon pointed right into my spread legs. I had long, pointed beaks inside me and had my vagina smeared with cold, blue paint to check for abrasions.”
“On that morning, all that I was told was that I had been found behind a dumpster, potentially penetrated by a stranger, and that I should get retested for HIV because results don’t always show up immediately. But for now, I should go home and get back to my normal life.”
“One day, I was at work, scrolling through the news on my phone, and came across an article. In it, I read and learned for the first time about how I was found unconscious, with my hair disheveled, long necklace wrapped around my neck, bra pulled out of my dress, dress pulled off over my shoulders and pulled up above my waist, that I was butt naked all the way down to my boots, legs spread apart, and had been penetrated by a foreign object by someone I did not recognize. … I kept reading. In the next paragraph, I read something that I will never forgive; I read that according to him, I liked it. I liked it.” (emphasis added)
“And then, at the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times. She was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position. By the way, he’s really good at swimming. Throw in my mile time if that’s what we’re doing. I’m good at cooking, put that in there, I think the end is where you list your extracurriculars to cancel out all the sickening things that’ve happened.”
“The night after it happened, he said he didn’t know my name, said he wouldn’t be able to identify my face in a lineup, didn’t mention any dialogue between us, no words, only dancing and kissing. … When the detective asked if he had planned on taking me back to his dorm, he said no. When the detective asked how we ended up behind the dumpster, he said he didn’t know. He admitted to kissing other girls at that party, one of whom was my own sister who pushed him away. He admitted to wanting to hook up with someone. I was the wounded antelope of the herd, completely alone and vulnerable, physically unable to fend for myself, and he chose me. Sometimes I think, if I hadn’t gone, then this never would’ve happened. But then I realized, it would have happened, just to somebody else. … The night after it happened, he said he thought I liked it because I rubbed his back. A back rub.” (emphasis added)
Turner “[n]ever mentioned me voicing consent, never mentioned us even speaking, a back rub. One more time, in public news, I learned that my ass and vagina were completely exposed outside, my breasts had been groped, fingers had been jabbed inside me along with pine needles and debris, my bare skin and head had been rubbing against the ground behind a dumpster, while an erect freshman was humping my half naked, unconscious body. But I don’t remember, so how do I prove I didn’t like it.” (emphasis added)
“I thought there’s no way this is going to trial; there were witnesses, there was dirt in my body, he ran but was caught. He’s going to settle, formally apologize, and we will both move on. Instead, I was told he hired a powerful attorney, expert witnesses, private investigators who were going to try and find details about my personal life to use against me, find loopholes in my story to invalidate me and my sister, in order to show that this sexual assault was in fact a misunderstanding.” (emphasis added)
“I was not only told that I was assaulted, I was told that because I couldn’t remember, I technically could not prove it was unwanted. And that distorted me, damaged me, almost broke me. It is the saddest type of confusion to be told I was assaulted and nearly raped, blatantly out in the open, but we don’t know if it counts as assault yet. I had to fight for an entire year to make it clear that there was something wrong with this situation.” (emphasis added)
“And then it came time for him to testify and I learned what it meant to be revictimized. I want to remind you, the night after it happened he said he never planned to take me back to his dorm. He said he didn’t know why we were behind a dumpster. He got up to leave because he wasn’t feeling well when he was suddenly chased and attacked. Then he learned I could not remember.” (emphasis added)
“So one year later, as predicted, a new dialogue emerged. Brock had a strange new story, almost sounded like a poorly written young adult novel with kissing and dancing and hand holding and lovingly tumbling onto the ground, and most importantly in this new story, there was suddenly consent. One year after the incident, he remembered, oh yeah, by the way she actually said yes, to everything, so.” (emphasis added)
“He said he had asked if I wanted to dance. Apparently I said yes. He’d asked if I wanted to go to his dorm, I said yes. Then he asked if he could finger me and I said yes. Most guys don’t ask, can I finger you? Usually there’s a natural progression of things, unfolding consensually, not a Q and A. But apparently I granted full permission. He’s in the clear. Even in his story, I only said a total of three words, yes yes yes, before he had me half naked on the ground. Future reference, if you are confused about whether a girl can consent, see if she can speak an entire sentence.” (emphasis added)
“Next in the story, two Swedes on bicycles approached you and you ran. When they tackled you why didn’t say, “Stop! Everything’s okay, go ask her, she’s right over there, she’ll tell you.” I mean you had just asked for my consent, right? I was awake, right? When the policeman arrived and interviewed the evil Swede who tackled you, he was crying so hard he couldn’t speak because of what he’d seen.”
“Your attorney has repeatedly pointed out, well we don’t know exactly when she became unconscious. And you’re right, maybe I was still fluttering my eyes and wasn’t completely limp yet. That was never the point.” (emphasis added)
“Brock stated, “At no time did I see that she was not responding. If at any time I thought she was not responding, I would have stopped immediately.””
“On top of all this, he claimed that I orgasmed after one minute of digital penetration. The nurse said there had been abrasions, lacerations, and dirt in my genitalia. Was that before or after I came?” (emphasis added)
“He has done irreversible damage to me and my family during the trial and we have sat silently, listening to him shape the evening. But in the end, his unsupported statements and his attorney’s twisted logic fooled no one. The truth won, the truth spoke for itself.”
The truth of this matter has not won yet, it has not been fully expounded. The truth is that there is a secret about human sexuality, related to the female orgasm, and those who understand this secret will continue to exploit those around them and amass more power for themselves until this powerful information is spread, understood, and applied toward positive ends.
This case is one clear example of how this secret grants power. Turner, a 20-year old, after learning that his victim had been unconscious during the assault, suddenly remembered her having an orgasm after one minute of digital penetration and that became the burden of proof which the female victim could neither dispute nor overcome to proove that she did not enjoy her rape.
But what is the legal proof of female orgasm? And does ejaculation – unconscious or not, as the moment when this specific victim lost consciouness is not known – equate to sexual gratification? And does the fact that not many people could answer those questions, nor have the questions been raised or discussed by any mainstream media outlets, have something to do with why this was such a powerful defence for this young boy.
The secret has to do with human behaviour and psychology, and it is based on an understanding of human sexuality, including the physical mechanics of the female orgasm which are not as mysterious as you probably believed.
Those who do not understand the ‘secret’ will remain vulnerable to manipulation and control, to frustration, and to defeat because ignorance is not a defence in the eyes of the law, nor is it bliss; it is weakness.
The Key Piece of Information was Censored and Fell on Deaf Ears
On Monday June 6, 2016, Independent.co.uk published an article titled ‘Stanford University rape case: Victim’s letter in full’. Below is a screen shot of the same segment of the statement pictured above. Notice the glaring omission:
The Monday June 6, 2016, publication of the same ‘full statement’ published by the Guardian contained the same omission:
Perhaps the fact that the paragraph referring to female orgasm was censored has something to do with the UK’s new law banning female ejaculation from pornography because it has been deemed by the British Board of Film Censors to be “too obscene or dangerous for porn”.
Female ejaculation was deemed ‘content that is not acceptable’ along with spanking, aggressive whipping, caning, female ejaculation, penetration by object “associated with violence”, physical or verbal abuse (regardless of if consensual), urolagnia (known as “water sports”), role-playing as non-adults, physical restraint, humiliation, facesitting, fisting, and strangulation.
The measures appear to make no distinction between consensual and non-consensual practices between adults and “More worryingly, the amendment seems to take issue with acts from which women more traditionally derive pleasure than men.”
Bigger picture context makes this weird legislative practice seem a little less random. The ‘mystery of the female orgasm’ is only a mystery as long as it’s secret, and only as long as it’s secret does it possess the power to control any and every human on earth – from micro-scale to macro-scale. Those who currently hold this power do not want broader societal understanding of the mechanisms by which the behaviour of any one individual to entire populations can be predicted and manipulated.
Orgasm matters, and not only for sexual gratification, yet ask yourself how much you really know about female orgasm. How well can you describe it, define it? Ask your sister, your best friend, your mom or dad – check to see how deeply this ‘secret’ is protected not only through institutionalized controls, but by the social taboos and delicate psyches of those who have had the satisfaction of certainty on the topic withheld from them for so long.
The proof of the well-defined existence of the female orgasm abounds – it was used as proof by a 20-year old defendant in a sexual assault trial – yet this proof is gleaned from examples of negation of its importance, relevance, or even, apparently, safety.
Excusing the severity of sexual assault due to considerations about the negative impact that the sentence would have on the future of the assailant is only somewhat mind-boggling compared to the conclusion we must draw from what these two cases related to female orgasm demonstrate.
Our legal and governmental systems use female orgasm/ejaculation as proof of consent by virtue of enjoyment while simultaneously classifying it as “too obscene or dangerous for porn”. Ask yourself what proof Brock Allen Turner had or could offer to support his claim that ‘she orgasmed after one minute of digital penetration’ without considering what role female ejaculation plays in this case and consider how that compares to the basis of the UK government’s legislation.
It’s like admitting the truth about something to prove your case for the opposite argument, like admitting to the existence of something as you try to erase or refute its existence; it requires Orwellian doublethink capability.
The questions are:
- What is the legal proof, the clinical description, for Brock Allen Turner’s assertion that the victim orgasmed after one minute of digital penetration?;
- What was the basis upon which the UK’s government made their decision to restrict the existence of the female orgasm in porn for being ‘too obscene or dangerous’?
- Does a deficiency of information and a lack of understanding about the female sexual cycle (the orgasmic, not reproductive, one) make women vulnerable to predators who have more knowledge and understanding than they do about their bodies and how to use them to grant sexual pleasure and more importantly sexual satisfaction (orgasm/ejaculation)?;
- Does the gratification unaware women receive from sexual encounters with men who use their ignorance against them outweigh these women’s survival instinct, or at least impair it? In cases where they are not aware of how to provide sexual gratification for themselves, does their ignorance – while not being a defence in the eyes of the law – cause them to behave in ways which seem illogical and irrational but which are simply not understood? (For more on that issue, please check out our analyses of the Ghomeshi case here and here);
- Can any instance of orgasm/ejaculation be deemed to have relieved sexual desire? Can it be deemed to have indicated it in the first place?;
- Does the occurrence of orgasm/ejaculation definitely equate with pleasure and/or sexual satisfaction? (When a man ejaculates during an exam at the proctologist’s, does it mean he enjoyed it?); and finally
- Could one simple explanation enlighten an entire species on how to better understand themselves and the world around them, better protect themselves from threats that arise due to ignorance and illusion, and better develop themselves into fully-functioning, social, loving, creative beings?
Sexuality is the foundation of our human existence. Orgasm is not a sin, a shame, or a secret, and it should not be used as a weapon or instrument of control. Love is the answer, in much more than a proverbial way.
Perhaps the way to social justice is through education rather than litigation – knowledge is power and everything is connected.
Thank you for reading. Much love,