Monday, November 5, 2007

If the situation were different . . . .

Over the weekend, an attorney friend was telling me about a sexual assault case she'd heard about on the news. A male athlete accused a teammate of sexually assaulting him. The story was that the victim woke up to find his teammate performing a sexual act on him without consent.

We talked about it in our office, and we came to an interesting question.

First, even in our discussions, we absolutely assumed that the act was "by force and against the will of" the victim. However, we also pointed out that if the "victim" had been female and the "perp" male - larger society would want to ask questions about the behavior of the victim before the event, people might question if there was implied consent, and people might question that the event took place or that there was any force at all.

Something to think about when we hear about sexual violence and wonder to ourselves if it's true. Perhaps we should try mixing up the genders of the people involved and see how that changes our thoughts and feelings. We might surprise ourselves.

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