Asexuality vs. Rape Culture

Some of you may have heard my comments read on A Life’s most recent episode. I was responding to some of what was said in episode 4. I said:

You talk about how asexuals don’t really have a human rights issue to organize about, that all we want is visibility. You point out–and rightly so–that asexuals can get married, and marriage isn’t all about sex. Now, you mentioned that there is an expectation there that the marriage isn’t consummated until the couple has had sex. You say that of course nobody is enforcing how often a couple has sex, and sure, that’s true… but the real problem is that nobody is enforcing the right of the uninterested party to NOT have sex. Marital rape is very real, but often goes unrecognized as a real rape because there is this idea that if people get married to one another, they automatically grant consent to have sex with that partner in the future, therefore, they believe those people cannot be raped.

The panelists read some of my email and then summarily dismissed my argument… without actually having heard all of it. I did not write it all out in the email, because I had gone on to suggest that if they were interested, perhaps it might make an interesting topic for a whole show. I thought it would have been interesting to discuss my views with them on the air, but since they seemed not to have been interested in the topic, I guess I will go on the explain them here on the blog.

Henrik misinterpreted what I was saying, and argued that asexuals may actually be less likely to get married, and therefore less likely to be raped. Sure, that’s true. And yes, it is also true that asexuals aren’t the only people who can be raped, so it’s not an issue that is unique to asexuals. But that wasn’t the point.

The point was, since asexuals can never be assumed to give consent, asexuality inherently challenges the assumption that consent is automatically given under certain circumstances. To accept that asexuality exists means to accept that marital rape is a possibility. And not just marital rape. It works for any circumstance in which rape is excused or denied.

And in our culture, that happens A LOT!!

Go to that link. Read it, ALL of it, and then see what you think about dismissing the issue by saying, “But rape is a crime anyway.”

Sure it’s a crime. But it’s extremely hard to prosecute someone for rape, and very often is much more trouble than it’s worth to try. Much, MUCH more trouble. People just don’t take rape seriously, and that often includes judges, doctors, and police. And sadly, maybe some asexuals, too.

I think asexuals bring a unique perspective on rape which would go a long way towards challenging the way it is thought of in our culture.  Our very existence gives us the opportunity to do some good in the world, just by making ourselves visible. Since feminists are very anti-rape, maybe we should focus more on forging an alliance with feminists, instead of the GLBT community.