Does no really mean no?
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 21:09
If you have been keeping up with politics (or at least turned on Comedy Central to watch “The Daily Show”), you’ve probably seen the interview, or parodies of the interview, and heard the comment about “legitimate rape” made by Todd Akin, the U.S. Representative from Missouri. If you haven’t seen it, Akin was asked about his views on abortion after a woman is raped.
“If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said.
Although Akin has apologized for how he worded his “legitimate rape” comment, it outraged many people. It also prompted questions--what (if there is such a thing) is legitimate rape, what other kinds of rape exist and what is the official definition of rape?
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) says definitions of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse differ by state--however general guidelines are used by the U.S. Justice Department. RAINN defined rape as "forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration” and added that penetration can be a body part or another object.
North Carolina law defines forcible rape as “an event that occurred without the girl or woman’s consent that involved the use of force or threat of force, and that involved sexual penetration of the victim’s vagina, mouth, or rectum.” North Carolina also recognizes other forms of rape, such as attempted forcible, incapacitated/facilitated and statutory rape.
Although Akin is running for Senate in Missouri, his comment has been heard and criticized in every state and even foreign countries.
How does UNCW define rape?
“Rape is forced intercourse," said senior criminal justice major Carley Tate. "It is not consensual. If the victim at any time changed his or her mind and the offender refused to listen, then it is ‘legitimate’ rape. It does not have to be violent or end in pregnancy to leave scars. It is an assault of the worst kind, violating the victim not only physically but emotionally and mentally."
These versions of rape are similar to the definition given by UNCW’s student resource center, Collaboration for Assault Response and Education (CARE).
“Sexual assault is any physical contact without consent,” said Jen Adler, associate director of violence prevention at CARE. “It isn’t the presence of 'no' but the absence of 'yes.'”
“Some people can’t comfortably say ‘no,’ so unless they say ‘yes’, it is not true consent,” said Adler.
UNCW collaborated with CARE to create a new sexual misconduct policy that breaks down rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and attempted sexual assault. They will all be treated as a type of sexual harassment. This policy also requires any resident assistant, staff or faculty member of UNCW to file an administrative report if they hear about sexual harassment.