Trigger Warning for rape apologism and graphic descriptions of sexual violence
So, she told him to stop. And even only as far as he admits, instead of stopping as he was told, he pinned her to the bed and told her he was going to continue anyway. I repeat: against her wishes. After she told him to stop.
Which means that as far as any reasonable definition goes — hell, even working off an antiquated and misogynistic definition of rape that requires physical violence to be present — he confessed to raping her.
And yet, despite his clear admission of rape, he simultaneously claimed that it wasn’t rape — as we know, men will frequently admit to behavior that classifies as rape so long as the word rape is not actually used. The fact that he would do so in a court of law, though, is particularly shocking, exposes some extremely concerning cognitive dissonance, and most appalling of all, displays a clear belief by his defense attorney that such a tactic would succeed, and that the jury would accept that cognitive dissonance right along with him.
That belief was, of course, ultimately validated by the jury. But why? Because the victim was a sex worker, and many people believe that sex workers have no right to bodily autonomy, and therefore cannot be raped? Because she had consented to the sex up to that point, and many people believe that women who have consented to sex generally have no right to bodily autonomy, and therefore cannot revoke or renegotiate consent once it is given? Because the rape may have “only” lasted a few moments, and how could a rape — of a sex worker! who had previously consented! — possibly “count” as real rape? Because Davis is a member of the U.S. military, and therefore he doesn’t look how most people expect a rapist to look?
My best guess is that all of these forms of misogynistic prejudice played a role, most likely in the order I’ve listed them. Yet again, even a blatant confession in a court of law is not enough to earn a conviction from a jury pulled from a culture that thinks men are never to blame, and women always are.
That passage, and Cara’s whole post, have lots of links to other relevant articles which I haven’t included because you should head on over to The Curvature to read the whole thing.
Addit (link via orlando): over at the Yes Means Yes blog: Sex Work Is Not An Invitation to Rape
And this is not an enforcement problem. The police made an arrest and the prosecutors brought the case. The judge didn’t throw it out. The case went all the way to a jury.
This is a cultural problem. He admitted he pinned her down, he admitted he covered her mouth, he admitted that he put his penis inside her with no condom … and a jury of ordinary citizens acquitted him anyway. I can’t see any way that happens unless they simply decided that they are so biased against sex workers that they think sex workers deserve to be raped when doing their job.
Shouldn’t it be so obvious as to be unnecessary to say this? Sex workers do not deserve to be raped — while doing their jobs, or at any other time, ever. It’s a basic syllogism, really. Major premise: No human deserves to be raped. Minor premise: Sex workers are human. Conclusion: No sex worker deserves to be raped. The operation of the syllogism is Logic 101. The truth of the premises is Humanity 101. Disagree with one of those premises? Fail the course, repeat Humanity 101.