CoersionRape Essay Research Paper CoersionRapecoerce koers vb

Coersion/Rape Essay, Research Paper


co-erce \ko-ers\ vb co-erced; co-ercing 1: RESTRAIN, REPRESS 2: COMPEL 3:


–co-er-sion \-er-zhen,shen\ n –co-er-cive \-er-siv\ adj rape \^r`ap\ n 1:

a carrying away by force 2: sexual intercourse by a man with a woman without

her consent and chiefly by force or deception; also : unlawful sexual

intercourse of any kind by force or threat

As if the line between normal and acceptable consensual sex and rape

wasn’t thin enough already, there are those out there that wish to make it an

even narrower, less defined and more twisting line to stay on the right side of.

It seems as though somehow, somewhere, someone decided that the two terms

defined above are in some way related. However, in the manner of logic which I

possess, they are not. The debate now is rape, and what constitutes that once

horridly thought of crime. In the opinion of some, rape is no longer just a

physical act of violence that accompanies uninvited sex. Rape, as defined by

some, can occur even when the two parties involved agree verbally or otherwise

to have sex. This to me, seems absurd. In the most basic terms, and with the

simplest definitions, no means no, and okay, yeah, yes and please, all mean yes.

The term “NO” is not very complicated, and is probably the word that was

repeated to us the most as children, so we should all get that one right. But

still, how can yes mean no? Apparently through a term known as “verbal

coersion,” which allows a large grey area to form between these simple answers

to sometimes complicated questions.

“Verbal Coersion” is not a term you will find in the dictionary, at

least not in any of the ones I own. In an article by David R. Carlin, Jr., he

states that as he interprets this term “rape [can] occur even when consent is

given, provided this consent is influenced by external pressures and is not

simply the result of internal desire.(12; par.3).” I find this to be an

acceptable definition of coersion as it relates to sexual situations, although I

feel strongly that under no circumstance can coersion constitute rape, once the

coerced has consented to full physical acceptance of sexual advances.

Although coersion can be exercised through many different approaches, I

contend that the entire idea that verbal coersion can constitute rape is

inadequate on one main principle. In order to coerce someone, that someone must

allow the coercing to occur. If a man who is trying to gain sexual favors from

a woman attempts to seduce her through flattery, promises and so on, doesn’t end

up getting what he wants, no coersion has taken place. His attempt has failed.

This is true only because the woman hasn’t allowed herself to succumb to his

charms. But if this is all that occurred, in no sense of the word has he

attempted to “rape” her. If a man has a girlfriend or wife who is not in the

mood for sex, and the man threatens to go find sex elsewhere or threatens to

leave her, this is, in a way, coersion. This is not just a simple coercive

statement though. It is coersion through blackmail, and is unkind and immoral,

but again, it is not an attempted rape. Nor is it illegal.

I think that Camille Paglia is probably a good example of a person who

would not allow herself to be coerced. In her essay “It’s a Jungle Out There”

she exhibits a massive general mistrust of the male gender as an entire group.

She argues that “Hunt, pursuit, and capture are biologically programmed into

male sexuality(637; par.10)” as she attempts to warn young women about the

perils of behaving with naivety in the presence of young men, who have but one

thing on their mind, and, supposedly, are willing to go to any lengths to get it.

I truly doubt that this woman, or her younger counterparts who share this

attitude, would willingly follow an intoxicated member of a fraternity up to his

room, an expect nothing would happen. I doubt that any form or amount of

coersion could change this, for their attitude is too defensive. They would be

distrustful of anything a young man might do or say. In order for this type of

woman to have sex with a man, she must first truly desire to, and all women, in

my opinion, are capable of being this strong and self-reliant.

Coersion, as I see it, is a practice as common for most people as

brushing their teeth before bed. I think that we are all guilty of being

coercive, for in our society coersion is the ladder on which we stand to reach

up and get that which we desire. We coerce others to see things our way, do the

things we want to do, and to aide in making compromises that will be found

acceptable to more than one party. Others coerce us for the same reasons, as

well as many more. Everyday, we are exposed to an average of over seven-hundred

advertisements which attempt to cajole us into buying a new product or

service(often through sexually oriented advertising), or to try out an old

product again. Coersion as I see it, and not as the dictionary defines it, is

any attempt to persuade a person into doing something they may not ordinarily do.

For that matter, it is even possible for us to coerce ourselves. We second-

guess our first instincts, we buy act impulsively, and we are all capable of

wanting things passionately. It is not irrational to expect that sex is one of

those things.

I do believe that phrases such as “verbal rape,” “date rape,” and

“acquaintance rape” do diminish the substance and impact of the word “rape”

itself, and I feel that they should not be used in these forms. I feel that the

word “rape” is designed to carry a powerful and shocking image, as is does as

defined at the beginning of this work. When attached to other words such as

“date,” and “verbal”, words that carry much different connotations and images,

the impact of the word “rape” diminishes. Apparently I’m not the only one who

thinks this. David R. Carlin, Jr., in his article “Date Rape Fallacies” writes

“… -even though I continue to be troubled by the use of the word “rape” to

cover the whole range of events. For no matter how true the new feminist

analysis might be, there still remains a world of difference between a smooth

talker on one hand and a man holding a knife to your throat on the other.

Calling them both rapists may be a fine way of highlighting the malignity of the

former, but it is also a way of trivializing the criminality of the latter.(12,

par.6).” I is very hard for me to compare a crime called “rape” against a

crime called “verbal coersion” and expect that I, or anyone else, for that

matter, would view them with the same degree of severity.

Although I have already stated that coersion of all types plays a role

in our daily lives, at no point is this more true than when dating. In my

opinion, dating is something that we do as a natural part of our existence as

social beings, and in this day in age, sex plays a part in a dating relationship

probably far too early. However, I don’t think that this is due to men getting

better at coercing women to have sex with them, nor do I think that women have

lost their ability to say no or to protect their so-called “sacred vessels

(Rophie 647, par. 7).” I think that this is due to the fact that it is finally

acceptable for women to want sex. No longer are women treated as outcasts for

wanting to have sexual relations on a first or second date. Women can now

initiate sexual contact without being nearly as embarrassed as they feel like

they should be. Also, women are now allowed to participate in the coercing.

Although they don’t as much, it’s always fun when the roles are reversed and

the man gets to try to hold off.

The preconceived notion that we all carry which implies that for men,

the goal of dating is sexual conquest is true, and I’m sure always will be. The

way that most men attempt to achieve these conquests is through coersion. As

Susan Jacoby says in her essay, “Real men don’t rape(644, par.19).” In my

opinion, though, there’s nothing wrong with trying to change someone else’s

opinion of you, or how that person feels about you. And that is coersion. And,

often times, it is sexually oriented. And, if it does lead to sex, that’s fine.

It should also be fine if it doesn’t. But either way, I think that it’s

unrealistic to consider coersion of any type to be a form of rape.


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