Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Respectably-Dressed Sensible Demure Lady Stroll

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  • Deborah, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thank you, Russell. I was writing my comment as you posted yours, so I didn't see your comment before posting mine.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to DeepRed,

    And hot off the press… police have dropped all charges against Darren Hughes, for lack of evidence. Jonathan Marshall has a LOT of explaining to do, if he doesn’t want a libel suit to knuckle-sandwich him.

    I was wondering when that would turn up here.

    Something obviously went terribly wrong on the night, what it was we may never know.

    But I think there's no doubt that Hughes committed a massive error of judgement in going to a function in his role as MP, binge-drinking with first-year students then taking one home. For a man who is said to have been focused on a career in politics since childhood, it was a bad thing to do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Nancy Blackett,

    I'm wondering if Moz just got the wrong end of the stick, easy enough to do. I had to read:

    Also looking back, the first time I had sex was with a man who knew I wasn't all that sure about it (I blame the nuns), and he made a huge amount of space for me to make up my own mind about what to do.

    several times before I was sure that I knew what you meant. I boiled my own confusion down to the importance of the order of "who knew I" in that sentence. If you dyslexically read "who I knew" it nearly inverts the meaning.

    Edit: and this is of course NOT in reply to Nancy Blackett (thanks for your thoughts, btw Nancy).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8586 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Deborah,

    but never one where he was drunk or under the influence of drugs,

    Actually, this raises a view of the “prominent entertainer” case that no one ever really wanted to countenance at the time.

    The entertainer was, by general agreement, so drunk that he couldn’t even remember the incident the following day. He was approached while staggering home at 3am by young women who weren’t – but was he in a fit state to give consent to what they proposed?

    And yet, no one was ever going to accept that was anything like rape. Would it have been the same if gender roles were reversed?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Based on what you have written (which is not to imply that it's not correct, just that I wasn't actually there so I don't actually know, 'though I'm happy to take your word for it)... No, a person that drunk can't give consent. So yes, that does imply rape, and I would hope that if he wanted to, he would be able to press charges.

    Gender roles reversed... I don't know, but then again, I don't know how many women are able to successfully press charges in those circumstances. That doesn't make it right, of course, for either men or women.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What stays with me is how passive I was about the whole thing. You’d think I’d have shouted, or jumped out of the chair – dude touched my cock! – but I didn’t. And I thought that was instructive.

    This is a BIG deal to me, with regard to perceptions of “expected behaviour” from people that haven’t been assaulted/raped, and the extremely low rate of conviction. A friend described a case for which she’d done jury duty (a 14-year-old girl assaulted by a friend of her mother’s, while the mother was in the shower), and the often horrifying perceptions of her fellow jurors. In particular “if she was really assaulted, why didn’t she do x / why did she do y?” was bandied about a lot. The kind of chaos you “expect” to wreak on a potential attacker, and what you actually do in that situation can be entirely diametrically opposed, and those wrong perceptions always work against the prosecution.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Moz,

    Yeah, dude, that was massively unfair, and a complete misreading of what Deborah said. An apology might be in order.

    I've been trying to find a post for a couple of weeks now about consent being sexy. Deborah, can you remember it? I think it was in a carnival, and I want to say it was Bluemilk?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Yes, that was by blue milk. It's in the list of her popular posts on the righthand side and it's called "Asking is sexy".

    You know, I was drunk, resting in a bed at a flat party one time back in Uni. The guy snoozing next to me, who was a complete stranger, started to push up my dress. I was compos mentis enough to push his hand away. And that's where it ended. Good on that guy for not being a rapist! See, how hard is that?

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Asking is sexy, by Blue Milk

    Blue Milk writes a fabulous feminist, and feminist parenting, blog.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    In particular “if she was really assaulted, why didn’t she do x / why did she do y?” was bandied about a lot.

    You do what you need to do in order to get through at the time. That's all there is to it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 727 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I will put my hand up and admit to not ever having verbally obtained verbal consent from anyone ever.

    I love the concept of enthusiastic consent. For those of us who haven't grown up with that concept, and who still have shame issues talking openly about our sexual desires, it's still problematic in practise. Because you may very much want something, and be totally incapable of saying so.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker, in reply to BenWilson,

    hey thanks. i am mildly dyslexic and i read it in the wrong order, just as you have pointed out. that's really weird.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 634 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Tamara,

    Asking is sexy

    Not convinced. Perhaps it should be, but I've been firmly assured by women that they found it really offputting when I asked, in a situation where the curious rules of romance dictated that the man should seize the initiative. It came across as cowardly rather than polite. Not my rules but I have to say that just because Blue Milk wants it to be so doesn't make it so.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8586 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Well... the reason I first fell into my (now) husband's bed, with enthusiasm, was because he turned to me and said, with *that* look, "Let's have an affair." So we did. Though I guess we can't really call it an affair anymore after 22 years living together.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara, in reply to BenWilson,

    Well, speaking for myself I think it is, but I haven't canvassed other people on this issue. Anyone?

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to BenWilson,

    Not convinced. Perhaps it should be, but I’ve been firmly assured by women that they found it really offputting when I asked, in a situation where the curious rules of romance dictated that the man should seize the initiative.

    But, it doesn't have to be "I am about to do X to you, do you consent?" (Not that I'm sure, that's how you did it.) There's lots of ways to ask, and some of them are, quite frankly, freaking hot.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara, in reply to Tamara,

    Actually, to reply to myself, I once asked my partner to do some asking. He thought it sounded a bit naff but gave it a go. Then he realised that he found it sexy too. Several years later we don't do it that way regularly but I think it still works at any stage of a relationship.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    Yeah, I think it hugely depends on how you go about it. Because I can imagine it being horribly awkward and off-putting.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I think it hugely depends on how you go about it

    I'm afraid it keeps bringing up images of lawyers offices for me ... so no, really really not sexy

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3414 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Deborah,

    Based on what you have written (which is not to imply that it’s not correct, just that I wasn’t actually there so I don’t actually know, ’though I’m happy to take your word for it)… No, a person that drunk can’t give consent. So yes, that does imply rape, and I would hope that if he wanted to, he would be able to press charges.

    That would, of course, have been a difficult view to put when the case was all over the headlines.

    The original charge laid against him was, I understand, an actual rape charge.

    The police dropped it after the defence was able to produce security camera evidence to show that would not have been possible – the complainant entered and left the alley in a matter of seconds. He’d otherwise have had no defence on his own part, not (or barely) being able to remember it.

    The complainant wasn’t part of the original blowjob offer, and it must have been a vile experience to briefly be literally dragged into it when she went to check on her friends. I can understand why she might have held her ground when the cops tried to persuade her abandon any charge after the rape complaint was deemed unsustainable.

    The original demand from the young women was for a kiss. He said “suck my dick”, and the two young women happily took that literally, so consent’s a bit messy. But no one was ever going to be prepared to see him as incapable or a victim.

    The guy took it very hard, particularly when he had to go and tell his grandmother in person. And of course in Kiwiblog comments you could read various idiots declaring that he’d been “grooming underage girls”. It’s an interesting case to ponder.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    slutwalk is important for so many reasons, and i hate the word slut
    But I'll be there

    Today I read government is cutting funding to Women's refuges and self-defence classes for girls. I wonder what is going on in our society where this is even considered as an option.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10721930

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 493 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Well, yeah, I've been there, in fact. But enthusiastic consent is easy to express, even before it's asked for.

    (refrains from making comment about Emma's "enthusiasm".)

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I take it that "Hell, yes!" would also be covered by "Yes, yes, yes - I see your lips moving. Fuck me, now!". The latter part of this discussion has really made me think about a number of things - unspoken consent amongst them. I believe in the years 1984-1989, I may well have been the Queen of the One Night Stand. And on none of those many occasions, was consent ever explicitly given. I've had sex when I didn't much feel like it, but did it anyway, certainly. I wasn't forced, and it was okay for it to happen. I was just a bit blah about it. Mostly, it was of the unspoken consensual "let's just get it on, and never mind the talking" variety. There was one occasion, however, when I wasn't at all keen, in the slightest, and despite saying no the once, I understood that I wasn't going to get listened to, I just lay there, really. It wasn't rough but I explicitly remember thinking "I don't want this". I have always felt uncomfortable using the term "rape" for what happened. I very much like the idea of enthusiastic consent - it seems to me that some clarification in those situations would have been helpful for both parties'. On the other hand, in terms of sexual harrassment, I have asked to see mens' bottoms, (clothed, I might add) and made generally obnoxious remarks - I think at the time I justified it by talking about "positive discrimination" or some such shit. I'm not sure why I thought it was okay, really. I've often abused men who've made comments about me, or my friends. And I'm great at stepping in and beating the shit (verbally) out of men who have hurt people I love. So to all those whose bums I've patted and biceps I've stroked, genuinely I would say that was wrong. And I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable, or caused you distress of any kind.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    There's lots of ways to ask, and some of them are, quite frankly, freaking hot.

    The standard Hollywood rom-com way is to interrupt the girl spieling mid-sentence with a forceful kiss. Again, not my idea. But it seems to me that there's a lot riding on this crucial moment. Being a practical guy, I'd love it if there was some formula, but it's meant to be a passionate moment, full of poetry and unicorns, not careful legalisms.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8586 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    They probably destroy the ozone layer with all their flying around.

    Interesting how after being all serious and emotional I get just plain silly.

    Penguins, Antarctica, ozone hole... you put it together...

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 980 posts Report Reply

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