If You’re In Porn, You Can’t Be Raped

You can only be raped if you hate sex, apparently. Otherwise, you’re a liar and a whore.

In 2002 two men were given two and a half year sentences each for the rape of a 17-year-old girl, but these convictions may now be overturned, newspaper VG reports.

The girl’s boyfriend, and one of his friends, were convicted on the girl’s testimony, of a rape carried out in 2001. In 2003, just before the case was to be appealed, the girl appeared in a porn magazine.

In the magazine she describes herself as being a fan of rough sex, an exhibitionist and admits to constantly seeking out boys for casual sex.

In the appeal the girl’s testimony was again accepted, and the original verdict was toughened, with the sentence becoming a year longer and with financial damages increased.

The discovery of the magazine – which one of the convicts came across in prison – has now led to a request to reinvestigate the case.

Defense lawyer Arvid Sjødin told VG that the case had been poorly investigated and that the new information could “shed light on the credibility of those involved in this case”.

A few things: First, just because a woman appears in a porn magazine, or because she enjoys rough sex, or because she’s had a lot of sexual partners, or because she’s a sex worker, it doesn’t mean she can’t be raped (hell, sex workers are more likely to be raped that non-sex workers). Telling a porn magazine that you like sex shouldn’t shed doubt on your credibility when it comes to being the victim of a crime.

Second, this demonstrates how little lawyers and the courts still understand about the psychology of rape survivors. One of the more common behaviors post-rape is what some would characterize as “promiscuous” sexual behavior (for the record, I hate that word). Rape survivors have had their right to choose to have sex forcibly taken away from them; many women try and reclaim the power they lost through rape by choosing to have sex with many people afterwards. But because this woman doesn’t play the role of the made-for-tv rape survivor, her attackers might go free. How just.


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16 comments for “If You’re In Porn, You Can’t Be Raped

  1. Dianne
    February 3, 2006 at 10:10 am

    Lordy! The porn magazine appearance makes it more likely that she is telling the truth, for the reasons Jill outlined above.

    I’ve always wondered about the sex workers can’t be raped claim. It seems to me that if a sex worker can’t be raped then a salesperson can’t be robbed–after all, they meant for you to take the product, didn’t they?

  2. Thomas
    February 3, 2006 at 10:14 am

    When I read this I felt a wave of nausea. This is just prejudice, pure and simple. They woman has no reason to lie! She concedes that she likes rough sex, she concedes that she takes casual partners. So why in the world would she say she had been raped when she had not?

    Now, if the prosecution withheld evidence, even if I’m not convinced of its relevance, I understand the defense’s move. In the U.S., the defendant has a right to exculpatory material in the prosecution’s possession (so-called Brady material). The defense lawyer has to do his job. And if the woman perjured herself, I can’t support that, even though I understand why she would.

    But at the end of the day, I’m not sure what the relevance of the new information is.

    1) she’s in a porn magazine. So? That has no bearing on whether she consented to sex with this guy, or on her credibility. It’s just a slut argument.

    2) she has casual sex partners. Also a slut argument. If the prosecution made the argument that she would not have had consensual sex with these guys because she didn’t have casual sex, then it’s relevant. Otherwise, it isn’t. In the US, rape shiled laws in many places would bar this.

    3) she likes rough sex. If the prosecution argued that she had bruises that couldn’t be accounted for in a consensual encounter, this is relevant. Otherwise, it amounts to an argument that she’s waived her right to choose her sex partners by being kinky, which is a reprehensible argument.

    On the whole, unless the new information contradicts a very specific agrument that the prosecutor relied on, I think the new information is irrelevant and the defendants have suffered no prejudice. (I have no idea what Norwegian law is, so I’m just arguing what the law ought to be). I would uphold the conviction.

  3. February 3, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    “Once you are used for sex, you are sexualized. You lose your human status. You are sex, therefore unworthy of belief and impossible to violate. Your testimony that you were sexually abused proves your abuse, which defines you as sex, which makes it incredible and impossible that you were sexually abused. In a world made by pornography, testimony about sexual harassment is live oral pornography starring the victim. Because the account becomes a form of sex, the abuse is rendered consensual iin the mind of the viewer.”

    Catharine A. MacKinnon, “Only Words” (1993) at page 67.

  4. February 3, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    First hit on Google for promiscuous. Seven of the top ten hits are related to computer networking. Because this is my most common usage of the word, I assumed that any negative association was only there for anti-sex speakers/listeners. But that’s not true. The dictionary definition is not the one in my head. What was your problem with the word?

  5. February 3, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    There’s 3 ways they could be looking at this.

    1. She’s a slut, therefore a bad person and not trustable, more likely to lie, cheat, steal and everything else immoral.

    2. Being a slut, she wants sex with men other than one she loves, therefore she has no reason to not want it with anyone, at any time in any way that suits them.

    3. She’s a slut, therefore not deserving of the same treatment as other decent people, it doesn’t really matter if she gets raped.

  6. February 3, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    Geez, Ben. You’re such a nerd.

  7. February 3, 2006 at 7:41 pm

    The notion that rape victims who react by having many partners after the fact are “acting out” bothers the hell out of me. It’s a perfectly reasonable to prove to yourself that you can be in sexual situations with all sorts of different men without being afraid. Outside of the stigma against women being their own sexual agents, I don’t see why we have to assume automatically that promiscious behavior is unhealthy. (Not that you were, Jill. Just riding off what you said.)

  8. February 3, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    I saw her eat chocolate cake of her own free will, more than once too, and she would talk about how yummy cake displays in cafes were, so how can she possibly object if I hold her down and forcefeed her chocolate cake until her throat bleeds?

  9. randomliberal/Robert
    February 3, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    According to the article, the girl appeared in the magazine two years after she was raped, so there is no way in hell it could possibly be relevant to the case. Any judge who doesn’t laugh in the face of the defense deserves our highest contempt.

    I’m bothered by something: How in the hell does someone convicted of rape get access to pr0n in prison?

  10. Otto Kerner
    February 4, 2006 at 6:23 am

    har har har. Yeah, I’m sure the warden is losing sleep at night, wondering how one of the bad people in his prison wound up looking at something bad.

  11. pr0naddict
    February 4, 2006 at 10:02 am

    Not having access to pr0n is cruel and unusual punishment.

  12. February 4, 2006 at 10:48 am

    “Promiscuity” (I don’t like the word either) after rape or sexual abuse in the way Amanda describes it is healthy. However, there is also pathological “promiscuity”–after an experience, or, more often, repeated experiences of being treated as an object, both by the abuser and by those who should be helping them, some women internalize the experience and begin treating their bodies as objects and bargaining chips, and allow themselves to be placed in dangerous situations due to a belief that their safety doesn’t matter, or for fear that if they don’t seek out the dangerous behavior it’s going to happen anyway, so seeking it out gives them the illusion of “control.”

  13. February 4, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    I wrote a post similar to this one on my (norwegian) blog, but it seems like the reason for reopening this case is because the text in the pornmag contradicts statements from the prosecution during the trial. According the prosecutor she is supposed to have changed personality after the rape, being afraid to go out etc. This is contradicted by the magazine, but hey, when has these magazines ever been trustworthy:-)

  14. real
    February 4, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    Reality check. Women want to believe their sisters will come to their defense if they are raped. And we want to.

    But the reality is that once they go down the path of porn, it is much harder for us to protect them even though we try. They have a false sense of security if they believe otherwise.

    We have got to get much more real in dealing with the brutal horrors of porn. At this point, why WOULDN”T an attractive girl with good boobs go into porn? She’s going to get more money than she would doing anything else. She gets attention (which is misinterpreted as affection and respect.) And there’s no one saying porn is a bad idea. No one.

    Feminists need to take on porn. It’s destroying women every day. And in the name of sexual freedom we’ve been convinced to shut up about it. We are abandoning our sisters.

  15. February 4, 2006 at 11:37 pm

    At this point, why WOULDN”T an attractive girl with good boobs go into porn?

    Because she has self-respect?

    And there’s no one saying porn is a bad idea. No one.

    Maybe in your neighborhood.

  16. February 5, 2006 at 12:28 am

    Real, that response of mine comes across as being hostile to you. That wasn’t my intention; I suspect we’re in agreement on the issue, even if we come at it from different angles. My bad.

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