Tuesday, July 27, 2010

See also: On the Notion of Consent and Personal Responsibility

If you haven't already heard about this story, you're lucky.

Basically, a woman sued Girls Gone Wild for taping her without her consent when she was in a bar a number of years ago.  A jury ruled that since she was in the bar, she consented to being filmed.

It gets worse.  One, she only found out that she was in the film after an acquaintance told her, a number of years after the fact.  Two, what was filmed was her being sexually assaulted.  In the video, another woman pulls down her shirt while she can clearly be heard to be saying "no no no".

How fucked up is our culture when not even NO means no?

Never mind the fact that I have issues with the entire "no means no" structure of consent anyway.  As you've noticed in previous entries - and probably by my blogroll - I'm a fan of the enthusiastic consent structure.  Unless there's a clear "yes", there is no consent.  But I recognize that for many people, the only education they receive on matters of consent is in fact "no means no", and so I'm willing to at least work with that.  It is, after all, better than nothing.

But in this case, there was not only a lack of enthusiastic, clear consent - the GGW company did not produce a written consent, nor could they produce verbal consent captured on video - but there was a definite presence of the revoking of consent.  She was asked to flash the camera.  She said no.  Someone else assaulted her - and make no mistake, that was assault - and pulled down her shirt, exposing her breasts.  There was no consent, and this should have never been put in to the video.

Moreover, I'd say that the camera person has a responsibility to say "HEY THAT ISN'T COOL" and stop the tapes from rolling.  Never mind everyone else the bar having a responsibility to say the same thing, at a bare fucking minimum.

The message that this verdict sends is just a reaffirmation of the one rape culture gives us every day.  That women are public property.  That if we aren't good little girls we deserve whatever happens to us.  That going out and having a good time means that anything and everything is on the table.

And that is just fucking bullshit.

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