Know the age of consent…Better safe than statutory.

The news of Kwaito artist Sipho “Brickz” Ndlovu’s arrest for rape has reignited an always contentious debate on twitter; that of statutory rape. I know you didn’t ask for my two cents but I’m going to give it to you anyway, because I’m nice like that…and I have FOMO (that’s a Fear Of Missing Out…for the not so cool kids among us).

Whenever there’s a statutory rape case in the headlines, a war erupts between two schools of thought i.e. the “rape is rape” faction and their frenemies, the “it’s a different type of rape” faction. So I guess this begs the question, are there different types of rape OR is rape just that, RAPE?

In MY opinion, there are different types of rape….SAY WHAT??? Yeah, I said it. There are different types of rape. I don’t know their precise scientific names so I’ll make some up for the purposes of this post.

1. Forcible rape:

This category of rape is usually typified by the use of force and the rapist’s desire to hurt, humiliate, defile, and strip their victim of all dignity. It is illegal in every civilised society and encompasses such vile acts as gang rape, anger rape, sadistic rape, prison rape, corrective rape, etc.

2. Relationship rape:

This is rape between individuals in a relationship specifically in those times when one party isn’t in the mood for sex. For example, you come home tired and your partner wants to have sex. You’re not particularly in the mood but you do it anyway. There isn’t obvious force involved in relationship rape. Instead it may be replaced with “charm”, a “sense of duty”, a “okay, why not” type of feeling, etc.

3. Incontrovertible statutory rape:

This is a heinous transgression where an adult takes sexual advantage of a minor. The adult explicitly knows the minor is indeed a minor and uses either force or manipulation to sexually abuse the minor. Cases of a teacher and student having a sexual relationship fall under this category because the teacher is unambiguously aware that the student is a minor. Oh, for those who care, this is the category in which Brickz’s case falls. He best call Oscar Pistorius for some good lawyers’ numbers.

4. Moot Statutory rape:

I call this one “moot” statutory rape because it is this rape that causes all sorts of controversial debate. I’ll give you an example. You meet a girl in a club. It’s a “No Under 21’s” club. You share conversation, a few drinks and dances, and eventually end up back at your place. One thing leads to another and at about 10am the following morning, the police turn up at your door with an arrest warrant. Guess what? The lovely young lady you met last night was actually a lovely “very young” lady. She was 15.

You see, its situations like this where it becomes a bit grey for me. I find it hard to brand the guy in this example a rapist. Surely there are other factors to consider. For instance, “Did he know she was 15?”…“Did her coerce her to go home with him?”…”Did she consent to sex?”….”Does he have a history of sexual assault?”…etc. If the answer to all these questions is a genuine NO, is that not relevant? She was in a “No Under 21’s” night club, is it not reasonable to assume she was over 21? I mean, it’s not like she was in the club with her school uniform on, with her birth certificate in hand. Furthermore, I really think 15 year olds today are a little different from the 15 year olds of 30 years ago. Back then it was much easier to tell if someone was 15. Today, it’s not always as easy.

Some might reasonably argue that the categorisation of rape opens up various loopholes for perpetrators. This may be true but blanket laws that disregard the situational facts and instead lock up “innocent” individuals are not the solution either. I guess, as Oliver Holmes once said, “This is a court of law young man, not a court of justice.” That’s right, the law and justice are two different things.

When all’s said and done, the law is the law and must be obeyed as such. If you buy stolen goods, you are breaking the law whether or not you know they are stolen. If you have sex with a minor, you are breaking the law whether or not you know they are a minor. So probably best just asking her for some ID before offering her some D. Better safe than statutory.

*just scribbling my moot thoughts*

Ps: this post has been written in a lighthearted manner not because this is a jocular or blithe subject but simply because it is the nature of this blog to discuss serious issues in a lighthearted manner. It makes those issues more accessible to people and may thus (hopefully) lead to more open and much needed discussion on these matters. We don’t have enough open and honest discourse about rape because it is a sensitive subject that gets very emotionally charged, very quickly. Let’s talk about it not fight about it. Otherwise we all lose.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

5 comments on “Know the age of consent…Better safe than statutory.

  1. I like your categories. I’ve never seen an articulation of relationship rape but uncomfortable stories abound. Thank you for not equivocating.

    I will add one thing though: The 15 year old in the over 21s only club only works for men up to the age of 30 imho. Once you’re 40 years old, if she’s 23, she’s still far too young for you. So that she turned out to be 15 is kinda your own fault for checking women half your age. #justsaying

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    • I disagree the age of the older party shouldn’t be an issue. The question of statutory rape is not “That’s Creepy”. It is a question of if the younger person is a full ‘person’. Children are not adults. Children don’t have the maturity or experience needed to make meaningful rational choices. Adults do. If a 23 year old makes a meaningful rational choice to have sex with a 50 year old, that is their choice. They are a mature experienced rational intelligent person capable of making meaningful choices. If a 15 year old pretends to be 23, and the people around them have reason to believe they are 23 (like a 21+ club) then the dupe that fell for it shouldn’t be held accountable for being the victim of fraud regardless of age.

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      • ImTawanda says:

        I agree. And “fraud” is a good choice of word.

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      • michiel says:

        “They are a mature experienced rational intelligent person capable of making meaningful choices.”

        Funny, I’ve never met those people. To me it looks like were all uninformed, irrational stupid being controlled by bad thoughts and hormones, at least when it comes to sex and relationships.

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    • ImTawanda says:

      Lol. That’s harsh. You see, you’re looking at this from one side i.e. creepy old man chasing younger women. But what about all this from the woman’s side? She’s 23, which is grown, and thus knows what she wants – though I don’t know if any woman does🙂 – and maybe what she wants is a grown up, mature man…who happens to be twice her age. Should she be denied that?

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