‘rape-rape’ ?

whoopiA lot of you have been commenting on this post about the use of the word ‘rape’ on Monday’s programme. And today Whoopi Goldberg said “I know it wasn’t rape-rape”, defending Roman Polanski on a chat show.

Bloggers are already talking about it and she’s being described as a rape apologist

Remember when the term ‘date rape’ was coined? It caused a lot of controversy because it seemed to define certain grades of rape. Back then Katie Roiphe touched a raw nerve when she questioned the reality of it “We all agree that rape is a terrible thing, but we no longer agree on what rape is. Today’s definition has stretched beyond bruises and knives, threats of death or violence to include emotional pressure and the influence of alcohol.”

But is there a problem with the image of stranger danger when 4 out of 5 women know their attacker? DogBarkTree asks ‘is date rape ok then? That’s not really “rape” rape either.’

So is rape always rape? Does no always means no? Or can you have categories of rape?

42 Responses to “‘rape-rape’ ?”

  1. 1 vijay pillai
    September 30, 2009 at 00:36

    am i lead to believe that a crime commited by someone who you know is not severe as a similar crime committed by a stranger? one rule for the friend and another for others?

  2. 2 Chintan in Houston
    September 30, 2009 at 01:57

    it dosen’t matter what you name it, as long as the guilty are awarded the same punishment I could care less.

  3. 3 Couldn't care less
    September 30, 2009 at 03:21

    When the victim is underage, there is a presumption that the answer is no as she or he, as a legal minor, is too young to give any meaningful consent – even if she or he says yes. But as we all know, a celebrity will stick up for another as they never know what stupid thing they’ll get up to themselves in the future and a testimonial from another celebrity might come in handy in such an event.

  4. September 30, 2009 at 03:25

    Guess Whoopi’s attempt to be funny on this issue backfired.

    So is rape always rape? Yes, it is supposed to.
    Does no always means no? Yes, it is supposed to.

    Or can you have categories of rape?
    Calling it “date rape”, “rape rape” or “whatever-you-want-to-call-it rape” just gives a more defined context in terms of the who, how, what where, when.
    It doesn’t make make the deed of rape okay.
    The deed is done against the person’s will while exploiting the person’s vulnerabilities. How can that ever be okay?

    • 5 cry wolf
      September 30, 2009 at 11:38

      The big problem today is that there are some women (minority) who cry rape to get attention and money from their rich or famous “attacker”. Too many times its happening and now who knows whats real or whats a set up. Something has to be done to protect the true victims and mens rights also. We are not all animals but its very easy to accuse any man without much proof.

  5. 6 G.O'Neill
    September 30, 2009 at 03:46

    This is exactly my thinking.

  6. 7 scmehta
    September 30, 2009 at 07:55

    In any society, the word rape means ‘sexual ingress without consent with or without the use of force’, but, according to dictionary and may be law also, the word rape means ‘seizing and carrying away by force or violence’ and ‘carnal knowledge of a woman forcibly and against her will’. Actually, in case of any alleged rape, what matter the most are three factors: force(both violent/nonviolent), consent (both willingly/hesitantly) and circumstance(stage-managed/opportune). The most difficult to prove is the ‘consent’ factor. Sometimes, the consent (given by a female) is later denied or not admitted by her for fear of social stigma and boycott, parental wrath/disowning and personal guilt/regret. Besides, there also have been cases of consensual sex with the purpose of black-mailing and/or vindictiveness. And, there may be some cases, wherein, despite the evidence not pointing toward a rape, the law tends to be biased in favor of the female complainant. Nevertheless, if the evidence truthfully and honestly establishes a rape, then the law must deliver the severest possible punishment to the accused.

  7. September 30, 2009 at 11:10

    In simple terms rape is supposed to be rape,

    But the word it self has different meaning, guess it depends where you are. Here in Malawi there is no such thing as marital rape (which is still rape) but i heard in some other countries it is.

    So i guess calling it not rape-rape depends on where one is. i know for sure if i was in my village and did that to my cousin it wouldn’t be called rape (that is in my traditional setting) but in town it would be.. (so it all depend on who defines the word rape and where you are)

  8. 9 steve
    September 30, 2009 at 13:32

    BBC didn’t discuss this story, but it was huge in the US a couple weeks ago, where a student falsely accused 4-5 men of gang raping her to cover up for the fact she was cheating on her boyfriend.. Even after they were exonerated, the media had no problem revealing the actual victim’s names, but would hide the name of the only person who had committed a crime, the false accuser.


  9. 10 steve
    September 30, 2009 at 13:37

    Is this rape? 1 in 20 british women have never had sex sober due to lack of body confidence.


  10. 11 steve
    September 30, 2009 at 13:43


    The false rape accuser is getting only community service despite she subjected 4 men to potential life sentences in jail by lying. Is this justice?

  11. 12 T
    September 30, 2009 at 13:52

    Stop playing legalese games here. Rape is being forced to have sex against your will. And, to make stupid jokes and dance around the issue is frankly insulting to rape survivors everywhere.

  12. 13 Maccus Germanis
    September 30, 2009 at 13:57

    You can graduate anything. But individual volition should be protected from being subdued by force or otherwise coercion.

  13. 14 Jennifer
    September 30, 2009 at 14:01

    RE: So is rape always rape? Does no always means no? Or can you have categories of rape?

    Rape is always rape.

    No always means no.

    There is no such thing as categories of rape.

    “rape-rape” is nonsense! Come on…

  14. 15 Sergio Joaquim Dique
    September 30, 2009 at 14:34

    we may be creating a very bad precedent here. this ‘guy’, for lack of a better word just so l am not the one calling him a rapist, did something very wrong. Even though the lady asked this case to be droped, l beleive she got cash for it, if celebrities are not punished for their wrongs, we will end up having everyone of them doing something silly. Celebrities are more inclined to stupid mistakes such as anticemitism, racism, drink driving, beating each other up, you name it. they need a strong uncompromising hand to keep them on track.

  15. 16 Denise in Chicago
    September 30, 2009 at 14:49

    Whoopi is delusional. Rape is rape. Just because she knew her offender and just because she didn’t get killed or beaten up doesn’t mean she wasn’t raped. As to using the term “rapist” perhaps you can legally use “statutory rapist”.

  16. September 30, 2009 at 14:57

    It seems like a case of paedophilia to me.

    In most countries there is an ‘age of consent’ for each of the sexes, below which they are breaking the law. In five of the American states it would have drawn the death penalty.

    Which ever way you look at it, it is the criminal activity that goes by that name that Whoopie has chosen to call ‘rape-rape.

    Before picking this topic, did anyone consider the effect it might have upon the still living victim or has WHYS sunk to the level of the pulp press who use lewd sensationalism to sell papers?

    BBC doesn’t need this to get its annual allocation of taxpayer’s funds and you owe the poor lady an abject and public apology.

    Peter Sidwell

  17. 18 Verena
    September 30, 2009 at 15:08

    I cannot believe we’re even having this discussion in the first world. She was thirteen years old, putting her subject to United States statutory rape laws — and didn’t Polanski actually plead guilty? Rape is rape is rape, statutory, acquaintance, or stranger. Polanski knew he had done something wrong when he entered his plea; let him serve his time.

    Whoopi’s attempt to derail the conversation regarding the heinous crime committed against this child is nothing short of sickening.

    Verena Mint

  18. 19 Gary Paudler
    September 30, 2009 at 15:16

    It’s not some narrow, subtle, legalistic distinction. If you can convince a 13 year-old to happily consent to sex, it’s still rape. 13 year-olds are still children, still lacking experience, knowledge and wisdom. Though they can write, they are not permitted to sign a binding contract, though they can turn a key and grasp a steering wheel, they are not allowed to drive a car. Though they can ejaculate or ovulate, it’s a bad idea for them to become parents. Maybe Roman’s tryst lacked the brutality that typifies what we, and Whoopi, think of as “rape-rape”, but we as a society must not allow sex with a minor to be okay as long as the perpetrator is polite and white and unarmed and charming. As I said in my comment that you didn’t publish: It is a miscarriage of justice for Polanski to be arrested after all these years and it was a miscarriage of justice for him to have gone free all these years. Sorry Roman, it’s time to pay the debt that you bailed-on way back when.

  19. 20 steve
    September 30, 2009 at 15:17

    Next time you hear complaints about police standing up for each other and the so-called blue wall of silence, celebrities do it as well. If Roman Polanski were not famous, not a director, nobody would be defending him except pedophile groups.

    • 21 Maxine
      October 2, 2009 at 06:39

      Polanski admitted having sex with the 13 year old child. Should he be forgiven because he has “talent” and is a celebrity? What about all the priests who had sex with children and have been forced to pay for their crimes? Why should celebrities be in a special class. Do they have a special status? Are they not mortal like the rest of us?

  20. 22 John in Salem
    September 30, 2009 at 15:25

    Rape is a violent crime regardless of the means of coersion. A knife or a raised fist are no different than a drug in her drink or simply too much fun – if she says no or is otherwise incapable of consent it is an act of violence from that point on.
    I’m embarassed for Whoopie – she should know better.

    However – I hope this district attorney realizes what’s going to happen to his career if he spends millions the state doesn’t have to bring Polanski back and try him and the judge issues a fine and a suspended sentence.

  21. September 30, 2009 at 15:45

    Think about it this way Whoopi, if you had a daughter and she was 13 and some guy gave her Qualuudes, plied her with hampagne, then had sex with her, would you feel differently?

    Rape doesn’t have to mean that the perpetrator had to have the target bound and gagged.

  22. 24 Anthony
    September 30, 2009 at 15:49

    @ Denise in Chicago

    Really, all rape is the same? So imagine YOU as a 13 year old “making love” to an adult. Now, imagine today, a couple gang members picking you up in a van, tearing off your clothes and beating you, then taking turns having sex with you.

    So you can tell me all rape is the same?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  23. 25 Anthony
    September 30, 2009 at 15:54

    @ Jennifer

    I think that I, and MANY males here and around the world knows that no doesn’t always mean no. If she screams it in your face or slaps you, that means no. But 49 no’s and 1 yes means yes.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  24. 28 nora
    September 30, 2009 at 16:08

    Goldberg is a comedic out loud thinker who has mused out loud about language and events many times before. Her musings on the N-word are linguistic and sociological in there focus, albeit funny. We all know what she means here with the rape-rape. No one came out of the bushes, slit her screen with a buck knife, tied her up and raped her. Categories of rape do exist. If not in law everywhere, at least in common sense. Stranger rape with restraint and bodily harm and fear of death does differ in some way from the rape that leaves no outward signs, but we don’t discuss it well; don’t have the right words to discuss the subtle differences. Whoppie was probably wrong about whether this was ‘rape-rape’ but I appreciate her honesty, her attempt to communicate.

    The cultural practice of mothers shopping their daughters out unsupervised to the wealthy is a troubling part of juvenile rape, particularly in Los Angeles. A partnership exists between the parent and the payer, so they should be tried in the same court. But for the victim’s sons–justice delayed means torturing teenage boys with lurid stories about their mum and buggery! Can’t imagine how tough that would be on the school yard.

    • 29 patti in cape coral
      October 1, 2009 at 13:21

      Nora – “The cultural practice of mothers shopping their daughters out unsupervised to the wealthy is a troubling part of juvenile rape, particularly in Los Angeles. A partnership exists between the parent and the payer, so they should be tried in the same court.”

      Spot on! I tried to write a similar thing but I think it came out wrong so they werent’ able to publish it.

  25. September 30, 2009 at 16:20

    Certain crimes are already differentiated even when the outcome is the same – for example, homicide and manslaughter and criminal neglect. Why is it that we can differentiate between different types of murder in the justice system? Are other crimes not subject to differentiation, and if not why not?

  26. 31 Jennifer
    September 30, 2009 at 16:27

    All rape is the same because the individual being raped does not give their consent to have sex. Whether they are forced/attacked in a violent way or given drugs/alcohol to manipulate their ability to say no, exercise good judgment, or be keenly aware of their surroundings does not matter. Their right to say no and have that respected is violated and that makes any such “tactic” rape.

  27. 32 jen408
    September 30, 2009 at 17:34

    CHILD RAPE IS AGAINST THE LAW…. in whatever context it is used.


  28. 33 steve
    September 30, 2009 at 17:36

    @ Anthony

    I would highly recommend you avoid women like that. I know they exist, but I wouldn’t want anything to do with them.

  29. 34 Bert
    September 30, 2009 at 17:43

    Wow, I disagree with the vast majority of the comments. And I have a daughter, even!!

    Legally, a 13 year old girl in the US cannot give consent. But that’s silly. Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet, was only 12. I don’t think Juliet was unable to give consent, does anyone else? Just how clueless do we really think 13 year old girls are?

    Groupies in that age bracket dream of bedding down with the object of their adulation. As much as it’s reprehensible for the older guy to take advantage of this, it is absolutely NOT the same thing as violent, forced rape, IMO.

    • 35 Jennifer
      September 30, 2009 at 18:16

      Re: Legally, a 13 year old girl in the US cannot give consent. But that’s silly.

      Why is this silly? 13 years olds can’t buy homes, cars, drive legally, vote, yet we want to say that they can consent to sex. Sex which has adult consequences like pregnancy, contraception decisions, etc.? This seems very illogical. Don’t you have to understand the scope of what you are doing to consent to something?

      13 years olds are kids. Kids are not stupid but are not fully able to consider the consequences of their actions.

      My question in the Roman Polanski case is where where this girls’ parents?

  30. 36 steve
    September 30, 2009 at 17:58

    @ Bert

    So we shouldn’t have any bright line rules? We should let some children drive cars at age 13 because they are more mature than other children who are 15, hence they shouldn’t have to wait until the driving age of 16?

    Should contracts be enforceable against minors if they are mature, should the rule of 18 years to form a valid contract, enforceable contract be changed?

    Something tells me that a 13 year old deciding to have sex with a man 30+ years older than her isn’t the sign of someone who is mature.

    Romeo and Juliette were fictional characters, written by Shakespeare.

  31. 37 nora
    September 30, 2009 at 18:01

    In the rape recovery movement, the incest victims have separate support groups because they have unique issues. The victims of violent crimes meet together because of the uniqueness of the trauma. The clergy sex victims also separate, other religions having trouble dealing with the Catholic domination of the meetings…the rape issue is evolving, the language is evolving because we were mute for so long. Better law should come out of all this suffering being aired.

    A mom should be able to drop her child at church without worrying about the priest. She should do the same for soccer practice without worrying about the coach. Famous rich men who are legendary party animals imply danger, not the safety of soccer practice or choir.

    On Polanski’s case: Corruption, neglect and overkill all characterize the LAPD and the LADA of the 1970’s, so how do we sort this out? California has been ordered to release 40 thousand inmates do to the inhumanity of the overcrowding, 12 thousand rape kits sit unprocessed in LA, why the priority of an old celebrity case where the chance of re-offense is minimal?

  32. 38 Miriam Hyde
    September 30, 2009 at 18:37

    Rape is rape. However, I can attest personally, that I engaged in sex before I was 18. Statistics show that a vast majority of women under 18 engage in sex. I don’t think it’s fair to punish a man if the girl, of whatever age, either consents or lies about her age. Of course, that may be hard to prove. It is just as difficult to determine if the man somehow coerced, or if the girl definitely said no, especially if she participated in any kind of foreplay. It’s not right for a woman to be happy with “leading” a guy on, just to say, “No” at the most inopportune moment.

    I was in a position, one evening long ago, I was with several “guy friends” – we were all part of a larger group who always “hung out” together. This particular evening, there were no alcohol or drugs involved. The guys simply got the idea that having sex with me might be fun for them. I screamed, punched however I could reach, cried…They stopped before anything terrible happened. That definitely would have been rape, even though I knew each male involved.

    Neither a woman or man should be assumed to be innocent or guilt just because of gender or age, or past sexual behaviors (not a serial rapist, of course; and that kind of information should always be included in a trial).

    Should Mr. Polanski be extradited and put on trial? Probably yes, although I don’t know if it would help the now 45-year old woman. Having him pay for whatever treatment she has or is having; any life losses (college, marriage, career, etc) may have more impact on both of them.

  33. 39 Pat
    October 1, 2009 at 05:14

    Rape is a type of assault,
    Just as there are different levels of Assault, so there should be differnt levels of rape.
    Predatory rape, where someone is stalked, threatened with a weapon and taken against their will to some other place…Would obviously be the highest category and also the easiest to obtain a conviction…Because consent is not an issue.

    Unfortunately, with some of the other types you would have t prove that consent was never verbalised or implied, because of previous social intimate activities, (i.e heavy petting or prior sexual activity).

    Another one would be if someone was in a position of power over the victim and eerted pressure that way,,,For example large age difference and the alleged attacker is a Teacher, Priest, Doctor etc….(Violation & misuse of Trust position)

    I do not see how you CANNOT have different levels or categories of sexual assault or RAPE?

  34. 40 Tom K in Mpls
    October 1, 2009 at 06:10

    Why do all my recent posts on this get deleted? Is it because I gave a link to a popular US TV show that shows in some US subcultures that all this is and was accepted behavior?

  35. 41 W.B.
    October 1, 2009 at 16:12

    America. Go figure it. A person under 18 can be tried (as an adult, even sentenced to death, (because they are old enough to accept responsibility for their actions) but they can’t legally have sex, legally drink a beer or legally sign a contract.

  36. 42 Bert
    October 2, 2009 at 23:05

    In case Jennifer and Steve are still following this thread, the reason it’s silly to compare this case with that of true, violent rape is that teenage girls are perfectly aware of what’s going on with their sexual urges. It’s silly to pretend they are not.

    Similarly, would you think you have to instruct a 13 year old girl when nit’s time to breathe in and breathe out? When it’s time to visit the lieu? Okay, that’s a slight amount of hyperbole, but sex is a biological function that 13 year old girls are perfectly capable of comprehending on their own. We’re not talking about an inncoent 4 year old here.

    That’s why it’s silly. Let’s not get overly “religious” and sanctimonious about this. Or next thing you’ll do is to suggest that Roman Polanski should be castrated?

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