On Darren Sharper and Misguided Ideas of Consent

3 02 2014
Damn it, Darren! Photo: http://www.inflexwetrust.com

Damn it, Darren!
Photo: http://www.inflexwetrust.com

If you’ve been reading the blog for some time now, then you know that I have, let’s call it a fascination, with Darren Sharper. I mean, the man is fine. F.O.I.N.E Fine. It also doesn’t hurt that he helped my team (the Saints) win their first Super Bowl Championship. And I’ve said on more than a few occasions that he could get it on any given day and twice on Sunday. Hell, I even have a tag for the blog titled “chances to bring up Darren Sharper in a post.” This “fascination” was real, y’all.

So I was particularly disturbed when I read the reports that he’d been arrested and was being investigated in not one, not two, but three different cases of sexual assault/rape. Sir. THREE DIFFERENT CASES!!?? I’m not saying that automatically makes him guilty, but look – it’s pretty hard to make people believe that three separate women were trying to get you for your money and claim false rape or assault charges on you (in the span of like 6 months).

Anyway, upon reading these reports, I was so disturbed. How could a man who soooo many women would willingly have sex with end up raping three women instead? Of course I know that most sexual assaults are not actually about sex, but about the wielding of power, but still – it boggled my mind.

Until I read what he’s since claimed as his way to prove that at least one of the women is lying. Brace yourself for this proof, according to NBC Sports:

The attorney for former NFL safety Darren Sharper said Friday that the woman accusing him of rape followed him to his apartment “willingly,” and that there was no evidence of a sexual assault.

Sigh. Okay.

That’s the basis of his proof y’all. Basically, she came to my place so obviously she wanted it and obviously that means I didn’t rape her.

And while I can kind of understand what he’s trying to get at, I immediately read it and thought – someone needs to stress to him just how wrong he is. That the act of walking into his apartment does not guarantee consent. Like at all.

Unfortunately, Darren Sharper isn’t the only celebrity who has had a hard time grasping this concept. Young Money CEO Mack Maine recently found himself charged with hitting two women, because (as they claimed) he assumed that once they entered his tour bus, it was on and popping. When they said no, allegedly, his hand couldn’t control itself from being so bamboozled. Because to him, allegedly, consent was implied when they walked onto that bus.

Mack Maine and Darren Sharper are not alone in this thinking though. I’m sure plenty of men have had similar thoughts. There’s even a meme of a guy riding naked on a bike proclaiming how the girl he’s going to visit better know he’s not coming over there for nothing. The meme is funny on its surface, but the truth behind it is actually pretty damaging. And it’s not too far removed from the problems Maine and Sharper are facing.

So here’s the thing – at some point, we have to get real about what constitutes consent and what doesn’t. I think by now, especially after the hoopla over the Steubenville case, most people understand that if a woman is passed out drunk, she can’t possibly give consent to having sex. There’s also a very clear understanding about the random guy who jumps out of the bushes and attacks someone. But we still can’t seem to grasp (and by we, I mean, the general public) the idea that allowing for true consent means allowing for the fact that a woman (or man) can choose at any point to say no or stop.

Yes, this means after she’s come over to your house.

Or let you come over to hers.

Yes, this means after you’ve started kissing.

And after clothes have started to come off.

Allowing for consent means that the moment she says no or resists or says wait – you must stop. You can’t say to yourself “oh well she’s here, she’s just trying to be a good girl and play hard to get.” Or “whatever, she knew what the deal was when she walked in here.” Or even, “but our clothes are off, what did she think was going to happen?”

No… no matter what, no matter what assumptions you may have had from the beginning, your obligation, your duty, your responsibility is to stop.

I don’t know if Darren Sharper or Mack Maine are guilty of what they are being accused of. But what I do know is that until we get real and stop thinking of rape/sexual assault as something that only happens from the boogeyman bad guy, these kinds of cases will keep occurring. And more women will continue to feel that they were violated and their choice to say no not respected.

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16 responses

3 02 2014
luveniaspencer@hotmail.com

has not been charged in nola get that straight every woman that says rape has not been raped that is just a fact. Money is behind a lot of accusations.

3 02 2014
dbaham

Thanks for the clarification. I’ve amended the statement above where I said he was charged in all three cases.

However, my argument remains the same — this really isn’t about Darren Sharper as it is about the misguided idea that because a woman enters your home she has given her consent to have sex with you. Darren Sharper is just an example of that. But if you’ll notice, I also mention on at least two occasions that I don’t know if he’s innocent or guilty of these accusations.

3 02 2014
Anita Gill

So women shouldn’t be protecting themselves? Why would you follow a man you don’t know to his place? A woman entering your place does not grant you permission to rape her but there is a difference when a woman has been drinking and goes home with you after a night of clubbing. You are insulting rape victims who didn’t put themselves in a dangerous situation or send signals to a man that they are willing to have sex.

4 02 2014
dbaham

I have to respectfully disagree with you on this — How is it insulting to say that EVERY woman has the right for her “no” to be honored? That doesn’t insult rape victims. That allows for a more honest definition of rape.

To be clear, I am NEVER of the mindset that we should blame the person who was sexually assaulted.

4 02 2014
Anita Gill

I had 2 college roommates raped when someone broke the window into their first floor dorm room and assaulted them. HUGE difference from picking up a chick in a club who is sending you signals she will get down. If you do NOT want to be raped then do NOT go home with a man you don’t know cause that is some ignorant ish and people need to stop using alcohol as an excuse for their actions.

4 02 2014
dbaham

I am extremely saddened and sorry to hear about your college roommates. No woman should ever have to experience that kind of pain. However, I’m not of the belief that because someone’s rape didn’t happen in that manner, that means it’s not rape.

I know far too many women who were raped/sexually assaulted by someone they knew and/or trusted to not take advantage of them to ever feel comfortable saying that doesn’t qualify as rape. Also are we saying that anytime a woman enters a man’s home, she’s implying that sex is automatically on the table? That doesn’t sit right with me as a point of fact.

And if I say no to you and you don’t stop, does it really matter what happened before then? You still acted against my stated wishes. That’s no less rape than a woman who was attacked by someone she didn’t know. Both women are violated in that situation, and both women should feel that their sisters stand behind them in solidarity.

3 02 2014
Anita Gill

Let me add he is innocent until proven guilty and he has admitted to taking 2 of the women home from clubs and it was consensual sex.

4 02 2014
dbaham

Again, I do not say that he is guilty in the blog post. In fact, I explicitly say that I do not know if he is guilty of what he is being accused of.

4 02 2014
Anita Gill

You implied it though. I’m not excusing him but as a woman I can say we need to take some responsibility for our own actions too. Why did these women go to his hotel room and not to their own homes?

4 02 2014
dbaham

Implying that he did was not my intent, which is why I state that I don’t know if he is guilty on at least two occasions. What I say (and what is the point of the post) is that his proof that he has offered for his innocence thus far is in my opinion faulty. That I don’t believe that because a woman enters your apartment, she automatically agrees to having sex with you.

You don’t agree with me in that opinion, but I’d ask you not to put words in my mouth that I didn’t use.

5 02 2014
Anita Gill

You said you knew of too many women who were raped by men they knew and trusted but that doesn’t include these women. They met him in a club and liked his looks and fame. We’re talking about women but there are men who have had their lives and careers destroyed by women who claimed rape once they realized all the man wanted was sex and not a relationship. I have seen that personally so I will have some sympathy for Mr. Sharper until I see the facts come out.

I did not intend to put words in your mouth but if you read what I stated about a woman going home with a man after drinking and bar hopping there is intent on both parties. Why would you go to a strange man’s in the early hours of the morning instead of your own home?

5 02 2014
dbaham

I think we’re just going to have agree to disagree on this.

While I hope that if Darren Sharper is innocent, he is proven to be so — I still think the conversation needs to be had between men and women about expectations and consent when it comes to sex.

The reality is many men and women meet people and go back to that person’s home on the night they met. It’s not for me to judge that. My point is that even if I, as a woman, decide to go back to that man’s house, even if I thought I wanted to have sex with him on my way there, he still needs to honor my right to change my mind when I get there. And if he doesn’t and still forces me to have sex, I believe that is rape.

PS: Thank you for the clarification about your intention. And thank you for the discourse around the topic. It’s certainly been interesting.

5 02 2014
Anita Gill

“But what I do know is that until we get real and stop thinking of rape/sexual assault as something that only happens from the boogeyman bad guy, these kinds of cases will keep occurring. And more women will continue to feel that they were violated and their choice to say no not respected.”

How about teaching women to not get drunk and going home with men they don’t know? I’ve seen more than a few women who got drunk or extra horny, slept with men and then to cover their shame said they were forced. Alcohol is not an excuse for loose morals.

5 02 2014
dbaham

Alcohol is a reason to not have sex with me though. And this is where I think the conversation needs to not just be on telling women to be smart. Men need to know that the law says if you have sex with a woman and she was too drunk to stop it, that’s legally rape. At a certain point, the law says you can not give consent while intoxicated. So why aren’t we teaching our boys/men to not put themselves in dangerous positions as well?

7 02 2014
Anita Gill

The law needs to look at BOTH sides though, if she is too drunk to consent then he is too drunk to not know what he is doing either. He didn’t drag them off the street. I’m guessing in all 3 cases both parties were drunk and should be judged with the same. I agree, he should have not put himself in a position where this situation could occur but alcohol does strange things to people just as these women are claiming now.

21 05 2014
Caleb Gee

You know what? I’m not real sure about Sharper; my gut feeling is that he is in innocent. But as far as these cases in general though, I think what you’re saying is rather ridiculous because you’re saying that the real fault of someone getting raped is the person who got raped because she put herself in a position to get raped. Here’s the problem with your theory. Rape is a two-way dichotomy. One person isn’t dominating another by subjugating someone else sexually. The offender is the one doing the subjugating, not the other way around. A rapist isn’t forced to rape someone. To suggest otherwise is nothing but victim-blaming.

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