I don't consistently identify as an atheist -- more like an on-again, off-again, mostly-just-on-Tuesdays atheist (and yes, there are Wiccan atheists) -- but I like to buy a lot of books by popular atheist leaders in the movement atheism community. I own bunches and bunches of books by Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, Richard Carrier, and the list could go on and on. My "religion and spirituality" section in my library has more books by atheist authors than it has books by Christian and Wiccan authors combined.
Most of those books, however, have been banished to the Not Gonna Read pile because of how their authors have been behaving in public. First there was Richard Dawkins, which regular readers of my blog will already know has put me off entirely by his careless appropriation of infertile women like me in order to "edgily" promote eugenics. Then Michael Shermer was banished to the pile based on his hateful railing against women skeptics in the movement atheist community, and the recent allegations about him (and his litigious response to those allegations) have not helped endear him to me.
Now Richard Carrier, who I genuinely thought to be a good ally, has a long-winded post in "support" of the women accusing Shermer of rape in which Carrier posts a graphic depiction of something that is quite clearly rape, but which he declares is not rape. This definition of a rape as Not-Rape isn't based on rule of law (much of the post is devoted to correctly explaining why rape is rape even when the law doesn't agree) but rather because... Richard Carrier says it is! And also because women have to follow a set script and announce magic words at various points along the way in order for rape to be Legitimate Rape.
Scenario B: You finally get to meet a big celebrity, for the first time, someone you really love and admire, and you’re at a party having drinks together, sitting at a table. He shows a lot of interest in you, asks you lots of questions, listens intently. Your conversation is so animated, in fact, his focus on you so engaging, that you don’t even notice that he keeps filling your wine glass, and you don’t realize how much you’ve had.
But then you start to feel you must have drunk too much, your vision is blurring and you feel a little dizzy. He shows concern, and offers to take you to your room. You get up and lose your balance a bit but don’t stumble. You can walk if you’re careful, and with his hand out to you he walks you to the elevator, and your room. You are really out of it and are kind of floating. You struggle to concentrate on where he is even taking you.
He gets you to the bed and your head is swimming. You crack wise about how drunk you are. Then without warning he starts kissing and fondling you, then undressing you, then…everything else. You didn’t give him any signal you wanted to fool around, and this isn’t anything you wanted before, but once he just suddenly started, even from his first kiss you respond in kind. You aren’t thinking straight, or thinking at all, but it’s exciting and you participate enthusiastically. But in the midst of it you start to feel it’s wrong. He didn’t ask you. There was no lead up to test your boundaries or pauses to determine your desires. He just did it. You’re ashamed and don’t think you would have done this if you’d been given a chance to think about it. Soon it’s over, and he leaves.
You lay there in the bed, regretting what happened. You feel exploited. Like he took advantage of you. You feel awful about yourself, you feel like a fool, and you cry yourself to sleep. You vow never to let that happen again, to stay away from men who would do that, and to only drink in the company of men you trust won’t.
This is not rape. [emphasis mine]
And then, in the comments:
Thoughts have to expressed in word or action (so they would have to stop what they are doing physically, start resisting, say no or stop, or some such thing). Otherwise you are consenting by participation. [emphasis mine]
Because if a woman doesn't say Magic Words, then she has no right to complain about rape when she's raped because only the presence of Magic Words make it rape, and NO, that's NOT AT ALL like how a lot of detractors of Christianity view the salvation model in Christianity. Those Magic Words in Christianity are completely different from the Magic Words that make rape Legitimate Rape because of flurble-wurble-gobbledy-goo.
And really, all the confused lady-brain people out there (and their well-meaning but equally confused allies) need to listen up to the mansplaining because ya'll are hurting the Legitimate Rape cause by insisting that a predator deliberately feeding drinks to a victim in order to get her stumbling-dizzy-floating drunk so that when he starts to rape her she confusedly responds in a socially-programmed way in order to protect herself and he specifically planned for that to happen in order to protect himself from legal repercussions because of Rape Culture is fucking rape because obviously we all know it's not. (And the fact that that type of rape isn't likely to happen to Richard Carrier, but the type of gang-raped-in-prison rape he earlier describes is more likely to happen to him is totally not relevant to his decision to take the one kind of rape seriously but not the other. Red herring.)
So thank you, Richard Carrier, for mansplaining to my lady-brain how rape isn't rape if I kiss my hypothetical rapist who deliberately maneuvered me into being falling-down drunk because I'm confused and frightened and genuinely afraid he might hurt me even more if I don't act nice to him while he's raping me. In return for your kindness and valuable insight, I would like to place your book -- Sense and Goodness Without God -- in my Not Gonna Read pile where I'm sure it will have a lot to talk about with the other male atheist authors who like to mansplain to me and the other ladies about rape.
Thread Note: I will be moderating this thread with an even firmer hand than usual. Comments suggesting that raping a drunk person isn't "really" rape and/or engaging in the Sorites Fallacy will be deleted.