Content warning: this post discusses rape and police violence
The CPS today explained that they’ve decided it’s not illegal for policemen to pretend to be real people, insinuate themselves into the lives of women it’s literally their job to try and incarcerate, and trick them into sex and childbearing. Their full justification for this is pretty grim reading, riddled with rape apologism and a soupçon of cissexism, and you can read it here.
I cannot even begin to imagine the slap in the face this is for the survivors, who have worked hard to drag the violations they experienced into the light. It is revolting that what happened to them is not considered an act of violence, when it so patently is. The law, as always, is all backwards, set up to protect the powerful and allow them to perpetrate acts of violence against women with impunity.
The fact is, these men lied. They lied about who they were, about what they did, about what they believed. They built a castle of lies, and tricked women into building intimate relationships with them, for the purposes of information gathering. The endgame of this deception was to lock up these women, and everyone these women knew, to silence them and to stop them. There is probably not a woman alive who would actively consent to what these policemen had in mind. This is why we discuss what happened in terms of rape: because of the lack of consent. The legal system, for the most part, defines what is and isn’t rape around what they want their chums to get away with, so by their standards, of course it isn’t rape.
It’s not that the legal system isn’t fit for purpose, because it is. It’s just that the purpose it serves is not in our interests.
There’s a knock-on effect of all this, trickling down to women like me. Under rape culture, we’re paranoid about getting raped–and it’s a just paranoia, because it’s phenomenally likely to happen to a lot of us at some point. Under this state-sanctioned rape culture, there’s this additional retroactive paranoia for those of us who aren’t good girls, who make likely targets for a predatory cop. I find myself flicking through the comrades I have slept with, wondering desperately to myself if any of them were cops. There were those I let myself get close to, and then they disappeared. Were they undercover policemen, who got what they wanted and fucked off back to base?
To my knowledge, they were all just arseholes, and while all cops are bastards, all bastards aren’t cops. However, the niggling, wearing anxiety is still there, and I suspect this is precisely what the pigs want. Ultimately, they want us frightened and ground-down, as it positions us as unable to resist.
I’ve said before that being deeply critical of the police is a very important feminist position to hold, and I’ll say it again until I’m blue in the face. These men are a gang of perpetrators, who will gladly inflict sexual violence upon us to suit their needs. Never forget that.
4 thoughts on “Raping women is legal if it’s a policeman doing it”
`no woman should be raped in a ” civlilised” society discusting behaviour GOD bless all women.
Not often I disagree with you stavvers, and i usually lose but here goes….
The idea that deception =rape is incredibly worrying, verging onto the calling of things rape that arent rape. Leaving aside the very philosophical concept of how well we ever know anyone, I, as you can imagine, frequently have sex with people who not not honest about who they are. Ask any sex worker about how many SAS men they have fucked, how many offfice clerks become managers, how many stories of divorce paint the client as a saint, people create less than 100% true (whatever truth is) picture of themselves all the time. The last thing sex workers need is another reason for people to say we cannot fully consent.
Consent is based on what we know at this moment, in the here and now. Wander MRA blogs and you will read men saying how they were raped when a woman “deceived them” about their birth control and got pregnant after sex. They talk of their semen being stolen, when at the time of the act of intercourse they consented fully, including to the choice not to wear a condom.
In the moment of sex, in the relationship they were in, the women here consented. Now, who is to say that if they had known the guys were pigs they would not have, To get philosophical for a moment who is also to say that the personas they created were not real to them/? I write that as someone who is known by close friends by a pseudonym, and whilst i think the person known as jem is pretty close to the real name me, i am aware she is more confident, outgoing, sexually open and generally all the better parts of me. By only letting people in to see the “better” me am i deceiving them? Is it rape if we have sex?
LAst point, as this has gone on a bit 🙂
You mention the cissexism of the decision, its true compared with R V Mcally the authorities reached a very different verdict, based on cissexism and transphobia. unfortunately your piece supports the state in your arguments. Trans people must have the right not to disclose and this will be seen deceptive by some, the solution is to say consent is based on knowledge at the time, and that it is not rape to not know everything about your sexual partners background.
jemima2013, your post is pretty insulting, suggesting as it does that the women would still have consented “if they had known the guys were pigs”. Just what do you base that claim on? If you take the trouble to look at the support website http://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/home/ you’ll find plenty of explanation of why this is so much more extreme than ‘ordinary’ lying.
For myself I don’t think ‘ordinary’ lying is ok either. I want my relationships to be built on mutual respect and trust – otherwise there’s not a lot of point in them. Yes we all do slide a bit (maybe glossing over some of our own faults or complimenting a close friend’s outfit when we don’t really like it), but none of us likes to think of ourselves being lied to or manipulated by others, and by the same token we shouldn’t be doing the lying or manipulating.
From my perspective the problem is that rape by deception is in many cases a crime of intent, and that’s hard to prove.
Knowingly witholding information from someone that you can reasonably believe would make them not consent in order to get their consent is clearly wrong. That is the case regardless. -Intentionally misleading- someone into believing you were on birth control when you weren’t is just as wrong as telling your partner that you are wearing a condom before penetrating them without one. Lying about your STD status is wrong. Convincing someone that you are a rich doctor in order to get them into bed is wrong. Convincing someone that you are an entirely different person is wrong.
(Yes, this does mean I think trans people should disclose to partners they intend to have sex with if that sex is more than a blowjob in a bathroom. I also think that violently transphobic people should disclose THAT before sleeping with ANYONE, because I would damn sure want to know, wouldn’t you?)