Is the concept of the “rape continuum” useful?

Words and concepts are only our best approximation of reality; we look for the closest fit to describe our world.  Human sexuality is complicated and subtle, and so the fit between words and reality is always going to be a bit jerry-rigged in this area.  The concept of the “rape continuum” was described recently in the blog “Radical Bookworm,” in the post “Consent Matters”:

We may agree – by and large – that rape is bad and that rapists are bad people. But sadly, a lot of us don’t see a problem with violating people’s boundaries in less serious ways. Hitting on someone after they’ve made it clear they’re not interested, for example. Touching someone’s hair or face without their permission. Pressuring your partner to do something they’re not into. Cat-calling women on the street. These things are so commonplace that many of us fail to acknowledge that they are wrong. That they exist on the same continuum as rape, and that they need to be taken seriously.

Boundary violations should be taken seriously.  Agreed.  But it is not helpful to think of them “on the same continuum as rape.”  To explain why, let me take a few paragraphs to talk about Michael Vick:

A few days ago, I was troubled to hear that President Obama had phoned the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles and thanked him for giving Michael Vick a “second chance.”  Now, for most people, I’m all for second chances.  A twenty year old inner-city kid busted for selling crack, for example, should be given a second chance.  But there are some crimes so vile that the perpetrator should not be given a “second chance,” and I think Michael Vick’s crimes are of this nature.

So why did President Obama praise the Eagles’ owner for signing Vick?  From what I’ve read, he was motivated in part by a belief that ex-convicts rarely get a second chance in life, and that this is unjust.  True enough.  Many ex-convicts are treated unjustly.  But not all ex-convicts are the same.  And it seems to me that an offer of redemption comes with the implicit understanding that the second chance is being offered because the ex-convict, although guilty of past misdeeds, is not himself inherently sadistic or cruel.  It’s society’s way of saying, “We understand you are not an inherently bad person.  Now go and sin no more.”

Forgiveness has value, but it is in the interest of society for us to be able to conceptualize distinctions between inherently evil people and people who merely do bad things.  It isn’t easy to distinguish these groups in practice, of course.  But the concept is important, because there is a small, psychopathic portion of the population who inflict great harm, and it’s a harm that can only be mitigated by lifelong incarceration or close monitoring of the offenders.  The concept is also important because men like Michael Vick should not be able to pass their crimes off as “mistakes,” nor should evil men be able to pass themselves off as morally equivalent to a twenty year old kid caught in a drug bust.  The concept is important because crimes that are particularly cruel or sadistic ought to be viewed as qualitatively different from other crimes, and not as merely acts we place on the more extreme end of the “crime continuum.”

Back now to the question of the “rape continuum.”  As per Radical Bookworm:

[S]exual assault is not an isolated phenomenon. Our culture encourages a whole range of violations of people’s boundaries and bodily integrity, of which rape is only the most serious. And the worst part? You have probably committed some of those violations. I know I have.

Do you see the problem with this way of thinking?  Have I ever “violated a boundary,” said or done something inappropriate, or made someone uncomfortable?  Yes, of course I have.  The author of “Radical Bookworm” says she has as well.  But neither I nor she has ever committed a “sexual assault” or anything that ought reasonably to be placed on the “rape continuum,” unless you want to make a mockery out of the meaning of “sexual assault” and “rape.”

The problem I have with the idea of the “rape continuum” is that it allows the predator to hide himself within the masses of well-meaning men who at one time have, as fallible human beings, behaved inappropriately.  It at once excuses the rapist, and accuses the good-but-imperfect man.  It erases the important qualitative distinction between sexual assault and inappropriate behavior.  The “rape continuum” idea creates a mental framework within which rape is merely an extreme version of lingering too long in the company of an uninterested woman.

Reflect for a moment on the effect of Obama’s support for Michael Vick.  It erases the important distinction between Mr. Vick’s vicious crimes and the lesser transgressions for which second chances should be granted.  It allows Mr. Vick to hide within the masses of non-predatory ex-convicts, while simultaneously tarring all ex-convicts – the inner city kid nabbed in a drug bust – with the ugliness of Mr. Vick’s crimes.

I said earlier that the mental frameworks within which we fit reality are always somewhat jerry-rigged.  That’s true when applying a mental framework to the problem of rape, of course.  And while I believe that the great majority of rapists are psychopathic predators, there are non-psychopathic rapists as well.  But here’s why I think the rapist-as-predator idea is the most useful mental framework:  Predatory rapists commit the greatest number of rapes, by far.  And rapes committed by psychopaths are probably more damaging and more traumatic than those committed by non-psychopaths.  (That last sentence I offer with a great deal of humility, because I don’t know that to be the case, although it makes intuitive sense.)

I understand the thinking behind the idea of the “rape continuum.”  A culture in which women’s boundaries are not respected is also a culture in which sexual assault will be taken less seriously and probably happen more frequently.  But there’s no reason why respect for boundaries has to be taught by placing boundary violations on the “rape continuum.”  And furthermore, placing minor boundary violations – e.g. hitting on someone who is “obviously” not interested – on the “rape continuum” is troublesome because it is very difficult for a young heterosexual man to develop psychosexually without making several mistakes along the way, some of which may entail violations of boundaries.  (Unlike women and gay men, heterosexual men rarely have sexual “mentors” when they are young.)  So, the idea that boundary violations are on the “rape continuum” is often a very inaccurate portrayal of reality, especially when applied to adolescent boys and young men.

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15 Responses to Is the concept of the “rape continuum” useful?

  1. Dominique Millette says:

    Though your argument is stated with elegance, I disagree with the idea that somehow more serious crimes are “excused” by condemning lesser manifestations of them. I would argue the opposite, as did the post from Radical Bookworm: when you excuse a lesser thing, it’s a reflection of how little you take more egregious violations seriously. Date rape is a classic example. As someone who has been assaulted sexually numerous times, by men I knew or dates I had, I can attest this is quite traumatic enough. And the fact that lesser boundary violations were pooh-poohed by everyone around me ensured I didn’t even try to report any of these incidents. When sexual harassment and cat-calling are “not important enough”, you feel like somehow you, yourself, don’t matter enough to be safe, and be left alone.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you. I should clarify that I would definitely not call rape in a dating situation a “lesser boundary violation.” It’s my understanding that what has been called “date rape” is one of the most common manifestations of rape and should be recognized as such.
    As far as the “lesser” violations of sexual harassment and “cat-calling,” I do think these are unacceptable behaviors, and could in fact be placed on a “rape continuum.” But there are other undesirable behaviors Radical Bookworm mentions, such as “hitting on someone when they’ve made it clear they’re not interested” for which the “rape continuum” model is a very poor fit. For the socially inexperienced man who engages in this kind of undesirable behavior, it may not be “clear” when a woman is not interested. And although his behavior is undesirable, his motivation and mindset is substantially different from that of the rapist, and so to place his behavior on the “rape continuum” is to look at the situation through distorted lenses.

  3. Brett K says:

    Radical Bookworm here. First off, thanks for linking to my post – I realize that we disagree on a few of these points, but it’s good to see thoughtful discussion about this issue.

    First off, I don’t think that what I was discussing was a “rape continuum” so much as a “continuum of boundary violations” – of which rape happens to be the most serious. When I say that these boundary violations exist on the same spectrum as rape I mean, first and foremost, that they are part of the culture that allows rape to happen. One commenter on my post brought up the issue of parents ignoring children’s feelings about physical contact – something that, unfortunately, a lot of parents tend to do. Obviously it would be ridiculous to equate this with rape, but it nevertheless forces children to grow up without respect for their own boundaries, which could potentially prevent them from recognizing or dealing with sexual assault in the future. So, rape, or even comparable to rape? No. But a part of rape culture? Definitely.

    I think we are clearly coming from different perspectives when it comes to who commits rape. You are absolutely right that most rapes are committed by repeat offenders, but where we differ is that I don’t think that those people are necessarily monsters. Some of them are, sure – and I’m certainly not saying that any of them are good people. But we live in a culture that normalizes boundary violations to the point where people who commit even the most serious of those violations are able to convince themselves that they are not actually doing something wrong. My rapist didn’t wake up one morning and think, “I’m going to rape someone today!” He was just able to convince himself that having sex with an unconscious teenager wasn’t rape at all. Sure, he was fucked-up, mentally ill, and fairly misogynistic – but he wasn’t a monster.

    I find the concept of a continuum useful from a socio-cultural (and personal) standpoint because of how destructive it can be to try to distinguish between “real rape” and “not-real rape”. Obviously the law needs to create clear definitions – how else would we know who to lock up? But in social life the point isn’t to punish offenders; it’s to make it clear that these behaviours – ALL of these behaviours, from rape to touching someone’s hair without asking – are wrong, so that people refrain from engaging in them. Understanding the importance of bodily integrity in all contexts doesn’t minimize the severity of rape. If anything, I think it would make us realize just how serious, and just how prevalent, rape culture really is.

    Also, as for the “hitting on someone who is clearly not interested” thing: I was referring to guys who keep pestering a girl even after she has stated outright that she is not interested. I of all people can understand that it’s hard for some of us to recognize social cues, especially when those cues are really vague and subtle. I’ve definitely been so oblivious as to not realize that someone wanted to be left alone, so I can’t blame anyone else for being young and having poor social skills. On the other hand, there are a LOT of guys who won’t take “I’m not interested, please go away” for an answer, and those guys are douches who don’t respect women’s boundaries. That’s who I was talking about. Sorry for not being more clear.

  4. Hugh Ristik says:

    Brett said:

    First off, I don’t think that what I was discussing was a “rape continuum” so much as a “continuum of boundary violations” – of which rape happens to be the most serious.

    I was thinking the same thing when I read your post: it really sounds more like a “nonconsent continuum,” rather than a “rape continuum.” Your term “continuum of boundary violations” works, too.

    So now can we get rid of the term “rape continuum”, which lumps together all sorts of qualitatively different boundary violations?

  5. Jim says:

    More serious crimnes are not excused by anything, but they are trivialized by conflation with lesser crimes. “Birth rape” is a bodily violation, but it is not sexual assault, it is not rape. As a rape victim, you probably find that conflation offensive.

    Throwing an indigenous group off its land may result in their assimilation in an urban slum, but it is not genocide. calling someone “dear” may or may not be sexist, depending on the circumstances, but it is never “oppression”.

  6. Jim says:

    Brett, I really loved that whole post. You have touched on a very important of all of this, boundary violations. This next part was unhelpful but it really doesn’t damage your argument.

    When you say:
    “And I have been deliberately gender-neutral up until this point – because this does apply to everyone – but the fact is that our society dismisses and disregards women’s boundaries far more often than men. And even moreso when the women in question are otherwise marginalized – when they are trans women, or women of colour, or women with disabilities.”

    You are making two big mistakes. The secons and smaller one is endemic in feminism – appropriating other people’s oppresion for white feminists’ own agenda. I am sick of seeing white women do this with gay men, and I know for a fact because they say so that women of color are sick of it too.

    The second mistake is some serious femsplaining. As a woman you really have no basis to comment on men’s experiences of boundary violations, but you can and do witness them , so that makes your statement even more problematic. Even in Canada, while Female Gential Mutilation is abhorred and outlawed, Male Gential Mutilation is not, though thankfully it is more uncommon than in the US – different level of civilization perhaps. That’s a big one, but it goes much farther. Women in our cultures generally have more license to approach men, whether they take advantage of that license or not, they have much more licwense to put thier hands on men, and they have the weapon of homphobia to use on men who resist these advances. When it comes to emotional boundaries women have much more license to question a man’s masculinity than men have to question their femininity, and in general to police and men’s reactions and speech. Where men have trhe power of slut-shaming, women have the power of creep-shaming, with the crucuila diffnernence that slut-shaming is much more out of fashion and even denounceable than creep-shaming is. They have the power of the Mother archetype behind them on that.

    This is all a function of chivalry, and yes it is patriarchal, and it’s pretty undeniably a fact in our Anglosphere culture.

  7. Brett K says:

    Re: your first point: I really intended for that to be a nod to intersectionality rather than any kind of appropriation, and I’m sorry if it came across as such. I wasn’t so much trying to use other forms of oppression – and the ways in which which they intersect with patriarchy / gendered oppression – to support my own argument as I was attempting to acknowledge the fact that women who experience multiple oppressions have their boundaries violated far more often than those of us who are relatively privileged in other ways. I would even go so far as to say that this is a universal feature of kyrarchy: those with power reinforce said power by disregarding (and ridiculing) the boundaries of the oppressed. That was the point I was trying to make, and I’m sorry if it didn’t come across that way. I’m new to blogging, and I don’t always communicate as effectively as I would like to.

    As for your second point, I both agree and disagree. It’s true that I’ll never fully understand men’s experiences; on the other hand, you will never fully understand women’s experiences. For one, I highly doubt that women have more license to approach men than men have to approach women. The notion of woman as initiator of sexual contact is still relatively new in our culture, and a surprising number of men are still extremely uncomfortable with it. Slut-shaming, sadly, is also a lot more common than it should be in the 21st century. Creep-shaming can be awful (I’ve actually been on the receiving end of both, and yeah, they are pretty terrible) but I wouldn’t equate it with slut-shaming largely because, as far as I can tell, no one is actually shaming men for having sex, or for enjoying sex. The guys who get labelled creeps are usually guys who are socially awkward in their interactions with women. That’s terrible in and of itself, but it’s not a comparable phenomenon. Not to mention that women can be shamed for social awkwardness too; it just takes a somewhat different form.

    I do agree that gender policing is much more commonly directed at men than at women. That’s a pretty clear indication of how patriarchy hurts men too. Because masculinity is so highly valued, “failing” at masculinity carries massive stigma. Femininity, on the other hand, is always going to be a consolation prize. Even if you succeed (which is pretty damn hard, by the way), you’re just really good at being a second-class citizen. Sucks for everyone, basically.

    Also: Equating MGM with FGM is problematic in a number of ways, but I still think that MGM is absolutely deplorable and I can’t believe there aren’t more people out there actively opposing it.

  8. Hugh Ristik says:

    Radical Bookworm said:

    women who experience multiple oppressions have their boundaries violated far more often than those of us who are relatively privileged in other ways. I would even go so far as to say that this is a universal feature of kyrarchy: those with power reinforce said power by disregarding (and ridiculing) the boundaries of the oppressed.

    I have trouble reconciling this theory with the fact that sexual coercion (especially other than rape) and unwanted sex are a two-way street according to the stats. Men seem to be subject to boundary violations at 33-75% the rate that women are. Although both directions on the street don’t get the same traffic, there is plenty of traffic on both sides.

    So to reconcile these facts with the theory that “those with power reinforce said power by disregarding (and ridiculing) the boundaries of the oppressed”, we would have to add one of the following addenda:

    1. Men experience violations by women even though women are oppressed and they aren’t (this seems a bit unintuitive, since aren’t boundary violations that stem from systemic attitudes a form of oppressed, making men oppressed at least in this manner?)

    2. Men are oppressed in certain respects (e.g. cultural ideology that they should always be up for sex), which explains their high rate of boundary violations by women.

    For one, I highly doubt that women have more license to approach men than men have to approach women.

    Perhaps in the case of approaching. But how about another example, like physically touching a stranger without permission? Couldn’t this be a case where women are given more license, because their touch is considered less threatening?

    The guys who get labelled creeps are usually guys who are socially awkward in their interactions with women.

    Yes, but not just them.

    Not to mention that women can be shamed for social awkwardness too; it just takes a somewhat different form.

    True, but do you hear women jokingly labeled as serial killers or child molestors for being socially awkward, like men can? In my experience, male social awkwardness if far more stigmatized, and viewed as more unattractive.

    I do agree that gender policing is much more commonly directed at men than at women.

    Thanks for acknowledging this possibility…

    That’s a pretty clear indication of how patriarchy hurts men too.

    We were doing well, but then Feminism 101 comes along and ruins a promising train of thought.

    If society truly gender-polices men more than women, then isn’t such policing counter-evidence to the notion that we live in a “patriarchy”? Personally, I would guess that a real patriarchy would give men more freedom than women, not less.

    Also, “hurt” is a rather mild word for some types of gender policing of men. A better word would be the same word that feminists use for shitty stuff that society does to women: oppression. But when we say that “patriarchy oppresses men too”, it just doesn’t have the same ring, and it’s even harder to figure out why we are still calling such a society a “patriarchy.”

    Because masculinity is so highly valued, “failing” at masculinity carries massive stigma. Femininity, on the other hand, is always going to be a consolation prize.

    I would say that we have a conflicted relationship with both those who succeed at performing masculinity, and those who don’t… just like you describe with femininity. Successful performance of certain components of masculinity can also be stigmatized (e.g. “jerk”, “asshole”).

    Also: Equating MGM with FGM is problematic in a number of ways, but I still think that MGM is absolutely deplorable and I can’t believe there aren’t more people out there actively opposing it.

    Jim did not “equate” MGM and FGM other than calling them both “mutilation,” and examining their legal status. I think we all agree that FGM typically involves more tissue removal than MGM (though of course there is overlap). Both are nonconsensual mutilation, which is what is relevant to Jim’s point that a massive boundary violation is considered legal and normal on men, but not on women.

    (Also, going back to the patriarchy question, a society where it’s legal to mutilate male infants, but not female infants, doesn’t sound much like a “patriarchy” either.)

  9. Brett K says:

    @Hugh Ristik

    If you don’t acknowledge the existence of patriarchy, then we’re obviously arguing from very different conceptual frameworks, and I doubt that I’m going to change your mind any more than you’re going to change mine. So as far as that point is concerned, I can only say this: My grandmother was born into a country that did not consider her to be a legal person (the Persons Case took place in 1930). My mother was born into a country where she was not legally entitled to equal pay for equal work (the Canadian Human Rights Act established this in 1977) and got married in a country where it was legal for her husband to rape her. I was born into a country in which I did not have the legal right to control my fertility (R. v. Morgentaler removed all abortion restrictions in 1988). And sure, you might argue that all of this have changed, but it’s impossible to overstate just how incredibly recent these developments were – not to mention that some of them are still contentious topics here, to say nothing of the rest of the world. Even you can’t deny that patriarchy has existed. The question is whether it continues to exist. All I can say is that real social change doesn’t happen that fast. Though it is pretty awesome being a legal person rather than property. I’ll give you that.

    Apart from that, I will concede some of your points. I think the problem is that we’re each arguing from our own side without acknowledging that one type of marginalization/oppression/disadvantage (or whatever you want to call it) doesn’t negate another. I choose to call this system of oppressions “patriarchy” because, in my experience, it privileges men and masculinity over women and femininity, but that doesn’t mean that everything is great for men all the time. Patriarchy (which is itself a part of kyrarchy – a system that grants power to certain people while disadvantaging and devaluing others) punishes certain men who cannot or do not conform to very strict gender norms. I suppose that men who do fit those gender norms do get stigmatized in some ways (though in my experiences, many of those men really do deserve to be called jerks and assholes, even if they are only enacting gender roles that society has forced them into) but ultimately, those are the men who hold most of the power in our world. Femininity, on the other hand, is basically a series of catch-22s designed to keep women in our place. Being feminine enough (not too feminine – after all, femininity is still basically a bad thing) gets you certain advantages, but nothing near those gained by hegemonic masculinity.

    The PHMT argument has been overused to the point where it is pretty trite and hackneyed, but I think it still retains some value. By privileging masculinity over femininity, and moreover, by defining masculinity in extremely rigid terms, patriarchy actively harms, and you could say oppresses, men who cannot or do not conform to that rigid gender role.

    Interestingly, if you look at this in historical context, prior to the 19th century there was actually a much wider range of acceptable masculinities. Men who had sex with men, celibate men, men who were not capable of impregnating or having penetrative sex with women (I’m thinking specifically of castrati here) – none were considered insufficiently masculine. To be sure, masculinity was still a complicated system that privileged certain men over others, but it was also far less restrictive than it has been in the modern era. But that’s just an aside, and yes I am a historian, sorry.

    On to some of your actual points, before this becomes too epic:

    I would argue the opposite, actually. Privilege is often extremely restrictive. Look at the range of possible gender expressions within queer communities, for instance. You couldn’t argue that queer people are more privileged than straight people, but we nevertheless are granted far more freedom to express our gender in ways of our own choosing. Because we have already “failed” at hegemonic gender roles (and thus will never have the privilege that comes with being gender-conforming), we are more or less (though of course not entirely) freed from them.

    I also take issue with the notion that women are given more license to approach and touch men without permission. It may be true that this is considered more acceptable when it occurs (most likely due to the fact that is is less often perceived as threatening, as you said) but I highly doubt that this means it occurs more often. I suspect that it wouldn’t occur to most women to touch a man without his permission, because women don’t feel entitled to men’s bodies in the way that men feel entitled to women’s. On the other hand, I suspect that it doesn’t occur to many men that women might *not* want to be touched (in any way, not just sexually) without their consent. Just check out this piece of rape apologist crap: http://jezebel.com/5691871/american-guy-in-paris-freed-from-the-idea-of-consent. (Having lived in Paris, I can confirm that this is how so many guys there behave, and it can be absolutely terrifying at times.) Men may have to deal with that kind of thing sometimes, but a lot of women deal with it constantly – I mean every day, no matter where they go, to the point where they’re reluctant to leave the house just to do laundry. In many cases it’s not even that women’s boundaries are ridiculed or ignored; people just don’t seem to realize that they exist at all. The whole “people, not property” thing hasn’t sunk in as much as most of us would like to think.

    Nevertheless, though, there is traffic on both sides, and that does need to be acknowledged. We don’t value anyone’s bodily integrity as much as we should. We value some people’s bodily integrity even less, but this is a near-universal problem nevertheless. Again, this is an intersectional issue: when one form of oppression (such as a lack of respect for boundaries, which affects most people) intersects with another (such as sexism, ableism, etc.) the effect is multiplied. But just like the fact that, say, women with disabilities experience sexual assault at a higher rate than temporarily able-bodied women doesn’t make the sexual assault of able-bodied women unimportant, the fact that more women than men experience boundary violations doesn’t make disrespect for men’s boundaries unimportant either (hope that comparison isn’t offensive to anyone – I’m not trying to minimize anybody’s experiences). Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge the ways in which these intersections work in order to fully understand the problem.

  10. Brett K says:

    Ugh, blockquote fail. I intended to quote this section from Hugh’s post:

    If society truly gender-polices men more than women, then isn’t such policing counter-evidence to the notion that we live in a “patriarchy”? Personally, I would guess that a real patriarchy would give men more freedom than women, not less.

    and then end the blockquote. I don’t normally suck this much at HTML, seriously.

  11. Jim says:

    “As for your second point, I both agree and disagree. It’s true that I’ll never fully understand men’s experiences; on the other hand, you will never fully understand women’s experiences. ”

    Which makes *comparisons* by either a man or women problematic. That’s what I was getting at.

    “For one, I highly doubt that women have more license to approach men than men have to approach women. ”

    This is one area where it is both a man’s and a woman’s experince, sionce he is the object of her advances. And yes, women get away with a lot more than men do – actually touching and so on. And men do not have the gay-shaming weapon that women do. The chanrge of “lesbian’ is hardly as loaded as “faggot.”

    However women are constrained a lot more by slut-shaming – men get both slut-shaming and virgin-shaming, and they can cancel each other out. And I would call that prior constraint.

    And fair play on the first point. It’s just that it’s a sore point that has been hit a little too often in these discussions for the past 40 years or so.

  12. Jim says:

    “I was born into a country in which I did not have the legal right to control my fertility (R. v. Morgentaler removed all abortion restrictions in 1988). ”

    Which by the way is a right that men stil do not have, either in your country or the US – you spoke of reproductive rights, not bodily autonomy, and a woman’s prgnancy inescapably involves a man’s reproduction.

    “Also: Equating MGM with FGM is problematic in a number of ways, but I still think that MGM is absolutely deplorable and I can’t believe there aren’t more people out there actively opposing it.”

    I can usually count on feminists to take this sensible position. This is the usual reaction from feminists. I think the root of it is cultural relativism and at least in the US a fetish for Abrahamic religions. Both are disgusting.

  13. Brett K says:

    Reproductive rights and bodily integrity may not be interchangeable or synonymous, but they are inextricably intertwined. Women’s right to control both our bodies and our fertility is constantly being called into question because many people – and many powerful people, at that – think that we are less important than the contents of our uteri. I doubt anyone would make the same claim for men.

    Men’s reproductive rights, on the other hand, are constrained only to the extent where they infringe upon women’s. If a man attempted to control his reproduction by forcing a woman to end or to continue a pregnancy, he is violating her bodily integrity and her reproductive freedom. Your rights end where mine begin, and mine begin with the right to decide what happens to my uterus.

  14. Jim says:

    “Reproductive rights and bodily integrity may not be interchangeable or synonymous, but they are inextricably intertwined. ”

    That’s the rub. The answer is not forced abortions, it is the legal right to repudiate unwanted offspring. That is a fair equivalent to abortion.

  15. RLD says:

    The statement is “hitting on someone when they’ve made it clear they’re not interested”. If they continue, wouldn’t it then be harrassment? How do you draw the line?

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