There is no gray in rape

As you may/may not know, Cosmo has a “tell your story to cosmo!” which is asking women if they’ve ever had the experience where they may/may not’ve been raped…a term they’ve coined “gray rape.”

As Feministing mentions, the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault has begun a letter writing campaign to the magazine noting that the term is not only wrong, it’s harmful.

So here’s mine. Please do your part and write your own letters to

also, Shakespeare’s Sister has a good blog entry about this so called gray rape. check it out, peeps.


Dear Cosmopolitan:

As a women’s magazine you should know that one thing women share—regardless of age, sexual orientation or class, is fear. Like it or not, fear is our constant companion. We don’t have to be walking outside walking home late at night to find ourselves confronted by this—we can be at home and the doorbell rings late at night.

Women are told to be safe, walk in groups and carry mace in case we’re attacked by an attacker/rapist.

The danger isn’t always in the unknown, however. Surely you know the term ‘date rape’? Just because we know the person, does not make us automatically safe. If sex is not consensual, then it is rape. If a woman does not want to have sex, but the guy forces her to then it is rape. If her judgment is impaired because he has bought her several alcoholic drinks and she can’t think straight, there’s no consent, therefore it is rape. Sex requires two consensual adults, and where there isn’t consent, there isn’t sex. And it is not ‘gray rape’ either.

The consequences of having been raped are very real and there is no in between. saying something like ‘gray rape’ implies that there is fault on the woman—she was a tease, she wore clothing that meant she would end up in a cheap motel on a bed she doesn’t want to be in with a man she doesn’t want to be with. There is no ‘gray rape.’

I know someone who was in a very real situation of what you say is ‘gray rape.’

It was not gray.

It was rape.

She wanted justice.

But she got none.

Why? because of lack of evidence. Because they’d been drinking.

If you want evidence, you need only to look at the way she felt after the fact—the way any woman feels after being sexually used.

Yes, we live in a culture where hookups happen, and they happen a lot. One only needs to look at the behavior of women in shows like Sex & the City or even the L Word.

Yes, hookups happen. But the difference between a hookup and rape is the factor of consent. If I meet up with a guy and decide to take him home with me and we decide to ‘hookup’ then that is that. I may regret it afterward, but the fact that I consented and he consented makes it a valid hookup. If I go with a guy to his house drunk and unaware of what is really happening around me, and he proceeds to have his way with me despite my slurred protests, then that is rape.

There is a very definite rape culture within our society. Women, despite being the victims, are often seen in a way to make them guilty. Rape is one of the few cases where the victim is guilty until proven innocent. If a woman dresses skimpily, if she is not a pure, untouched virgin, or has a career in sex work, her character is already in question and her case is in jeopardy. For you see, if a woman has such a background, clearly it must be her fault, right?

In addition, it’s interesting to note that there are more animal shelters than women’s shelters. Such a fact is glaringly obvious when you note the outcry that has come over the Michael Vick case. The public is outraged at his abuse of dogs. But if a woman is abused and murdered, where is the public then?

Naomi Wolf, in The Beauty Myth, discusses how media and representations of rape have made rape seem like a natural course of events. rape fantasies are practically encouraged as the showing male:dominance/female:submission. She notes that in such a culture, it may become normal for boys to rape girls, because—well—that’s just the way things go.

She mentions the jogger that was battered and raped by 5 NY teenagers and the questions that came after: was it because of her race? Was it because of her class? No one wondered at the fact that it happened because of how normal violence against women has become.

While there are plenty of things to add to this letter, I will stop here. I am sure you will receive many other letters, many of them more eloquent than this, all amounting to the same thing.

Beware of the terms you use and the meaning they have behind them. think carefully before you try to coin a term such as ‘gray rape’. As I’ve mentioned, rape is a very real thing and there is no gray to being raped. A woman raped, knows it—even if she’s told by her friends/the rapist/or the jury—that she wasn’t. even if her social conscious is telling herself that she wasn’t raped—she knows it somewhere deep down.



The Beauty Myth—Naomi Wolf


Thank you for your time.


One thought on “There is no gray in rape

  1. Falsely December 6, 2007 / 6:55 am

    With juries across America pretty much rejecting the idea of “drunken consent” prosecutions in rape cases, prosecutors are beginning to “just say no” to women who want to punish men for women’s “regrettable” sexual encounters. Rape cops are beginning to abandon their “politically correct” instruction manuals, and actually telling some of these “victims” to not bother filing a complaint. Increasingly, (and, as I predicted)rape cases are falling into what is being called a “Gray Area” of the law.

    “GRAY RAPE”, as it is now being called, even by the likes of COSMO magazine, is a natural backlash to the feminazi-promoted idea that any woman should be able to have any man arrested at any time for any reason. Women, it seems, could not be trusted with such power. With False Rape Accusations (FRA’s, a term coined by Yours Truly) clogging up court dockets for reasons as mundane as “the bastid told me these jeans make me look fat, so of course I wanted to send him to prison!”, the pendulum was bound to swing back.

    Like it or not, the new rule is going to be:
    If you consent to being alone with a guy, then your consent to have sex with him is implied.
    If he doesn’t use a weapon, and you don’t have sufficient bruising to go alone with your claim that you said “NO”, and there isn’t a witness or a recording of the event, then the definition of “GRAY RAPE” will soon be expanded to include your case, right alongside the case of the woman who was too drunk to remember giving consent.

    Even cases where the rapist slips “date-rape drugs” into a woman’s drink are falling more and more into this unprosecutable Gray Area. Now that rapists can easily learn about proper dosages right here on the Internet, all traces of the drug are always gone before the woman is aware enough to complain. And if not, well, maybe she took it herself–after all, it’s also a “party” drug.

    Finally, rapists, if they have an I.Q. high enough to be prosecuted in the first place, ALL know that DNA stands for “Do Not Attempt” to deny that you had sexual relations with that girl. Instead, far better that you “Do Not Acknowledge” that you heard her say “NO.”

    Karma’s a bitch.
    For years, women could send an innocent man to jail, just by playing the Rape Card.
    They had that power. They abused it. Now it’s gone.
    NOW, men can feel free to rape any woman they are alone with, and NOT go to jail.
    Think they’ll abuse that power? Nawwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

    Actually, ladies, GRAY RAPE is really a giant step forward in the civility of the rape racket.
    Rape victims will no longer be murdered “just to shut them up”. And rapists will, out of nescessity, become GENTLEmen, lest they endow their prey with bruises and ligature marks, and lend them credibility.
    (I predicted all of this long ago…but it’s good to get recognition from a national publication like Cosmo.)


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