The thin line between sex and rape is not just consent, but also choice.



During one of my college classes, a professor gave us a scenario and posed a question. It was this:


A group of women are taken away from their homeland as war prisoners and sex slaves. But the soldiers decide to let go of all the pregnant women.

Due to this, some women decide to get pregnant with the soldiers there, in hopes that they could return to their homeland.


The question:


If these women, who decided to have sex with the soldiers, were from your family, would you accept them when they return home?


A low percentage of the class said they would accept the women. And I was one among them.


The ones who didn't accept gave a lot of reasons:


This is immodest. These women could kill themselves instead of being subject to shame when they return home.


One guy went as far as to say, "If this was my girlfriend or wife—if she really loves me—she should know that I'll come for her. She should know that I'll get her out of there. If she does something like this, I would never accept her."


One could clearly see that this was a result of watching hyper-masculine, macho heroes in films saving the day. And it cannot happen in real life.



So now, the question was posed to us: Why did we choose to accept them?

I wasn't able to articulate my thoughts then. So I'm going to answer it now.


Reason number one:


If the world can welcome men who kill and rape with open arms and celebrate them as "war heroes", then the world can accept women who were victimised and subject to sex slavery by these heroes.


Reason number two:


The thin line between sex and rape is not just consent, but also choice.


You see, when you're miles away from home, aching for comfort, shelter, safety, and love; when you're miles away from family, stuck in an alien land where rape seems to be persistent and torture seems to be around every corner, you would search for an escape route like a maniac.


If you lack the longing to get out, then you are either happier in this new land, or dead.


So with this longing, you go with the only option you have – pregnancy. If it was chopping a thousand logs of wood, you would've done that. But pregnancy is the only escape.


So you decide to sleep with one of the soldiers secretly, and leave this godforsaken land for your home.


Now, although you have decided to sleep with a soldier, you didn't like it; you didn't want it. You consented because the only other option was to suffer for a lifetime. So you went with the better option; the safer option.


You consented. But the consent did not stem from having safe choices.


The thin line between sex and rape is not just consent, but also choice. We often forget the latter. When saying "no" means more suffering; when saying "no" means you'll remain a slave, a prisoner, and be victimised more than once, then saying "yes" isn't a choice.


When saying "no" means endangering your life, saying "yes" becomes a survival strategy; saying "yes" becomes your life support.


The sexual act, thereafter, can only be considered as rape.


These women, although willingly slept with the soldiers, were actually getting raped.


So I'd accept them and support them while they work to get over their trauma.


Reason number three:


Even if the women enjoyed the sex and did it completely willingly, I'd welcome them with open arms.


I would be happy that they're back without suffering for the rest of their lives. I'd be happy to have my loved ones home.


I'd not be angry or ashamed, because my pride and my happiness do not lie in a woman's vagina.

What she decides to do with it is her choice.


As long as she hasn't raped anyone, she's a good woman with morals, honour, and dignity. And she deserves love and respect, more than those soldiers.

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