Spousal Rape Needs More Attention

Spousal rape is a rape that is less talked about in conversations about rape and rape culture because the power dynamic is more than just that of the perpetrator and the victim.

It is a rape that occurs between a husband and wife (or husband-husband or wife-wife).

In the state of Ohio, a person can be charged with rape if they impair another person’s judgment or self-control to prevent their resistance. This could be done through giving the victim drugs, controlled substances or any other intoxicant through force, intimidation or lying.

Spousal rape wasn’t included into Ohio law until 1986, but it was only if there was “force” or a “threat of force.” Situations where one spouse drugs another without their knowledge and rapes do not qualify as spousal rape under the law.

This is a loophole that victim advocates and state representatives are trying to close with House Bill 97, but only 17 lawmakers—all of them Democrats—have signed to co-sponsor this bill.

H.B. 97 would eliminate spousal exceptions for rape, sexual bettery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, gross sexual imposition and public indecency. Currently, spouses can only be charged with these crimes if the victim is either not their spouse or is their spouse but they live separately.

First, we have to establish that regardless if it is between two people who are married, rape is still rape and it can occur in marriages. Being married to someone does not stop human beings from being able to consent to sex on their own terms.

Second, the state government has to know (or should know by this point through H.B. 97) the spousal exemption of force or threat of force is hard to prove in the court of law. A victim spouse could have physical injury done to them due to the crime, but it would be disputed by courts as to whether or not the injury happened because of the rape or because of something else. A threat of force can easily be seen in courts as “he said/she said.” Both of these exemptions already make it hard for spouses to report cases of rape because not only are these two statutes going to be hard to prove in court, but the lack of presence could prevent spouses from getting rape kits in hospitals.

If we eliminate these exemptions from spousal rape, we may be able to see a start in spouses reporting their rapes and justice being served for these people, regardless if the perpetrator was their partner. Marital status and living situations should not be issues that are exempted from rape cases.

Last, I find it to be unsurprisingly disgusting that there is not a single Republican in the General Assembly who has co-sponsored this bill. While we have heard and seen our fair share of Republicans say horrid things about rape, abortion and Planned Parenthood, anyone– regardless of political party–should be able to see the importance of eliminating this loophole.

Rape is horrid and traumatic the United Nations considers it a war crime. It is unfair to believe rape cannot happen between two people just because they have their names on a marriage license together. Rape does not discriminate; rape is illegal and a crime. No one, not even spouses, should be exempt from being tried for that crime.

This column has been formatted for the internet and edited by the original author.
This column first appeared in the independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.


In Response to Tuesday’s “On Interracial Relationships”

The fetishization of people of color in this country has been an issue since before the colonization of the Western world itself. While diversity in the United States is indeed on the rise, the growing political climate has also made white supremacy braver as it infiltrates our executive branch and hate crimes in the U.S. begin to rise.

I am a product of an interracial relationship. My father, for as little as I know about him, was a black and Native American man. My mother is Irish, German and Hungarian with red hair and blue eyes to match. So imagine my surprise, and disgust, when I opened The BG News and read that “interracial couples can make beautiful babies. Interracial relationships have so many benefits, can even be a fun ‘fetish’ for many.”

To avoid getting into semantics, the definition of interracial is actually “of, involving, or designed for members of different races.” The definition itself does not include anything about the interaction of those different races, be it platonic or romantic.

Also, an interracial relationship does not have to involve a white individual to be considered interracial as the column used in its examples. Interracial couples can also involve someone who is Latinx and someone who is Black; or someone who is Asian and someone who is Latinx; or someone who is Black and someone who is Asian.

While it is in the author’s opinion that “interracial relationships have the power to completely end racism,” it is fact that this is not ever going to be the case. Despite popular belief, people who are racist have the capability to be in interracial relationships. Historically, white supremacists have slept with women of color in an attempt to “dilute” the skin color of future U.S. citizens and to “dilute” the people and their culture.

How do white supremacists and racists in interracial relationships have the power “to completely end racism,” when their entire ideology sees black bodies as just a capitalist commodity and want to eliminate those people?

In 2016, there were 60.25 million married couples in the United States. As of 2014, 35 percent of all marriages were interracial and interracial marriage is still projected to rise as the demographics of the United States begin to change. Does this mean that interracial marriage is still the minority? Yes. But that does not mean people aren’t “embracing” interracial dating. In fact, it means quite the opposite.

Of course people are still going to think interracial dating and marriages are “taboo.” In 2016, we saw the case of Loving v. Virginia come to life on the silver screen, the Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage in 1968.

A movie screen cap of
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as Richard and Mildred Loving from the 2016 movie, “Loving.” The movie made $7.8 million at the box office.
It is going to take more than “beautiful mixed babies,” tolerance and embracing to end racism in U.S. society. It is going to take action, unlearning racist and white supremacist behaviors, and dismantling our institutions of racism before we can even think about it being completely over.

As an active member of the BDSM community, I found it to be incredibly racist and offensive to my community that interracial dating could be seen as a “fun fetish.” People of color have been fetishized for decades and to promote this through interracial dating promotes white supremacy. “Race play” is a very real thing in the community which is where participants take on the roles/stereotypes of different races to enact a power dynamic. A common scene is a submissive taking on the role of a slave and the dominant taking the role of a plantation owner; white submissives will go as far as putting themselves in blackface.

I agree interracial relationships are to be celebrated and embraced. Without interracial love, I don’t know who I would be as a person. I am a tri-racial woman because of interracial dating. But please refrain from fetishization when celebrating these relationships.

This column was written in response to “On Interracial Relationships.”
This column was originally published in the independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.

Argentina in hot waters with China over illegal fishing boat

While it seems like the United States and the rest of the world are impressed by Argentina’s willingness to become part of the nation’s leading powers again, China may end up thinking differently.

The Daily Mail in the United Kingdom reported earlier this week that the Argentine coast guard announced that it sank an illegal fishing boat that was displaying China’s flag.

The coast was ordered to sink the boat after detecting it fishing illegally. The Argentine coast guard, in an effort to protect the resources, went out on the waters to confront the ship.

The coast guard said in a statement they fired warning shots after the vessel denied requests from them in both English and Spanish.

The Chinese vessel refused these orders by turning off its lights and tried to crash into a coast guard boat on purpose.

Following the attempted crash, the coast guard decided to open fire on the illegal fishing boat, sinking it.

According to CNN, the coast guard managed to rescue four members that were on board–one captain and three mates–but the 28 other people who were on the ship were rescued by other Chinese vessels nearby.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is demanding an official investigation be held, claiming Argentina’s coast guard chased the boat for hours before firing at it.

Though this may not seem like a big issue on the surface to those unfamiliar with Argentina, I believe this incident may be costly in their slightly stable relationship with the country.

A lot of Argentina’s relationships with other countries suffered under the ruling of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her late husband and predecessor, Néstor, but their relationship with China did not.

They established diplomatic ties in 1972 and have embassies for each other in their respective nations. Argentina is also China’s third largest trading partner and has the third largest economy in Latin America.

In 2014, former president Kirchner and Chinese president Xi Jinping signed more than 20 trade deals, including deals on raw materials, something China desires greatly and something Argentina and easily give to them.

Given the countries signed more than 20 trade deals two years ago, I find it hard to think or believe there isn’t anything Argentina is keeping from China they don’t already have themselves.

I also find it upsetting the Chinese vessels were in exclusive Argentine waters to start, unless they were unaware of the zones at the time of they either entered the water or were approached by the coast guard.

The investigation should be conducted in collaboration by both countries, that way there is no grounds for one country to say that the other held an unfair investigation.

China and Argentina do not have the same or similar tensions in their relationship the way same way the US does with China. Argentina’s eagerness to work with the U.S. also reflects their willingness to (to say in unprofessionally) “be friends with everyone” regardless of governmental and political structures.

It will interesting to see how this plays out in the upcoming weeks, especially since Obama is still set to visit Argentina next week.

Be safe with sex experimentation, don’t recklessly imitate what you see in movies

It is no secret Valentine’s Day is two weekends away.

It is also no secret that in two weekends, millions of couples will be heading to the theaters to see the film adaptation of the bestselling novel, “Fifty Shades

of Grey.”

To be perfectly honest, my valentine [should I find one in the next eight days] and I will not be seeing this movie. To be perfectly honest, I wish this movie and the book it comes from did not exist.

I have gone on rants lasting for days about how this book is just an overrated “Twilight” fan fiction. I could tell you all the ways this glorifies abusive relationships and how it is the worst possible portrayal of the BDSM community any person who calls themselves an author

could create.

But that is not what this column is about.

However, I do want to talk a little about BDSM.

BDSM is an acronym for Bondage, Discipline [or Dominance], Sadism [or Submission] and Masochism.

Wikipedia calls it “a variety of [erotic] practices involving dominance and submission, roleplaying, restraint and other interpersonal dynamics.”

There are communities and subcultures dedicated to this, since interests can range from one-time experimentation or a lifestyle choice.

The community and the subculture rely on both self-identifying and shared experience, which makes communication crucial between the parties involved in the BDSM and the community/subculture as a whole.

The wide range of practices and practitioners give couples the option of whether or not to put themselves in the

BDSM community.

So, given the wide pool of people who could want to try a little blindfolding or tying up, it makes perfect sense for people who have never tried it or have thought about trying it might want to finally do so after watching “Fifty Shades.”

While I do understand that what happens between two people behind a closed bedroom door is not someone else’s business, I encourage you to be safe when imitating anything you see in “Fifty Shades.”

While hundreds of people are fighting for different causes pertaining to “Fifty Shades,” the one topic I think that needs be talked about more is the safety aspects of it.

Plenty of bloggers on Tumblr have discussed the impending doom which will come in the form of the number of hospitalizations that might happen from incorrectly tied knots after this movie is released.

While this is definitely a problem I can see happening, I want to do the best I can to make sure it doesn’t.

It is totally OK if you see something in “Fifty Shades” you might want to try. But before you actually try it, I encourage you to do a

little research.

I encourage you to look up an easy-to-tie/untie knot instead of tying a knot incorrectly. I encourage you to look up the importance of safe words and communication within BDSM-type parameters.

If anything, I hope you take away from this movie that BDSM can be fun to experiment with and fun to do if done both correctly and safely.

This column was originally published on Feb. 6, 2015 by independent student newspaper, The BG News, which can be read here.