‘You did hear me’ – miscommunication and rape.

Comrades have written a couple of important articles on the attitude socialists should take to allegations of rape, one of the central dividing lines in the dispute that sparked the crisis in the SWP.

Rosie Warren’s article is called “On believing women who allege rape”. It appears on the IS Network blog:

When I say that men can be “mistaken about the consent”, what I mean is that men can rape women without necessarily realising that that is what they have done. A man may believe that the woman consented, because his understanding of consent is perhaps “unless she says no”, or “when she’s naked” or “she’s promiscuous, she’s always up for it”. These beliefs are, of course, abhorrent. But nonetheless, if he does not understand that consent is an enthusiastic and freely given yes, he may not conceive of himself as the rapist that he in fact is. It should not change our analysis of these men, as rapists, but nonetheless this is obviously a complicating factor.

Shanice McBean has responded, welcoming Rosie’s article but emphasising a different approach to “miscommunication”:

If miscommunication is something we argue is real and genuinely does mean there are a chunk of cases where miscommunication leads to rape, then it seems to me this supposed miscommunication can be used as a way of claiming the man did not have a “guilty mind” and, in fact, his belief that there was consent was wholly reasonable.

Read Rosie Warren’s “On believing women” here.
Read Shanice McBean’s “Miscommunication and rape” here.


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