I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

If you want proof that folks are using the phrase "sexual assault" differently than you likely are, check this out:

In California, a new bill would require colleges and universities to impose a mandatory minimum sentence for campus sexual assault: two years school suspension. The rule would apply to both public and private colleges that rely on state funds for student financial aid, the same way California's affirmative consent measure operates.

My definition of sexual assault is rape, that is either using force to have sex with a person who is unwilling or having sex with someone who is physically incapacitated.  By my definition, the penalties established by the California bill are absurdly lenient, particularly since California law already establishes a penalty of 3-8 years in prison for rape.

What is going on here is that opponents of certain other behaviors -- sex while drunk, sex that is regretted later, and possibly even speech that is hurtful to women -- have lumped these behaviors into the term "sexual assault" in order to try to increase the punishment for these things.  In California (on campus but nowhere else) sexual assault is "a failure to obtain ongoing, enthusiastic, affirmative consent at each stage of a sexual encounter"

This is a verbal tactic is increasingly common -- note the trend to many colleges to try to label unwelcome speech with which one disagrees as a physical assault or threat.  But it has decided risks.  While the intention is to increase the punishment for unenthusiastic sex to rape levels, the effect can easily just be the opposite -- to reduce concern and punishment of rape by watering down its definition.


  1. jdgalt:

    90% correct. The regular (off-campus) definition of "sexual assault" has always been less severe than "rape"; for example, someone who rudely gropes your breasts in the middle of a crowd at a show would be guilty of sexual assault.

  2. poitsplace .:

    I've had long "debates" about this subject. The problem is that such absurd laws are meant to "protect" someone. Yet their wording and even the spirit in which they're applied is such that they BASICALLY are meant to protect the near non-existent class of individual...that is so afraid that they might be raped or sexually assaulted, that they won't speak up for themselves or show signs of disapproval... so that they might prevent a good person from mistakenly assuming their willingness to engage in the activities.

    The law is now to the point of actually harming the majority of women. We are of course animals and do indeed have a courtship ritual. Women generally DO NOT like their men to ask...even the ones into very gentle sex. Instead they like their man to be assertive, and simply watch their reactions to make sure the woman isn't having a problem. Feminism and this sort of overly protective, nanny state nonsense has basically broken an aspect of human courtship.

    And think of the true irony. There are rapists and assholes that are responsible for real sexual assault...who of course WILL NEVER comply with such rules. Then there are nice people (thinking mostly of men here of course) that are already so nice that women view them as wishy-washy and non-assertive. Only the nice guys will conform the new rules, and they're the ones that should actually be getting more assertive.

    And for the roughly 10% of women that need their chosen partner (note: they've already established a relationship) to "take" them and use them...such laws really throw a wrench in the works. They sometimes end up oscillating back and forth between assholes and nice guys...unable to have a loving relationship with the assholes and unable to have the sexual chemistry they need from the socially disabled nice guys...sticking with each sort of relationship until the urge for the missing component drives them to seek out a new partner.

    Yeah, I ramble...this is a pet peeve of mine.

  3. ErikTheRed:

    I am so triggered by this.

  4. bilejones:

    The lunatic left has been perverting the meaning of words for decades.
    The word "Liberal" to describe someone who believes in State compulsion springs to mind.

  5. bilejones:

    "The problem is that such absurd laws are meant to "protect" someone."


    The laws are meant to attack someone.

  6. OttoMaddox:

    The intent is power and control.

  7. Mercury:

    This won't change until large numbers of collegiate males openly pledge and self-identify as men who will not, under any circumstances, date or have sex with female students at the school in question during their four years as undergraduates.

    What super wealthy/prominent family is foolish enough not to bind their son to such an agreement now?

  8. Not Rick:

    It's actually a bit worse than that. Women are claiming visual rape at this point. Yep, looking at a women while being insufficiently attractive to her is sexual assault.
    While it will never happen, the obvious male defense to that is to say a woman showing any skin or feminine characteristics is sexual assault on men. So we end up with a society where men walk around staring at their feet, and women are dressed in burka. Won't that be wonderfully productive.

    This is what happens when you let infantilized, narcissistic idiots, possessed of monumental amounts of unearned moral superiority and a victim mentality, run the universities.

  9. jdgalt:

    Western women aren't about to cover up in burqas. As you say, when a man they haven't decided they want looks at them, they regard it as an assault. Clearly they aren't about to change their own behavior: they aren't responsible for anything.

    Sometimes I want to take a few of these smug and turn them loose on the streets of a Muslim country for just one day.

  10. tfowler:

    Sexual assault it legitimately a wider category than rape. Continued aggressive forcible groping would be considered sexual assault.