Saturday, August 24, 2013

5 Comments About Dr. Phil's Controversial Rape Tweet That Give Me Hope for Online Message Boards

I can't believe I'm about to defend Dr. Phil, of all people, but once again, I've got to call it like I see it. In this Twitter age of trending, hashtags and other arcane social media debris (to me, what tweet freaks call a "hashtag" is still the number symbol, first and foremost), everyone with a laptop, a tablet and/or a mobile device and a functioning Internet connection has a public voice that encourages them to shoot off at the mouth, pulling the trigger at the slightest provocation. Most of them should come with silencers (including, some might say, Dr. Phil's).

I don't understand what it was about Dr. Phil's above tweet, which he posted on August 20 and eventually deleted due to the outrage that it sparked, that made Twitter's Greek chorus so trigger happy. How could it possibly be considered offensive? It's like some people wake up on the wrong side of the cot and spend their days staring at the computer screen, waiting for an opportunity to be offended. Dr. Phil was asking a valid question, one that I myself asked in a blog post several years ago. (Click here to see where I stand on the subject.)

Yes, his question could have been more artfully posed, but Twitter's text limit isn't exactly conducive to eloquence. It's pretty much a lose-lose situation for anyone who dares to broach the subject in a public forum: Rape, like racism and gay rights, is one of those topics that will almost always provoke heated knee-jerk reactions. The soap opera message boards recently lit up because many General Hospital viewers felt like the show was glorifying rape by including it in too many storylines. But if drunk-rape theorists are correct, then in real life, rape is even more rampant than it is in Port Charles. Does that mean reality glorifies it, too?

I think people need to wait, exhale and calm down. Most of the responses I read blasted Dr. Phil for having the gall to ask, while insisting, predictably, that having sex with a drunk woman is most definitely rape. But I wonder how many of them were expressing gut reactions without considering the issue from every angle.

Here are some comments on buzzfeed.com from opinionated people whom I believe did.

Why's everyone going so nuts about this? I read it as a question which would receive a mix of responses, thus starting a decent discussion...not as "Oh Dr. Phil is a pervert and wants to rape someone." Also, why has everyone jumped to the assumption that if a girl is drunk and has sex, then it is rape? Do people even understand what the word means? I understand that there have been court cases where attackers have not been convicted because "the girl was very drunk, therefore she wanted it", but there is a difference between someone having some drinks and wanting to have sex with someone, and someone being passed out and having sex forced upon them...see the difference. People need to stop getting involved with discussions that they clearly have no idea about.
Oh, & as for everyone then slating the man because he deleted the tweet...of course he bloody did, they started to accuse him of being a rapist or that his question condoned it. Gah!
-- Emma Townley

I think I've enjoyed 'drunk sex' and have been the aggressor on occasion. Just because you are a woman/girl, doesn't mean you're a damsel in distress and helpless. If you are unconscious or say NO than its rape. -- Heather Lee Ramirez

My boyfriend read this, sat in silence for a few minutes, then looked over at me and asked in complete seriousness, “So I’ve raped you multiple times?” He was genuinely distressed. Technically, we’ve both raped each other multiple times. This is a grey area of the law. Drunk people cannot give consent. We are all taught that even in a monogamous relationship, if your partner has sex with you without your consent, that is rape. By the legal definition, if you and your significant other get drunk together and then have sex, that is rape. But who is being raped? Both of you? -- BustyStClair

Well, damn, I guess my husband’s raped me an awful lot, if having alcohol in my system means it’s rape. (Seriously, this is not, and could never be, a black and white thing, people.) -- Phoenix Quest

Why isn’t it also considered rape for men when they have drunken sex? Why only women? According to modern day feminist logic, I’ve been raped at least 10 times without realizing it. -- Z
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