Women’s Use of Restraining Orders to Commit Rape

Posted on July 2, 2015


In the wake of several purported cases that gained widespread attention and then unraveled, free range feminist representations of rape, including how prevalent it is, have fallen under scrutiny and skepticism. Press response to the excesses of anti-rape rhetoric has been persistent—and in instances remonstrative, if not scathing.

A significant source of backlash has been claims of rampant sexual coercion and violation on college campuses.

Eden Strong of Bustle.com poses and responds to the question, “Is It Rape If You Say Yes?” (April 16, 2015).

One reason these claims have met with challenge is that the standard for qualifying what is and isn’t rape is wide open. It’s argued that in the absence of ongoing and deliberate tokens of consent, a sex act may be called rape. Accordingly, some have advocated that participants in intercourse repeatedly express to each other (in media res) that everything’s still okay. (One draws the impression that lovers are supposed to continually pause and inquire, “Are we good here?”)

The word rape, then, doesn’t exclusively mean what it did when I was a kid: some guy snatching a woman unawares and having his way with her in the bushes with a hand over her mouth. Today, rape means any nonconsensual act of sex, any act of sex, that is, in which one party is there without full, voluntary, and enthusiastic eagerness.

This post is to report that by this definition, women use restraining orders to rape.

A previous post considered this in the context of coercion generally: “BLACKMAIL: Using Restraining Orders to Extort and Punish.” It quotes a respondent to this blog:

My son’s girlfriend…filed a domestic abuse CPO [civil protection order] against my son, again telling him that he shouldn’t have left her. He hasn’t been served yet—they keep missing him. She calls my son constantly, stringing him along with the idea that she “might” let it go. He’s taking her out to eat, giving her money, staying the night with her. Hoping that she’ll let it go. All that and yet two hearing dates for him have come and gone with her showing up at both his hearings asking for a continuance because he hasn’t been served.

According to prevailing standards, the man referenced in this account is a victim of sexual coercion (of a particularly fiendish nature); he was induced to have sex with a woman he rejected. She made him fear the consequences if he didn’t comply, meanwhile continually refreshing the threat (and, no, this isn’t an isolated scenario, and why should it be?).

The ironies, if they need elucidation, are that a process of law that’s vehemently defended as a rape deterrent can be (and is) used to coerce sex, and advocates of the process who vociferously decry “rape enablement,” “rape denial,” and “victim-blaming” consequently may be said to practice the very things they denounce. The official victim in the story above is the rapist, and the rapist is a woman. (It’s these sorts of ironies that inspired the writer to characterize restraining order advocates as residents of la-la land in a recent post: They’re loyal to pet ideas—not principles, ideas—and they deny infelicitous realities.)

Arm-twisting doesn’t require a stronger arm, folks, just superior leverage.

Copyright © 2015 RestrainingOrderAbuse.com

*Eden Strong, quoted in this post, concludes her piece “Is It Rape If You Say Yes?” with this assistance to victims of sexual extortion: “If you’ve been pressured or coerced into sex, you can speak with a counselor at the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network at 1-800-656-HOPE.” One wonders how such a counselor would respond to the story of restraining order abuse cited above and whom s/he would recommend the man in the story turn to for relief.