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Troublesome Cases

For a long time, she said, she was in a kind of denial about Mr. Miccarelli’s physical and psychological abuse. Then as the #MeToo movement gained prominence, a House colleague who knew details of the rocky relationship brought it up with her.

“I was like, what are you talking about?” Ms. Toohil said. “ ‘I consented to that, I was in that relationship, that’s my fault,’ I said to her. She was like, Tarah, you were a victim of domestic violence. When she said that, it washed over me. ‘You’re an attorney, what is wrong with you?’ It was like, oh my goodness. I was shocked.”
- Trip Gabriel, As State Lawmaker Claims Abuse, Party Leaders Shield Her Colleague, NYT, May 5, 2018


For years, my female friends and I have spoken, with knowing nods, about a sexual interaction we call “the place of no return.” It is a kind of sexual nuance that most women instinctively understand: the situation you thought you wanted, or maybe you actually never wanted, but somehow here you are and it’s happening and you desperately want out, but you know that at this point exiting the situation would be more difficult than simply lying there and waiting for it to be over. In other words: saying yes when we really mean no. ...
There are other names for this kind of sex: gray zone sex, in reference to that murky gray area of consent; begrudgingly consensual sex, because, you know, you don’t really want to do it but it’s probably easier to just get it over with.... ...
Sometimes “yes” means “no,” simply because it is easier to go through with it than explain our way out of the situation. Sometimes “no” means “yes,” because you actually do want to do it, but you know you’re not supposed to lest you be labeled a slut. And if you’re a man, that “no” often means “just try harder” — because, you know, persuasion is part of the game. ...
Indeed, women and men learn early that playing hard to get is what’s appealing, and part of that chase is saying “no” — and then ultimately relenting. ...
Like the character, many women have said “yes” to what is happening. Like the character, many of them are thinking to themselves, “This is the worst life decision I have ever made!”
- Jessica Bennett, When Saying ‘Yes’ Is Easier Than Saying ‘No’, NYT, Dec. 16, 2017


"I thought I enjoyed it, but I don't think I really did."
- Robby Soave, Two Students Hooked Up. It Was Clearly Consensual. He Still Spent $12,000 Defending Himself., Reason, Oct. 9, 2018


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