Critical Summary: Date Rape: A Feminist Analysis

Pineau argues for a communicative model of sexual intimacy. She believes that the majority of “date rape” stems from myths, namely that women who dress provocatively want it and that men are incapable of controlling their sexual desire. Pineau believes that her communicative model promotes sex that is more in accordance with our natural expectation of mutual desire. Where there is no communication, it can be assumed that there is no consent either. This is important because in a courtroom setting it places the burden of proof on the plaintiff rather than the defendant. That is to say, it would be the plaintiff’s job to prove that the defendant wanted sex, instead of the defendant having to prove that she said no. Pineau outlines that there is a difference between “no means no” and “yes means yes.”

For the most part, I agree with Pineau’s views. I think that the current system that we have regarding date rape is definitely not cutting it. Most of the time when a case of date rape is taken to court (on the rarity that it actually does) it becomes a he said she said scenario. This is unhelpful because not only do we not get a comprehensive view of who is really innocent, but it also is emotionally painful for the victim. Attorneys will drag the woman’s character into question, which really shouldn’t be taken into consideration at all. It is only the act itself that matters (Pineau goes into this more in her section on “Kantian Analysis”).

The reason that I like Pineau’s proposition is because it would promote change on how we as a society view date rape. It is startling how often people identify with the rapists, even in such blatant cases as the Steubenville Rapes. People tend to focus far more on the character of the woman more than the actual incident. However, I also fear that Pineau’s system is simply not realistic. My own personal view is that most genuine sexual encounters take place non verbally and are very easy to misinterpret. While I do believe that it is difficult to “accidentally rape” someone, I think that translating sexual encounters into verbal discussions is not necessarily realistic or wanted. That being said, she argues for a powerful new system that would have immediate and quantative benefits.