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Thread: Presto Rohypnus! Sexual Consent by Buffyverse Rules

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    Default Presto Rohypnus! Sexual Consent by Buffyverse Rules

    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Angel didn't rape Eve; Eve didn't rape Angel; Lorne didn't rape either. There can't actually be a rape if there is no actual rapist, for 'tis an intentional act.

    I actually agree with Rug on "Walking Dead" and body armor. Many factual arguments based on Season 3 would be definitive. I wonder how quickly all the Dick's Sporting Goods got cleaned out?

    I'm pretty over "the glow". It didn't add anything but confusion and ambivalence to the narrative. Commit, writers. Sack up and commit to the meaning of the events in your own story.
    So what is the word for non-consensual sex that nobody caused intentionally? Help me here. And there is no doubt that neither Angel nor Eve were able to consent to anything or consented to anything; I think you'll agree on that.

    Time, your argument about Eve and trauma doesn't really make your point that trauma does not necessarily follow as well as it makes the case that neither event is anything Eve thought of as rape. And we have no facts about the prior incident anyway; she could have been rolling on mystical "E".
    Well Angel certainly didn't seem traumatized and in the next episodes it wasn't even brought up. Which only proves how incredibly sensitive and tactful ME writers were when it comes to issues of consent. Oh, and how great with gender issues AtS was - the way they had Angel ask Eve seemed like it was implied that he was just worried about how Eve felt and whether she was traumatized; God forbid that a male can be traumatized by having sex he couldn't consent to!

    I get the impression that you and ViR believe that there's nothing wrong or traumatizing about being forced to have sex (which you don't think should be called rape) unless one can actually name a perpetrator. So, if you have an accident and lose a leg, I assume you would think that it's not a bad thing and you wouldn't be hurt and traumatized by this, because nobody intended to cut your leg? If you were in an earthquake or a tsunami and spent days or weeks trapped under rubble and only miraculously survived, I assume you wouldn't feel traumatized by this, since you only get traumatized if you know someone intended to make you suffer?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
    So what is the word for non-consensual sex that nobody caused intentionally? Help me here.
    To my knowledge, I don't think there is a real world equivalent for what happened between Angel and Eve. I can't think of any possible real world situation where two people are forced to have sex and it's nobody's fault. So unless you can give me some sort of real world example that I can compare it to, you should concede that right off the bat we are dealing with hypotheticals and that this is an entirely fictional situation that by its very nature is debatable whether it constitutes as rape.

    Whether you want to call it "rape" or simply an "unfortunate, potentially traumatising situation" basically boils down to a matter of semantics. The dictionary definition of rape was not written to include fictional, hypothetical situations that could never actually happen in real life.

    I think we can agree that the situation was unfortunate. I think we can agree that the situation was potentially traumatic. For the two victims, it could have been just as traumatic and horrible as an "actual" rape. In fact, the victims might even feel that it was worse than rape because at least with a "normal" rape there would be somebody to be held accountable.

    Now, whether you think what happened to Angel and Eve was "rape" is a matter of semantics and basically boils down to how *you personally* want to use the word "rape", seeing as how the legal definition was not designed for this kind of entirely fictional and hypothetical situation. If we can both agree that the situation was horrible and potentially traumatic, who really gives a shit if it was or wasn't "technically" a rape?

    Well Angel certainly didn't seem traumatized and in the next episodes it wasn't even brought up. Which only proves how incredibly sensitive and tactful ME writers were when it comes to issues of consent.
    Meh. In Angel's lifetime he's been through far more traumatic experiences than magical, non-consensual sex with Eve. I don't want to diminish how traumatic a rape -or a weird, fictional, non-consensual situation like this could be. But if Angel is strong enough to put it behind him in the space of an episode -or if he wants to deal with it in how own quiet, personal and off-screen way; who are you to say he should deal with it differently?

    Not quite the same situation, but I know a guy who lost his virginity at age 14 to an older woman. According to the laws of where I live, that was statutory rape. To this day he brags about it, and thinks its awesome and hilarious that he was "raped." Obviously he's not traumatised by what happened and he doesn't personally consider it a rape, but the law does. It was statutory rape. Would you berate this guy for dealing with the situation in his own way and not being traumatised by it? Yes, I understand that it's not the same situation as what happened with Angel and Eve, but then again I don't think that *any* real world situation is going to be the same as what happened with Angel and Eve. The point I'm trying to make is that I don't think it's up to *you* to dictate how traumatised people "should" be, like there is a minimum requirement or something. Different people will look at situations differently and deal with situations differently. I have no trouble believing that somebody who has been through as much trauma as Angel and still has his sanity intact after all these years would be able to get past the situation with Eve.

    Believe it or not, I do understand why people are uncomfortable with the Angel/Eve situation and I had the same reaction when I first saw the episode. I think that the writers were pretty insensitive to write a weird, uncomfortable non-consensual situation into the episode in the first place. But what's done is done, and I'm not going to complain that Angel wasn't traumatised about it for the next few episodes.

    Oh, and how great with gender issues AtS was - the way they had Angel ask Eve seemed like it was implied that he was just worried about how Eve felt and whether she was traumatized; God forbid that a male can be traumatized by having sex he couldn't consent to!
    Angel was trying to be a gentleman and was concerned with Eve's feelings. Eve was a villain and most likely didn't give a shit how Angel felt about the sex. In fact she deliberately brought it up later to taunt him in front of Cordelia. I can't imagine her caring too much about his feelings even if he was traumatised over it.

    And if I were to put myself in Angel's shoes (granted that this was a fictional situation and I can't say for certain what it would really be like), I honestly think that after the magical spell was over, my first impulse would be to worry about Eve's feelings. If I wasn't initially traumatised and in shock over it -and I may very well not not be, my first thoughts would be to whether Eve was okay rather than myself. If you or anyone else think this makes me a chauvinistic pig, well sorry, but I can't even pretend to care.

    I get the impression that you and ViR believe that there's nothing wrong or traumatizing about being forced to have sex (which you don't think should be called rape) unless one can actually name a perpetrator.
    Completely serious here, don't try to speak for me like this. You know SFA about me. I don't appreciate anyone implying that I endorse rape. I also don't appreciate you implying that I'm some old-fashioned, backwards-thinking patriarch who doesn't understand what rape really means and needs *you* to enlighten me. I don't. I respectfully stayed out of your alcohol and consent thread way back when for a reason.

    The mods have asked us to stay on topic, so I don't know why you even felt that it was appropriate to make that last post at all. This is the Season 9 News Thread, and we've veered way off topic, again. Moderators, I apologize for adding this post; I do realize that this is also off-topic, -but after seeing my name mentioned in this context I simply cannot let it slide without saying something. TTB, if you were somebody that I disliked, I wouldn't have given you the courtesy of a response, I'd have simply hit the report button and be done with it. Please don't post these kind of assumptions about me again. I hope this can be the last we say on the matter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vampire in Rug View Post
    To my knowledge, I don't think there is a real world equivalent for what happened between Angel and Eve. I can't think of any possible real world situation where two people are forced to have sex and it's nobody's fault. So unless you can give me some sort of real world example that I can compare it to, you should concede that right off the bat we are dealing with hypotheticals and that this is an entirely fictional situation that by its very nature is debatable whether it constitutes as rape.
    There's no real world equivalent for 90% of what happens in Buffyverse. Does it mean we shouldn't be discussing it at all?

    Whether you want to call it "rape" or simply an "unfortunate, potentially traumatising situation" basically boils down to a matter of semantics. The dictionary definition of rape was not written to include fictional, hypothetical situations that could never actually happen in real life.
    So give me your word for it. But whether you call rape or not, it sure wasn't consensual sex.

    Be that as it may; this discussion started when King said that the Dark Horse staff said repeatedly that the spacefrak "was not rape". Am I right that you and King differentiate between "rape" and "non-consensual sex"? Well, in that case, the Dark Horse staff saying it's not rape doesn't mean that they are saying that it was consensual sex. (It just means that they aren't taking the issue of consent in magical circumstances seriously... which is nothing new when it comes to Buffyverse, sadly.)

    Meh. In Angel's lifetime he's been through far more traumatic experiences than magical, non-consensual sex with Eve. I don't want to diminish how traumatic a rape -or a weird, fictional, non-consensual situation like this could be. But if Angel is strong enough to put it behind him in the space of an episode -or if he wants to deal with it in how own quiet, personal and off-screen way; who are you to say he should deal with it differently?
    It's not about Angel being "strong" and the writers wanting to send us the message that oh, Angel is so strong! It's about the writers not taking the situation seriously at all. It was treated as a joke from the start.

    Do you also think that the fact that Jesse's death was never mentioned again, and that Xander didn't appear traumatized by it even at the end of the very same episode (which ended on a light note, with the Scoobies joking), was about showing how strong Xander is? Or was it maybe because Joss, at the time, wasn't thinking about continuity and the show dropped the ball on this?

    Not quite the same situation, but I know a guy who lost his virginity at age 14 to an older woman. According to the laws of where I live, that was statutory rape. To this day he brags about it, and thinks its awesome and hilarious that he was "raped." Obviously he's not traumatised by what happened and he doesn't personally consider it a rape, but the law does. It was statutory rape. Would you berate this guy for dealing with the situation in his own way and not being traumatised by it?
    You make it sound like Angel is a real person. I think it should be clear that I'm berating the writers for what they wrote and the way they treated it.

    Different people will look at situations differently and deal with situations differently. I have no trouble believing that somebody who has been through as much trauma as Angel and still has his sanity intact after all these years would be able to get past the situation with Eve.
    I have difficulty believing that the writers ever thought about it as trauma in the first place, since it was treated as a joke the entire time and used for comedic effect.
    Believe it or not, I do understand why people are uncomfortable with the Angel/Eve situation and I had the same reaction when I first saw the episode. I think that the writers were pretty insensitive to write a weird, uncomfortable non-consensual situation into the episode in the first place. But what's done is done, and I'm not going to complain that Angel wasn't traumatised about it for the next few episodes.
    Was I asking for the show to be re-shot? "What's done is done" could be said about any past episodes or comic issues, and by that logic, nobody should be complaining about Teacher's Pet or Beer Bad or She or Where the Wild Things Are or about Xander not getting good storylines in this or that season or about Scoobies not being well developed in season 7, etc. Yet I see people complaining about a bunch of things all the time, even though "what's done is done".

    I suppose nobody should criticize the show or the past comics in any way, since "what's done is done". And one should not mention them as examples that show that Buffyverse writers have shown certain unfortunate tendencies before. (Even though everyone actually does it on this forum all the time.)

    Completely serious here, don't try to speak for me like this. You know SFA about me. I don't appreciate anyone implying that I endorse rape. I also don't appreciate you implying that I'm some old-fashioned, backwards-thinking patriarch who doesn't understand what rape really means and needs *you* to enlighten me. I don't.
    But you have no problems speaking for me, obviously.
    I respectfully stayed out of your alcohol and consent thread way back when for a reason.
    This is you trying to stay on topic?

    The mods have asked us to stay on topic, so I don't know why you even felt that it was appropriate to make that last post at all. This is the Season 9 News Thread, and we've veered way off topic, again. Moderators, I apologize for adding this post; I do realize that this is also off-topic, -but after seeing my name mentioned in this context I simply cannot let it slide without saying something. TTB, if you were somebody that I disliked, I wouldn't have given you the courtesy of a response, I'd have simply hit the report button and be done with it. Please don't post these kind of assumptions about me again. I hope this can be the last we say on the matter.
    If I was in the habit of reporting posts for being off-topic, I would've done it countless times when you were having long off topic debates with MikeB. But I agree that this theme (which, in case you forgot, I did not introduce to this thread, and which you were already discussing before I even commented on it) would be better continued in General forum say, in a thread called Magic and Consent Issues in Buffyverse, for instance.
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    Default Presto Rohypnus! Sexual Consent by Buffyverse Rules

    This is a follow-on to an off-topic discussion in the Season 9 News Thread. I'm posting it here because there's just no point to the topic without comic continuation discussion and no point to discussing them if we have to spoil in a non-comic general forum.

    I'll just drop my reply to previous comments right here --

    I think too many people find "rape" under every rock, leaf, and twig in fiction these days. This is a fantastical setting, and it should be a given that not every situation that comes up in it has a real world analog, even when it comes to misconduct. Sometimes, the answer really is deuce happens. Or, more mildly, that sometimes no harm really is no foul.

    If neither Angel nor Eve give even the slightest indication that either of them feel violated, and instead just a bit sticky and awkward, who are we to argue? "Rape" is a word with a pretty well-threaded and articulable meaning. It refers to the things it is and not to the things it isn't. And spontaneous and entirely unintentional, unforeseeable mystical acts that cause people to get frisky are a thing that it isn't. Willow did not commit sexual battery against Giles and Anya in "Tabula Rasa". Lorne did not rape Angel and Eve. I'm pretty hesitant to say that even Twilight and/or Angel raped Angel and/or Buffy (if you follow the built-in variations there), because unlike, say, Katrina, or jacket-affected people*, or "Something Blue", we don't have enough context to say that Buffy's agency was genuinely gone from her. Indications exist to the contrary in the fact that it still took Angel quite an impassioned line of BS to close the deal, which simultaneously demonstrates that a) Buffy had the faculties to understand him and b) the reasoning skills to contemplate what he was saying. Neither of which one is likely to find in someone whose ability to consent has been compromised in conventional, real world ways. In whacky scifi mind control ways, sure, but... we'd need more information to really get to that conclusion.

    I wrote a fanfic, just a lark, a trifle, in which Buffy and Xander basically trick themselves into thinking they were unable to resist having sex with each other, only for it to be revealed later that the effect that they thought they were under had long since dissipated. I'm now convinced that I could find a decent show of hands that one or the other raped the other or that the phlebotenum raped either of them. Not so much.

    *It would be very hard to argue RJ was raping anyone, either, even if he were having sex with every single affected person, because, again, where is the intent? He appears to have had no idea that anything unusual was happening at all, he just thought he had sick game.

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    I think the 4 instances that most agree can be called "rape" are;

    - Spike's attempted rape of Buffy in Seeing Red

    - Hyena!Xander's attempted rape of Buffy in The Pack

    - Faith sleeping with Riley in Buffy's body in Who Are You

    - Faith's attempted rape of Xander in Consequences

    And even then, it's complicated. An argument could be made that had Xander raped Buffy in The Pack he would have been violated too. After all, he was being possessed by a Hyena spirit that was steadily eroding away at his ability to consent to his own actions. Xander's mind and body was most certainly being violated in that respect. Normally, it would be horrific and extremely offensive to even suggest that the rapist is violated just like his victim but when it comes to mystical influence it gets... murkier.

    I would say that Faith was most certainly guilty of sexual battery in Consequences but have always been uncertain if I'd go as far to say she was going to rape Xander had Angel not intervened. I think at some point her sexual battery deviated into an attempted murder when she became more fixated on strangling him.

    Faith most certainly raped Riley in Who Are You. He could not possibly consent to sleeping with her when he thought he was sleeping with somebody else. But did she also rape Buffy as well? It's a clear violation to steal Buffy's body and then engage in sexual intercourse with it but, again, there's no RL equivalent to draw from. And what of her immediately stripping down and perving on Buffy's body as well as touching it in the bathtub?

    Spike's attempted rape of Buffy in Seeing Red is the most clear cut. No mystical influence of any kind and an almost certainty that had Buffy not stopped him he would have followed through.

    I think it gets a lot more difficult when we start using "rape" to describe instances of the characters being coerced into sex under mystical influence. And the reason for that is, is that there's simply no RL equivalent to these story lines and it's difficult to pin anyone/anything as the rapist. I DO understand why some people would find it extremely traumatic to be "influenced" into baring their bodies and having sexual intercourse. But I don't know if rape is the correct term to use. And it gets extremely murky in some cases where it's hard to discern how much consent the characters actually had. In the case of Where The Wild Things Are the poltergeists intended to use Buffy and Riley as their "battery" but Lorne had no such intent when he accidentally influenced Angel and Eve to have sex, so different again?

    But this isn't unique to BtVS. I can't think of a single supernatural show where these kinds of consent issues didn't come up one way or another.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 23-03-13 at 06:13 AM.
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    For what it's worth, I think the Twilight sex situation was a replay of the scene between Curt and Jules in CitW. Down to the 'pheromones ' aka the glow and the following Apocalypse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    And even then, it's complicated. An argument could be made that had Xander raped Buffy in The Pack he would have been violated too. After all, he was being possessed by a Hyena spirit that was steadily eroding away at his ability to consent to his own actions. Xander's mind and body was most certainly being violated in that respect. Normally, it would be horrific and extremely offensive to even suggest that the rapist is violated just like his victim but when it comes to mystical influence it gets... murkier.

    Spike's attempted rape of Buffy in Seeing Red is the most clear cut. No mystical influence of any kind and an almost certainty that had Buffy not stopped him he would have followed through.
    You could draw a parallel between Xander being possessed by the hyena to Spike having his vampire demon in play. Not sure what I think to that, just putting it out there. I always took the hyena possession to be a similar one to that of a vampire you see, that it brought out dark desires, I certainly saw it as Xander's interest in Buffy that drove hyena!Xander to act as he did. It only seems to differ if Xander was totally possessed with no 'Xander' in situ, perhaps that was my misassumption on the hyena possession.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    You could draw a parallel between Xander being possessed by the hyena to Spike having his vampire demon in play. Not sure what I think to that, just putting it out there. I always took the hyena possession to be a similar one to that of a vampire you see, that it brought out dark desires
    Well, I actually agree with this one. Now lets see how soon somebody will protest the fact of a vampire demon being a separate entity from its host. I actually never seen a fandom discussion of Spike's inner demon being responsible for all the nastiness he does because usually Spike's demon is presented as something of a figment of imagination that is so not-present that it does not even have a separate name, but I've seen a few discussions separating/not separating hyena Xander from the real man.

    But in any case, and regardless of what entity is responsible for the AR in Seeing Red - that was indeed the clearest cut of quite physical attempted rape by any definition in the series.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    You could draw a parallel between Xander being possessed by the hyena to Spike having his vampire demon in play. Not sure what I think to that, just putting it out there. I always took the hyena possession to be a similar one to that of a vampire you see, that it brought out dark desires, I certainly saw it as Xander's interest in Buffy that drove hyena!Xander to act as he did. It only seems to differ if Xander was totally possessed with no 'Xander' in situ, perhaps that was my misassumption on the hyena possession.
    I think the difference between both situations is that while the hyena possession acted on Xander's interests and dark desires, Xander himself had no control over his actions. He was forced to take a backseat to the hyena possession. With Spike, he was the same vampire without a soul who can make a choice and do good. He's proven so many times that he can ignore his demonic instincts and desires. During Seeing Red, he wasn't possessed with anything. He was the same Spike who took Glory's torture to protect Dawn, the same Spike who fought side by side with the Scoobies all summer and babysat Dawn.

    So, I think the difference here is that Xander had no control over his body while Spike did.
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    I'd say the major difference is that Spike WAS the demon. Unlike Xander, he's not "possessed" by a demon. Spike is a demon in a human body. So it doesn't really make sense for me to compare the two when Xander was a human man who was being influenced by a demonic spirit whereas Spike is just a demon with total freewill. I'd sooner compare Spike to the hyena demon than I would compare him to Xander.

    The hyena spirit was acting on some of Xander's desires. It wasn't just a coincidence that Xander targeted the one girl he's interested in and Xander was spewing out hateful garbage about how Buffy likes her men dangerous etc. But... it also made him eat a pig alive. So whilst it may have been urging Xander to act out on his deepest darkest urges and twisting them into something ugly and dangerous, it was also turning into something else as well. And as the episode progresses and the possession gets worse the pack is said to be getting both stronger and dumber as they become more feral-like. By the end of the episode they're almost acting entirely like Hyenas and can barley form a sentence. We also see a picture in Giles' book of the spirit having ravaged the human body. So it was definitely eroding who Xander was the longer it was in him.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 24-03-13 at 07:19 AM.
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    Yeah, I mean, if William were vamped against his will*, and then (skipping ahead) the AR happened, and then eventually Spike got himself returned to human form, I wouldn't hold William responsible for the AR any more than I hold Xander responsible for the hyena!Xander AR -- which is to say, 'not much but with some skepticism.'

    *I don't hold it that much against William that he tentatively agreed to what Dru was offering -- he didn't know what he was getting in for. Still, somehow I think that it does make the transformation more William's responsibility than it would be if it were completely against his will.

    Similarly, if the hyena spirit could never be got out of Xander, but eventually after lots of time killing he was given a chip to prevent him from killing and then eventually worked to get some kind of, um, hyena-spirit-restraining thing that is an equivalent to Spike's soul, I would hold that Xander+hyena-spirit+soul-equivalent about as responsible for his AR on Buffy as I hold "souled Spike."

    OTOH, I think I would differ from vampmogs because I would put Spike closer to a human than I would put him to the hyena spirit. The hyena spirit is pretty much all crush-kill-destroy; vampires have that demonic side but also have a great deal of their human identities. To me, the fact that Spike is sentient makes him way closer to "Xander" than to "hyena spirit" which didn't seem to meet any sentient criteria. in the

    I'd describe vampires as, basically (focusing on psychology/morality rather than physiology)

    vampire = human + demon - soul

    A few other characters are of interest. I think that the Mayor was largely literal when he said he sold his soul, so he's a good "human - soul" character. Angel and Spike, post-ensoulment, are "human + demon" (soul intact). Angel at the end of s8 was "human + demon + Twilight influence," ha ha.

    In general, had William been sired against his will, then tried to rape someone and then been returned to his human form the next day, he would absolutely get the same amount of free pass that Xander gets from me for his hyena AR. The Spike from the series basically IS "William + demon {sometimes + soul}" and his demon is an inseparable part of how he identifies himself and what the identity of "Spike" means.
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    The vampire demon does remain in Spike souled, that is true so their 'after' situation isn't the same. I do think that the behaviour that Xander exhibits is 100% the possession, even though it is based on/using Xander's desire/lust for Buffy. Spike's demon side was in control in the bathroom, but he is more than just that or he wouldn't have had the presence/ability to even see that it was something that needed correcting, wouldn't have looked so shocked by his own actions after Buffy kicked him away and certainly wouldn't have gone for his soul. I do tend to see it as the 'human' side despite the human having died as I tend towards the belief of the human essence remaining in the vamp rather than it just being a demon in a human suit with stolen memories. Souled doesn't remove the demon but it changes the urges/controls/motivations etc as it puts the human soul back in, but as it is reunited with the essence of the person that never left it doesn't create an entirely different entity. Oh heck, it is all very confusing.

    I don't think someone who simply asks/agrees to be sired when they are being attacked but has no knowledge or understanding of what they are agreeing to (probably doesn't even realise they will die) has any identifiable 'will' involved at all. Angel/Spike aren't comparable to say Ford who was sired with his freewill totally intact, his eyes wide open.

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    I don't understand why I'm credited as the starter of this topic, when I did not create it, merely suggested its creation, and I certainly did not give it a title.

    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    This is a follow-on to an off-topic discussion in the Season 9 News Thread. I'm posting it here because there's just no point to the topic without comic continuation discussion and no point to discussing them if we have to spoil in a non-comic general forum.
    I think this should be in the General forum, not the Comics forum, because it's about the consent issues in Buffyverse in general, not specifically in the comics (and the comics stuff can be put in spoiler tags). This way it's limiting it to posters who regularly post in the comics section, rather than everyone who posts on the forum - and there are posters who don't post in the comics section but who would have a lot to say on this subject, like Nina, who has posted on the subject many times.

    I think too many people find "rape" under every rock, leaf, and twig in fiction these days.


    This is a fantastical setting, and it should be a given that not every situation that comes up in it has a real world analog, even when it comes to misconduct. Sometimes, the answer really is deuce happens. Or, more mildly, that sometimes no harm really is no foul.
    Are you saying that when people have their ability to consent to sex taken away; in other words, when they are forced to have sex, through means other than violence, this is "no harm, no foul"?

    Let's repeat this again: unless there's a clearly identified perpetrator, there's nothing wrong with being forced to have sex. No harm, no foul.



    If neither Angel nor Eve give even the slightest indication that either of them feel violated, and instead just a bit sticky and awkward, who are we to argue?
    We are the viewers (readers in the case of comics), who have the right to argue that the writers are doing a terrible job and are writing something stupid and offensive.

    Buffyverse writers have a long-standing tendency to use magical influence of this or that sort to force the characters into dubious consent/no consent sexual situations, and this has very rarely been treated seriously. Pretty much the only times this kind of violation has been treated seriously as something traumatizing and bad is when direct physical violence was involved. (Faith raping Riley - because, yes, what she did is rape just as it would be if one tricked someone into sleeping with them by pretending to be their twin sibling - was treated only as something that bothers Buffy because Riley "slept with Faith".)
    Here's a list that someone made a couple of years ago:
    http://lirazel.dreamwidth.org/133442.html
    "Rape" is a word with a pretty well-threaded and articulable meaning. It refers to the things it is and not to the things it isn't. And spontaneous and entirely unintentional, unforeseeable mystical acts that cause people to get frisky are a thing that it isn't.
    So if you think that rape should refer only to an act with a perpetrator who intended to commit rape, fine, don't call it rape. But you what those instances definitely are not? Consensual sex. Do you want to call it "non-consensual sex" if it makes you feel better? OK. But do you really think a person would feel better about being forced to have sex just because they knew nobody did it intentionally? "Oh, never mind, it's an accidental rape... sorry, we shouldn't be calling it rape - I was just forced to have sex which I wouldn't have chosen to do if I had had the control over my faculties. But it was an accident! So all's well! Yay!"

    Willow did not commit sexual battery against Giles and Anya in "Tabula Rasa". Lorne did not rape Angel and Eve.
    Nice Strawmen you got there. Did anyone ever in the history of Buffy forums suggest either of those? To the best of my knowledge, nobody ever did. Willow violated the minds of Giles, Anya, Buffy, Xander, Dawn, Spike and Tara, but it was not a sexual violation - but what people did suggest, very often, is that Willow continuing to have a sexual relationship with Tara after the memory spell was rape. It's certainly something worth discussing, unlike your intentionally ridiculous examples.

    I'm pretty hesitant to say that even Twilight and/or Angel raped Angel and/or Buffy (if you follow the built-in variations there), because unlike, say, Katrina, or jacket-affected people*, or "Something Blue", we don't have enough context to say that Buffy's agency was genuinely gone from her. Indications exist to the contrary in the fact that it still took Angel quite an impassioned line of BS to close the deal, which simultaneously demonstrates that a) Buffy had the faculties to understand him and b) the reasoning skills to contemplate what he was saying. Neither of which one is likely to find in someone whose ability to consent has been compromised in conventional, real world ways. In whacky scifi mind control ways, sure, but... we'd need more information to really get to that conclusion.
    You should be hesitant, since the information is vague and ambiguous and contradictory, and on purpose: the Dark Horse staff want to have their cake and eat it. So what we get is a bunch of info that Buffy and Angel were influenced by the mystical mojo and couldn't keep it in their pants as a result, that there were forces at work that Buffy couldn't control, but it's not like they couldn't control their actions at all, oh no, they were in control but they were not, they had free will but they were controlled by Twilight and the glow and "destiny", and it all makes the kind of sense that's not. They're never going to give a proper explanation, because a) they can't have Buffy deciding on her free will and in full control of her faculties to have sex with the the masked Twilight guy who had killed over 200 of her people, bombed their headquarters, emotionally abused her for over a year, and was still leading the enemy forces - because she would come off as a very OOC, selfish, shallow and irresponsible, and would be hard to make her a credible heroine after that; b) they can't have Buffy and Angel "date raped" by the universe, because the readers would freak out, and the Bangels would be disappointed - so their strategy seems to be "Just repeat: it's not rape. It's not rape. Eeeverything is fine. Now we can have that cake and eat it."

    It's not really that surprising, considering the previously mentioned bad track record of Buffyverse writers when it comes to taking the consent issues seriously, which was the whole reason why I brought up Life of the Party, as the most egregious example.

    *It would be very hard to argue RJ was raping anyone, either, even if he were having sex with every single affected person, because, again, where is the intent? He appears to have had no idea that anything unusual was happening at all, he just thought he had sick game.
    I don't know anyone who ever suggested that RJ was raping someone, and I believe nobody did on this forum, so that's just more Strawmen. What is certain, however, is that if Buffy and RJ had had sex as a result of the jacket's influence, that wouldn't have been consensual sex. And that was treated as a joke. As was Angel and Eve actually having sex in Life of the Party. Ha ha, you just got magically forced to have sex with someone you don't like and would have never wanted to have anything with otherwise! Oh the hilarity!
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
    I don't understand why I'm credited as the starter of this topic, when I did not create it, merely suggested its creation, and I certainly did not give it a title.
    Because after it was created, Sosa moved off topic posts from the news thread and vBulletin only cares about time stamp when compiling them.

    I think this should be in the General forum, not the Comics forum, because it's about the consent issues in Buffyverse in general, not specifically in the comics (and the comics stuff can be put in spoiler tags). This way it's limiting it to posters who regularly post in the comics section, rather than everyone who posts on the forum - and there are posters who don't post in the comics section but who would have a lot to say on this subject, like Nina, who has posted on the subject many times.
    The event that is the foremost cause of this entire discussion occured in the comics, it would be silly to have to start a thread on a forum that would require spoilers for its own subject matter over one that wouldn't.

    Are you saying that when people have their ability to consent to sex taken away; in other words, when they are forced to have sex, through means other than violence, this is "no harm, no foul"?
    I am saying that it isn't a rape. You can't have a rape without a rapist. We aren't talking about the masked man who, while unknown, is still identifiable as the actor. Without someone to commit it, there is no crime. Nobody can get literally raped by a figurative being or an abstract.

    Now, you leap quite unreasonably to the conclusion that to say a thing wasn't rape or even a crime, it must not have been wrong, but that doesn't follow from what I am saying. Not rape =/= not wrong. But a rape has an intentional actor and proof of the absence of consent. Or whatever might be required by some other distinct act. But "wrongness", as a general concept, which is the only way to categorize a lot of these only-possible-in-fiction situations, can really only be judged in terms of the actual harm. Were Eve to have wept and run to a shower, we should judge what violation a worse one (how does your example become my strawman, anyway? That episode and all macking in "Tabula Rasa" or "Something Blue" are all like instances -- Person A does something supernatural that unintentionally and most importantly unforeseeably causes persons X and Y to be intimate with each other.

    Buffyverse writers have a long-standing tendency to use magical influence of this or that sort to force the characters into dubious consent/no consent sexual situations, and this has very rarely been treated seriously.
    Well, I will be honest, it is hard to do "dubcon" seriously because, in the actual sphere from which the words "rape" and "consent" are issues, it doesn't mean anything. There is consent, and then there is lack of consent, the latter of which being the thing that must be proven. With spacefrak, I am not satisfied there is proof of that absence to say that Twilight, alone or in concert with Angel, raped Buffy (or alone raped the two of them).

    Pretty much the only times this kind of violation has been treated seriously as something taumatizing and bad is when direct physical violence was involved. (Faith raping Riley - ecause, yes, what she did is rape just as it would be if one tricked someone into sleeping with them by pretending to be their twin sibling - was treated only as somethinwg that bothers Buffy because Riley "slept with Faith".)
    The rare accurate example -- Faith actually would satisfy the elements of rape of both Riley and Buffy herself in that episode. And it probably should have been taken more seriously on those terms.

    So if you think that rape should refer only to an act with a perpetrator who intended to commit grape, fine, don't call it rape. But you what those instances definitely are not? Consensual sex. Do you want to call it "non-consensual sex" if it makes you feel better? OK. But do you really think a person would feel better about being forced to have sex just because they knew nobody did it intentionally? "Oh, never mind, it's an accidental rape... sorry, we shouldn't be calling it rape - I was just forced to have sex which I wouldn't have chosen to do if I had had the control over my faculties. But it was an accident! So all's well! Yay!"
    I don't "think" rape requires an intentional actor, it does. It is an objective fact in any corner of the western world, at least. The only way one could get an "accidental rape" would be if Ronnie Rapist, intending to rape Vicki Victim, rapes Betty Bystander instead. Because Ronnie must still exist and still intend to commit the wrongful act.

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    I think it's hard to sort out the metaphysics of Spike's situation as contrasted with Xander's. Vampirism and possession are both fictional devices used to explore the dark side of folks who also have good sides. Joss lists The Pack as one of his early favorites because it was the first time they let one of the Scoobies go dark. That doesn't work if Xander is possessed by some whole other alter-ego. Nor do I think the episode makes any sense if everyone (Giles, Buffy, Willow, Xander) doesn't know that they just saw a side of Xander -- albeit one he ordinarily has under lock and key.

    If we had to do a real-world analogy, I suppose we could say someone spiked a drink, and Xander's ugly side got a public outing that he really didn't sign up for in any way shape or form. That's why the friends are willing to turn a blind eye and pretend they didn't see an ugly side that really is there.

    Anyway, I say that to say that the story is more interested in dark sides than assigning culpability. If we want to focus on culpability issues, I'd say that Spike's status is different because he has a long standing commitment to the dark side, and so that's the real difference. He's showing in public something Xander wants to keep hidden. (Not at all a small difference, btw).

    It's off topic, but I totally think William bears responsibility for what he does as Spike. He knows perfectly well that he's transgressing something important with Dru. It's sort of like taking the first snort of crack cocaine -- I suppose. I doubt the first choice is a conscious choice to become a monster. But I don't think that eliminates the responsibility the person bears for taking that first snort, since they were consciously choosing that rush rather than worrying about the consequences that rush ends up having down the line.

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    Yeah, I mean, the in-universe breakdown I did is mostly for fun rather than for trying to get at real meaning.

    The real metaphor of The Pack is both more mundane and also makes Xander look worse than the drink analogy Maggie offers -- it's about a combination of testosterone (thanks, Giles) and being inducted into a new, much crueller, group and becoming part of them. It is called "The Pack" after all. However, the influence from the pack is specifically designed to be an extreme exaggeration of what is there -- so it's hardly fair to call Xander overly responsible.

    See also things like Buffy's reaction to having her soul sucked out by Kathy -- which also we could say has a real world equivalent in Buffy having her drink spiked against her will but is more closely associated with how being in close quarters with someone who annoys you can suck the life out of you and make you really bad. Buffy didn't do anything in that episode as bad as what Xander does in The Pack, but if she did it'd be a similar situation where there is some blame but also some recognition that the story is exaggerated.

    The difference between that and the way the vamps' demon-ness brings out their dark sides, or Willow's magic does (I don't really pay much attention to the light/dark magic stuff and am mostly along for the emotional ride, but insofar as 'dark magical influences' are there), or the demonic essence of Buffy's slayer brings out hers, is a matter of commitment and how central these are to their identities. If Xander spent, like, two years slowly being turned into a hyena by hanging out with these jerks from that episode, and didn't pull away during that time, it would play a lot differently (and he would be less easy to forgive I think) than it does in a one-off episode, even though both would reveal aspects of Xander's dark side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie View Post
    If we had to do a real-world analogy, I suppose we could say someone spiked a drink, and Xander's ugly side got a public outing that he really didn't sign up for in any way shape or form. That's why the friends are willing to turn a blind eye and pretend they didn't see an ugly side that really is there.
    This is interesting and I did hear an analogy about Xander being drunk which allows him to behave in a way he wouldn't if he was sober. Maybe that's the metaphor, seeing as Hyena Xander acts on Xander's deepest ( or for a better word) darkest desires. Deep down Xander wants to dress up in leather and be cool, his angry bullied inner self would want to take a shot at being a bully, he wants to have Buffy, he wants to tell clingy Willow off - in normal circumstances he knows it's wrong and therefore never does any of that.

    However, I can't just pretend there's no hyena influence at work here. Like Vampmogs said, Xander also showed animal desires that are not there in humans, like eating a pig alive. And I agree had the hyena possession remained longer, Xander and the others would have probably transformed into hyenas themselves.

    Those dark desires are there inside Xander but he never acted on them in his normal, un-possessed state, and that's what matters. That's why I can't hold him responsible for what had happened.

    Spike was Spike. I'm not talking about William. I'm talking about the vampire who fell in love with Buffy, helped the Scoobies on so many occasions and had a lot of affection for Dawn. That Spike. He wasn't possessed. He was in full control of his actions.

    There lies the difference for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sosa lola View Post
    Spike was Spike. I'm not talking about William. I'm talking about the vampire who fell in love with Buffy, helped the Scoobies on so many occasions and had a lot of affection for Dawn. That Spike. He wasn't possessed. He was in full control of his actions.
    Yep. That's why the comparisons fall apart for me as well. I don't get people saying "Spike's demon" compelled him to do it or Spike's "demon side" are responsible for his darker impulses etc. Spike doesn't have a demon or a demon side. Spike is a demon. That's what I meant when I said I'd sooner liken him to the Hyena spirit than I would Xander. I wasn't talking about whether Spike has more human characteristics rather than savage or animalistic, it’s true that in that respect he resembles Xander more than the hyena, I was referring to the very nature of what they are. Spike isn’t a human man with a demon compelling him. He’s a demon/monster/vampire that animates a human corpse.

    It’s the same demon that goes and wins himself a soul and restores his moral compass (aka “human heart”). There isn’t a “demon side”, he is the demon side. The only side. And that's why I can't compare the AR to The Pack because whilst it's true that it's in Spike's nature to rape and commit evils, we can't liken it to Xander being invaded by a demon entity that is possessing him and making him act differently. It's also in the hyena spirits nature to act evilly.

    I concede that the hyena spirit was drawing on real feelings from Xander and that Xander's behaviour was rooted in something real that existed within him. But if the hyena wasn't possessing him Xander would never act that way because as everybody has said, the spirit exaggerated all of these feelings and made him do things he wouldn't ever consent to doing. So I really can't hold him accountable for anything he did at all. Now, if Xander had asked for the hyena spirit to possess him like the zookeeper did, then he would be partially responsible for whatever he did whilst possessed. But Xander wasn't violated against his will. Accountable or not, the episode still works as a fantastic commentary on high school cliques and the pack mentality.

    And for what it's worth, I don't hold William accountable at all for the crimes he has committed as a vampire. He may have agreed to Dru turning him but he couldn't possibly have known what he was signing up for. I blame Liam even less so, but not by much, just for the fact that he's told to "close his eyes" and doesn't even see Darla's 'game face' until he's already being drained. But I don't hold either guy responsible for that. They didn't know vampires even existed let alone that they were asking to be turned into one and commit the atrocities that they did.
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    In terms of being sired, I don't think the moment tells him what will happen and what he will become in any way that takes a weight of responsibility onto him for it. The consequence of the 'choice' he just seemingly made is a complete mystery to him so he is guilty of no more than making a bad, uninformed decision. The fact that he isn't even in a sound frame of mind just makes it even more so, but even with that aside. As Angel says in The Prodigal "sometimes the price we end up paying for one bad choice isn’t commensurate with the offence”. So I completely go with the notion from Damage that they were both innocent victims once and I don't hold anything of what they became against William or Liam, I don't think it is fair to do so personally.

    I agree that there is Xander in there with the hyena and I don't think the episode works if that isn't true but I don't think that stops the choice to try to rape as being pretty squarely due to the possession. Xander may be behind the desires etc but so much of his 'true self' is changed that it doesn't form any semblance of an actual 'Xander' reality, namely one where he would make the decision to choose to rape Buffy. If you have to say, remove his empathy/bring his desire to dominance/heighten his lust/increase his sense of satisfaction to dominate/escalate his response to feeling powerful/remove any senses of boundaries/remove his loyalty to her/remove all tenderness and caring/etc etc, you do actually create a being that is unrecognisable to the original. Even if the original urge/thought etc of wanting Buffy 100% belongs to Xander, even if you can say that we are accessing dark desires, there is no semblance of reality in how he behaves towards her and that is why it is easy to move on from maybe.

    Spike has to have a lot less stripped away from him in the moment to act on those impulses. Spike 'choosing to rape' is a reality, it requires only a side step to increase the decision to 'choosing to rape Buffy' and what it requires to make that a realistic situation. As a demon Spike enjoys and acts on darker impluses and that is part and parcel of who/what he is. Sadly he has to have far fewer of his drivers/emotions increase/decrease to make the attack become a realistic situation and 'choosing to rape Buffy' be a believable action for him. Fortunately for Spike his 'better' emotions and drivers are important to him and strong enough that he was then able to choose the emotional response that he did to his own actions.

    When I originally made the comparison and wondered about it I was thinking more towards the way that people (characters and fans) treat Spike regarding the AR once he comes back souled. The demon that committed the AR is still in there with him but it is now in combination with William who wasn't there, didn't commit the AR and, as with reality!Xander, wouldn't.

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    Some thoughts on the hyena incident.

    First, there is a certain amount of supposition involved. Aside from Buffy's glibness -- which one typically shouldn't just take as literal and exactingly accurate, right? -- about felony sexual assault, we don't actually have the benefit of being an observer of the full events in question as an audience. Certainly Xander had not attempted rape by the time the scene ends. The entire discussion first requires the assumption that Buffy is saying what she means and meaning what she says in that rather off-the-cuff answer.

    So, we make the assumption, and yeah, we would have an attempted rape. We have the requisite intentional actor, certainly. The only thing really up for debate at that point is... who is that intentional actor? Is it Xander or Xander enough for us to say "Xander"? Or is the hyena primal the actual agent of his behavior?

    I'm actually inclined to say that the hyena primal is not actually controlling and directing Xander's actions. I think it's a devil on his shoulder and a very convincing one. It is "him" that would have been the attempted rapist. Now, is that influence so much that he is still culpable?

    To be clear, two distinctions here when judging Xander's or Spike's or whoever else's culpability -- if they were genuinely not even at the wheel, they didn't do anything wrong, it's as if it was someone else completely. But if it was that person under an influence, it's a question of whether or not the influence mitigates their responsibility.

    In California, the insanity defense follows the "M'naghten rule" -- "at the time of committing the act, the accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing or, if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong".

    So, if we decide that Xander is still "at the wheel" and not a passenger in his own body, what about that? Does the hyena primal's influence constitute "such a defect of reason... as not to know the nature and quality of the act" or that it was wrong? I'm inclined to say... no, not really. If Xander was at the wheel, even if with a 1200lb devil on his shoulder, he knew what he was trying to do, his words even confirm that -- he defines it as being meant to appeal to whatever "bad boy" fetish Buffy might have and/or is just the general bane of human existence.

    Your mileage may vary on whether you think Xander is the actual actor in that event and whether you think things actually got far enough along to constitute an attempted rape in the first place.

    To bring to Spike's AR and the soul/no soul debate -- I believe unequivocally that Spike (or Angel) is still the same Cartesian "I" whether there's a soul or not, so Spike (or Angel) is definitely the person committing their acts. It would be a question of whether or not the lack of a soul constitutes a circumstance that keeps them from being responsible for those actions.

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