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Monday, December 3, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Rape Date

Posted by Dan Savage on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 10:29 AM

I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back when the book is finished. —Dan

Originally published March 29, 2009:

I met this girl on an "adult" website. We exchanged a few e-mails, then we chatted over IM twice, just the basic small talk, before exchanging numbers. It was on the phone that she told me about her rape fantasy: She has always fantasized about being kidnapped by a stranger from a public place, held in a dark room over the weekend, and forced to do whatever her captor wants.

That sounds hot, but I wouldn't do it without at least meeting first. Safety first. So the idea now is to meet at a bar, have a drink, and then go back to my place and enact a date-rape scene. Not quite her ultimate fantasy, but it just so happens to be one of my all-time fantasies. We're both turned on by the idea that we will be near-strangers.

Now here comes the problem: What if she is some wacko who will call the cops on me/blackmail me and say it was actual rape? Can I protect myself from this somehow? We never talked about it over IM, just on the phone. This is one of the boxes I would like to check before I die, but I want to be safe about it. Help!

To Rape Or Not To Rape

My response after the jump...

I'm tempted to advise you—and others with similar fantasies (not all of them men, not all of them straight)—to Google "Oliver Jovanovic" and then move on to the next question. But there's the digital divide to consider: Not all aspiring date-rape fetishists have access to the interwebs.

Oliver Jovanovic was a graduate student at Columbia University when he met a woman named Jamie Rzucek on the interwebs way, way back in 1996. The two bonded over a shared interest in bondage and torture, and they met up for an evening of consensual sex that included bondage and torture. After it was all over, Rzucek went to the police and Jovanovic was arrested, prosecuted, found guilty, and given 15 years to life. He spent almost two years in prison—during which time he was brutally assaulted—before he was released on appeal and ultimately kinda, sorta exonerated.

Guess what got Jovanovic out of prison? E-mails that had been improperly excluded by the judge during the first trial. The e-mails showed that Rzucek had not only consented to engage in bondage and S&M, but that she had touched base with Jovanovic after the fact to tell him how exhilarated she was.

The lesson for you, TRONTR, is to get it in goddamn writing. Negotiate this scene via e-mail, keep copies of those e-mails, and agree in advance—via e-mail—on a safe word that, if uttered, brings the action to a screeching halt. I'd also suggest that you—with her consent—make a digital audio recording of the encounter. Then you wouldn't just have e-mails proving she consented going in, TRONTR, but a digital recording that proved you stopped whatever it was you were doing if she used her safe word and retracted her consent during the encounter.

Making a digital audio recording of the encounter means you won't have photos or video to share over the interwebs, which should appeal to her if she is concerned about privacy. And using the magic of the World Wide Interwebs, you can simultaneously record this encounter on your computer and remotely on hers. That should give her some assurance that you won't take advantage of her written consent to a consensual rape-role-play scenario as a cover to actually rape her, i.e., to do things she hasn't consented to or to ignore her if she removes her consent during the act, because then she'd have proof that you ignored her safe word and kept going after she withdrew her consent.

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