Men today are free, as in the Illinois case, to take advantage of strangers they accost in isolated settings. Lawyers in most states can exact sexual cooperation from clients who depend on them for essential help in divorce, child-custody, and criminal cases. A man in a bar or a fraternity house can get a woman drunk, undress her, and penetrate her before she can resist. In cases like these men continue to escape conviction by claiming that they never threatened physical violence and that the woman failed to make her unwillingness clear. Only when our laws and culture acknowledge the importance of affirmative, uncoerced permission will we afford women and men the right to control the boundaries of their own sexual lives. Until then sexual autonomy will remain the missing, unprotected entitlement.
–– Stephen Schulhofer, “Unwanted Sex” from the October 1998 issue, illustrations by Ivan Chermayeff
Source: The Atlantic