Amy Schumer’s Non-Consensual Sex: Why It Really Means Rape

In Amy Schumer’s recent interview with Marie Claire, she describes her first sexual encounter as “not a good one,” and later says another sexual experience was “non-consensual.”

Seventeen years ago, Schumer lost her virginity in a truly traumatic way: she didn’t choose or want to have intercourse. “I didn’t think about it until I started reading my journal again. When it happened, I wrote about it almost like a throwaway. It was like, ‘And then I looked down and realized he was inside of me. He was saying, ‘I’m so sorry’ and ‘I can’t believe I did this.””

Later, Schumer elaborates that this wasn’t the only time she experienced non-consensual sex. Another time she says, I had another time with a boyfriend where I was saying, ‘No, stop,’ and it was just completely ignored.”

Amy Schumer does not once call the experience for what it is: rape.

Non-consensual sex does not exist. There is consensual sex, and there is rape. According to the FBI, the new definition of rape is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” What Schumer described is without a doubt rape and calling it non-consensual sex dilutes the experience to something trivial.

The statistics are staggering. According to a study at the University of North Dakota, 1 in 3 men would commit rape if they thought they could get away with it. According to the survey, which analyzed responses from 73 college men, 31.7% said they would “act on intentions to force a woman into sexual intercourse.”

Yikes.

What does this indicate? It means there is a perpetuating rape culture today. According to ThinkProgress.org, rape culture refers to the larger societal norms that allow rape to thrive — “the lack of consequences for people who commit rape, the assumption that this type of sexual behavior is a normal aspect of gender relations, and the obscuring of rape as a serious crime.”

Schumer had no interest in pursuing consequences for her assailant. “This was 17 years ago. There are just so many factors,” she says.

Schumer’s calling it “non-consensual” cannot just be chalked up to just semantics. Calling rape for what it is can be an important part of healing for survivors, and by calling it anything else, Schumer is only minimizing her experience.

To clarify, the question we should be asking is “does non-consensual sex exist”, not why Schumer didn’t report it. A second thing we should ask ourselves, and perhaps the most important one, is “what kind of culture do we live in where people excuse this s permissible behavior?” Non-consensual sex is never excusable.

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