3 Nov 2015

Is This Rape? #Sexontrial Review

Last night BBC 3 showed a program called Is This Rape? Sex On Trial, where a group of young adults were shown a drama in three parts and were asked questions based on what they had seen, with the ultimate question being Is This Rape?
First of all I would just like to say I think the program was brilliant, it gets you thinking about personal experiences, friends, family, and what you vs society would consider to be wrong, it was clear from the very start of the program that a lot of us have mixed views on what is acceptable and what isn't, so if you missed it then I highly recommend watching it on catch up.

Spoilers alert!!!

The drama started out at a house party, where Gemma was partying with her friends, while looking over at Tom pretty much every moment she got. Later on Tom walks in on Gemma and his best friend kissing, he is clearly gutted and shocked, heads back down to the party and starts drinking some more. The party eventually comes to an end when Tom's best friend leaves much to Gemma's disappointment. Gemma believes everyone has left so she makes up a sofa bed in the lounge, but then Tom walks in, Tom had passed out in the kitchen and hadn't realised everyone had left and the party was now over. Gemma is asleep on the bed, while Tom is lying on the sofa, he tries waking Gemma up, telling her he is cold, she sleepily replies "get a blanket" Tom lies and says he's already looked and can't find one, he asks her to budge up so he can get in the bed, she is still half asleep at this point and agrees. Tom tries talking to Gemma but she is clearly not interested and tells him she needs to get some sleep. Tom then starts to kiss Gemma, she eventually wakes up and looks shocked, Tom gets on top of her still kissing her, Gemma lies still doesn't say anything, doesn't move, her arms straight by her side. Tom then unzips his jeans and put's his penis in Gemma's mouth, once again Gemma doesn't move or say anything. The first part of the drama is left there. 

The Boys and Girls are then asked "Did Gemma give consent?" The majority vote was no she didn't give consent. What I found the most interesting part was majority of the boys were quick to claim what Tom did was wrong and that he had raped her, where as a lot of the girls said she was as much to blame as he was because she didn't say no so therefore she was giving consent in a way, or they felt as if she thought I can't be arsed to say no so I'll just get it out the way and do what he wants. I honestly thought it would have been the other way round. 

The second part of the drama starts with Gemma phoning the police, it moves on to her in court being questioned about her allegation, she is made to feel as if she bought this on herself, she mislead Tom by inviting him to the party, flirting and looking over at him, sending him explicit snap chat pictures and is also accused of using him to make his best friend jealous. This is the bit I found to be a foggy area, the group were then asked if they thought "Tom believed he had consent?" Only just over half said Yes, and the rest said No or they weren't sure. It is so hard to know if Tom intentionally knew what he was doing was wrong or if he honestly thought it was ok because she didn't stop him.

The third part of the drama shows Tom being questioned, he is asked if Gemma said she was ok with what happened, and why he thought what he had done was fine, Tom's downfall is when texts he sent are read out in court, he told a friend "Had much better" and "She wasn't that into it but a party is a party" which shows Tom knew Gemma wasn't comfortable with what was happening but he still continued anyway. The final question is asked Is this rape?

The majority of the group came to a conclusion that it was rape. The director then showed that Tom was convicted of Rape and the standard sentence for that is 7 years, this shocked the group as they believed that although what Tom had done was wrong, the punishment was too severe and he shouldn't be classed as a rapist as when you think of a rapist you think of some sort of monster a violent human being and they didn't view Tom in this way, they felt he was just a boy who had made a mistake and had miscommunication with Gemma.  

I must admit this part is what hit home for me. Now I don't ever really talk about this and very few people even know so I'm a little scared to be writing about this, partly because I try to pretend it never happened and partly because it's just something I don't like to remember but I was once in a similar situation as Gemma, however I did say no, on several occasions in fact, but the guy I was with just wouldn't give up and in the end I did just lie there and let him do what he wanted as I felt so uncomfortable, embarrassed and pressured, I felt I had no way of getting out of it, and the more I kept protesting the more determined he seemed to be, so I did think, I'll just let him do what he wants and then he'll leave me alone. The thing is we both were only 15 at the time, we were kids, and for a long time I blamed myself, if I didn't go to his house, if I didn't say certain things I had said, he might of not done what he did, I would go over and over it and think if I did one thing differently that night it might not have happened. I don't know if he believes what he did was wrong but I also now know that I could have done so much to have prevented and stopped it from happening and although I felt ashamed for what had happened I personally couldn't live with myself if he was convicted of rape and sent to prison for 7 years, mainly maybe because we were only kids and wishfully thinking I hope he has grown up a lot now and knows what he did was wrong but also because I think that is just to harsh of a punishment. I think we need a fresh look on things, more education and maybe classes in which if someone is misinformed or misread the signs, instead of being convicted for rape but be shown and taught what they did was wrong and how they should have dealt with the situation differently because I think a lot of people don't even realise what they have done is probably considered as rape or sexual assault or that their partner wasn't feeling it at the time but was too embarrassed to say. Don't get me wrong, rape is a terrible thing, and those who do commit rape knowingly or with intention to do so, they know what they're doing is wrong, and the person has not consented at all then of course lock them up and throw away the key in my eyes. 

On another note I feel as if a lot of girls don't feel strong enough to be able to say no, and whether it's the experience I went through when I was 15 or not I don't know but now I don't ever just "give in" if a guy is trying it on with you and you're not into it or ok with it, it's fine to say no, and if they still don't get the message and won't take your answer literally it's also ok to leave and call anyone who you trust to get out of that situation, you should never be made to feel stuck or as if you have to do something because you promised or gave the impression that's what you wanted, it's alright to change your mind and to make it clear that you've changed your mind. 

Have you seen the program? what are your thought's and opinions on this topic? 
Read More

© 2011 I'm Just Me, Becky King, AllRightsReserved.

Designed by ScreenWritersArena