This “Anti-Rape” App Horrifies Me

Amanda Marcotte brought this horrific bit of fuckery to my attention: an app called Good2Go, which ostensibly is there to ensure both parties are enthusiastically consenting to sex, but really isn’t doing that job. Observe:

Worse, I feel this app could be seized upon by rapists as a way to rape women and get away with it.

In fact, Good2Go could contribute a dangerous new element to those he-said she-said rape cases. What Good2Go doesn’t tell users is that it keeps a private record of every “I’m Good2Go” agreement logged in its system, tied to both users’ personal phone numbers and Good2Go accounts. (Records of interactions where users say “No” or just want to talk are not logged in this way.) Allman says that regular users aren’t permitted access to those records, but a government official with a subpoena could. “It wouldn’t be released except under legal circumstances,” Allman told me. “But it does create a data point that there was an occasion where one party asked the other for affirmative consent, that could be useful in the future … there are cases, of course, as we know, where the accused is an innocent party, so in that case, it could be beneficial to him.”

So, in other words, if you’re a rapist, all you need to do is convince your victim that you’re having a legitimate hook-up. Get her to log in her “consent” on this app. Once the record of her saying she wants sex is created, you then rape her, by say, forcing her to do a bunch of stuff she didn’t want to do. If she says no, who cares? You created a record of her saying yes. It’s basically a way for rapists to give themselves blanket permission to rape someone by creating a point in time she said “yes”, and then saying everything that happened after that was covered by it. Sure, the app says that you can withdraw consent at any time, but if you’re going to court with this and she says, “Well, yes, I said yes to sex on the app, but I didn’t think he meant he would hold me down and anally rape me,” odds are that little disclaimer will not offer much protection to the victim. It’s already hard enough for victims of rape who were tricked into thinking they were on a real date only to have rape sprung on them to convince juries they weren’t consenting. This would make it a nightmare.

I have bolded the bits that screamed, “We don’t give a shit about consent, we just want to shelter rapists!” to me.

I’ll tell you right now, anybody trying to get me to use this app with them is getting nothing. I will not touch the app or them. They will be required to exit my presence immediately.

And if I end up on a jury, and some dumbshit wants to claim xe didn’t rape this person because look! the app recorded they consented! – well, let’s just say that fucker’s going down hard, because I will end them. I’ll know they’re playing silly buggers. I’ll know all they cared about was covering their ass, not making sure their partner was having safe, consensual fun with them.

Image is a drawing of a young woman talking to a young man. Both are holding books and look as if they're students. The caption reads, "Your box of condoms says you're in to safe sex. Your Tap-Out shirt says you don't care if it's consensual."

If you’re having trouble seeing the problem, imagine an app called Good2Tattoo, which your tattoo artist made you use, and which only recorded you saying yes to getting a tattoo – but didn’t record if you said “no” or “yes, but not that Boy Bands Rule! tattoo you’re offering.” Imagine the tattoo artist stamped you permanently with the boy bands ink anyway, over your objections, and used your initial yes, recorded by the app, to argue in court that you agreed to the whole thing – and increased their chances of getting away with violating you because of it. That’s basically what this app is doing. And rapists will see it as a spiffy new tool in their getting-away-with-rape arsenal, whether they admit what they’re doing is rape or not.

As for those who genuinely think this app is a great idea and they should use it to protect themselves from false accusations of rape: I think you should probably not have sex with other people. Sex toys have gotten very good over the years. Please avail yourself of them instead, at least until you are educated enough to have consensual, safe sex with an enthusiastically consenting partner, sans awful app.

This “Anti-Rape” App Horrifies Me

10 thoughts on “This “Anti-Rape” App Horrifies Me

  1. rq

    It’s disturbing, the number of ways people try to by-pass opportunities to rape, except trying that one proven way: education.
    Also, drunk texting aside, most people are perfectly capable of pushing touchscreen buttons even when inebriated or under the influence of other drugs, thus perfectly capable of electronically ‘consenting’ via this program.
    Also, I have this feeling this app would be difficult to apply to long-term abusive partnerships – or just abusive partnerships, period (there’s no ‘I was coerced/blackmailed into saying ‘Yes’!’ button – is there?).
    Also, logging phone numbers? Creepy ((not) sorry, but it is!). It’s like filling out your Little Black Book of Conquests for you (hey, hey, guys, check this out…).
    Anyone in a relationship (long- or short-term) should be communicating about sex, period. Anyone looking for sex should be communicating about sex, period. There is no excuse for apps like these. It just encourages the acceptance of so-called facts over someone’s lived experience (“I don’t care what you say, computers don’t like!”).

  2. 4

    I agree with your concerns. Consent can be withdrawn at any time for any reason, anyway, even if it had been explicitly given earlier — because prior consent is always tentative.

  3. 5

    “Not to mention, what stops ‘sign this app or I’ll break your arm’ from occurring?”

    Or “Rapist gets on her phone and downloads the app after she’s unconscious to make it look like she instigated the sexual encounter.”

    The sheer number of ways that this can easily be used to shield rapists confirms to me that it was intended to do exactly that. I find it impossible to believe that the makers of the app did not think of any of these things during development.

  4. 6

    Actually, I think it might be possible that the makers were completely oblivious to any misuse. That they fully were thinking from the male non-rapist-that-wants-to-not-get-accused-of-rape perspective. That they were actually coming from a Richard Dawkins like perspective and tried to bridge the rift from that side.

    If they did they just failed horribly and it is inexcusable that they got to this stage without input from actual feminists and people with real experience with rape and rape accusations.

    To me the way to fix this in society would be mandatory sex ed before the age of 14 that fully covers consent. The what goes where and gets protected how is a nice add-on. (and then further grounding of these ideas in society)

    In the ‘evil vs stupid’ debate it is really possible that complete and total ignorance is the reason for most of the stupidity what we see. And it is almost reasonable that grown men reject new information because society failed to give them that information at an earlier point in their lives.

    But it really is not reasonable. And that is why I love that more and more channels are starting to broadcast the feminist perspective. So I really hope people like here on FTB keep doing what they’re doing. Yes, most of the current generations are FUBAR, but I think I really see a push to the right direction and a counterpush that is quite often counterproductive.

  5. 7

    Their FAQ attempts to answer some of the questions later raised in this very thread.

    It has some interesting use of gendered language, and assumptions about who initiates sex.

    The app is designed with two main goals in mind. One is to protect the Partner from doing something she would be uncomfortable with, and the other is to protect the Initiator from later being unjustly charged with sexual assault.

    And it basically gives up the game when it says that people need to do right when in a situation beyond the scope of the program.

    If a man does not receive a positive response, he should not start an encounter.

    We are careful to remind both men and women that “no means no” and that any consent given can be withdrawn at any time. Stop means stop, period.

    I guess this means that if someone does say “no” or “stop”, the app just sits there, doing nothing.

    The final screen on Good2Go reminds both Initiator and Partner that consent may be withdrawn at any point for any reason.

    That’s nice, but it would be a more effective reminder if it built on at least a decade of sex education that prioritizes consent. Maybe we should start with that?

    rq @2,

    It’s disturbing, the number of ways people try to by-pass opportunities to rape, except trying that one proven way: education.

    This program strikes me as a typical American approach to a problem: don’t try to change anyone’s behavior, just invent a technical solution. As if consumer electronics are the answer to people doing wrong.

    Amanda Hess notes that this computer program is in response to an idea suggested by a writer at Reason magazine looking for a “free market” approach to this crime. He didn’t really like the government intervention entailed in California’s recently-passed consent law.

  6. 8

    @ #7 Scr…Activist, so, the developer basically admits that the app is, at best, useless? I mean, they have a disclaimer that pretty much absolves the app of having to accurately document consent throughout the sexual encounter. What is the point of even downloading this, except to help women to identify skeevy creeps right away? Well, okay, it might be useful for that.

  7. 9

    This seems a bit specialized for what could be a general-purpose application.

    I’ve been having an ongoing problem in restaurants. The waiters and bartenders always give me fair-to-mediocre service. As I’m leaving, I try to give them a 20% tip, to encourage better service the next time I’m there, but they always refuse it and say, “What if you regret it later and accuse me of mugging you?”

    It would be nice if there was some kind of cell phone app that they could use to prove that I gave them the tip voluntarily. Then, when they try to refuse the tip, I can say, “If I accuse you of mugging me, you can use the app to prove that I’m lying, so you’ve got nothing to worry about.” This seems likes really quite a good idea and I can’t think of any unexpected negative consequences at all.

  8. 10

    Slightly off topic: But do ‘Tap Out’ shirts really give a pro-rape message, or are they associated with sexual abuse or rape? I never thought of that.
    I do some MMA for fitness and fun but never thought about sport fighters being more violent (sexually or otherwise) than anyone else. The sport itself can be rough but the ‘violence’ is simulated and controlled (unlike actual fighting, which in IMO is to be avoided except as a last resort to prevent even more harm).

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