Content notice for consent violations of all kinds
The Sam Pepper scandal(? incident[s]? revelation[s]? trainwreck?) has been making the rounds. As I am not a YouTuber, per se, I have been mostly watching without weighing in much. I have cheered on those who are bringing his harassment and assault to light — those who aren’t him, that is, since he seems pretty adept at exposing himself (for what he is and otherwise).
In discussions specifically focused on the “prank” video that started it all, some defended Sam Pepper’s actions as “for fun” and “a joke.” I was reminded of the other times I’ve heard the “but it’s for lulz, not faps” defense.
The first time I entered an explicitly LGB space and had my breasts groped by a male interloper. He responded to my aghast expression with “It’s okay, honey; I’m gay. Just checking if they were real. They’re nice.”
The Tumblr post by a self-described anti-feminist woman arguing that women ought to be okay with street harassment since her male friends tell her they do it to be “funny.” The lack of genuine sexual interest in the women they harass makes it okay, she thinks.
A story out of the UK where a man convicted of groping a woman’s crotch while she was out with her children saying “I didn’t know it was wrong. I was just having a laugh.”
The self-professed A-cup straight woman who harassed me for weeks about my breasts. She was shocked that I, with my double-Ds, wasn’t wearing low necklines in the workplace.
The street harassers who, when I confront them, tell me to calm down since I’m too unattractive for them to ever seriously consider anyway.
“It’s just a joke” is never an excuse for anything in the first place, but I’m fascinated by this notion that, as long as something is not done for prurient interest, it’s excusable. That if the perpetrators are not looking to get off, they get away with it and are off the hook. That if the ending ejaculation releases breath via laughter rather than sexual fluids via an orgasm, everything is fine.
As Miri points out
When I am being sexually assaulted, I don’t care what the person assaulting me truly deeply believes about this encounter and what it means to them and how they feel about it in their heart of hearts. I am being sexually assaulted. I would like them to stop sexually assaulting me now.
A lack of sexual intent or interest does not render consent violations any less violating.