co-erce ko-ers vb co-erced; co-ercing 1: RESTRAIN, REPRESS 2: COMPEL 3:
--co-er-sion -er-zhen,shen n --co-er-cive -er-siv adj rape ^r\'ap n 1:
a carrying away by force 2: sexual intercourse by a man with a woman without
her consent and chiefly by force or deception; also : unlawful sexual
intercourse of any kind by force or threat

As if the line between normal and acceptable consensual sex and rape
wasn\'t thin enough already, there are those out there that wish to make it an
even narrower, less defined and more twisting line to stay on the right side of.
It seems as though somehow, somewhere, someone decided that the two terms
defined above are in some way related. However, in the manner of logic which I
possess, they are not. The debate now is rape, and what constitutes that once
horridly thought of crime. In the opinion of some, rape is no longer just a
physical act of violence that accompanies uninvited sex. Rape, as defined by
some, can occur even when the two parties involved agree verbally or otherwise
to have sex. This to me, seems absurd. In the most basic terms, and with the
simplest definitions, no means no, and okay, yeah, yes and please, all mean yes.
The term "NO" is not very complicated, and is probably the word that was
repeated to us the most as children, so we should all get that one right. But
still, how can yes mean no? Apparently through a term known as "verbal
coersion," which allows a large grey area to form between these simple answers
to sometimes complicated questions.
"Verbal Coersion" is not a term you will find in the dictionary, at
least not in any of the ones I own. In an article by David R. Carlin, Jr., he
states that as he interprets this term "rape [can] occur even when consent is
given, provided this consent is influenced by external pressures and is not
simply the result of internal desire.(12; par.3)." I find this to be an
acceptable definition of coersion as it relates to sexual situations, although I
feel strongly that under no circumstance can coersion constitute rape, once the
coerced has consented to full physical acceptance of sexual advances.
Although coersion can be exercised through many different approaches, I
contend that the entire idea that verbal coersion can constitute rape is
inadequate on one main principle. In order to coerce someone, that someone must
allow the coercing to occur. If a man who is trying to gain sexual favors from
a woman attempts to seduce her through flattery, promises and so on, doesn\'t end
up getting what he wants, no coersion has taken place. His attempt has failed.
This is true only because the woman hasn\'t allowed herself to succumb to his
charms. But if this is all that occurred, in no sense of the word has he
attempted to "rape" her. If a man has a girlfriend or wife who is not in the
mood for sex, and the man threatens to go find sex elsewhere or threatens to
leave her, this is, in a way, coersion. This is not just a simple coercive
statement though. It is coersion through blackmail, and is unkind and immoral,
but again, it is not an attempted rape. Nor is it illegal.
I think that Camille Paglia is probably a good example of a person who
would not allow herself to be coerced. In her essay "It\'s a Jungle Out There"
she exhibits a massive general mistrust of the male gender as an entire group.
She argues that "Hunt, pursuit, and capture are biologically programmed into
male sexuality(637; par.10)" as she attempts to warn young women about the
perils of behaving with naivety in the presence of young men, who have but one
thing on their mind, and, supposedly, are willing to go to any lengths to get it.
I truly doubt that this woman, or her younger counterparts who share this
attitude, would willingly follow an intoxicated member of a fraternity up to his
room, an expect nothing would happen. I doubt that any form or amount of
coersion could change this, for their attitude is too defensive. They would be
distrustful of anything a young man might do or say. In order for this type of
woman to have sex with a man, she must first truly desire to, and all women, in
my opinion, are capable of being this strong and self-reliant.
Coersion, as I see it, is a practice as common for most people as