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Tyler Kingkade at the Huffington Post reports that Virginia Wesleyan College, in an effort to fight a lawsuit from a woman claiming the school’s negligence was a contributing factor in her sexual assault, is asking for the woman to list her sexual partners before and after the assault.

The private liberal arts school in Norfolk, Virginia, specifically wants to speak with the first sexual partner Doe had following her alleged assault, court filings say. This individual, the college insists, could provide “details of the sexual encounter” and help determine Doe’s credibility about trauma she claimed to have endured after being raped.

The college also wants to know the names of her partners to verify whether she told the truth when she said she was a virgin at the time of the assault.

The excuse that they are whipping out for this is that it’s relevant to the issue of damages.

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On one hand, it’s pretty common in lawsuits like this for defendants to try to minimize the claim of damages any way they can. On the other hand, the fact that a woman has performed sexual intercourse doesn’t actually mean that she enjoyed it. She might have been giving it the old college try.

Which isn’t to say that pushing yourself to have sex you might not feel all that excited about is the same thing as being raped. Absolutely not. On the contrary, I think that it still counts as consent if you want to feel horny and hope that by going through the motions, you’ll get there. It’s okay to go into sex with good intentions only to find that it isn’t working for you. But someone who has sex and finds the process unpleasant is, to my mind, just as disinterested in sex as someone who didn’t try in the first place. If you reduce the issue to whether a man successfully touched a vagina without considering how the woman felt about the whole thing, you aren’t do a great job of understanding that sex is supposed to be a mutual thing.

Worse is that moves like this only serve to push the myth that women who have sex cannot be raped. The reason that “rape shield laws” were created in various states was that defense attorneys would often drag out a woman’s sexual history in order to discredit her rape accusations, playing off this false belief that a woman who says yes under some circumstances can’t say no in others. Since these laws went into place, defense attorneys have often tried to get creative in their efforts to shame victims about their consensual sexual history. A lot of this is about raising the price of speaking out so high—how many of us would really be able to sit around listening to lawyers grill our prior sex partners about how loud we are during orgasm, for instance?—that victims give up rather than push their case. Which is why both eyebrows should be raised sky high to see this tactic, whatever the excuse for it is, being employed yet again.

Virginia Wesleyan College Demands List Of Sex Partners From Alleged Rape Victim

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