No, Amy Schumer did not give a speech celebrating how she raped a guy

Any Schumer, not giving a speech

Amy Schumer, not celebrating rape.

Thought Catalog – which seems to be rapidly becoming the go-to site for terrible antifeminist posts – is making a bit of a stir on Reddit with a post bearing the deliberately provocative title “Wait A Second, Did Amy Schumer Rape a Guy?” Spoiler Alert: The anonymous author concludes that yes, she did. The anonymous author is full of shit.

In the Thought Catalog piece, Anonymous takes a look at a speech that Schumer – a comedian with some subversive feminist leanings — recently gave at the Gloria Awards and Gala, hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women. The centerpiece of Schumer’s speech, a bittersweet celebration of confidence regained, was a long and cringeworthy story about a regrettable sexual encounter she had in her Freshman year of college, when her self-esteem was at an all-time low.

The short version of the story: A guy named Matt, whom Schumer had a giant crush on, called her at 8 AM for a booty call, after he apparently had been turned down by every other woman in his little black book. Amy, thinking she was being invited for an all-day-date, only discovered his real intent when she got to his dorm room and he romantically drunkenly pushed her onto the bed and started fingering her.

After several failed attempts at intercourse, and what she describes as an “ambitious” attempt to go down on her, he finally gave up and fell asleep on top of her. Lying there listening to Sam Cooke, she decided she didn’t want to be “this girl” any more, “waited until the last perfect note floated out, and escaped from under him and out the door.”

Looking back on the incident, she thanks her failed lover for introducing her “to my new self, a girl who got her value from within her.”

But Thought Catalog’s anonymous author, noting the extreme drunkenness of Schumer’s stumbling lover, concludes that “Amy’s actions may have constituted as rape in the eyes of her college, Towson University.” (Or at least according to the school’s current policies.)

Anonymous quotes Towson’s current policy on sexual harassment, which states:

In order to give effective Consent, one must not be mentally or physical incapacitated (e.g., by alcohol or drugs, unconsciousness, mental disability).

And adds:

It’s hard to argue that Matt was not mentally incapacitated. In Amy’s words, he was “wasted.” 

Actually, the fact that Matt wasn’t too intoxicated to initiate an assortment of sexual acts with her — or to get up and change the music at her request — suggests that he wasn’t “mentally incapacitated,” at least by the standards used by colleges when investigating alleged sexual assaults. The Association of Title IX Administrators’ Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Model Policy (which sets an unofficial standard for college administrators) defines incapacitation as “a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the ‘who, what, when, where, why or how’ of their sexual interaction).”

In any case, it’s not clear why Anonymous is looking at Towson’s sexual harassment policy, which is designed to deal with “non-consensual Sexual Contact, Sexual Exploitation, or requests for sexual favors that affect educational or employment decisions,” and which clearly doesn’t apply to Schumer’s story.

As for sexual assault, the school’s official web site states:

Sexual assault is defined by Towson University as forcible sexual intercourse, sexual penetration–however slight–of another person’s genital or anal opening with any object, sodomy, or any unwanted touching of an unwilling person’s intimate parts or forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts. Under this definition, these acts must be committed either by force, threat, intimidation, or through the use of the victim’s mental or physical helplessness, of which the accuser was or should have been aware. This includes, but is not limited to, victim helplessness resulting from intoxication or from the taking of a so-called “date-rape drug.”

This definition is drawn from the University of Maryland System Policy on Sexual Assault, which classifies sexual assault involving penetration — the traditional definition of rape — as a more serious type of sexual assault (Sexual Assault I) than those forms of sexual assault involving touching (Sexual Assault II). By this standard, assuming we equate Sexual Assault I with rape, Schumer clearly did not rape him.

Anonymous then looks at Maryland’s state laws and concludes:

In the eyes of Maryland state law, things get a bit more complicated. Amy could be guilty of rape or sexual assault depending on whether or not penetration was achieved. According to the state law, a person may not engage in vaginal intercourse with another “if the victim is a mentally defective individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual, and the person performing the act knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a mentally defective individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual.” Legally, it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t rape, at least given the details in Amy’s speech.

Well, actually, yes it is. And not just legally, but by any reasonable definition of the word “rape.”

Because Schumer, at least by her account, wasn’t “the person performing the act.” He was. She was lying there wondering what had gone wrong with her life.

If you read the speech in its entirety, instead of depending on the selective quotations in the Thought Catalog post, this is abundantly clear. As she describes it, he:

Pushes her down on the bed; as she writes, he does “that sexy maneuver where the guy pushes you on the bed, you know, like, ‘I’m taking the wheel on this one. Now I’m going to blow your mind. …’”

Penetrates her with his fingers; as she writes, “[h]is fingers poked inside me like they had lost their keys in there.”

Tries to have intercourse, though his penis is only half-willing; she describes him as “pushing aggressively into my thigh, and during this failed penetration, I looked around the room to try and distract myself or God willing, disassociate.” Even using the “made to penetrate” standard, she’s not raping him, because she’s not making him do anything; he’s the active one.

Goes down on her.

Attempts intercourse again; this time, “[o]n his fourth thrust, he gave up and fell asleep on my breast.”

At no point in Schumer’s story does she describe herself as initiating anything. Indeed, she spends much of the time thinking to herself how much she wants to leave.

He started to go down on me. That’s ambitious, I think. Is it still considered getting head if the guy falls asleep every three seconds and moves his tongue like an elderly person eating their last oatmeal? … Is it? Yes? It is. I want to scream for myself, “Get out of here, Amy. You are beautiful, you are smart, and worth more than this. This is not where you stay.”

If a woman initiates sex with a man who is too drunk to consent, that’s rape. But a woman lying motionless trying to dissociate while a man tries to penetrate her is not a rapist. Even if he is drunk.

And that’s the case no matter how you switch the genders up.

Of course that’s not how they see things on Reddit, where most of those who’ve commented on the story have been quick to agree with the Thought Catalog author that Schumer raped her partner. Ironically, it’s been those outside the Men’s Rights subreddit who have been the most outspoken on this point. In TwoXChromosomes, a subreddit ostensibly devoted to women but in fact overrun with MRAs and other antifeminists, someone calling herself Shield_Maiden831 has gotten more than 200 net upvotes for a comment concluding that “[i]f you really believe in equality, then it seems to be a clear cut case from her own admission.”

Not everyone agrees. Elsewhere in TwoX , one commenter by the name of critropolitan argues, I think quite cogently, that

Unless the full transcript reveals something that the quotes in the article don’t, it doesn’t seem like Schumer exploited this guys mental state to do something to him that violated his will.

He was the one who called her.

He was the one who acted every step of the way and she went along with it.

Assuming that a person who is drunk is, automatically, in virtue of being drunk, without agency, is a mistake. It is moreover a mistake only made with regard to sex – no one thinks the same with regard to bar fights or the choice to drive. Drunken sex might not be the platonic ideal of sex, but it is not automatically rape in every case regardless of the actual state of minds, wishes, and feelings of the participants. …

There is no suggestion that Amy engaged in any sexual contact with this guy while he was passed out, or that she did something he didn’t want to do but he simply lacked the capacity to effectively resist or communicate non consent. Instead he was drunk enough to show significant signs of drunkeness, but not so drunk that he couldn’t not only communicate effectively but take a sexual initiative.

Rapists can exploit the vulnerability of drunk people, but we must walk back from the bizarre and agency-denying position that all drunk sex is rape. Rape is far too serious a matter for this bullshit.

It is.

But of course the MRAs and antifeminists on Reddit now accusing Schumer of rape aren’t interested in taking rape seriously. Indeed, if we look back on how they regularly talk about rape and issues of consent, it’s clearly they’re interested in taking rape less seriously. Their main interest in this case is as a supposed “gotcha” of a prominent female comedian with feminist leanings. In the process they are slandering her, and trivializing the real issue of rape.

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Posted on May 7, 2014, in a new woman to hate, a woman is always to blame, antifeminism, antifeminist women, evil sexy ladies, false accusations, FemRAs, gender swap, hundreds of upvotes, imaginary backwards land, misogyny, MRA, rape, rape culture, red pill women, reddit and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 308 Comments.

  1. Also, MRAs do NOT hold that traditional gender roles for men must be adhered to. Anyone who has read even a small amount of MRM literature would know that. MRAs believe that the best thing feminism ever did was give women a gender identity independent of men.

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, you’re adorable.

    Please stick the flounce.

  2. Sage Gerard, or Victor Zen as he’s known on YouTube. He founded KSUM (Kennesaw State University Men), a support group for men on the campus.

    Can’t confirm or deny your claim. I couldn’t find any info on this group besides something about free beer.

    If you were commenting anymore, I’d ask you if the guy has anything written anywhere. I’m not really in the mood of watching a bunch of videos of just another MRA in love with his own voice. I watched his introduction video, and wasn’t impressed. It was basically the same anti-feminist rhetoric I can find on any MRM site. This bit stood out:

    ”Feminism (…) ha[s] done great harm to humans and human rights.”

    By which I assume your average MRA bullshit, since women probably don’t count as humans. He doesn’t go into any details, but I’m fairly convinced Mr. Gerard considers male issues the only real human issues. So yeah, not convinced.

    A right men lack that women have? The right to genital integrity would be a good start. Mutilation is mutilation, and male circumcision reduces the sensitivity of the glans of the penis, reducing sexual pleasure for the man who has been mutilated.

    Still not the same as FGM. And as someone else pointed out, the right to not have their genitals mutilated is not a right that women have, you asshole. And again, who is opposed to ending the practice of circumcision, besides patriarchal men? Women? Space aliens?

    How about the right to abandon responsibility for your child? Women aren’t even obligated to bring their children to term, much less support them if it would be financially impossible to do so. Men, on the other hand, can be criminally prosecuted and thrown in prison for being too poor to pay child support.

    So, another anti-choice asshole. If you think women’s right to choose whether or not they want to put their body through enormous strain to produce another human being is on par with men being expected to support a child they helped bring into this world, then you’re not only an asshole, you’re an asshole with necrosis smeared with rancid shit. You’re a despicable, empathy-less human being who does not deserve to be in close proximity to another living creature. You’re awful.

    Feminism is misunderstood.

    Oh my god. Again with WTF at the Toronto University. Really? That’s the best you’ve got?

    Scratch that. That’s the only thing you’ve got.

    Alcohol voids consent.

    Oh Lord, now it makes sense. All this time, I’ve been engaging you as if you were another human being in the Internet with the capability to read and write. But it turns out, you can’t read. You’ve somehow managed to put sentences together in a semi-coherent manner, but you don’t actually know what words mean when put in writing like that. I feel so bad now.

    Joking aside, try reading the links before posting them. As Ally S wrote, you have gravely misunderstood the point. Big fucking surprise.

    Anyway, what’s the MRA obsession with diminishing the importance of rape? Seriously, what? I thought you cared about male rape victims?

    Who am I kidding, of course you don’t. The MRM is more interested in making life easier for male rapists. Male rape victims are only important if they can be used to bash women.

    False accusations don’t real.

    I have no idea of the context in this video. What exactly is happening? I don’t know where the false rape accusation thingy even came from this time (I’ve seen no one bring it up so far), so I’ll assume you find false rape accusations a national problem on par with sexual violence. In which case, fuck your ignorant butt with a sledgehammer and a pair of tweezers.

    Misandry don’t real.

    Ahahahahahahahahahaa! Seriously, David has done several pieces of that bullshit already. Follow Sparky’s links to read them.

    Get one thing through your thick skull: ”Misandry” is not an institutional problem like misogyny. Some random women being angry at men is not the same as a culture oppressing women. You’d be a stinking ignoturd to claim otherwise.

    I won’t be returning to this blog, as it’s a den of exactly the type of fringe lunacy that impedes any kind of progress towards an equal society.

    [Sung to the tune of Ode to Joy:] Ableism, ableism, fuck you with a wisdom tooth!

    I hope some day your martyrdom complex clears up and you can climb down from your cross, but I sincerely doubt that will ever happen based on this discourse.

  3. I know opinions may vary on this one, and I’m sure people don’t mean it this way, but “fuck you with a ______” always reads as kind of rapey to me. Anyone else, or am I being too sensitive again?

  4. @emilygoddess:

    I suppose it could be taken that way. Sorry, I didn’t really think about the implications. I’ll try to avoid using the phrase from now on.

    And also, no more drunk-posting for me.

  5. I have never worn anything but plus fours. In fact, I’m wearing plus fours with little hearts and unicorns and a chip that plays the “Liberty Bell March” right now. Well, that and a baseball cap.

    You are like a kawaii version of Tintin.

  6. emilygoddess ,

    I think it’s a turn of phrase best avoided.

  7. Ugh enough with the child abandonment apologia. The right to one’s body is a tad more important than the right to one’s money. I’m tired of this libertarian argument.

  8. Auggziliary,
    Are you saying that women’s bodies are somehow different from mere possessions? Careful, you’re gonna blow the troll’s mind.

  9. Also, women pay child support.

    I know it’s hard to imagine…

    The latest numbers I could find were from 1991, but it looks like roughly 10% of child support was flowing from women to men.

    Which is roughly in line with how custody splits, if I remember those stats.

    So… how do women have any more rights than men, here?

  10. Howard – because men are expected to help raise a child. That’s a misandry! /s

  11. emilygoddess

    Ugh enough with the child abandonment apologia. The right to one’s body is a tad more important than the right to one’s money. I’m tired of this libertarian argument.

    It’s also a false equivalency. The equivalent to a man having to pay child support is not a woman having an abortion, it’s a woman having to pay child support. The fact that this is rarer is due mainly to women being the primary caregivers in hetero relationships, which is something feminism has been trying to fix for half a century. Get that, MRAs? women have been trying to reduce your child support liability for half a century. Goddamn.

  12. “it’s a woman having to pay child support”

  13. Women can’t “abandon” their child. They can see to it that it gets care from someone else.

    Men want to say, “Yeah, it’s my child, so fucking what”, without the requirement to see to it there is some form of support for the child.

    So the comparison is crap.

  14. Sorry, but she is a rapist. If she was blotto wasted as the guy in the story, called him up and he arrived, then she proceeded to give him sloppy blow jobs while falling in an out of consciousness, then clumsy tried to mount him and fell asleep on his chest, you would be all over him as a rapist as she was to drunk to consent.

    You can’t have it both ways and not be called out for it.

  15. cassandrakitty

    If giving up your bodily autonomy is equivalent to having to pay child support shouldn’t women be getting a nice big payout every time they’re forced to continue a pregnancy that they would have chosen to terminate if the option was available?

  16. If only there were some way for freetofish to know how we would have responded if the genders were reversed. Alas, there isn’t, so he is reduced to speculation based on his limited knowledge.

  17. RE: freetofish

    If she was blotto wasted as the guy in the story, called him up and he arrived, then she proceeded to give him sloppy blow jobs while falling in an out of consciousness, then clumsy tried to mount him and fell asleep on his chest, you would be all over him as a rapist as she was to drunk to consent.

    Sure, buddy, you can just skip us DISCUSSING THAT VERY THING a hojillion times in this thread and jump straight to the part where you win. Good job. You’re very clever and very smart.

  18. freetofish, not if she was the one taking all the initiative.

  19. cassandrakitty

    Expecting freetofish to read the comments is misandry, because when men are forced to listen to women talk it hurts their ears and their feels.

  20. I did read back a couple pages, and I saw a lot of off topic BS about circumcision and abortion, and a bunch of feminists being rape apologists.

    Shocked me actually. As does the condensation. Way to wave that flag for inclusiveness.

  21. cassandrakitty

    “Condensation”? LOL. It’s raining stupidity, apparently.

  22. Because the tagline on this site is “The new misogyny, included and welcomed.”

  23. Cassandra, maybe the flag of inclusiveness is air-conditioned.

  24. RE: freetofish

    You come back to an old thread from over a month ago, don’t read all the comments to check your claim, and claim WE’RE being condescending? Please.

  25. That, too, is condensation.

  26. I feel more condensed already.

  27. Condensation! Lol.

    It just occurred to me that no troll has used a the double ellipses in a while.

  28. This article is absurd for one reason. If a man just laid there and let a drunk woman have her way with him, then gave a speech about how she was utterly inept and had no idea what she was doing and they wondered what had gone wrong with their life, everyone would call that guy a rapist that took advantage of a drunk girl.

    In fact, the standard sexual assault doctrine is that it doesn’t matter if she says yes or even initiates the sexual activity – if she’s “wasted”, “her yes is a no”.

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