Tim Fookes was one of those who was incredibly offended by the inference that this is all women have to do to prevent getting raped, and even apologised on behalf of all men. Good on him, I thought. A number of men phoned in and agreed that the sentiment was disgusting and offensive.
Then the lawyer in question (Keith Jefferies) phoned in and explained the statement was in his closing arguments and that he didn't believe his client had actually raped the woman, and that the sex was consensual, therefore to prevent consensual sex, all she had to do is keep her legs closed. Dear Tim just didn't get it.
Another lawyer phoned in and explained it in more detail to Tim and he still didn't get it.
At this point my mind started to process this apparent obtuseness on Tim's part, and it occurred to me that conservatism runs deep in many NZ males, a conservatism that has it's roots in Christian morality and patriarchy, no matter how liberal these men might be in other areas that have been worked on more in popular culture. I find this really fascinating.
Christian morality basically says that men have no business having sex with women that they are not married to. Marriage is the price of sex - no marriage, no sex. So, if a woman says she did not consent and the man is not married to her, then it is automatically assumed by some (who don't even believe that they subscribe to Christian morality at all) that the man must be a rapist.
Liberals go on an on and on about consent, but consent is one of those airy fairy things that could be assumed by no resistance. Except, that's not what feminists want. Here's an example from Clementine Ford from her opinion piece on the keeping your legs closed comment from the defence lawyer:
Sexual consent does not begin and end with securing a 'yes', but is an ongoing negotiation that must involve respect between all parties regardless of how that sex looks on the surface. Bodily integrity is paramount; it isn't something whose limits can be determined by a collection of individuals still grappling with confusion over their own relationships to sexuality. If we want to change the way sex is used to control and undermine other people, we have to first understand how we use it to control and undermine ourselves.
Clementine wants "an ongoing negotiation" before consent is assumed. Isn't that what engagements are for?
It seems to me that many people in New Zealand are operating from a Christian moral started point, but then messing it up along the way. If women can have sex outside of marriage where-ever and when-ever they want, then as the lawyer says, if they don't want sex they should keep their legs closed, or not put themselves in situations where consent is assumed and the negotiation associated with marriage is not entered into. However, if women want the negotiation and everything that comes with it, then they need to let go of the idea of sex when ever they feel like it with whomever, because such a scenario assumes consent if they put themselves in a situation where sex is likely, and leads to statements such as, she should have kept her legs closed.
This is of course very different from Islamic societies where leading men is astray is always the woman's fault. It's like men in those societies are assumed to have no self control and are never at fault if a woman happens to inspire them to have sex with her, whether she intends to or not. At least the Tim Fookes' position and all of those who agree with him believe that men should be far more responsible with women that they have sex with.
So, while I can see where the lawyers were coming from in regards to their defence of the unfortunate statement made by Keith Jefferies on closed legs, I am heartened by the underlying conservatism that exists in many New Zealand men as typified by Tim Fookes, who would most likely be surprised that I considered him to be conservative and have an underlying Christian morality.