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StephenT [userpic]

(Meta) Thoughts on a certain scene in 'Who Are You?'

28th April 2009 (09:47)

I'm sure you all remember the scene in 'Who Are You?' where Faith, in Buffy's body, goes to bed with Riley. So here's a question: was that rape?

Poll #1391175 That Riley/Faith scene

Was it rape?

Absolutely not. They both consented.
5(5.7%)
It was morally dubious, but I wouldn't call it rape, exactly.
43(48.9%)
Yes. Faith committed rape.
35(39.8%)
Yes. Riley committed rape.
0(0.0%)
Yes. They both committed rape.
2(2.3%)
Something else which I will explain in my comment.
3(3.4%)


Under the cut, I'll expand in a little more detail on each of the options.

1. "Absolutely not". This is the simplest answer. Nobody was struggling or being held down. Nobody was coerced or threatened or drugged. Yes, Faith lied to Riley - but people have been known to lie before when trying to persuade someone into bed, and is "I'm Buffy" really more of a lie than "No, I'm not married" or "I'm really interested in what you've been talking about for the last hour"?

2. Nothing much to say here; this is the middle way answer.

3. "Faith committed rape". I don't know about the State of California, but under English law this would probably be the case. Consent to sex obtained by deception or impersonation is invalid. How that differs from the kind of lies I mentioned in (1) is a difficult question, of course, and would be for a judge to decide. Case law offers R v Williams (1923) where a man persuaded a very naive teenage girl that he could perform a "medical procedure" to improve her singing voice; she agreed to this, but the man was eventually convicted of rape anyway because of the deception involved. (And the moral of the story is: parents, giving your children sex education is a really good thing.) Riley thought Faith was Buffy, and almost certainly would not have consented if he'd known the true situation; when he did find out, he was angry and distressed.

4. "Riley committed rape." This may seem a really strange one at first, but it was inspired by listening to the recent fan discussion about 'Dollhouse', and the claims that the Dolls in that show are repeated rape victims. The argument, therefore, is that Riley is raping Buffy in this scene. Her mind may not be present, but her body is, and it's her body that he's having sex with. Buffy is equivalent to Caroline/Echo and "Faith" is her current imprint. The situation is even worse than that in 'Dollhouse', because (arguably, at least) Caroline consented in advance to what would be done with her body, but Buffy never had that option. As such, if you believe that Caroline is a rape victim in almost every episode of Dollhouse, then surely so was Buffy in 'Who Are You?'.

(The question "Can you be the victim of a crime if it has no effect on you and you don't even know about it?" might come up here, except I can't hear it over the sound of all those falling trees in the forest over there.)

5. If Faith raped Riley and Riley raped Buffy, they're both rapists.

So. Any thoughts?

Comments

Posted by: woman_of_ (woman_of_)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 08:59 (UTC)
Ami fanged four

I'm inclined to got with them both being rapists to be honest. They both used Buffy's body for an act Buffy's mind didn't consent to, by way of her not being in control. Even if in Riley's case he was unaware. You take your victim as you find them, even if you do not have the full information. Such as if you hit someone and they fall and die, finding out later they had a weakend skull is no excuse.

But willing to listen to counter claims

Edited at 2009-04-28 09:01 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:28 (UTC)

I'd be inclined to let Riley off any crime - you can't rape someone, or murder them or rob them by accident - you have to know that what you're doing is wrong, or at least be completely reckless about it.

In your example, if you hit someone you're still trying to hurt them, so you're responsible for their injury even if it's more serious than you expected. But if you just waved your arms around, and didn't see the other person coming up behind you until it was too late, that wouldn't be a crime. (Their family might still sue you for being careless, but I don't think the police would arrest you.)

Posted by: leseparatist (novin_ha)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:04 (UTC)
[buffy] faith and buffy

I think that even if Buffy was raped we cannot say that Riley was a rapist, because to his knowledge he was having sex with his willing girlfriend...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:30 (UTC)

Which leads us to the interesting question: can a crime take place if there is no criminal committing it?

Posted by: MrTeufel (mrteufel)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:24 (UTC)

Posted by: Denita (menomegirl)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:42 (UTC)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:05 (UTC)
Mock!Biley by crackers4jenn

This is very tricky, but I can't really see it in that light. This is one point where Riley really shines, and any of Buffy's other partners would have made everything far worse. From Spring Summer's analysis:

What happens when Faith encounters Riley? Faith, as Buffy, tries to take control of the sexual encounter with Riley. But he isn’t vulnerable to her kinky come-ons. He loves Buffy, and he takes a simple, honest, loving – and irresistible – approach to dealing with “Buffy’s” unappealing suggestions. There are no ultimatums, no games. Riley simply knows what he wants. He has self-respect, and standards. He’s interested in sex with Buffy, but not so desperate or needy that he’s willing to do things her way because he’s afraid she’ll say no otherwise.

Riley’s combination of strength and tenderness leaves Faith shaken and confused. It doesn’t fit into her view of the world as The Mayor has defined it - a place where one is a master, or one is a slave. Her night with Riley puts the final lie to Faith’s long-held, cherished belief that life is always a choice between eating or being eaten, using or being used.


(Full review of 'Who Are You?' here.)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:33 (UTC)

Personally, I don't blame Riley at all. (And I agree with the passage you quoted.) It's more that it suddenly struck me that what he does to Buffy's body here is identical to what a lot of Dollhouse clients are doing to Caroline's body, and yet 'Who Are You?' never generated half the controversy that 'Dollhouse' does.

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:38 (UTC)

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:44 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:49 (UTC)

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:24 (UTC)

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:19 (UTC)

Posted by: alexeia_drae (alexeia_drae)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:20 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:42 (UTC)

Posted by: alexeia_drae (alexeia_drae)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:22 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:55 (UTC)

Posted by: alexeia_drae (alexeia_drae)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 21:11 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:53 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:10 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:34 (UTC)

Posted by: alexeia_drae (alexeia_drae)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:27 (UTC)

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:07 (UTC)
tahmoh dollhouse

You know when I read option# 2, I didn't think of Riley at all, I thought you meant that Faith raped Buffy!

But you obviously didn't. Yet I think it's my choice.

After all Faith forced sex on Buffy's body without Buffy's consent, and she found her own pleasure through that violation. Faith is a rapist.

Of course Buffy didn't see it, didn't feel it when it happened. She didn't even know it was happening at the time. So on the one hand I wonder whether anyone could be raped when they aren't aware of it.

On the other hand, rape implies a psycholigical violence and Buffy found out afterwards that her body has been used by Faith for sex against her will, so she might have been feeling some rape-trauma still.

Anyway Riley is not guilty here.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:41 (UTC)

Actually, I was going to mention that option in the discussion, and forgot... though I wouldn't say Faith raped Buffy herself, more that she procured and abetted her rape. (If that's what it was.)


I wonder whether anyone could be raped when they aren't aware of it.

Objectively, the answer is "yes", because having sex with a sleeping or unconsious person counts as rape (at least it does here). I do think it's an interesting philosophical question, though; like I said, is something still a crime if it has no harmful effects on anybody?

Buffy is only upset because she was told what happened, not by the event itself - it's the information that hurts her, not the event itself. And information is just words. What if someone said to you "While you were asleep last night, I had sex with you"... but they were lying? They never actually touched you. Would that be rape? It would have identical effects on you to the actual crime, after all...

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:06 (UTC)

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:14 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:22 (UTC)

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:55 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:39 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:17 (UTC)

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:51 (UTC)

Posted by: joe_sweden (joe_sweden)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:24 (UTC)

I went with "something else I'll explain in my comments". I think it's very tricky to apply real life moral judgements to mystical events, because you're always working with imperfect analogues.

But given that, I think Riley did nothing wrong - as Buffy said, you don't look at someone and say that's not your body, get out of that body with your hands up. Even though he comes across unnatural things, he's not the sort of person to watch out for mystical events like that.

What Faith did is too complex and twisty to really call it rape - it wasn't a brutal act that took away someone's will. It was a deception that involved sex. Perhaps more like Willow's "mindrape" of Tara, which has rape-y overtones, but isn't morally equivalent, because the way you're taking away someone's choices is so...well, mindfucky :)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:33 (UTC)

But Willow used the 'mind rape' of Tara to actually rape rape her didn't she? They were going to bed mad. Willow does the spell. Tara is singing about being spread beneath her Willow tree while she's under Willow's spell. If date rape drugs result in acts we would call rape, then Willow raped Tara.

But to the subject at hand -- agree that Riley did nothing wrong. Though if I were Buffy I might have a hard time getting over the fact that my boyfriend could have the most intimate knowledge of "me" and not notice that it wasn't me.

Agree that what Faith did to Riley is too twisty and complex to call rape. But she did do something very close to rape to Buffy (whose body has had sex without her consent).

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:00 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 12:42 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:37 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:46 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 16:36 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 17:57 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:17 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:40 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:47 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:51 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:08 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:15 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:19 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:36 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:46 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:02 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 16:23 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:13 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:15 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:29 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:38 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:39 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:42 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:50 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:30 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:23 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:29 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 21:11 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 21:14 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:33 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:45 (UTC)

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:15 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:39 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:50 (UTC)

Posted by: Denita (menomegirl)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:59 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 14:23 (UTC)

Posted by: Denita (menomegirl)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 14:50 (UTC)

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 23:33 (UTC)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:56 (UTC)

I went with morally dubious but not rape, though in fact I don't think Riley did anything wrong, beyond not questioning what the hell was up with his girlfriend, because something clearly was.

Faith's motives were all over the shop and getting Riley to do something to Buffy's body of which Buffy would not approve was obviously one of them. I think what she did is borderline rape, and could have been actual rape if Riley had been a different sort of person.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:06 (UTC)

I kind of agree, except for the part about it would have been actual rape if "Riley had been a different sort of person". Seems to me that rape is rape. Riley might be less upset or traumatised by it than another person might be, and if so good luck to him. He might even chose not to press charges (or the Buffyverse equivalent) and let the matter drop; but that doesn't change the nature of what was done to him.

(As a comparison, stealing a loaf of bread from a millionaire and stealing a pensioner's life savings are both equally theft.)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:07 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:15 (UTC)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:30 (UTC)

Posted by: azdak (azdak)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 09:58 (UTC)

I completely let Riley off the "rapist" charge here. As far as he knew, Buffy wanted sex. I also don't think it counts as rape of Buffy since (a) she wasn't there, and (b) she liked having sex with Riley. If Faith had taken her body and shagged some skeezy old man with it, Buffy might have been upset if she ever found out. But Faith didn't (get to) do anything Buffy wouldn't have done herself.

Moreover, if Buffy's body had been unambiguously raped by someone while Faith was in it, I would say it was Faith that suffered the rape, not Buffy. It's the mind of the person experiencing it that counts, not the body (since mind swaps don't occur in real life, I feel no need to worry about what the implications of this are for criminal law).

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:26 (UTC)

I pretty much agree with you myself - though I don't think you can argue that because Buffy probably would have consented if she'd been asked, therefore you can assume her consent.

Posted by: azdak (azdak)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:48 (UTC)

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:44 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 12:09 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:03 (UTC)

Posted by: azdak (azdak)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:13 (UTC)

Posted by: Episkopos Rev. Alixtii O'Krul V, TRL (alixtii)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:49 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 21:05 (UTC)

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:05 (UTC)
magic ↔ the dark inside of me.

I picked morally dubious. Riley honestly had no idea that it wasn't Buffy that he was having sex with, so I can't blame him. At the same time, which Faith did, in a way, violate Buffy's body, I feel like rape was not her primary objective. I mean like, I don't think she said to herself, Now I'm going to go violate Buffy's body. I think that it was a number of issues, including being horny and wanting to sort of get revenge on Buffy, because in her and Buffy's mind, her sleeping with Riley was almost like Riley cheating. Remember how Buffy felt about it afterward? She wasn't like, Oh, that was rape, she focused more on the fact that he slept with Faith (which he both did and didn't).

To bring up another point that someone mentioned: what Willow did to Tara, and it pains me to say it, was, technically speaking, rape. Willow basically just slipped her a drug to make Tara forget everything and then had sex with her. That sounds very rape-ish to me.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 10:34 (UTC)

I'm not blaming Riley myself either, though some of the arguments people are making about 'Dollhouse' would imply that he ought to be blamed for what he did to Buffy. (I don't really agree with those arguments either, though I agree it's morally dubious).

It's likely Faith has already violated Buffy's body before she ever goes to visit Riley. Remember the bath scene? :-)

Regarding Willow and Tara, see my comment to 2maggie2 above. I think what she did was the equivalent of lying to Tara, in a very convincing manner, rather than drugging her so she could rape her.

"Have you been out drinking again?"
"No dear, I was working late at the office."
"Okay, that's fine. Are you coming to bed?"

versus

"Have you been out drinking again?"
"Yes, I have. Abracadabra! Forget I said that, and think instead that I said no!" *mystic gestures*
"Okay, that's fine. Are you coming to bed?"

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:14 (UTC)

It's interesting that everyone seems to be talking about "Buffy's body" - whereas, at the time, I'd say "Faith's body", because it's the body she's currently using.

I'd say that her switching the bodies is... um... theft? Or something? But once she has switched them, anything she does with that body is happening to her, not to Buffy.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:17 (UTC)

I agree, which is why I'm also surprised that that's how most people see things. But then I don't quite get all the 'Dollhouse' controversy either... (Not that I don't understand that there's controversy, but that people see things in such dogmatic black-and-white terms.)

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:29 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:21 (UTC)

I can't call Riley a rapist when he had no idea what was going on. For him, he was having sex with his girlfriend, who came on to him, anyway.

I don't even think that he should be held the blame for not recognizing that "Buffy" is acting strangely. Some girlfriends like to surprise their boyfriends that way, thinking their boyfriends would find them sexy and irresistible.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:37 (UTC)

Heck, in Riley's experience Buffy is the strangest girl he's ever met, and she's always acting in a bizarre way. So he has even more excuse than normal! :-)

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 11:46 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 07:59 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 12:46 (UTC)

Riley's in the clear. He didn't know what was going on. As far as he knew, he was having sex with his girlfriend.

Faith, though, did rape Riley. It's on the legal books as such, explicitly stating that having sex with someone while they are under the impression that you are someone else is taking away their full right to consent. And I do think a side effect (er...poor phrasing. I'm tired) is that Buffy ended up being raped. But the perpetrator for that is Faith, not Riley. Faith's the one that took Buffy's consent away.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:41 (UTC)

It's on the legal books as such

I know it is here, but I wasn't sure about over there, so thanks for that.

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 14:11 (UTC)

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:22 (UTC)

I would argue that the very act of switching bodies with Buffy would constitute rape on Faith's part - she knew that Buffy would never want to have her body used by Faith, but she inhabited it anyways. It's rather metaphorical for sex, and even if it weren't, the fact that there's psychological violence and nonconsensual action makes it at least rape-like.

But I agree that Riley didn't commit rape. He didn't know what he was doing.

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:23 (UTC)

& I think Faith raped Riley with the whole 'deceitful sex' bit, and probably raped Buffy over again by using her body for sex like that.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:44 (UTC)

Posted by: Lily (lavastar)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 00:03 (UTC)

Posted by: Mely (coffeeandink)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:44 (UTC)

You left out the option: "Faith committed a rape of Buffy."

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 14:01 (UTC)

I worded the option "Faith committed rape" to include that, in fact - originally I was going to put "Faith raped Riley" etc, and then changed it to leave out the victim's names. I didn't want to specifically say "Faith raped Buffy" or "Riley raped Buffy" or whatever because I didn't want to ask leading questions.

Posted by: Mely (coffeeandink)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 14:07 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 14:15 (UTC)

Posted by: Denita (menomegirl)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 13:51 (UTC)

I agree with mrteufel in the above comments, which I'm still busy reading.

I just wanted to pause to ask, why would you correlate Riley's actions with those being committed in Dollhouse? The situations aren't even remotely similar. Riley had no way of knowing that was not Buffy.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 14:13 (UTC)

Because in both cases we have:

The original person, whose mind is no longer in control of their body and is unaware what's happening to it.
A new personality, controlling the body, who consents to sex.
A third party, who also consents to sex.

[Some] people are arguing that in Dollhouse, Caroline and the other Dolls are being raped on a regular basis, because their original personalities are not able to consent to each engagement. That's the same situation Buffy is in with regard to her own body; if Caroline is a rape victim, so is Buffy. If you have a rape victim, you must have a rapist.

Note, though, that I'm not directly equating Riley to Dollhouse clients; I'm putting it forward as an option in the poll. I do think there are strong similarities: but in the end, as people have said, Riley isn't aware that he's doing anything unwanted and so legally he lacks the mens rea for a crime. For Dollhouse clients, you could argue that as far as they know, Actives all consented willingly to what they do - but that's not really something the show has explored yet.

Posted by: Episkopos Rev. Alixtii O'Krul V, TRL (alixtii)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 01:11 (UTC)

Posted by: alexeia_drae (alexeia_drae)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 15:59 (UTC)
deadasadoll

Faith committed rape, of Buffy and Riley. Riley didn't consent to having sex with Faith and Buffy didn't consent to having her body used in that manner. With Riley, it's similar to Paul in Mellie up until the last two episodes where Paul didn't know Mellie was a doll. Likewise, Riley didn't know it was Buffy's body with Faith inside. If he had and had had sex with Faith anyway, then yes it would have been rape.

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 16:33 (UTC)

Good example. And the fact that Paul's attitude towards what he was doing changed dramatically tells us that for a person with good intentions, having sex with a doll is morally problematic. If the doll had been Sierra, it would unambiguously have been rape. It's a bit murkier when it comes to the doll's who have consented to be dolls.

BTW, I don't think anybody ever talks about this -- but it's an open question whether anybody has the right to sell themselves into slavery. It depends on how you construe the notion that we have an inalienable right to our liberty == since "inalienble" means that it can't be stripped from you by anyone for any reason (or for any price).

Posted by: alexeia_drae (alexeia_drae)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 17:57 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:22 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:34 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:52 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 17:42 (UTC)

I think Faith raped Buffy with intent (although I doubt that she called it that to herself) and Riley as a side effect. I think what you have with the Dollhouse is a system of institutional rape with plausible deniability. Depending on how the process works it could be the original personalities being raped (by being present but brainwashed into thinking they're someone else) the Doll (by being drugged into compliance with the imprint process) or the imprint (by being manipulated by Topher into desiring the client). I think there's also some form of recklessness or negligence involved in the fact that they don't know exactly how the process works but are prepared to use it even though it's not been proven beyond reasonable doubt that it doesn't simply brainwash the subject.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:26 (UTC)

I'm not sure I'd go as far as you do, but I do agree on one thing - I think that the imprinting process is a lot more experimental and unreliable than Topher and Co believe. Also that Adelle might honestly believe - or rather have convinced herself to believe, most of the time - that her Dolls are volunteers* and what she does is for everybody's best interests, but in reality the system has flaws and exceptions.


* In the same way as somebody working at MacDonalds cleaning out the greasetraps for minimum wage has "volunteered" for the job, as an alternative to starvation.

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:21 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:43 (UTC)

I would say, no question, Riley is innocent here. It's different from Dollhouse because (other than Paul, which was discussed above) the clients know that they are having sex with someone who is not mentally "there" to consent, whereas Riley had no idea. He's certainly right to feel bad for not recognizing something was wrong with "Buffy", but it wasn't rape.

Faith, on the other hand, got Riley to consent through deception - he would never have consented to sex with Faith if he knew it was her - so yes, it is rape.

My brain is going in circles over whether Faith raped Buffy. Clearly Faith wronged Buffy here, but I'm not sure if it's actually rape. Buffy herself seems to see it more as cheating than rape - i.e. it's the fact that it was Faith's mind involved in the sex that bothers her more than that it was her own body.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 18:54 (UTC)

I'm inclined to think what Buffy suffered wasn't technically rape, but it was a violation of her mind and body on the same level as rape.

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:20 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 19:47 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:37 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:56 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 21:05 (UTC)

Posted by: I write tragedies, not sins (mabus101)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:30 (UTC)

You realize, you've made my head hurt terribly.

I checked option 2, but perhaps it should have been 6 instead. I think something terribly morally dodgy is going on here, but I'm not sure how to categorize it.

Years ago, when I was playing Mage: the Ascension, I started categorizing crimes and moral wrongs that don't actually exist in the real world--after all, at least some of them probably will, at some point, and we might as well be ready when they become possible. And I had an extensive list of mental violations...but for some reason a body-swap didn't occur to me, perhaps because it was something I was already familiar with in fiction where nothing terrible happened as a result.

I did categorize a substantial portion of the mind-control section as the equivalent of murder. To take a fairly clear-cut case, suppose the Mayor's device had replaced Buffy's mind with a copy of Faith's, a la "Dollhouse", leaving Faith as she is. What happens to Buffy? To me, the only natural response is "Buffy is dead". That she might return later doesn't change the issue (for one thing, Buffy's come back from the dead a couple of other times too...)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 20:59 (UTC)

How do you think my head feels now? :-)

If you destroyed Buffy's mind with that device, then yes, I'd agree it's murder. (Although some SF books use the phrase "personality dissolution") But if you recorded her mind, with the option of restoring her back to how she was? It gets tricky. Maybe "kidnapping" and "false imprisonment" would be the closest real-world charge... but if it did become possible, I suspect society would evolve a completely different (and possibly irrational) view on the crime.

Posted by: I write tragedies, not sins (mabus101)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 07:28 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 10:33 (UTC)

Posted by: ofparsnip (ofparsnip)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 21:06 (UTC)
[ff] jubal early

This is a really interesting situation, and it reminds me of my first year criminal law class. (I vaguely remember outlandish hypotheticals involving statutory rape in shark-infested waters, but I digress.) I checked the option that Faith, alone, committed rape.

Riley didn't consent to having sex with Faith. Buffy didn't consent, period.

Faith raped Riley, who didn't consent to having sex with her (or, put another way, he consented to having sex with Buffy, who is not Faith). I'd say she also caused the rape Buffy, and so she'd be charged with rape. I wouldn't say that Riley is responsible for Buffy's rape -- I mean, strictly speaking, he did have sex with who he thought was Buffy, but I think that Faith's involvement is more important. And, if we start talking about intentionally/knowingly/recklessly/negligently, I don't think that Riley would have been in a situation where he was negligent, meaning that he should have known that it wasn't Buffy who was consenting. (If we're in the land of strict liability, Riley's toast, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Rape isn't a strict liability offense, I don't think.) Re: the rape of Buffy, I think that Riley was an unwilling actor.

Faith intentionally put Buffy in a situation where she couldn't consent, and she caused the sex to happen. That's rape.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 21:37 (UTC)

Interesting to get a perspective from an actual lawyer. :-) Thanks!

Posted by: ofparsnip (ofparsnip)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 21:51 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 10:20 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 28th April 2009 23:05 (UTC)

I think in this instance Faith is the one who committed rape of Buffy.

She is the instigator of the sexual encounter and Buffy's body is used without her consent or control, forcing her into sexual intercourse without her being given the choice.

And it is funny how this issue was never really dealt with in canon. I think they breezed over it because Riley was her boyfriend and so Buffy would have most likely slept with him anyone. But it really was no different (from Buffy's perspective) than Riley having sex with her while she was unconscious since she wasn't there. For Riley obviously he was duped and had no idea, so it wasn't that he committed rape.

And thinking about what Faith did is starting to make me more angry about how Buffy was treated during Sanctuary. Everyone goes on and on about how Buffy was such a bitch when she arrived, but Faith had just violated her body, tried to kill Buffy and kill her mother. Buffy was justifiably angry and everybody else just needs to suck on it. :-P

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 10:28 (UTC)

I'm still a little bemused by the idea that you can be the victim of a serious crime, and yet suffer no harmful effects from it and never even know the crime had been committed unless somebody told you about it later. It's strange.

It probably also explains why a lot of people are unsympathetic to Buffy in 'Sanctuary'. (Not that I disagree that her anger was justified. But Buffy isn't always this unmerciful towards people who tried to kill her...)

Posted by: ms_scarletibis (ms_scarletibis)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 01:22 (UTC)

Okay, didn't look through that amazing number of comments, but honestly? I'd say that Faith raped Buffy's body when she stole it. Talk about raping body and soul...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 10:22 (UTC)

64.3% of the other comments agreed with your viewpoint, actually.

That precise statistic may possibly have been plucked out of thin air.

Posted by: ms_scarletibis (ms_scarletibis)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 12:44 (UTC)

Posted by: M (spankulert)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 10:43 (UTC)
DH Echo ready for your treatment?

4. "Riley committed rape." This may seem a really strange one at first, but it was inspired by listening to the recent fan discussion about 'Dollhouse', and the claims that the Dolls in that show are repeated rape victims. The argument, therefore, is that Riley is raping Buffy in this scene. Her mind may not be present, but her body is, and it's her body that he's having sex with.

I wouldn't say that's accurate. Riley was completely unaware that Buffy wasn't in control of her own body. If people are supposed to go around suspecting that, well, the entire world is rapist. It's different on Dollhouse because those clients know fully well what they're ordering. It's basically human trafficking, and based on Sierra's reveal in "Needs", they didn't all sit down and agree to become a doll(and I'm pretty sure the nifty little details on prostitution are left out of the pitch).

I would also say that Faith raped Buffy as well as Riley.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 29th April 2009 16:04 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure the nifty little details on prostitution are left out of the pitch

I'm not. I'm pretty sure the potential Actives are well aware that this will be part of what they'll be doing as Dolls. Remember the vox pop interviews in 'Man in the Street' - many of the people interviewed were pretty clear that the Dollhouse dealt in all kinds of fantasy, including sexual.

Of course, I'm sure Adelle wouldn't use the word "prostitution" in her sales pitch, she'd be talking about "fulfilling the dreams and deepest-held desires of our clients" or some such. Maybe some of the Dolls were naive enough to take her at face value, but I'm sure most of them weren't.

Posted by: candleanfeather (candleanfeather)
Posted at: 3rd May 2009 14:43 (UTC)

Hi, I hope you're not totally exhausted with this subject. :)

For me Faith raped Riley. She deceived him using Buffy's body to have sexual relations. There are close similarities between this scene and what happened to Ygraine in J Boorman's Excalibur.

As for what happened to Buffy the situation is complex : considering her body was used without her consent there's a rape, but Riley certainly can't be considered as a culprit, he is an unknowing instrument and doesn't have any means to know. As for Faith, she can be considered as the culprit both in the fact she instigated the situation and acted Buffy's body.

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