“Non-consensual sex” simply does not exist. Sex, in its definition requires the consent of both parties. Defining it as anything else diminishes the power of what the act actually is: rape, or at the very least sexual assault.
Journalist Joe Duncan argues that the reason that “non-consensual sex” cannot even be substituted as a synonym for “rape” is because the motives of the act are lost. Rape and sex have “incongruent perspectives”, according to Duncan, with sex being motivated by “lust, attraction, and love” and rape by “power, violence, and abuse”.
Similarly the phrase “sex with an underage woman” is problematic for two reasons. Firstly, sex with a minor is rape since a minor cannot consent to sex. Secondly, there is no such thing as an “underage woman,” she is a girl. When we choose to use the words “sex” and “woman” to describe the rape of a young girl we conjure up different images in our minds.
By Julia Olsen