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Discussion of 1.12 "Expecting" - Aired 1/25/00 (WB-US)

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that he doesn't think of himself as a victim, is the time it was written in, more than anything else. That's how I feel.
Agreed. Definitely. I agree that he believes he consents at the time and enjoys the experience at the time ... but the knowledge that comes after changes the whole interaction and he has a right to feel about that anyway he wants, and the only reason he doesn't seem to feel anything is the time it was written, and the decisions made in the writers room. The truth is - he consents to sex with Buffy, not sex with Faith. and consent with one person does not equal consent with anyone else. if he knew that was Faith he would not sleep with her, but he does not have that information - Faith willingly deceives him.

But Cordelia doesn't have all the information to fully consent either. She believes she is having sex with a man she likes who likes her back, he has told her as much. She believes this could be the start of something special. That is the information she has, that is the context in which she consents. However what is actually happening is she is having sex with a man who sees her as nothing but a subhuman piece of garbage, someone to use and throw away. He is having sex with her specifically to get her pregnant with demon spawn which will kill her within the next 24 hours - when she goes into labour - purely for his own profit. This is how little he values her. This is what the relationship actually is.

Once Cordelia knows all that ... how does a person just go on with life knowing that there are people out there who think your life matters so little? That they are willing to see you die just for a bit of personal gain? Who will lie to you, trick you and use you ruthlessly for their own ends because they do not see you as a person at all?

The funny thing is, Cordelia does actually say something very similar to all that. In Billy. when she confronts Lilah about the way she was used and violated in order to free Billy from hell - and how that made her feel. How being powerless and knowing there were people out there who could kill her and they would because she didn't matter is a way no one should ever have to feel. The show recognises her trauma, her anger and her need for vengeance then. But essentially the exact same thing happens to her in 'expecting' - her body is violated and her life endangered, she is harmed and injured for the gain of another party - so where is her anger then?

It comes down to the writing. They wanted to tell this dark story in season 3 so they went in all guns blazing, recognising how badly she was treated and what effect that would have on her going forward. They didn't want to write that kind of story back in season one so they gloss over it. Like Riley - she is only OK because the writers write it to be that way in a very flawed script. That is what bugs me - they have not earned the right to tell this story. They do not give it the weight it deserves.
 

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But Cordelia doesn't have all the information to fully consent either. She believes she is having sex with a man she likes who likes her back, he has told her as much. She believes this could be the start of something special. That is the information she has, that is the context in which she consents.
But here is where it's muddy; the fact that he's an ass and lying, doesn't mean he's raping her. That's like saying that Barney Stinson rapes every girl he's with who isn't a future girlfriend, or that Parker raped Buffy. It's a horrible thing to do, agreed, but it is by now means, imo, rape. At all. Mystically impregnating her is a violation, to be sure, but again I won't throw the word rape around just for kicks (no offense intended).
 

Oromous

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But here is where it's muddy; the fact that he's an ass and lying, doesn't mean he's raping her. That's like saying that Barney Stinson rapes every girl he's with who isn't a future girlfriend, or that Parker raped Buffy. It's a horrible thing to do, agreed, but it is by now means, imo, rape. At all. Mystically impregnating her is a violation, to be sure, but again I won't throw the word rape around just for kicks (no offense intended).
I wouldn't use "rape" if we're going by technicality, but whether Cordy consented to the sex or not, we don't know what happened after the sex. Like how did she even get impregnated in the first place? Did the demon put the baby in between the sex or after? It's not the sex itself that's the problem, and it might not even be the guy who raped her, but the demon who violated her body by doing something with her body she never consented with.
 

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I wouldn't use "rape" if we're going by technicality, but whether Cordy consented to the sex or not, we don't know what happened after the sex. Like how did she even get impregnated in the first place? Did the demon put the baby in between the sex or after? It's not the sex itself that's the problem, and it might not even be the guy who raped her, but the demon who violated her body by doing something with her body she never consented with.
The demon didn't do anything beyond applying his seed to the men. It is heavily implied in the episode that their own seed is exchanged or mystified by the demon or a ritual of some kind; the guys don't knock out the girls and then the demon comes in to rape them. They are only with the men. I'd be very surprised if this wasn't the case, even if it isn't necessarily spelled out in the episode.
 

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The demon didn't do anything beyond applying his seed to the men. It is heavily implied in the episode that their own seed is exchanged or mystified by the demon or a ritual of some kind; the guys don't knock out the girls and then the demon comes in to rape them. They are only with the men. I'd be very surprised if this wasn't the case, even if it isn't necessarily spelled out in the episode.
Then I'd still feel like it's kinda similar with drug-related crimes at least, with the drug being the pregnancy-power of the demon in the seeds in this case. It's just a whole lot of weird when I put it that way, but the point being that the "violation" comes in the form of the pregnancy power doing something to Cordy's body that she never consented to.

It's kinda like when someone puts abortion pills in a pregnant woman's drink, but in reverse. It's icky either way, rape or not.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I guess I'm just not comfortable with this thing modern day does, where it throws the word 'rape' around like it can just fit into a million different boxes. To me, rape is one thing; sexually forcing yourself on someone - now, it can happen a ton of different ways, from drugging, to physical force, to trickery, and so on, but rape itself it just one thing. It's part of why I hate that sex with a minor is called statutory rape, because most of the time both parties are consenting. This is just my own personal issues, though, which is why my comment included the 'imo'.
I disagree with you on the statutory rape part. Normally statutory rape is reserved when someone is below a certain age and regardless of whether they "consent" it is still classed as rape. This is usually used in regards to Paedophilia cases. There's that grey area where somebody is below the age of legal sexual consent but in the ball park such as Buffy in Season 2 (and in California the age of sexual consent is 18) but that is not statutory rape.

I agree with you though that "rape" gets thrown around a lot, especially in situations that are not clear cut eg there's debate on whether Willow raped Tara in OMWF.

It's a very muddy situation and my first instinct is to disagree, but I definitely understand that it's tricky; technically, Riley didn't have all the information needed to fully consent. Here's where my issue lies; I always take it by how the 'victim' takes it. Since Riley clearly doesn't consider it rape, I won't either. I know that's problematic, since one of the only reasons, probably, that he doesn't think of himself as a victim, is the time it was written in, more than anything else. That's how I feel.
I consider the Riley/Faith situation as rape by deception. The closest real world example would be if Faith and Buffy were identical twins and Riley thought he was sleeping with Buffy but it was actually Faith pretending to be Buffy.

Veronica thinks she was raped. She discovers that her and her ex, Duncan, were both drugged and then 'chose' to have sex with each other. One can call this muddy, but at the end of the day, if Veronica (and Duncan) don't consider it rape, then I won't either.
It turns out she was raped though by Logan's friend's (whose name I forget) little brother who had been sexually abused by the coach.

But here is where it's muddy; the fact that he's an ass and lying, doesn't mean he's raping her. That's like saying that Barney Stinson rapes every girl he's with who isn't a future girlfriend, or that Parker raped Buffy. It's a horrible thing to do, agreed, but it is by now means, imo, rape. At all. Mystically impregnating her is a violation, to be sure, but again I won't throw the word rape around just for kicks (no offense intended).
I agree. If the woman consents to the act of sex, it's not rape because the guy did not force himself onto the woman. There needs to be coercion or force used for it to be classed as rape.
 

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It turns out she was raped though by Logan's friend's (whose name I forget) little brother who had been sexually abused by the coach.
Beaver/Cassidy, yes, I know. I was using an isolated example to make a point, so I didn't include later revelations.
 
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But here is where it's muddy; the fact that he's an ass and lying, doesn't mean he's raping her.
legally yes it does if his intentions are so far beyond what she has reason to believe she is consenting too. What is muddy is about how white can a lie be to discount it as not rape (e.g Barney or Parker - they're certainly operating outwith morality even if not outwith the law, maybe one day the laws will change and what they did will be classed as the against the law - especially if it can be proved they wilfully misled someone. Certainly we spend far more time on Buffy's upset over being jilted than we do on Cordelia's trauma over her pregnancy. the show recognises that lying to get sex is wrong and should be condemned in the case of Parker - yet Wilson suffers no consequences beyond getting beaten up.) However if lying about use of condom classifies as rape (and it does - that is a legal fact, no matter ow anyone might feel about it) then sleeping with a woman with the express intention to impregnate her, despite her believing she is taking part in safe sex, is rape.

convictions on rape in the world have included a case where an elderly man sent pictures of a young man over to the internet and organised hook ups with young women, convinced them to blind fold themselves and then had sex with them. They were consenting to sex with the young man in the picture not this old guy, even though at the time they believed they were consenting to the sex - he was convicted.

Another case was of a transgender man who used dildos on a woman to have sex with them. They were convicted because the woman had consented to sex with a man with a penis, not a transgender man using foreign objects on them.

And yet there is a case where a man entered a hotel room and had sex with the woman sleeping in there. He was not convicted because he claimed to believe that the hotel room was his own and the sleeping woman was his girlfriend. The fact that the complete stranger he violated was still very much violated counted for nothing, because it was deemed his intention was not to rape or deceive.

So intention matters- the old man, the transgender man and - in the case of expecting, Wilson - all intended to deceive because they knew they would not get consent if they told the truth. ergo it is classed as rape.
The last case proves how woeful laws are and how dangerous it is to categorise rapes as being 'real' or not. the man did not violently force her or drug her or deceive her, but she was asleep she did not know what he was doing and she did not consent. His intention was deemed more important than the violation committed against her body. But surely no one would try and claim she was not violated, that she has every right to be angry and disgusted and that the legal system really let her down.

There does not have to be force, or violence or drugs for it to be rape. To think that is necessary completely disregards the nuances and the complications of human interaction and dismisses experiences of too many rape victims whilst allowing too many rapists off the hook. The reason so many people are uncomfortable with how broad the definition of rape is is unfortunately because it means that when too many people examine their own past sexual behaviour they may see something there that gets dangerously close to the definition, or they may realise that something within that definition has happened to them - and they don't want to believe that. But rape does not have to be violent, it does not have to include physical force, or drugs or drink or even trickery. Rape is whenever someone has sex with a person from whom they did not get full and meaningful consent - and an absence of a 'no' is not the same as a 'yes'. Anything less than 'yes' is rape. And a meaningful 'yes' cannot be given where important information is missing.
 
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Just because there is a law, doesn't mean there should be a law. I can still have an opinion, sorry if it doesn't line up with yours.

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legally yes it does if his intentions are so far beyond what she has reason to believe she is consenting too. What is muddy is about how white can a lie be to discount it as not rape (e.g Barney or Parker - they're certainly operating outwith morality even if not outwith the law, maybe one day the laws will change and what they did will be classed as the against the law - especially if it can be proved they wilfully misled someone. Certainly we spend far more time on Buffy's upset over being jilted than we do on Cordelia's trauma over her pregnancy. the show recognises that lying to get sex is wrong and should be condemned in the case of Parker - yet Wilson suffers no consequences beyond getting beaten up.) However if lying about use of condom classifies as rape (and it does - that is a legal fact, no matter ow anyone might feel about it) then sleeping with a woman with the express intention to impregnate her, despite her believing she is taking part in safe sex, is rape.

convictions on rape in the world have included a case where an elderly man sent pictures of a young man over to the internet and organised hook ups with young women, convinced them to blind fold themselves and then had sex with them. They were consenting to sex with the young man in the picture not this old guy, even though at the time they believed they were consenting to the sex - he was convicted.

Another case was of a transgender man who used dildos on a woman to have sex with them. They were convicted because the woman had consented to sex with a man with a penis, not a transgender man using foreign objects on them.

And yet there is a case where a man entered a hotel room and had sex with the woman sleeping in there. He was not convicted because he claimed to believe that the hotel room was his own and the sleeping woman was his girlfriend. The fact that the complete stranger he violated was still very much violated counted for nothing, because it was deemed his intention was not to rape or deceive.

So intention matters- the old man, the transgender man and - in the case of expecting, Wilson - all intended to deceive because they knew they would not get consent if they told the truth. ergo it is classed as rape.
The last case proves how woeful laws are and how dangerous it is to categorise rapes as being 'real' or not. the man did not violently force her or drug her or deceive her, but she was asleep she did not know what he was doing and she did not consent. His intention was deemed more important than the violation committed against her body. But surely no one would try and claim she was not violated, that she has every right to be angry and disgusted and that the legal system really let her down.

There does not have to be force, or violence or drugs for it to be rape. To think that is necessary completely disregards the nuances and the complications of human interaction and dismisses experiences of too many rape victims whilst allowing too many rapists off the hook. The reason so many people are uncomfortable with how broad the definition of rape is is unfortunately because it means that when too many people examine their own past sexual behaviour they may see something there that gets dangerously close to the definition, or they may realise that something within that definition has happened to them - and they don't want to believe that. But rape does not have to be violent, it does not have to include physical force, or drugs or drink or even trickery. Rape is whenever someone has sex with a person from whom they did not get full and meaningful consent - and an absence of a 'no' is not the same as a 'yes'. Anything less than 'yes' is rape. And a meaningful 'yes' cannot be given where important information is missing.
I'm with you here in regards to "intention matters." I feel like, a problem with how we treated rape victims is how we question whether if the victim consented or not, more so in the past than in the present. Consent matters, yes, but it's the way we frame that question, asking whether if the woman had anything to drink or if she invited her rapist in - none of that matters when a lack of INFORMED consent exists. INFORMED consent MATTERS, more than the generalized term of "consent" itself. This is the reason why I will always, always consider Riley's lack of INFORMED consent as rape.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I'm with you here in regards to "intention matters." I feel like, a problem with how we treated rape victims is how we question whether if the victim consented or not, more so in the past than in the present. Consent matters, yes, but it's the way we frame that question, asking whether if the woman had anything to drink or if she invited her rapist in - none of that matters when a lack of INFORMED consent exists. INFORMED consent MATTERS, more than the generalized term of "consent" itself. This is the reason why I will always, always consider Riley's lack of INFORMED consent as rape.
I think it's important to ascertain the facts surrounding rape allegations, even if some of those questions are uncomfortable. Some women do lie and make false allegations, it's important to separate the liars from the genuine victims. If a woman sleeps with a man, only to find out later he's married, she shouldn't then be able to claim that as rape just because she didn't know he was married. What you don't want is where claiming rape is weaponised by women to use against men who upset them.
 

Oromous

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I think it's important to ascertain the facts surrounding rape allegations, even if some of those questions are uncomfortable. Some women do lie and make false allegations, it's important to separate the liars from the genuine victims. If a woman sleeps with a man, only to find out later he's married, she shouldn't then be able to claim that as rape just because she didn't know he was married.
That's a different point than the one I was making. I was calling out on questions where the questioner probably knew there was a lack of consent, but chose to ask such insensitive and irrelevant questions anyway. Tricking a woman into becoming drunk and have sex with you isn't the same thing as lying that you're married. There's a clear lack of consent between the two.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I was calling out on questions where the questioner probably knew there was a lack of consent, but chose to ask such insensitive and irrelevant questions anyway.
They're not irrelevant questions. They might not be comfortable questions but facts have to be established including whether or not the victim was inebriated via alcohol or drugs, to what degree, how they met the accused, etc. You can't just assume a man is guilty of rape just because a woman claims he is, an investigation has to be carried out to make sure the allegations are true and not malicious falsehoods.
 

Oromous

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They're not irrelevant questions. They might not be comfortable questions but facts have to be established including whether or not the victim was inebriated via alcohol or drugs, to what degree, how they met the accused, etc. You can't just assume a man is guilty of rape just because a woman claims he is, an investigation has to be carried out to make sure the allegations are true and not malicious falsehoods.
It's still a problematic line of questioning. A woman who's drunk but regrets having sex later doesn't have the right to accuse someone of rape, yes, but too often, this is used as an excuse when the woman was clearly saying 'no' while under the influence. My point was that too many cops justify a victim as the guilty party because of this loose reasoning.
 

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This episode is a rather confusing one. Lots of things in it I really love, especially the scenes with Angel and Wes; the sense that the three main characters are coming together as a family is nicely cemented here (Angel even says that Cordelia is family). The Haxil Beast looks a tad silly, but at least they attempted a practical effect rather than relying on CGI all the time. The episode's horror content is pretty strong, and its (obvious) subtext is handled reasonably well.

Where the plot falls apart is how Cordelia is portrayed. For an episode that is about her, she does barely anything in it. I've never been much of a fan of 'women being impregnated with demon spawn' stories at the best of times, and this sort of plot feels like a left-over from a sleazy B-Movie. It's unambitious and doesn't really try to present its story in an interesting way, a problem that plagues Howard Gordon's other script for the series.

Perfectly entertaining, and with some great moments (the climax and final scene are cool), but there is something lacking here.
 
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