[ in response to this article http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-judge-delivers-blistering-rebuke-of-lower-court-sex-assault-decision-1.3694814 regarding a boy being acquitted for raping a girl depite the girl clearly saying no and fighting back ]
Question for the other guys out there:
How many of you had an experience in college where a girl was initially pretty unresponsive or even kind of weakly defensive but suddenly really got into it after you made a few moves? I certainly did, and it wasn't a situation where she was blackout drunk. She just ended up in my bed on some pretext (I think her roommate was hooking up with someone, but she had other options besides climbing into a twin bed with a single guy so it seemed pretty clear what her intent was). Her actions after getting in bed left me pretty confused, she was totally unresponsive to kissing and groping but didn't stop me. However, when I did the right thing she was suddenly all over me. I kind of figured out the boundaries through trial and error. On subsequent nights, I kept pushing and they gradually expanded too (lol).
I wasn't some sort of sexual predator, I was just a shy kid. I read the (nonverbal) signals correctly and it worked out, we dated for a few months after that.
While you might think this isn't related to the case, I think it is. The cultural (and maybe biological) necessity for the male to be aggressive and the female to put the brakes on things tends to really effect how these things go. And us males are stupid, we don't read the signs nearly as well as women hope we do. However we do share stories, and a lot of guys encourage their friends to be aggressive too, to make moves. That's when things can go wrong. It's messed up but it's also the reality.
Once you get older though, it all becomes a lot more natural and easier. You understand how to read signals and you learn what boundaries not to cross. Girls are also better at communicating those boundaries once they've had a few experiences themselves.
That's why, when I hear something like this, I think: here's a guy who's gotten the wrong message, but he's young and hasn't figured this whole dating/sex thing out yet. Make sure he knows that what he did is very wrong, punish him, but nothing that will impact his life long term. He deserves the chance to prove whether he's learned from his mistake.