In the movie Playing the Game 2, college students contemplate the legal and societal definitions of rape.  The film begins as Jen stumbles to her room after having sex with Chris.  The scenes that follow show Jen and Chris describing the event and their friends’ reactions.

In the girls’ room, Jen sets the scene by admitting that she was drunk and has liked Chris for a while now.  She tells how she went to his room, not looking for sex, but just to talk and make out.  She then describes how Chris became aggressive and forced himself on her.  She believes she was raped. Jen’s roommate agrees with Jen and attempts to convince her to report Chris. Jen’s friends have mixed opinions on the story.  One believes Chris raped Jen, while one believes that Jen is telling lies.

In the boys’ room, Chris begins his story by also admitting that he and Jen were both drunk and that he knew Jen had liked him for a while.  He goes on to tell how they went to his room and began to fool around.  He portrays her protests as “playing hard to get.”  He believes the sex was consensual. Chris’s friends also have mixed opinions on the story.  One believes Chris may have sexually assaulted Jen, while one believes that Chris didn’t do anything wrong.

So who is right and why are there two different stories?

As a society, we have scripts which men and women are supposed to follow for successful interactions.  One such script is for the woman to play hard to get.  This little script causes so many problems.  Men are given the responsibility of differentiating between a playful “no” and a forceful “NO.”  This difference is often difficult to distinguish, especially in the heat of the moment.  For Jen, her protests were real and genuine, while Chris interpreted them as playful.  In addition, the two had different expectations for what would happen once they arrived in Chris’s room.  Jen wanted and expected an innocent interaction, whereas Chris expected a more sexual interaction.  Jen and Chris were on two completely different wavelengths the night in question.

In society’s eyes, Jen messed up.  Chris is also at fault, but Jen’s moves are under a far greater microscope than Chris’s.  In this acquaintance rape situation, society typically sides with the man, assuming the woman knew what she was getting herself into, didn’t protest enough, and must have wanted it on some level.  Add in the fact that Jen was not a virgin prior to this night, and Jen’s chances of convicting Chris on sexual assault charges plummet.  This case may be looked into, especially by college officials, however there is little to no chance of legal prosecution or of academic repercussions.  The law and society’s perceptions of rape and sexual assault just simply are not on Jen’s side.

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