This has been one hell of a week in rape culture and it’s only Wednesday.

First, early in the week, the Columbia Journalism Review released its damning 12,644-word investigation into Rolling Stone’s now-discredited story “A Rape on Campus.” You can read my original blog post here. The update: the CJR outlined all the ways in which RS completely shit the bed on this story and made incredibly sound recommendations all journalists should read. The magazine, meanwhile, continues to blame Jackie, the University of Virginia student who alleged she was gang raped at a campus frat house.

Second, ELLE —  my beloved, glossy-mag bible — published a disappointing piece on its website provocatively headlined Are Today’s Legal Definitions of Rape Helping or Hurting Women?

Oh, great. WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW.

In the piece, writer Cristina Nehring contrasts two experiences from her own life: one, a sexual encounter with a Frenchman who took her back to his place without asking after she had too much rosé; the other, an account of being raped at eight years old by a 19-year-old man at a suburban Christmas party. Both contain troubling details, but we, as readers, are meant to infer that the latter story is more obviously disturbing.

Nehring is concerned that, under California’s Yes Means Yes legislation and the affirmative consent policies adopted by hundreds of U.S. campuses, her rendezvous in Paris in the freewheeling ’90s when she was a college exchange student could be considered rape. “A culture that conflates my suburban rapist and seducing Frenchman is a culture that is fundamentally confused,” she writes.

A writer that thinks affirmative and enthusiastic consent comes at the expense of spontaneity and passion is fundamentally confused.

The article is filled with passages that gave me serious pause — “to confound women who are overpowered with weapons or muscles or threats or fear with women who are simply of two minds about their romantic forays afterward is to obfuscate terror” is one example — but it was this section that stood out:

But several hundred thousand women worldwide are raped every year with infinitely greater fallout than I experienced. They are left for dead, rather than escorted downstairs to see Santa Claus. Women’s bodies—in Iran and India and Saudi Arabia and, yes, the United States—are mangled, their human dignity and intimate integrity trampled. We owe it to these women—and to the girls protected under statutory rape laws, who often don’t even realize that “no” is an option—to avoid mistaking emotional risk for actionable crime. The loudest of rape alarmists think of themselves as vanguard feminists—but, in a significant way, they are antifeminists: They turn their backs on the most victimized members of their sex; they confound messy human relations with criminal sexual coercion, ambivalence with iniquity.

Right. So here’s yet another writer who buys into the damaging idea that there is “real” rape — or “rape-rape,” or “legitimate rape” or, as Nehring called it, “real sexual violence” — and then there is “grey-rape.”

Grey-rape is a garbage term that was coined by a 2007 Cosmopolitan article which defined it thus: “sex that falls somewhere between consent and denial and is even more confusing than date rape because often both parties are unsure of who wanted what.” It’s a term that’s since been evoked to describe nonviolent acquaintance rape — which, overwhelmingly, is what happens on college campuses.

The idea of ‘grey rape’ is a hell of a lot more hurtful to women than affirmative consent policies.

If Nehring sees what happened in Paris as an exciting seduction and what happened in that attic as rape, that’s her right. But it’s irresponsible to perpetuate the idea that rape has to look a certain way to be considered rape.

A while back, I interviewed Jean Kilbourne, media critic and IRL goddess, for a Winnipeg Free Press piece about rape culture on campus. She relayed to me a disturbing anecdote about a professor who was raped and almost murdered. The professor said it was almost easier for her to deal with the trauma because she was so clearly left for dead and no one could accuse her of asking for it. Sit with that for a bit. NO ONE COULD ACCUSE HER OF ASKING FOR IT.

Gee, no fucking wonder survivors whose attacks don’t look like those out of a crime drama feel like they can’t disclose what happened to them. And no fucking wonder so many rapists don’t see themselves as rapists.

Additionally, affirmative consent isn’t the boner-killer Nehring rather laboriously makes it out to be: “Like dance, sexuality is at once preverbal and transverbal: It predates the word and outstrips it. To pin it down with questions and formulas is like pinning a butterfly to a wall. You can see it better there, but it no longer flutters. And neither, in all likelihood, does your heart.”

As someone tweeted, “this woman is literally comparing the laws of CONSENT to a COCKBLOCK.”

Consent is not a cock block. Nor does it kill the butterflies of your heart or whatever. Consent is the cornerstone of any healthy sexual encounter or relationship. Consent keeps us safe.

Repeat after me: Consent is sexy. Consent is sexy. Consent is sexy. The sooner we can embrace that idea, the better.