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Oh. That's a tough one. - Diary of a Necromancer
Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
Oh. That's a tough one.

Because I still think this particular episode makes more sense when the information-channel available through the dialogue track is reduced to just the tones of voice, and because I thought of it as I was Pondering a thorny issue my Muse is currently trying to write me into:

Okay, so, say we have these two characters. Character A, whom we shall call "Ianto Jones", is an employee of character B, whom we shall call "Jack Harkness". Now, Ianto has reasons for wanting to keep his job, none of which are necessarily the hours, the money, or the warm fuzzy feeling he gets from performing his duties within acceptable parameters; in fact, Ianto is mostly in it to steal office supplies, and by office supplies we shall presume him to mean "resources to assist character C". (...I am not disguising this scenario very well at all, am I.) If Jack were to find out about this ongoing act of theft, things would begin to go very badly for Ianto Jones.

Ianto thinks that Jack is beginning to suspect something is wrong with the organisation's books. However, Ianto has noticed that Jack flirts shamelessly with him and indeed everyone in their workplace; so Ianto decides, one night when Jack appears to be getting too close to his thefts, to see if Jack can be distracted, and perhaps compromised himself, by taking him up on his apparent offer.

I suppose the question I'm considering here is this: Ianto is walking willingly into the lion's den, in that he is choosing to take the initiative in this situation that he finds himself in. However, the balance of power rests with Jack, in whose hands lies the ability to terminate Ianto's employment, ability to continue to assist character C, and (Ianto has cause to suspect) Ianto's life. Can, therefore, Ianto be said to be "consenting" to this encounter?

Equally, how does Jack come out of this? He's being seduced, even if not unwillingly, for motivations unrelated to the encounter he believes he's being offered. He has not therefore been given the opportunity of truly informed consent to his subsequent actions.

I think, in a nutshell, this is the textbook case of "Dubious Consent" as per fanfic warnings, which is to say, even if nobody's being obviously, physically held down and sexually assaulted, something is definitely going down here that shouldn't be and that people will find disturbing. I know where for the purposes of the story I'm going with the rest of this line of thinking, and I'm not sure in how much detail I'd be treating the specific incident, it's more that I've kind of squicked myself thinking about it too hard...

The long and the short of which is that basically sometimes I wish she would warn me, dammit.

feeling: thinky

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otrame From: otrame Date: February 13th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
This is a question I find interesting because everyone tends to see the dubiousness of Ianto's consent while I keep thinking about the dubiousness of Jack's consent, given, as you said, that he doesn't know what is really going on. It is an interesting question, even if, like me, you are a no-actual-sex-before-Lisa-died proponent. In the actual-sex-before-Lisa-died scenario, both are adults and have consented to have sex, but neither would have if they had known what was really going on.

Calico's Moving In makes the whole thing extremely explicit. It is one of the two or three best Torchwood stories ever written and it is almost too much much like rape on both sides to enjoy the smut for me--almost. Read it and let me know what you think.
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