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December 2014

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criminal minds prentiss facepalm

just give me your hand. your mother is drunk is all.*

And while we're on the subject of sexual violence, in re: Rape Culture. I explain--

...no, take too long. I sum up.

Look, if you're one of the people saying, "What a pity these boys were convicted of rape, because they had their whole lives ahead of them," you are part of the problem.

You may think what you're saying is "What a pity these boys committed rape, because they destroyed their own futures." But those are not the words coming out of your mouth.

Stop. Look. Listen. Look left, then right, then left again. Then think about what you are about to say or type.

But if you are one of the people saying, "Well, the victim had her whole life ahead of her too," you're also not saying what you think you're saying, and you're contributing to the problem and expressing an internalization of rape culture as well.

The victim--shall we call her a survivor, now?--still does have her whole life ahead of her.

Surviving sexual assault is not the end of a life. Rape culture includes this pervasive idea that the person who is raped is ruined forever, that "she'll never be the same," that she's soiled and broken.

Guess what? Hundreds and hundreds of rape survivors go on to lead productive, fulfilling lives! Yes, it's an act of violence. Yes, it's a trauma, and it should never happen to anyone, and surviving violence--sexual or otherwise--is not easy or clean.

But we need to get this fucking idea of a "fate worse than death" out of the language and the culture pronto, because it compounds the fucking damage when you tell somebody she's automatically damaged for life.

Comments screened, because I don't even.


*not the actual lyric. But close enough for my purposes today.

Comments

(I was going with a robbery metaphor as tylik did above. Since tylik said it so well, I'll just sum up a bit and expand a little with my thoughts.)

Someone breaking into your home is traumatizing and horrifying. Your space, your safe place, isn't safe anymore. But you buy new stuff and fix the doors and windows. You install an alarm system and get a big damn dog. You take precautions and you don't forget and you are always a bit more alert than others who haven't experienced a break-in, but (hopefully) you go on with your life.

I think with rape, it's different in people's minds because it's your body that was broken into. It seems more...personal...more permanent because you can't put up stronger doors and slap on new paint. You can't move to a different house in a "safer" neighborhood.

I think some of the "her life is ruined...permanent damage" idea comes from that. Yes, I know the historical background of the idea, and yes, there are asshat victim-blamers, but most people I've met aren't like that. They feel genuine sympathy for the victim, but have no idea how to express it. I don't know, maybe that's just me? I'm trying to understand as well.

Rape feels intensely personal, or maybe it's more accurate to say it feels like it should/would be intensely personal? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't? I don't know as I've never experienced it. I do know that people who haven't lived through a violent act don't understand how if feels. Hell, living through something violent doesn't mean you understand it either. I gave birth three times and I don't fully understand everything I experienced.

No, rape isn't different from any other crime--at least it shouldn't be. It's traumatic, but you survive because that's what people do. You aren't broken. You are different because experiences change us, and violent experiences change us more.

As you wrote above, people aren't saying what they think they're saying and they need to understand that. I've never seen a discussion about the miscommunication around rape worded this clearly and we need more dialogues like this. Because I really think most people just don't understand the nuances and how what they are saying is wrong and hurtful to the victim and to society.