Tag Archives: rape

Just because she never told you…

9 May

We all know that the word “rape” has been devalued by society in such a way that it is now used as a general term for at least two different things:

  1. To have your identity stolen online (e.g. to be “fraped”, when someone accesses your Facebook account and makes an embarrassing status on your behalf)
  2. To lose an argument or some form of combat or competition (e.g. to be “raped” in a duel, or for a football team to have been “raped” by their opposition)

The use of the word rape in these situations can be very upsetting to survivors of sexual assault and rape. To use the word rape in this way, almost as though making light of a soul-destroying experience many women and men have endured, can only (I assume) be for one of two reasons:

  1. The person who uses the word in that way has considered its effect on those who may read/hear it and decided to use it regardless – thus indicating a very inconsiderate, heartless person
  2. The person who uses the word in that way has not considered its effect on those who may read/hear it and therefore isn’t aware of its impact – thus indicating a very uninformed, naive person

In the case of scenario one, there’s very little we can do as “regular people” to combat this behaviour. Unfortunately, much as there will always be rape in the world, there will always be inconsiderate people in the world and any attempt on our behalf to “educate” them will be seen as oppression and “political correctness gone mad!”¬†The only way that we could stop these people would be to make it a criminal action to use the word “rape” in any way other than its original definition, but given the prosecution rates in rape cases, this doesn’t seem like it would be an effective idea.

However, in the case of scenario 2, we are still able to cross our fingers and hope that some education in the matter will affect the personal choices said people make when interacting with others. I find this blog post particularly apt in highlighting the effects of using this word. Although the blog post is more specific in that it refers to people expressing their opinions about rape (as opposed to this post which is focused on the ignorant misuse of the word rape), the logic still applies.

A lot of survivors will read or hear the word rape being misused, and immediately have a negative impression of the person who used it. They will not think the person is ignorant or uninformed, they are more likely to think the person is very aware of how offensive their word choice was, and that they have chosen to use it anyway as they don’t care, or they think rape is an unserious, or laughing matter.

The “How Was I To Know?” Excuse

In one personal experience I have encountered, a male friend became offended when another male friend used the word “rape” in one of the “lighthearted” ways described above. The offender was quite shocked by his offense and tried to laugh it off with a teasing response: “Why are you trying to oppress me?”

The offended explained that his sister was raped when she was quite young and has suffered a range of mental health issues as a result and will probably never live a normal life. He said that hearing such a sensitive word being used in such a casual way upset him. He left before the offender had chance to reply.

The offender was stunned for a little while before saying, “Well, I feel like a bit of a <censored> now. But how was I supposed to know that happened to his sister?”

I had to explain to him that he wasn’t supposed to know. My friend should never have had to share that story with him to make him see the error of his ways. My friend should never have felt like he had to share that story at all. If the offender had been a respectful, considerate person, he would never have used the word.

Survivors, and those who have been affected by rape or sexual assault in any way (e.g. being close to a survivor), do not walk around with a sign with the word “Raped” on it for all to see, shouting: “Yes, someone who was raped has just walked into the room! Please be considerate of my feelings while I’m here, and feel free to resume your rape-talk afterwards!” As a general rule, people keep their private lives private, and all that we can do to protect those people is to be considerate of the words we use in the presence of all people, even those we are close to and assume they have never been raped or assaulted (we can never know for certain, it took me 4 years to confide my attack to¬†another person).

 

I will raise my daughter to be considerate.

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First Post, a small introduction

9 May

I don’t know where you begin with a blog which is about a topic like this.

As a “survivor”, it’s taken me 12 years to reach a point in my emotional health where I feel I can finally start moving forward, and looking at the problem of sexual assault objectively. Almost overnight, I began to feel I could be part of the solution, and not just a hidden statistic. I’ve felt thoroughly supported by the Mumsnet ‘We Believe You’ campaign and all of the informed, supportive women who are actively believing survivors of rape and sexual assault – thus tackling one of the first problems a survivor will face following an attack.

At first I hid away from the campaign and wished it wasn’t happening. The word rape has been a trigger for me for a long time, and I couldn’t read or write the word without feeling a “shock” pain across my chest. I still can’t handle hearing or speaking the word in conversation or on television.

But as a little time has passed, the campaign has really helped me. I have started to type the word rape with more ease, and I read it regularly. I donated some money to Rape Crisis (despite having never called them, their existence has always given me some comfort) and today I filled in a survey for AVA about my experiences – something I would never have felt strong enough to do before. I joined a few groups on Facebook, which are regularly posting blog links and other media about rape, and I click those links and read them with a mixture of sadness, interest and determination. Although the campaign was not designed to help me, but instead to address a widespread problem, it has greatly increased my quality of life. I haven’t told anyone new “my story”, and yet I feel more supported than ever before as though out there in the world, there are people who know about rape, and know it is wrong, and will fight for a future where women shouldn’t have to go through it.

And although I am as furious with the rape apologists, sexists, “victim” blamers and of course, rapists themselves, I feel content right now knowing that given time, more people could be educated with the help of campaigns like Mumsnet’s and the world could be a better place for my daughter, and my daughter’s daughters.

I don’t intend for all of my posts to have a “me me me” vibe about them, and in the future, I will hopefully be able to post something more productive, objective, or constructive.

So, I decided to make this blog. And I will VOW to make a blog post every single day, even if it is just a short “I’m having a good day!”, because this is an empowering experience for me – to finally be able to write about rape almost in an “activist” way – and I don’t want to lose sight of this positive feeling which has taken me so long to find.

 

I will raise my daughter to know you don’t need to suffer in silence.